Over time, you might start to notice that your system seems to be sluggish. Starting up the computer takes longer than usual or waiting for a program to launch is like watching paint dry. There are several factors that can cause a system to slow down over a period of time and many of them can be fixed or prevented with some minor system tweaks.
There are additional techniques for preventing system sluggishness that are not discussed in this article but links to articles are provided at the end of this article.
Remove Excess Files:
Chances are if you have been using computer for an extended period of time then there are files stored on the computer that are no longer needed. However, many of these files will not affect system performance but there usually are files present that will degrade performance over time if not removed. To help in the identification and removal of these files Windows XP includes the program Disk Cleanup.
To Use Disk Cleanup:
- Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Disk Cleanup. If prompted to specify a drive to clean select the appropriate drive.
- The disk utility will calculate the amount of disk space that can be reclaimed.
- From the Disk Cleanup dialog, select the files to be deleted by checking the box next to the file type. In addition, uncheck any boxes for files that should not be deleted.
Note: If not sure if it is safe to delete a file then side with caution and do not delete.
- Click on OK to confirm file deletion.
Detect and Repair Disk Errors:
The more a hard drive is used the better a chance that bad sectors will start to appear. A bad sector on a hard drive is an area on the physical hard drive that has been damaged and files can no longer be written or read from the area. It is important to detect and repair these errors on a consistent basis as over time it can degrade hard disk performance or in a worse case scenario can cause data corruption or loss.
- Start | My Computer.
- Right-click on the hard drive to be checked for errors. Select Properties.
- Select Tools tab.
- Select Check Now.
- From the Check Disk Local Disk dialog, select Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors. Click Start.
At this point, the system will try to detect and repair any bad sectors located on the hard drive. If a bad sector cannot be repaired, the operating system will mark the sector so it will not be used for storing data.
For the best system maintenance the disk cleanup and detect errors should be run dependent on how frequently the computer is used. If the computer is not used extensively, then once a month these procedures should be followed. If the computer is used on a daily basis then it recommended these utilities be run once a week.