Hard Disk Maintenance
Your computer is like a car - it requires maintenance to continue to run properly. Your system comes with a couple of programs to help with this maintenance. Always check your hard disk for errors before optimizing.
Scandisk - check your hard disk for errors
Defrag - optimize your hard disk file structure
One of the problems that has been inherent in computers for a long time is that data that is stored on them ends up fragmented. I won't go into the details of how or why this happens, but as the data on your hard disk gets fragmented, your computer will run slower and slower until eventually it will stop altogether. Before Windows 95, the only way to correct this situation was to get out of Windows and use some not-so-user-friendly programs called SCANDISK and DEFRAG to clean things up. These tools come with DOS v6.0 or later. With Windows 95, Microsoft has beefed up these necessary tools so they now run under Windows. They still give you some rather cryptic messages when errors are detected, but it's now possible for anyone to run these tools. Both of these tools are located in the System Tools group inside the Accessories group. With Windows XP, Scandisk has been incorporated into Disk Defragmenter. You'll find ScanDisk and Disk Defragmenter in here. For the most part, these tools are easy to use, but there are too many options to go into detail here. Rather than expanding this document into a volume, let me suggest you get some additional help on the specifics of these tools. I would like to point out that it's imperative that you run ScanDisk before you run the Disk Defragmenter.
Windows 98 comes with something called the Task Scheduler that automatically runs ScanDisk and Disk Defragmenter at times you specify. You should see an icon in the Systray on the Taskbar for the Task Scheduler.
Last Revised: 03/13/2005
The PC Help Desk