Defragging – Does It Speed Up My Computer?

Many of our clients ring and say “I defragged my computer but it isn’t faster”…

Defragmenting a computer or “defragging” may not significantly speed up your computer. In days past it certainly did make a difference but there are many other things that also contribute to slow speeds on computers.

What does “defrag”mean? Simply put…

It means to clean up the fragmented parts of the hard drive (fragment means scattered bits that need to be put back into place that have been moved). A more detailed explanation is given here on our website under the articles section:

If you defrag, your computer it will run more efficiently, but unless the hard drive was very badly fragmented will not necessarily make it faster.

For a faster machine you will need to examine and fix other issues. DP Computing can help you with a computer clean and will look at the following areas:

  • startup programs.
  • amount of system memory and free hard drive space.
  • unneeded programs running in the background.
  • bloated security software.
  • slow server and Internet speeds at your location.
  • old system drivers and software.

amongst other things….

If you have a SSD drive it is recommended NOT to degragment the drive as it will lessen its life.

To book your computer in for a computer cleanup contact DP Computing at support@dpcomputing.com.au or visit out website.

Basic Computer Maintenance

Introduction

To keep your system in top running order there are a number of basic steps you should take. The following document describes the steps that can be taken to keep your computer system running at its best and is aimed at MS Windows XP, other versions of windows are similar but if you are unsure of any steps in this document please stop and contact a computer professional before proceeding.

Clean and Cool

Heat and dust are a computers worst enemy. Your computer system should be located in a clean well ventilated area with nothing blocking front and rear air vents. A few times every year arrange for a computer technician to open up the case, clean out any excess dust and check to make sure all fans are working correctly.

Backup Your Data

To save yourself heartache you should regularly backup the data on the computer. A full system backup is recommended but with large hard drives that are available today this is not always practical. For large hard drives it is recommended that you at the least backup the files that you create (ie letters, documents, spreadsheets, accounting package data files, email etc). For steps on how to backup your computer please see our article on “Computer System Backups”.

Defragment your Hard Drive

As you start to create and delete files and applications on your computer the hard drive will become fragmented. This means that the data is split into chunks and stored in different areas of the hard disk. The more fragmented your drive is, the less efficient your computer operates. Defragmentation consolidates the separate chunks, frees up disk space and speeds up your computer.

To perform this task, first open up My Computer, select the drive you wish to defragment and press the right mouse button. Select Properties and then the Tools tab, press the button to start the Defragmenter program. For further information and detailed steps on how to defragment your computer please see our article on “Defragmentation”.

Hard Disk Error Checking

As all your data is kept on the computers hard drive, it is essential that you regular check the drive for errors. To perform this task, first open up My Computer, select the drive you wish to check and press the right mouse button. Select Properties and then the Tools tab, press the button to start the Error Checking program.

Virus Checker

With the amount of computer viruses around these days it is absolutely essential that you have a virus checker installed on your machine. Having a virus checker installed on your system is not enough though as it needs to be kept up to date and your computer regularly scanned for viruses. As the various virus checking programs work in a variety of different ways consult the software manual or get a expert to assist you with updating the program and performing regular disk scans.

Uninstall Software

As you start to use the computer more and more you will begin to install new programs and applications. A lot of times you will use the program a few times and then either forget about it or realise it doesn’t do what you wanted. The application will then just stay on your machine taking up space and using up resources. It is recommended to regularly check the software installed on your machine and uninstall and programs you no longer use.

To uninstall a program in Windows 9x, 2000 & XP first open up your My Computer icon and then open up the Control Panel icon. An Add or Remove program icon will then be visible, start this program and you will be presented with a list of programs installed on your machine. Scroll through this list and remove any programs you no longer use. If you are unsure of a program leave it and ask a computer professional for advice.

Clean Out Your Recycle Bin

When you delete a file or email it doesn’t necessarily delete the file from your hard drive, instead it places it in the “ Recycle Bin” or “Deleted Items” folder for email in Outlook or Outlook Express. This is done so that you can easily recover files or emails you may have accidentally deleted. Over time though the Recycle Bin and Deleted Items folder can become large and the contents need to be purged.

Emptying the Recycle Bin

First check the recycle bin and to see if it doesn’t contain any required files. To see what is in the recycle bin, double click on it to open it up and scroll through the list of files to see what it contains. If you are certain that you do not need any of the files select File and then Empty Recycle Bin. If you are unsure of the files that are in the recycle bin seek assistance before emptying the bin.

Emptying Your Deleted Email

First check the “Deleted Items” folder to see if it doesn’t contain any required emails. To see what the folder contains start Outlook or Outlook Express and click on the “Deleted Items” folder and scroll through the list of emails to see what it contains. If you are certain that you do not need any of the emails, right click over the top of the “Deleted Items” folder and select Empty Deleted Items. If you are unsure of the emails that are in the “Deleted Items Folder” seek assistance before emptying the folder.

Operating System Reinstall

Over time you will install and uninstall various software, apply software and hardware patches, add and remove various bits and pieces of hardware and update system drivers. This will cause your computer system to gather old software programs, drivers and other system files that all contribute to your system running slow, behaving erratically and / or crashing. To remedy this situation contact a professional who can reload your operating system, applications and reset your computer software back to how it was when you first bought your machine.

Further Help and Assistance

If you need further help or assistance on this or any other computer problem please contact DP Computing.

DISCLAIMER: We will not be held responsible for any damage or data loss to your system. If you are in doubt over something or if the steps are different than what you see on your computer contact a professional.

©DP Computing 2002, 2012. This article may be freely copied in a not for profit manner but must be reproduced in its entirety and this copyright statement must be included.

Top Ten Small Business Technology Trends for 2013

Top 10 Small Business Technology Trends for 2013

Top 10 Small Business Technology Trends for 2013 eBook Cover

 

Top 10 Small Business Technology Trends for 2013
by David Perkovic  and Chip Reeves
48 Page eBook in PDF format.
Click on the this link for your free copy of our 48 page eBook on the top technology trends for 2013.  Let us know below in the comments what you think? Chapters  include:
  • The “Tablet  Effect”.
  • Touch Everything (Windows  8).
  • We Reach The  Clouds.
  • Video Everywhere.
  • E-Learning.
  • The Battle Of The  Ecosystems
  • IT Vendors Become IT  Partners
  • Outsourcing Made  Easy.
  • Its an Appy, Appy  World.
  • Spam, Spyware,  Viruses.
  • + 5 actionable steps for  each chapter.

Download it today to get a head  start start on your competitors!

General IT and Computer Troubleshooting Tips

Frustrated computer user

Don’t get frustrated  when your computer plays up. Check out the tips and tricks here to see if you  can easily solve the issue.
DISCLAIMER: DP  Computing will not be held responsible for any damage or data loss to your  system. If you are in doubt over something or if anything is different to what  you see on your computer contact DP  Computing.

  1. Take a deep  breath and don’t panic. Stand up and step back from your computer.  You need to approach things in a calm, and controlled manner. Panicking won’t  help solve the problem, and it could make things much worse.
  2. Save your current  work.Before doing anything, if you can, make sure you save your  current work so that you don’t lose it. Save it on the hard drive or on a USB  drive. It doesn’t matter where just make sure you save it.
  3. Backup your  critical data.If it looks like your hard drive may crash or the  computer may not start up again, take steps to backup all of your critical data  while it is still working and before you turn it off. Hopefully you have a  recent full backup and will only have to backup your most recent documents.  Consider copying the data to a network drive, USB drive or burning it onto a  CD-ROM.
  4. Check with others  in your office. Ask if anyone else in the office is having the same  issues.
  5. Reboot your  computer / modem / peripheral. Turn off the device you are having  issues with, let it sit for a 10 seconds, and reboot it. Sometimes one command  of the hundreds a computer executes every second can cause corrupted memory or  other unexplainable problems. Rebooting will clear out all the gremlins and  gives everything a fresh-start.
  6. What did you do  last? Did your problems start just after you installed a new  software program or some other update or change? This can be a great clue as to  the source of a problem. Undoing what you just did may solve the problem.
  7. Is everything  plugged in properly? Asking this a question may seem very basic, but  you will be surprised how often it can often be the fix you are looking for.  Cables get knocked or work themselves loose over time. Make sure they are all  snug and tight. If you want to look under the hood, and are comfortable doing  so, ideally you should check the cables and connections within your computer  case as well. You should also make sure all cards and memory are firmly seated  by gently but firmly pushing them into their respective slots.

Generally a tech  will need to be called in now. If it is an emergency and a technician is not  available consider going through the following steps as  well.

  1. Is your hardware  happy?Unhappy hardware is often the source of problems. To check  your hardware, right-click on My Computer, select Properties, click on the  Hardware tab, and then the Device Manager button. This will open the Device  Manager dialog box. It lists all the hardware devices on your computer. Devices  that aren’t working properly will have a yellow exclamation mark next to them.  Double-click on the problem devices to open a dialog box that may have details  on the problem, and a listing of suggestions on how to fix it.
  2. Check your  computer for nasties. Run a complete system scan with your  anti-virus software (make sure you update your virus definitions before you run  the scan). You can do a free online scan at TrendMicro’s Web site (http://housecall.trendmicro.com/au/).  You should also scan your computer for adware, spyware, or other malware with a  product like Malwarebytes (http://www.malwarebytes.org). Scanning your machine with these  products can be helpful as sometimes you will find something that one product  missed.
  3. Install software  or driver updates. If it seems one program or hardware device is  acting up, check the manufacturer’s Web site for updates. The code in most  software is thousands if not millions of lines long and it is impossible for  software companies to find all the bugs in their programs. As users discover  problems, software and hardware manufacturers often release revised software or  updated drivers that include new code to address newly discovered problems.
  4. Contact the  manufacturers support team. If you get as far as this step, your  problem is probably more complex. Most hardware and software manufacturers now  have extensive support information. Phone the appropriate support company for  further assistance.
  5. Still having  problems? • A technician will need to diagnose the issue. Contact DP Computing now to arrange a technician to  visit your site. • Document the detailed description of the problem and  the exact wording of any error messages. Knowing exactly what is wrong and being  able to share the message is critical to determining a solution. • Consider whether or not the problem occurs at random times or at  consistent/specific times. Random and/or intermittent problems are usually more  difficult to diagnose and fix. But if a problem occurs at a specific time and  you can reproduce the problem, the technician may be able to isolate the problem  to help find a solution.

DP Computing are a computer  support company providing IT consulting and support services throughout Adelaide  and the surrounding areas to SMB’s (small and medium sized businesses). If you  need any type of computer or IT help please contact  us.
A full list of services to  help small and medium sized businesses (SMB’s) is provided on our computer services page.