For some of you, this week's Q&A may be just common computing sense, but other people have no clue about how to maintain a smooth-running computer (case in point: my 74-year-old father, although he is well-versed in digital photography and Photoshop). I know that this week's great, winning answer by Mark and all of the other submissions won't let me stop being my father's IT guy, but they will at least give him some guidelines for maintaining a safe and smooth Windows system. In addition to Mark's answer and the honorable mentions this week, I included two additional listings: recommendations for PC maintenance utilities and reference Web sites from our members. So Rhonda, I hope you and your kids find these answers by our members helpful. And if any of you have more to add, please chime in; the more we share, the better off we are. Thanks, everyone, for your participation.
My kids and I have three computers at home, running Windows 98, Me, and XP. Granted, the XP system runs the smoothest since it is the newest one, but I would like to get some
recommendations from people on some regular maintenance routines, hardware, or software that I should use to ensure their best performance.
--Submitted by: Rhonda E. of Durham, North Carolina
I am sure there are many ways to keep the hardware of your three computers running smoothly, although I am of the opinion that if it isn't broke, don't fix it. Meaning, if your computers' hardware components appear to run smoothly, I wouldn't do too much tinkering to rock the boat. However, there are little things you can do:
1. Keep dust away from the computers and everywhere around them.
2. Keep wires and leads tidy and out of harm's way as much as possible.
3. Make sure each computer case has plenty of ventilation around it, and that it is standing on a firm base.
4. Don't let your computer workspaces get cluttered up.
5. Don't eat or drink anywhere near the computer, printers, scanners, or keyboards. (Difficult I know, and I am the worst offender, but any crumbs in the keyboard or spilt drinks on the case or keyboard can do a lot of damage.)
6. Don't move the computers around when they are switched on. If you have to move them, shut them down first.
There may be other similar steps you can take, but the essence is, keep the computer area clean and clutter-free.
As to software and the operating systems themselves, there is much more you can do. Although you have three computers with different operating systems, (OSs), housekeeping is the same for each. In particular, upkeep Windows 98 and Me is very much the same, but the methods you use are the same for them as for XP. It seems to me that there are five main issues, but... Read more
--Submitted by Mark F.
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I am running Windows XP and continue to get a warning message from my computer telling me that my system is low on virtual memory. Can someone tell me why this is and how to fix it?
--Submitted by: Jared Y.
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