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Real Computer Help Online: From the beginner to the seasoned user, this website is designed to answer all of your computer questions and take some of the frustration out of trying to use Windows.



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These instructions are geared toward the single-click method of using your mouse. If you use double-clicking, you should compensate accordingly. Additionally, if any terms used in these instructions are unfamiliar to you, refer to the Glossary for their definitions. Menus and items you click on are shown in yellow.

Click on any of the questions below for the answers. To retract an answer for easier viewing of the questions, click on the question again, not the answer.

Q: Whenever I turn my computer on, it runs a Scandisk. What's wrong?

A: Your computer was not properly shut down. Always shut down your computer by choosing Shutdown from the Start Menu (Click Start, then click Shutdown.)

Q: I never do any maintenance on my computer besides cleaning the windshield. Is that why it acts up sometimes? If so, what kind of regular maintenance should I be doing?

A: It's a good idea to perform Disk Cleanup, ScanDisk and Defragmentation on a regular basis, perhaps once a month, and in that order.

Q: What does Disk Cleanup Do?

A: The Disk Cleanup program frees up space on your computer by getting rid of temporary files that are automatically downloaded to your computer from Website and by some programs.

Q: How can I do Disk Cleanup?

A: Click Start, then choose Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools and select Disk Cleanup. Type in the name of the drive you want to clean (the default is C:), then click OK. In the Disk Cleanup dialog box, remove the checkmark in the box before any files you do not want Disk Cleanup to delete. Click OK to begin Disk Cleanup.

Helpful Hint: You may want to clean out your Recycle Bin before starting Disk Cleanup, then uncheck it's box in the Disk Cleanup dialog box. This way you can control what stays in your Recycle Bin. Otherwise, Disk Cleanup will empty it for you.

Q: What is ScanDisk?

A: The ScanDisk program searches for errors in your files and folders and will optionally check a disk's surface.

Q: How do I run ScanDisk?

A: Click Start, then choose Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools and select ScanDisk. Select the drive you want ScanDisk to check and whether you want a Standard or a Thorough test. Check Automatically fix errors if you want ScanDisk to correct problems without prompting you for instructions, then click Start to begin the test. When it has finished scanning, the results appear in a new window. Click Close to exit ScanDisk.

Q: I'm running Windows95 and have 2 hard drives. Can they both be scanned at the same time?

A: When you're choosing your drives for the scan, hold down the shift key. This will enable you to highlight both drives. Scandisk will then scan them back to back.

Q: What's Defragmentation?

A: When a single file is chopped up and stored in separate chunks scattered around a hard disk, defragmentation is the process that collects all the parts into one stream of data and speeds up your system.

Q: How do I defrag a drive?

A: Click Start, then choose Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools and select Disk Defragmenter. Specify the drive that you wish to defragment, then click OK. An animated window appears showing the progress of the defragging process.

Q: Can I have Windows do Disk Cleanup, ScanDisk and Degfragmentation automatically?

A: To schedule maintenance on your computer, click Start, choose Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools and select Maintenance Wizard. Select the Express option in the Maintenance Wizard window to accept the default settings, then click Next. Choose a time for the maintenance session and click Next. The next window lists the programs that have been scheduled. To perform a task immediately, check the box that says When I click Finish, etc. Click Finish to exit the scheduler.

Helpful Hint: If you've used the Maintenance Wizard before, a window appears asking whether you want to start maintenance right away or change your maintenance schedule. To reschedule, select the second option and click OK.

Q: When should I use the System File Checker?

A: Since the System File Checker checks all the system files and lets you know if any are corrupted, it would certainly be a good idea to use it when things don't seem to be going exactly as they should be. Additionally, it wouldn't hurt to run the checker every so often to try to avoid problems before they arise.

Q: How do I use the System File Checker?

A: Click Start, then choose Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools and select System File Checker. In the System File Checker window, choose Scan files for errors to perform a complete check of your system files, then click Start. If a problem is found, the File Corrupted window will appear. To fix the problem, choose Restore file to replace the corrupted file with a fresh copy from your Windows98 CDRom. Insert your CD into the drive, then click OK. Optionally, you can choose Update verification information if you know that the problem has already been corrected, or Ignore if you want to skip the problem for the moment. In either case, click OK to confirm your selection.

Q: I'm running out of disk space on my computer. Windows has an option to gain more disk space by converting to Fat32. Is there a downside to doing this?

A: The only downside, if you could call it that, is that once you switch to FAT 32, there's no going back to Windows 95, not that you'd want to. FAT (File Allocation Table) 32 is much more efficient than FAT16, the version you'd be switching from and you could end up with as much as 30% more hard disk space.

Q: Why do I want a Startup Disk and where do I get one?

A: A Startup Disk can be used to start your computer, run diagnostic programs and fix many problems if you have trouble starting Windows98. To create a Startup Disk, click Start, choose Settings, then Control Panel, In the Control Panel window, choose Add/Remove Programs. On the Startup Disk tab, click Create Disk and follow the instructions on the screen.

Q: Can I back up the important files on my system?

A: You can back up files, folder, drives or your entire system, providing you have the space. Click Start, then choose Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools and select Backup. In the Welcome window, the default - Create a new backup job - should be selected. Click OK. In the first Backup Wizard window, specify whether you want to back up your entire computer or selected files, folders and drives, then click Next. If you chosen to back up only selected files, use the list in the left panel to open up folders and drives, then place a checkmark next to any item in the right panel that you want to include, then click Next. In this window, choose whether to save all files or just files that have been created since a last backup, then click Next. Select the drive where you want to store the backup, then click Next. The next window give you two options: Compare original and backup files and Compress the backup data. Choose either or both of these options, then click Next. Finally, enter a name to identify the backup job, such as C Drive Backup, then click Start to begin the backup process.

Helpful Hint: You'll want to remember the name you gave to the backup job in the event you have to restore it.

Q: Once I've backed up my files, how do I restore it?

A: Click Start, then choose Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools and select Backup. Choose Restore backed up files, then click OK. In the first Restore Wizard window, choose a backup file from which you want to restore information. To browse for a file, click the down arrow to the right of the file name box, then choose the name of the file from the resulting Restore from window, then click the Open icon. Click Next. In this window, choose the backup set that you want to restore, then click OK. Then check the files, folders or drives that you want to restore and click Next. Select the Original Location or Alternate Location as the destination location for the restored files, If you choose Alternate Location, you will need to specify a new location. Then click Next. Finally, choose an option as to whether existing files should be replaced by backup files, then click Start to begin the begin the restore process.

Q: How can I tell how much room I have left on my hard drive?

A: In the My Computer window, right-click on your hard drive icon (typically C) and choose Properties. This will give you a pie chart graph of the capacity of your hard drive, how much space you've used and how much is left.


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