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Step-By-Step Tutorial: Windows Basics for the First Time User
Part 2: Maintaining Your Computer Ė Disk Defragmentation
By Patricia Ouellette

Every day we strive to keep our bodies healthy. We make sure we eat, sleep and drink; we have check-ups with the doctor; we exercise and rest and try to balance work and pleasure.

In our spiritual life we also strive to keep ourselves spiritually healthy by reading Godís word; fellowshipping with others; studying and meditating; praise, worship and prayer. We need to do these things with diligence to grow stronger in our Christian lives.

Our computers are no different.

Donít you just hate it when youíre in the middle of writing an email or playing a game on your computer and it freezes up? Or, when youíre at that crucial part of something you have been working on for hours and your computer suddenly goes to that dreaded blue screen. To help prevent these things from occurring we need to maintain our computers. This is something that is not normally told to us when we purchase the system, so when someone comes along and asks, "Have you defragged?" We invariably look at them as if they have gone mad, with most of us saying, "What on earth is defrag?"

Disk Defragmenting

Disk Defragmenting is a process that cleans up our hard drive. Imagine this:

You sit at your desk and open your filing cabinet, take out a file, copy it and place the original back where it came from and proceed to work on the copy. When you are done you just place the file you have worked on anywhere on your desk. This is repeated over and over again until your desk is full of unsorted files, with copies of the original files in the filing cabinet.

This is basically how your computer works, but it takes it a step or two further. Your computer will take a copy of all the files required for the software you are using when you open the program, when you close it the second copy will disappear. While you are working on the document, every time you hit the save button another copy of the document is created. So if you have been working on a document that you already had on your system, you have two copies of it as soon as you open the file Ė one in the original location it was saved to, and one in the Windows Temp File while you are working on it. Then every time you save your document as you work on it, another copy is stored on your hard drive.

Once you have closed that document off, all the additional copies disappear and only the last saved version is kept, but the space that was used by those copies is still registering as used or wasted space and will not be used again until you have defragged your system.

Some symptoms of a computer that has not been defragged at all or for a long time are:
  1. Slow and sluggish operation.
  2. Freezes regularly.
  3. System faults occur.
  4. Eventual hard drive crash.
How To Defrag
  1. Make sure you do not have any program running and that you have disconnected from the Internet.
  2. Go to your start button and left click.
  3. Slide mouse over to All Programs (Program Files for Win 98).
  4. Slide mouse up to Accessories and down to System Tools.
  5. Left mouse click on Disk Defragmenter.
  6. Left mouse click on Defragment.
  7. Go away and do something else until the Disk Defragmentation is completed.
  8. When complete a report will show on the screen, simply left click on "close" on this report, and the Disk Defragmenter will close down.
  9. Restart your computer and continue with using it.
It is that simple.

How Often Should Defrags Be Done?

Disk Defragmenting should be done at least every two weeks for minimally used computers and weekly for heavily used computers. If you use a lot of graphics, photographs or sound files you should defrag after every session of working on those files as they take up a lot of resources.

For a healthy computer be as diligent with your maintenance as you would with your bodyís physical maintenance. It will save you a lot of heartache and frustration in the long run.
Trish Ouellette is a wife and step-mother of seven glorious children and three grand children. Trish and her husband Jim, run a small computer business from home, as well as two large Internet ministries, which keep her busy designing websites, fixing, upgrading and building computers and teaching computer and Internet technology. With every minute of her spare time she explores her talents in writing and art, which is available to view on her personal website Christ Driven Brush & Pen http://christdriven.evangel-list.com.

I learned that true friends are worth more than a million dollars. They appreciate in value and never lose interest. (Lucian Thompson)

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