Home‎ > ‎Tech Tips‎ > ‎Problems Index‎ > ‎

PCFIX-001

Updated 09/17/2016 


 
SYMPTOMS:   Windows Computer is running slower over a
                     period of months/years
 
POTENTIAL:  -  File Cleanup and File Defragmenter not
                        run recently or never run, or
                    -  PC is at least 6 months or older, or
                    -  Files are heavily changed/updated
                        frequently

Some of this can be due to the additional of more software, software that requires more resources than before or adding "stuff" that looked good but you never really used it and just left it on the computer in addition to other possibilities.
If the above Potential fits your situation, this may be a free cure versus paying $50 to $100 or investing in a "magic stick" to cure your problems with little insight as to what it really does for you.
 
DISCLAMER:
The CT Groups or anyone connected with The CT Groups cannot be held responsibe for the outcome or use of this process.  This information is provided as a public service and uses established programs from Microsoft on Windows PCs.  It is recommended the process be used when there is a low risk of a power outage to avoid potential problems.  As an example, if there is snow and ice falling everywhere or a storm in the area, reschedule the work.
NOTE:  A computer may also run slower over time from the existence of a                  virus or other malware.  These processes are not intended to minimize
           the impact of 
a virus or other malware and not intended to remove
           such from a computer 
or other devices that may be impacted.  These
           tools should not be perceived or 
viewed as a substitute or an
           equivalent to a firewall and antivirus software 
which are kept updated
           by the manufacturer or provider.  If you believe you 
are infected please
           view PCFIX-002 (when written) for a process involving 
your anti-virus
           and firewall software to potentially remove the problem
.
 
 
  ACTIVITY 1:  Perform Disk Cleanup 
                         Deletes unneeded files which naturally accumulate on your PC
 
Why should I do this?  Why do I need to do this?
Over time your computer collects files you don’t know about and normally don’t care about.  A common source is from browsing the Internet.  In time this growing volume of files causes the disk drive to become slower hopping over files that are NOT bringing any value to you.  YET they are still there and you don’t know about them. 
Disk Cleanup Looks for these files in well known directories, identifies them to you along with now much disk space will be available to you once they are deleted.  Fewer unneeded files will contribute to making your PC faster.
 
You will be informed what files are "targets" to be deleted.  You may elect to delete all files listed, you may elect NOT to delete anything or you may select individual files for deletion or continued retention on your computer.  
 
Double click on Disk Cleanup to start this process.  A pop-up menu will appear.  The image below [waiting time to capture the image] is the result of clicking to open the drop down menu to show all disk drives available.  In many cases you will want to Disk Cleanup the drive marked (C:) which is normally your main disk drive.  If you have other drives it is possible you could have files needing cleanup there but that is not likely for the average PC user.
 
The time it takes to run File Cleanup will depend on multiple factors including:
the size of the disk drive being examined.
    A larger disk may require more time to scan for deletion candidates.

the frequency File Cleanup has been run before.
    No or infrequent prior use may uncover larger number of files which will
    require more time to find and report.

disk drives that have never been defragmented.
    Fragmented files, which occurs naturally with file updates, can result in
    longer time as the read/write head within the disk drive spends more time
    moving to collect the 
many pieces your file(s) are naturally in versus being
    more closely gathered by use 
of file defragmentation.
 
In extreme cases where a PC is used daily but never had the File Cleanup or File Defragmentation run, it could take many hours or even overnight to run File Cleanup.
 
 
Starting Disk Cleanup
 
  •  take
    • Click on the Windows logo located in the lower left of your screen.
       
    • Click on "All Programs" near the bottom of the pop-up window that appears in the lower left of your screen. 
       
      • Scroll down to the Accessories folder within the pop-up menu.
        Click on Accessories.
        (Actual order or listing of items may vary on your computer.) 
         
      • Scroll down to the Systems Tools folder within the pop-up window.
        Click on Systems Tools to open the folder.
        (Actual order or listing of items may vary on your computer.) 
         
      • Click on Disk Cleanup to start the program.
      
    This is a service some companies and individuals charge money for yet it is a few mouse clicks of effort that often resolve much of the problem.

    DELETING UNWANTED/UNNEEDED FILES
    This process only looks at files that typically collect in a Windows computer that are not files you would use (or are about in many cases) or are not needed for the long term.

    1. Click on the Windows logo in the lower left of your screen.
      
    2. Click on “All Programs” near the bottom of the pop-up window.
      
    3. Scroll down the menu to the Accessories folder and click on the folder.
        
    (Actual order or listing of items may vary on your machine.)
      
    4. Scroll down to the System Tools folder and click on the folder.
        
    (Actual order or listing of items may vary on your machine.)
      
    5. Look for the two programs you will be using:
        Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter.
                (Actual order or listing of items may vary on your machine.)
      
    6. Over time your computer collects a lot of files you don’t know about and
        normally don’t care about.  
    In time this volume of files causes the disk drive to
        become slower hopping over files that are NOT 
    bringing any value to you YET
        they are still there and you don’t know about them.  Disk Cleanup 
    will look for
        for these files, identify them to you along with now much disk space will be
        available to you o
    nce they are deleted.  Fewer unneeded files will contribute to
        making your PC faster.


        
    Double click on Disk Cleanup to start this process.  A pop-up menu will appear.
        The image below 
    is the result of clicking to open the drop down menu to show
        all disk drives available.  In many c
    ases you will want to Disk Cleanup the drive
        marked (C:) which is normally your main disk drive.
      
    7. The following pop-up display appears showing the calculations for space that
        CAN be deleted.  
    The time it takes to perform the calculations is based on the
        size of your disk drive plus the n
    umber of files that are candidate for deletion.
        Time to complete may be from seconds to hours depending on how bad your
        particular situation is.  Just think about how better things will be once done.
      
    8. When completed a pop-up display like the one below appears.  It shows you
        
    the types of files you MAY want to delete and how much space is currently used
        by 
    that type of file.  You see that Temporary Internet Files are consuming 11.1
        
    MB or Million Bytes of my disk.  Scrolling down you see additional files.

        In this example, deleting all identified types of files would save 168 MB of disk.
        
    This computer has a very large drive and the savings is less than 0.1% so the
        value 
    is relatively low but you can still elect to delete the files by clicking on the
        button m
    arked “Clean up system files”.  The display below will disappear and the
        
    Disk Cleanup: Drive Selection pop-up menu will appear again set to the first
        drive b
    e default, which in this case is the C: drive.  Since I want to use Disk
        Cleanup for m
    y C: drive I simply click on the OK button.
      
    9. The Disk Cleanup now calculates the space that will become free on my C: drive.

          10. Once completed another pop-up menu appears showing a possible 214 MB of
                
    space that can be saved.  You may scroll through the menu to leave a file type
                checked 
    for deletion or uncheck it if you are uncertain about deleting it now.
                Note the file type 
    that is highlighted helps you to understand in the Description
                what is within this 
    file type to help you make an informed decision.   Once you
                are happy with your 
    selections, click the “OK” button.
      
          11. Windows now requests your final approval to delete the files.  Unless you have
                
    these files backed up somewhere this is a permanent deletion being done.
                
    Fortunately it is rare that these files warrant being backed-up.
      
          12. As the files are deleting you will see a status displayed on the progress until the
                
    work has been completed.
     
     
     
     
      ACTIVITY 2: - Defragmenting Files 
                         
    Recollecting the many pieces one file may exist into an ideal of one contagious series of pieces on the disk reducing disk latency times for better PC performance. In the real word this rarely happens BUT it gets close enough that your performance improves and you are again happy.
      
     
    Why should I do this? Why do I need to do this?
    Files become fragmented potentially every time you save or resave a file.  A computer disk Is divided into tracks and sectors (physical locations on the disk) and only so much information can be written into a sector and only so many sectors can go into a track and only so may tracks can exist on a physical disk drive.

    As the file expands or contracts the pieces of the file may no longer be in one single area but scattered in many locations of the disk.  This increases the work the disk drive must undertake to gather or save all the contents of your file.  While this is transparent to you it will over time cause you to wonder why it is taking longer to safe some files.  The reason is often the file is seriously fragmented and scattered over many areas of the disk.

    Defragging (or defragmenting the file from many parts into fewer areas and ideally written as one continuous part of disk for optimal performance) is often the solution.  You can view a video from Microsoft on improving performance by defragmenting your hard drive (disk).  This is a 
    1:03 minute video at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/improve-performance-defragmenting-hard-disk#1TC=windows-7   While you may have a different version of Windows, the process is fundamentally the same.
    Running the Disk Defragmenter  
    Use of Disk Defragmenter, during a computer power loss, can create unwanted and costly problems.  It is NOT recommended that this process be used when there is any potential threat to the stability of your electrical service potentially for many hours depending on the state of your disk drive.  This threat may exist from storms, high winds, snow and/or icing conditions, low battery conditions on your laptop or Uniterruptable Power Supply, or other factors beyond your reasonable control.  Play it safe and avoid unnecessary risks to having a data loss without current backups.
    • Click on the Windows logo located in the lower left of your screen.

    • Click on "All Programs" near the bottom of the pop-up window that appears in the lower left of your screen.

    • Scroll down to the Accessories folder within the pop-up menu.
      Click on Accessories.  The order should always be alphabetical.
      • Scroll down to the Systems Tools folder within the pop-up window.
        Click on Systems Tools to open the folder.

      • Click on Disk Defragmenter to start the program.

      • We will assume will Defragment the C: which is already highlighted.
        Standard convention is the C: drive is where your Windows Operating System, various applications and tools and often your data is stored.  Most personal computers will only have a C: drive.

      • You may click the "Analyze disk" button or click the "Defragment Disk" button.  The Analyze Disk button will advise you of the condition your files are in BUT will not take any corrective action.  The Defragment Disk button will perform an Analysis but then move forward to perform the defragment processes.

        If you have a slow computer and have not used Disk Defragmenter before, you will save time by selecting Defragment Disk as it is likely your disk has problems as file changed size over the years.

      • The Defragmenter now analyzes your disk to determine how to reconstruct the files as best as possible.  It is highly unlikely that 100% of all your files will be rebuilt as a single continuous file.  Your objective is to minimize defragmented files not eliminate all of them.  As the program runs you will see updates.  Beginning with Windows 7, if you have multiple disk drive, it is possible to defragment multiple drives concurrently.  If you have had the computer for 6 months or more, defragmenting multiple drives concurrently and not having done a defragment earlier is not recommended due to the additional impact it will present to the computer and delay completion of the drive defragmentation.

      • Once the drive is 100% analyzed, the screen changes to reflect what Pass and what percentage has been relocated.  The number of Passes will vary on the extent files need to be defragmented.   Please note earlier comments about impacts that will cause this process to potentially take many hours or warrant being done overnight under appropriate conditions.   Because one pass completes quickly there is no guarantee the next pass will be complete as quickly or in less time.  In fact, subsequent passes can require more time.

        It is advisable NOT to use your computer’s drives while they are being defragmented as it can reduce the quality of the defragmentation, increase defragmentation time and really add frustration to getting your work completed during these periods of intense disk activity.

      • Over time the process will finally complete.  There is no need to reboot your computer.  You may now use your computer and hopefully realize a faster better performance.