Installing A Workstation > Maintenance > Windows Maintenance

Windows Maintenance

Like the workstation, Windows needs maintenance, too. This is especially true when the workstation starts to run more slowly.

Scan the Hard Disk

For scanning and repairing a hard disk Windows 2000/XP uses a version of the DOS CHKDSK utility modified for NTFS. This can't be used while Windows is running, so close all programs before scanning.

  1. Double-click on the My Computer icon.
  2. Right-click on the hard disk icon.
  3. In the popup menu, choose Properties.
  4. Click the Tools tab.
  5. In the Error-Checking section, press Check Now….
  6. In the Check Disk box, checkmark 'automatically fix file system errors'. (Do not checkmark 'scan for and repair bad sectors' unless you have lots of time to kill, for this takes half an hour or more.) Press Start.
  7. You will be told that the disk will be checked the next time the computer is restarted. Press OK.
  8. Restart the computer.

When Windows restarts, it immediates launches CHKDSK, which runs checks on the hard disk's files, indexes and security descriptors (if NTFS is in use). Once it is finished, Windows comes back up.

Remove Temporary Files

Temporary files are supposed to be removed when Windows is shut down, but that hardly ever happens. And they accumulate over time, wasting hard disk space. That's why it is good to clear them out from time to time.

  1. Press the Start button; go to Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup.
  2. Disk Cleanup gives you seven categories of files to delete. Checkmark what you want cleaned up and press OK.

You can also access the Add/Remove Programs applet from Disk Cleanup for what follows.

Remove Unneeded Software

Software is unneeded if it sits unused for six months or more. Such software takes up hard disk space, and should be backed up onto CD and removed.

Software can also be unauthorized if it is installed on a workstation by a user without the permission of the employer. Such software is simply removed.

  1. Press the Start button; go to Settings, Control Panel.
  2. Double-click on Add/Remove Programs. A list of currently installed programs will appear.
  3. Click on each unneeded program to highlight it and press Remove.

Defragment the Hard Drive

Files get fragmented when Windows stores them on whatever free space it can find on a hard disk. This makes the hard disk take longer to find a given file when it has to piece it together from scattered parts. Defragmenting puts together files stored in such a scattered manner, making it faster to access them.

  1. Press the Start button; go to Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.
  2. Press Defragment.

Update Virus Definitions

McAfee VirusScan

Open Internet Explorer. Enter and press Enter. At the bottom of the page, press the Download button. Save the virus definitions if you intend to distribute them.

© 2003 by Andy West. Written 26 November 2003. Updated 4 September 2005.