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Your Pc And You Essay

2157 words - 9 pages

Your PC and you What's slowing your PC down? It's not the long years of hard labor. The most likely culprit is software taking up precious RAM while it runs. Maybe you downloaded a killer MP3 jukebox that also chugs memory, or maybe your machine can't handle running many programs at once. Whatever the reason, a lack of RAM will slow down your system dramatically. The following resource diet plan can help you find the big memory hogs and kick 'em out of your system. In This Story PC WorkoutLet My Resource GoFree the Disk SpaceLose More Bloat How Much RAM Do You Lose? It's easy to find out how much memory you're using: Run the System Monitor, a set of gauges for your PC. Click Start, ...view middle of the document...

To cut out the bloat in the operating system, we turned to another Windows 98 tool, the System Configuration Utility. Find the Problem Apps Windows uses several files and the Registry to determine which applications run at start-up. But you don't need to hunt across your hard drive for them; just use the built-in System Configuration Utility. The SCU runs down the programs that Windows launches at start-up, and gives you the ability to toggle on or off the automatic loading of any or all of those programs. The quickest way to launch the System Configuration Utility is to click Start, Run, type MSCONFIG in the field, and then click the OK button. Click the Startup tab to see the list of programs--each with a checked-off box--that run when you fire up the PC. The big question is, which ones can you safely turn off? Also, which ones give you the greatest benefit by being turned off? What to Remove The first place to look for programs to nix is the system tray, the row of tiny icons next to Windows' clock in the bottom-right of the Taskbar. When you first install Windows, you should have only one tray icon: the speaker, which lets you change audio volume. Over time, and as you install software, more icons move into the tray, consuming valuable RAM in the process. A tray full of icons is the most obvious sign of an overloaded system. What can you nix from the tray? Any duplicate entries, which can cause system instabilities; anything from Real Networks (usually you'll see the RealPlayer StartCenter); any instant messaging software (unless you're an instant messaging junkie); and any jukebox or music software (Napster, for example, stays running in the tray even when you close the main application). Why hack away at these fun things? Because they suck up a lot of resources even when they're not actively running, and that slows down your work--ironically making it harder to finish quickly so you can get to the fun stuff. Here's a technique you can use to turn off system tray programs: Place the pointer over each tray icon; the Tooltip will help you determine what application each one represents. To shut them off, click or right-click each icon and select the option that turns it off--usually Exit. If the icon doesn't provide a menu, press Ctrl-Alt-Delete, select the name of the tray application, and click the End Task button. Check the System Monitor to see how much memory this process frees. (You should still have System Monitor running from "How Much RAM Do You Lose?" above.) If shutting down an application frees a lot of memory and doesn't cause problems, look at the listings in the System Configuration Utility's Startup tab for those same tray programs you deem unnecessary--for example, the RealPlayer StartCenter. Uncheck the box next to those programs. Never uncheck the TaskMonitor or SystemTray items in this list; Windows needs them to work properly. Repeat this process until you've freed 20 percent or more of physical memory. In a...

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