From the Kenosha News on 1-2-05

Resolve to keep your computer happier

     Everyone makes New Year's resolutions this time of year.  How about making a few for your computer?  Here are some simple tips that will keep your computer happier in the coming year.      

     First, resolve to have an up-to-date anti-virus program and use it wisely.  If your definitions are a week old or more, update them.  Find out how to automatically update them at least once a week.  Check if AutoProtect is turned on.  It may have a different name in your software, but this is the feature that is constantly checking for viruses, even when you're not specifically doing a scan. 

     Second, resolve to get and use a spyware detector as mentioned in my previous columns.

     Third, resolve to back up your files regularly, starting NOW!  If you have a rewritable (CD-RW) drive, use it to archive your files. If you don't have a rewritable CD drive, make sure your most important files are in at least two locations, e.g. your hard drive AND a floppy disk. 

      Fourth, resolve to clean out old and unused files, including unnecessary icons from your desktop.  While documents don't take up much space, the more unnecessary files you have, the harder it is to find the ones you want.  To find the oldest files in any version of Windows, open My Documents, then click on the View menu of that window and drag to Details.  This will display the file size, date of last modification, and so on.  Click the "Modified" heading to sort them by date; click again to sort in the opposite order.  To find the largest files, click on the "Size" heading; click again to sort in the opposite order.  You can delete a single file by clicking on it and then pressing the Delete button on the keyboard.  Click Yes to confirm the deletion.  You can select multiple files by "shift-clicking."  That is, click on the first one of a range you want to delete, then hold down the Shift key and click on the bottom one.  Make sure you want to delete all of the highlighted files, and press Delete on the keyboard, then click Yes to confirm.  You can select non-contiguous files by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking on various file names.

     You can clean icons off your desktop in a similar manner.  If the icon represents a file or document, deleting it from your desktop will erase it.  If the icon represents a shortcut to a program (you'll know by the curved arrow in the lower left corner of the icon), you can delete the icon, but the program will remain on your computer.  Leave the icon on your desktop if you use it to access the program.  Otherwise, to delete it, click on it and press the Delete key as explained above. 

     If you delete icons from your desktop, your desktop may look messy. Rather than trying to line up the remaining icons, use the AutoArrange feature.  Right-click on your desktop, then drag to Arrange Icons, then to AutoArrange.  They should all line up neatly at the left side of the screen.

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 1-2-05