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Information Technology Help Desk

System Tune Up (for Windows XP/2000 computers) in 9 Easy Steps

Note: Before trying any of the steps below, close any programs in use and save any necessary work. After you have finished performing the steps, please reboot your computer. If you have any problems with these steps, or are unsure if you are following them correctly, skip the section that you are attempting to complete and do not make any changes. Please contact the IT Help Desk (568-3555) if you need any assistance. For more information see Troubleshooting and Self-Help.



Step #1:   Use the Disk Cleanup utility

  • Double-click My Computer, right-click the hard disk on which you want to free space, which is typically your Local Disk (C:)
  • Click Properties, and then click Disk Cleanup on the General tab.
  • On the Disk Cleanup tab, click to select the check boxes of the files that you want to remove (be sure to put a check mark beside of all Temporary Files), click OK, click Yes, and then click OK.




Or if you prefer, you can choose to remove some files from the disk manually:

  • Click Start
  • Click Search
  • Click All files and folders
  • In the "All or part of the file name field", type: *.TMP
  • For the "Look in" drop down box, select your Local Hard Drive(C:)
  • Click Find
  • Delete any of the results listed
  • You may repeat this process for other files such as:
    *.CHK



Step #2:   Remove Unnecessary Startup Items

  • Right click on the Start button
  • Click Open or Open All Users
  • Open the Programs folder
  • Open the Startup folder



  • Delete any items that you do not need running when Windows starts



Step #3:   Remove Unused Programs

Over time you may find that you have applications installed that you do not use or you have never used. Removing these applications will free disk space on your computer and reduce clutter. Remember, if you are unsure as to whether you need a program on your computer, do not remove it.
To remove unnecessary programs:

  • Click Start, Control Panel
  • Double click Add/Remove Programs
  • Scroll through this list and find any programs that you are sure do not need (if in doubt leave it!)



  • Highlight the unneeded program
  • Click the Change/Remove button
  • Be sure to also manually remove Spyware on this list



Step #4:   Scan for Viruses

For complete info see Self-Help

  • Open Symantec AntiVirus (double click the gold shield in the lower right corner of your desktop)
  • Make sure your Virus Definition File date is not more than several days old. If it is, click the Live Update button.
  • In the left hand column, click the + sign beside of Scan
  • Click Scan Computer
  • In the right hand column, click to put check mark(s) beside of the drive(s) (Local Disk C:, etc.) you would like scanned



  • Click the Scan button in the lower right corner of the window
  • Also see More Complete Instructions

For personally-owned computers used off-campus:

  • If you do not already have Symantec AntiVirus, you can download it from JMU
  • Open Symantec Antivirus and run Live Update
  • Download any updated program files or virus definitions available
  • Follow the above directions to scan your computer



Step #5:   Scan for Spyware

For complete info see Self-Help

  • Follow the self-help links to download, install, update, and run anti-spyware programs and to learn more about spyware



Step #6:   Clear Browser Cache

For Internet Explorer

  • Click Start --> Settings --> Control Panel
  • Double click the Internet Options icon
  • Choose the General tab
  • Click the button: Delete Cookies and then click OK
  • Click the button: Delete Files
  • Check the box that says Delete all offline content
  • Click OK



Step #7:   Make Sure Your Hardware is Operating Correctly

  • Click Start --> Settings --> Control Panel
  • Double click the System icon
  • Click the Hardware tab
  • Click the Device Manager button
  • Click View and click Devices by type



Device Manager will allow you to see the hardware that is currently installed on your system. When you open Device Manager you will see a listing of hardware categories. If these items are all installed correctly, you will see plus signs next to each category and they will not be expanded. If you notice that you have hardware that has a yellow exclamation point icon next to the name of the device, then the device is either not installed correctly or it has a resource conflict with another device. If you see any listings for "Unknown Devices", this indicates hardware that has no drivers installed for it. If you notice that it appears that some of your devices are not correctly installed, please contact either the IT Help Desk (568-3555) or your computer's manufacturer for assistance.




Step #8:   Run Disk Error Checking

Disk Error Checking has the ability to check the disk surface of the hard drive and fix damaged files. It is recommended that you use this utility when you do not need to use your computer for an extended period of time. Scanning will run more quickly and with less interruption if performed while in Safe Mode. However, Safe Mode it is not necessarily required.

To Enter Safe Mode:

  • Restart your computer
  • As soon as your computer begins starting back up, hold down the Shift key
  • Once Windows loads, you will notice that the words "Safe Mode" are displayed on your desktop
  • A window may pop-up informing you that you are using Safe Mode, click Ok
  • Note: To exit Safe Mode (once done with steps below), simply restart your computer

To perform Disk Error Checking

  • Double-click My Computer, and then right-click the hard disk drive that you want to check, typically the
  • Click Properties, and then click Tools
  • Under Error-checking, click Check Now



  • Click to put check marks beside the Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors option boxes (Note: Uncheck these options for a quicker but less thorough scan)



  • Click Start





Step #9:   Run Disk Defragmenter

Disk Defragmenter moves files around the hard drive so that they can be accessed more quickly. It is recommended that you use this utility when you do not need to use your computer for an extended period of time. Defragmenting will run more quickly and with less interruption if performed while in Safe Mode. However, Safe Mode it is not necessarily required.

To Enter Safe Mode:

  • Restart your computer
  • As soon as your computer begins starting back up, hold down the Shift key
  • Once Windows loads, you will notice that the words "Safe Mode" are displayed on your desktop
  • A window may pop-up informing you that you are using Safe Mode, click Ok
  • Note: To exit Safe Mode (once done with steps below), simply restart your computer

To run Disk Defragmenter

  • Double click the My Computer icon on your desktop
  • Right-click the local disk volume that you want to defragment, typically
  • Click Properties.
  • On the Tools tab, click Defragment Now.   Optionally you may wish to click the Analyze and the View Report buttons for more technical details. Click Defragment.








For more information see Troubleshooting and Self-Help.