Don's Home Computing PC - Windows Reference Contact
See also:

Basic Utilities
PC System Utilities Software Review 2010 

General Cleanup: System Mechanic: Review

Virus detection/cleanup:  Avira, Avast, AVG
See Virus / Spyware page

Spyware: Ad-Aware, SpyBot Search & Destroy
See: Spyware

Security: Zone Alarm
See: Hacker Protection/Security 

Microsoft Essentials (may come with Win 7) has malware software

RevoUnIstaller to remove app and registry entries

See Other Freeware and Utilities below
Registry cleanup below
See Also: Device Drivers | Media (Hard disk, CDs)

Setup - Configuration: 

Get BIOS Setup config menu
  Hold down F1 (AT&T, Gateway), F2 (Phoenix BIOS - Dell, Gateway),
  Del (AIM or Award BIOS), or ESC (Microid BIOS - Toshiba) at startup,
  F10 (Compaq), CTRL+ALT+F11 At DOS prompt (Some old Thinkpads)

Get Win  startup menu (safe mode, DOS only, step-by-step, ...)
 As the BIOS has finished loading, begin tapping the F8 key on your keyboard.
 Continue to do so until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears
 Use "System Configuration Utility"
Basic Maintenance
The following should be performed once/week
You can schedule them to run automataically in:
Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Scheduled Tasks Or Run manually:
  1. Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup
  2. ScanDisk
    98: Programs > Accessories > System Tools>ScanDisk
    XP: My Computer > Rt Clk. Local Disk (C:) > Properties > Tools > Error-checking > check both boxes > Start > Restart your computer
  3. (Note: If you get an error message with scanDisk see below. *)
  4. Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter
* ScanDisk problems: If you get the error: "Scandisk had to restart 10 times because windows or some other program was writing to the hard disk. Windows or some other program is writing to the hard disk"
Try the following:
1. run scandisk from a clean boot.
2. run it from DOS by typing scandisk in the Open: field from Start > Run...
3. Run msconfig and uncheck unnecesary statrup items.

Where to get help:
Check with user forums:
Windows Forums at
Pages - Windows | Google Groups
CNET Forums - CNET

Reinstall Windows

See: Virus - Spyware - Security and Online fraud, scams, hoaxes, email chain letters & Urban Myths/Legends.

Alternataives to Internet Explorer (IE) and Outlook
See "Is it time to dump Internet Explorer (IE) and Outlook? at
ActiveX and VB script in IE make it vulnerable.
Both programs are targets for hackers because of the large number of users.
Many companies are switching to Firefox by Mozilla. It is the most popular alternative for IE and it's free. "Opera" is another popular browser.

Alternataives for Outlook include, Thunderbird by Mozilla, Open Office (Star Office), Eudora.

Alternatives for Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Power Point, ...) - Open Office, LibreOffice

Media (Audio/Video) - Windows Media Player - VLC Media player or WinAmp

Paint programs:,

Problems Boot in safe mode:
See Starting your computer in Safe mode | Norton Support

Misc Tips
ASUS Eee PC tips
3 tips for migrating applications to Windows 7

See tips at:
XP Problems

Slow System
1. Run Virus and Spyware detection/removal programs.
2. Run: MSCONFIG  (Start > Run > "msconfig")
   Select Startup tab and uncheck unnecessary programs.
   See Performance Tuning for some of the programs you must leave.
   It may take some trial and error.
See: Performance Tuning for other tips.

Genl. System settings:
 Start>Settings>Control Panel
 Start>Programs>Accesories>System Tools
 Name: Rt. Clk. Network Neighborhood > Properties > Identification

Hardware specific system settings:
  Start>programs>(Dell, Thinkpad, ...)

System Info:
 Right Click My Computer > Properties (see user interface below)

 Network Info:
   Control Panel > Network or rt clk. Network Neighborhood > Properties
   Run ipconfig /release-all, ipconfig /renew-all
   DOS > netstat and winipcfg
 CPU Speed:
   CHKCPU: CHKCPU 1.8  here  freeware util.  

  Start > Help

Clean  Install:

   When a system gets really slow and corrupted it may be best to back-up your
   files, reformat the disk  and do a clean install of the OS.
  Norton System Works (Ghost - clones system, file recovery, optimize, AntiVirus)
  PC Booster - Improve performance

See: XP troubleshooting.
User Interface
DOS Commands:
Some commands (e.g. ipconfig) run in DOS You can either go to Start>Programs>MS-DOS or Start>Run> "Command" Those which are interactive (e.g. winipcfg) you can run directly Start>Run> "winipcfg"

Keyboard shortcuts
Some keyboards have a windows key to get the start menu, You can type the first letter to select they menu option (e.g. P = Programs) Then use arrow keys to navigate.

Alt will also move you to the menu in an application where you can use the arrow keys.

PC Sympathy
Other Reference: XP Net Config at SUNY Oneonta PC Orientation NT Compatibility PC Hardware PC Software The Tech Guide Membership $100/yr. Ask Dr. Tech $89 - $229 / yr. Best tech support sites at: Paid Support List at PCworld: Other Freeware and Utilities: Browser Check: HijackThis - investigate browser add-ons Defrag: Diskkeeper, Norton Backup: OS - Norton Ghost Aida32 - Is a professional system information, diagnostics and benchmarking program running on Win32 platforms Memtest86 - Is thorough, stand alone memory test for x86 architecture computers. BIOS based memory tests are only a quick check and often miss many of the failures that are detected by Memtest86. delpart - delete partition SnapFiles

Registry Errors: Registry Cleanup: Uniblue RegistryBooster, CCleaner, Advanced System Care (ASC) Comments on cnet forum: Those 600 problems reported by Registry Booster are likely little things and NOTHING that matters. For now, the consensus is that the registry fixers don't do much. See Registry repair CD Software Easy CD Creator WinISO - A CD-ROM image file utility that can convert BIN to ISO, extract/edit/create ISO files directly, make bootable CDs and as a BIN/ISO converter/extractor/editor. Operating Systems: On a high end system (3 GHz machine with 8 GB of RAM.) XP was faster on most tests. See Windows Xp vs Vista vs 7 @ Memory usage measured after the system had been idle for at least one hour: at 512MB RAM Performance Comparison: Windows 7 vs Vista vs XP - WinMatrix XP 150 MB Vista 299 MB Win7 216 MB Performance on 2.5 GHz 2MB system: at Windows compared: Windows 7 vs Vista vs XP @ TechRadar UK 1 = best XP Vista Win7 Boot 2 3 1 File Transfer 2 3 1 Large File Trans 3 2 1 Books: Mastering Windows xx" , Mark Manissi Windows xx Visually, Moran Graphics See Also: Windows Performance Optimization Stores - Shopping Network Virus / Security Things to Avoid Service Pack 2 Installation Problems XP Problems Windows Network Debuging Clean Install of Windows Device Drivers Performance Optimization TCP/IP Things to Avoid PCI and ISA bus cards Windows 7 How-To Articles, Tips, and Guides :: How-To Geek Links to Windows 7 Information by Dave McRitchie Netnews groups: WindowsXP

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last updated 3 Oct 2010