That is the question I am asked more often and in more different ways than any or all others combined. When you ask, "Why is my machine slow all of a sudden?" or "How can I speed this computer up?" or any of a myriad of other forms, the question is the same as the one at the top of this page. In the ensuing paragraphs I will attempt to answer all these questions in layman's terms. One word of warning though, I am a computer geek by trade, so if I branch off in a foreign dialect that needs further translation, please email me with the question and I'll translate if I can.
The first and foremost advice I can give you is to MAINTAIN your system as though it were an expensive sports car. There ARE a lot of similarities between the two. I enjoy both sports cars and High end computers and this isn't the first time I've felt this kinship between the two.
Maintenance is the main thing that will keep a system running well. A computer's speed is a function of the speed of the Main CPU Chip, the amount of Free Disk Space and Physical or RAM memory. This part isn't that difficult to determine. Just like paychecks, the larger the number the better. If you aren't satisfied with the performance you have, then the most dramatic results can be achieved by increasing the size of the numbers.
Going from a 486 based CPU to a Pentium®, Pentium II® or 586/686 can be pretty dramatic, but not very cost effective when you price new systems and compare with the cost of this particular upgrade.
Most systems made since 1994 have controllers capable of adding an additional hard drive. This isn't a particularly difficult upgrade and shouldn't be all that expensive depending on the price of the drive you add. The common type hard disk interface in PC's is the IDE. That's not to say there aren't SCSI's, they just aren't nearly as common on home/office PC's.
The most dramatic and cost effective upgrade you can do by FAR is the RAM memory upgrade. One of the manuals that came with your system should be entitled "Advanced System Guide" or something similar and should tell you what constraints you are under in relation to chip size and type as well as location on the motherboard. Memory is readily available at your neighborhood computer/electronics store and if you are familiar with the workings of a screwdriver, can likely be done by yourself. If you have ANY doubts as to your ability, ALWAYS hire a pro and save money in the long run. If you educate yourself in the terms such as SIMM, EDO, SDIMMS, DIMMS and the various machine-specific types of "laptop-memory".
There is a utility on the Windows 95 CD that will tell you everything you need to know about your system and then some. The name of the program is MSD.EXE, for Microsoft Diagnostics. It is located on my CD at G:\OTHER\MSD\MSD.EXE If you don't have the Win95 CD, you can get this file from the Windows 3.x diskettes or directly from Microsoft at Microsoft.com, at
To use it:
Now that you have all the pertinent information stashed away, Let's move on to routine maintenance.
Two items on the System Tools options of the Start menu
under accessories are Scandisk and Disk Defragmenter. I won't go into a
lot of explanation as to exactly what these tools do, other than to say
they are similar to tuning up a computer the same way one might tune up
a car. The first thing to do is to get them set properly to do what
you want them to do.
For directions to setup Scandisk click here
For directions to setup the Disk Defragmenter click here
Now that you have both commands configured it's time to
run them. Scandisk should be run first as Defrag will prompt you to do
so if any errors exist on the hard disk. Scandisk can also be run in DOS
mode which is probably a better option to do that Restart in MS-DOS mode
and type the word "SCANDISK" less the quotes, and press enter.
Both of these commands are available and both MUST be run in MS-DOS.To configure the commands, look at these links for the Windows 95 versions and choose similiar options in the DOS versions you have.
**It would be HIGHLY advantageous for you to to print both these pages as you will not have a web browser or text editor available to view them in while you are trying to execut4e the commands.**
At the C:\> prompt, type SCANDISK and press enter as below
Defrag the same way.
I run these on a weekly
basis on my system and until I decide to install buggy beta software I
usually don't have serious problems on this system. It's not what's considered
to be a high end workstation anymore either, just about average, or a little
below by today's standards. If you follow these instructions exactly as
they are written, it is my opinion that your system will give you better
service as well.
|This page is designed and written by John
Jenkins. If there are any questions or other issues about the content,
me, and I will deal with it in a timely manner. If specific help is
requested an email address with an lctn.com or ecsis.net
domain is required. As with all programs on the internet, you, the
downloader, assumes all risk of file damage or viruses that these or any
programs may contain that are received over the internet. Neither CSS,
ECS, nor the author
will be responsible for any damage done by any program received over the
internet. Please note this includes programs that are virus free but may
cause problems with other programs on your computer and programs that simply
won't run right on a particular machine.