Sunday, April 10, 2011

May Computer Journal – Defragmentation, again and again and again

Okay, I’ve talked with you about doing weekly, bi-monthly or monthly Disk Clean and Disk Defragmentation of your computer’s hard drive. We went through it in detail awhile ago in this journal and I’ve walked several of you through it during downloads of the nw software. Well, here’s what I told you could happen if you didn’t do this. This is the second computer in a week which was in this shape, this one fortunately (we hope) may be able to be saved with files intact. The other one had to have low-level techy stuff done to it and took most of a two-day download event in Idaho last weekend.

My client has a small screen where she has to scroll up and down and side to side to see her entire screen. If you are considering replacing your old computer please consider a 17” monitor/screen. You will undoubtedly be dissapointed with anything smaller unless you don’t mind scrolling to see the program parts for session after session. What you are about to look at is only a part of the defragmentation screen.
On the screen display there is no white space larger than 1/32". There are places where the colors look yellow or even orange or gold that is where there is so much red/green/white overlayed that the teeny spaces between fragmentation pieces look like they are those colors. They are not.

This hard drive is as close as I never want to see a hard drive be fragmented. What is fragmented you might ask?

When you create a file like saving a document created in a word processing program, it is saved to the hard drive of your computer. When you do another task like work with your financial program, entering in income and expenses and you close the program either you or it or both create one or more files as saved data. That data is placed possibly next to your word processing document, right next to it.

Now you want to open your original word processing document and add to it – maybe it’s your journal for instance. When you do that and save the file and close the program the file cannot be placed exactly where it was in the beginning, only the part which was created originally can be re-saved onto the hard drive with your financial data file right next to it. The rest of your word processing document is saved in the next available space on your hard drive.

When you do Disk Defragmentation at the end of the day or week or whenever you do it next, the pieces of files which all would go together to be either word processing document or financial data files get moved around on the hard drive where there is room until they can be joined together into one whole word processing file and one whole data file. People like me (techy’s) call that Defrag. Your operating system calls it Disk Defragmentation.

Please set an alarm on your cell phone, make an entry in your calender or Online Calender, put a sticky note on your computer or write in on the palm of your hand to Defrag, Defrag, Defrag!!!!!

Here’s how you do disk clean and degragmentation:
1.     Left click on the START button (lower left of your task bar on the desktop).
2.    Left click on ALL PROGRAMS and take your mouse’s cursor up to ACCESSORIES.
3.    Left click on ACCESSORIES see it pop out to the side with more choices.
4.    Left click on SYSTEM TOOLS see it pop out to the side with more choices.
5.    Go to and Left click on DISK CLEANUP.
a.    When you click on DISK CLEANUP it begins to interrogate your hard drive and when it is finished it gives you a checkbox of items to remove from your drive. Most of the ones you do want to clean up are already checked so you really don’t have to do much except say OK.  See the small box in the picture below. Do that often and your computer will run more efficiently.
6.    You will see another screen after DISK CLEAN has scanned and compressed what files it can on your hard drive it will show another screen where you can click to choose what you want to remove from what can be removed from your hard drive.
a.    NOTE: the first three or four bar movements showing work done may take what seems like a long time then suddenly finish quickly. Don’t despair if it seems that it will take forever for it to finish – it doesn’t.
Check off everything except maybe PASSWORDS if you want them remembered. Then click OK. Now it will go along removing stray files, empty files, temporary files, etc. until it is finished.

7.    When DISK CLEANUP is finished it goes away like magic.
Long story - simple concept; if the computer is allowed to become infected with too many fragments of files it will forget that it is a computer and become a teapot once again. Defragmentation or DEFRAG for short takes awhile to accomplish now that we have hard drives counting in the hundreds of gigabytes but it is vital to the continued functioning of your DOS-based Windows computer.

9.    You will want to just choose DEFRAGMENT not ANALYZE. If you are doing this every week or two the Defrag program with analyze your hard drive first then automatically defragment it.
10. When it has finished defragging your hard drive, it will wait for you to either print the report it has created of files which might not have been able to be defragmented or not print the file.
11.  If you choose not to print the file, just X out of it by clicking on the big red X.

Now you know how to keep your computer’s hard drive from turning your $3,000.00 computer into a tea pot.

Enjoy your computer, learn to use it, take care of it. The computer is the backbone of your practice. Without it, the device doesn’t work the great software is gone and you will need to have a repair person come out to reinstall your operating system, then you or they will need to reload all the programs you had on that computer including your very expensive software and you will lose all your client data files as well. So it is my sincere hope that you will do three things regularly:
1.     Write down your client information just in case you lose your program and data files.
2.    Run DISK CLEANUP every week or two on a regular schedule.
3.    Run DISK DEFRAGMENTER every week or two on a regular schedule.
You don’t want your hard drive to look like the one at the beginning of this article.