Obsolete info

If you want to do it the hard way, read on, but if you are lazy like me, check out my new page for easy cleanup

Weekly Cleanup Page 1
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Differences with Windows XP & IE6 noted. Modified 10-26-02

This section will describe in detail how to keep your computer cleaned up on a regular basis. Descriptions of each area to clean up will be given and a method for developing an easy shortcut to these items. Note: there are other ways to do this using programs like Norton and others. This information is provided for the beginning computer user to become more familiar with the operations of the computer and make use of the utilities provided with Windows.

The areas we will describe include:

Page 1:
Recycle Bin
Cookies

Page 2:
Temporary files
Temporary Internet files
Cache

Page 3:
Scandisk
Defrag

Page 4:
Creating the desktop folder to put shortcuts to these items.

First, we will describe each area, what it is, why and how it should be cleaned and where to find it.

Second, we will describe in detail how to create a folder on the desktop to provide quick access to these areas and act as a reminder to do these cleanups on a regular basis.

Preliminary: You should understand a little about files, folders and file management using My Computer or Windows Explorer. If you are unfamiliar with these areas, check out the instructional sections dealing with these subjects.


The Recycle Bin

This is a folder in Windows that acts like a trash can. Material deleted from the hard drive is moved to the recycle bin and held there until the recycle bin is emptied. TIP: DO NOT PUT ANYTHING IN THE RECYCLE BIN THAT YOU WANT TO KEEP.

The Recycle Bin is accessed by an icon on the desktop. If you double click the Icon, the recycle bin opens and you can review the contents. You cannot activate the files in the Recycle Bin to look at them. You can only look at the names and the folder they were in before deleting. If you want to look at a file, you must put it back where it was and look at it from there. This is called Restore and is a command in the File menu.

When you fist open the Recycle Bin, be sure it shows a display similar to the one in Fig 1 below. If it does not, change the View to Details. This can be done from the menu as shown or using the View icon in the toolbar. Review the files in the list to make sure none are wanted. If you are not sure, note the location, highlight the file and click File, Restore as shown in Fig 2. XP looks somewhat different, but functions the same.

Fig 1

In fig 2, Clicking File allows you to delete individual highlighted files or Empty the entire list. If you keep the recycle bin emptied on a regular basis and do not put anything in it you want, you can quickly Empty it from the Desktop. Just right click on the Recycle icon and choose Empty Recycle Bin.

Fig 2

One other way to make use of the recycle bin. If you changed the view to detailed as shown above, you can sort the list by date deleted. Click on the heading at the top of the Date Deleted column as shown in Fig 3. First click will sort in ascending order. Second click will sort in descending order. Each click will alternate the selection. This is a standard Windows function and works anytime you have a similar window.

To make use of this function, sort the list, highlight items over 30 days old and delete them (Not Empty, this does them all). The idea is that if you have not needed it for 30 days, you probably never will. You could make this a weekly rather than monthly. I still recommend only putting things in here that you definitely don't want and emptying it frequently

Fig 3

Cookies (in Win 9x/Me)
See below for XP

Cookies are small text files located in your computer in C:\Windows\Cookies. They are added to your computer by web sites you visit on the web and can be used for a variety of purposes. Cookies are allowed by default in Windows. They can be turned off. See instructions below.
See the pages for Netscape and Internet Explorer In Browsers Tips.

Purposes:

Here is the statement by Bluelight.com in it's December 2000 agreement:

The BlueLight.com Website uses "cookies," which are small pieces of information stored on your computer. Cookies let our Website recognize previous visitors to our web page, record a visitor's progress from page to page, and recall certain information a visitor entered previously. For instance, a cookie may store your password, or note that you're interested in electronics. You can choose to decline our cookies (e.g., by setting your browser to reject cookies), but if you do, some parts of the BlueLight.com website may not operate properly. We may also use tracking images and applets to collect the same information.

1. To keep your name and password for sites you visit that need this data. Some sites keep the data at their site, some use a cookie. An example of this is Yahoo free-mail. When you access the e-mail and you click "Remember My Password", the entry is made in a cookie. If you delete cookies as recommended here, you will have to enter the name and password next time you access the e-mail.

2. Some sites can use cookies to record your browsing habits for future use or collecting marketing data and know something about you automatically when you revisit their site. Many cookies are shared among multiple sites.

3. Your computer can be scanned for hardware and software and the data entered in a cookie again for marketing purposes.

You can just turn cookies off, but then many sites will deny access until you turn cookies back on. This is irritating to say the least. I prefer to just delete them on a regular basis. You can review them before deleting just as in the recycle bin. If their is one that you wish to keep like Yahoo, just delete all the others and leave it.

Fig 4 is an example of what the cookies folder looks like. Notice I only have 2 plus the index. You may find hundreds the first time you go there. You cannot delete the index. Highlight everything (You do know how don't you?), then Ctrl-click the index file to remove it and then delete.

Fig 4

Turning Cookies Off

The procedure differs in Internet Explorer and Netscape.

Netscape: Click Edit/Preferences/Advanced and select one of the 3 choices. Also check or uncheck the box for warning. This can be irritating, but really tells you who is sending cookies. My preference is to allow sending back to original server.

 

Internet Explorer is trickier, Access the Internet Settings in Control panel or from IE, (see fig 7 on Page 2) Click the Tools menu, Internet Options. Both methods bring up a Dialog Box for Internet Properties. Click on the Security tab in earlier version of IE or the Privacy tab in later versions.

In IE5 (fIG 5A), click on the Custom level button and a new dialog box shows up titled Security Settings. Scroll down the list and find cookies. The choices differ depending on the version of IE you are running.

In IE6 (Fig 5B & C), Click the Privacy Tab, then the Advanced button or the Edit button and follow instructions.

Fig 5A IE5
Fig 5B IE6
 
Fig 5C
 

Cookies for XP

Cookies in XP are stored in a different place than in previous versions of Windows. They are stored under Documents and Settings for each user. Note also that the Temp and Temporary Internet Files folders are here as well.

 

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