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Monday, March 18, 2002

Disk defrag should follow scandisk run
Vipul Verma

Problems are part of the working with computers. Though the amount and intensity of problems may differ from computer to computer yet all computers are prone to problems. The problem faced by computer users could be simple or complex, but in most cases, the solution to these problems is simple. Even complex problems sometimes have a simple solution. In this section, we will focus on some common problems faced by computer users.

It is a common problem with a majority of the computer users that their system hangs while working and needs to be restarted before working further. In this type of problem, it has been observed that in a majority of the cases the problem occurs due to the presence of bad sectors in the hard disk. These bad sectors disrupt the normal performance of the computer that may cause system failure. Though this problem can be tackled temporarily by fixing the bad sectors on your hard disk yet since the bad sectors have a tendency to grow, therefore it is not always possible to contain them and stop them from growing further. You can mark the bad sectors in the hard disk by running scan disk in thorough mode so that no further data could be written on it. But it does not ensure the bad sectors from growing further. You can also use disk utilities like Norton disk utility and other such programs to fix the bad sectors but this also does not provide a permanent solution.

If the data on your computer is critical then the best solution is to change the hard disk. However, if the date on your computer is not very critical, then you may continue using your hard disk after fixing it by any disk utility, as long as the bad sectors does not hamper your work. But, in order to be on the safer side, you should always keep the backup of the data on a medium other than the hard disk. In this case, the best medium is the CD or the Zip drive. As taking backup ensures that you will not miss your critical data in case of system failure due to bad sectors.

However, if you do not discover any bad sectors on your hard disk and still have the problem of system hanging, the needle of suspicion would point towards the motherboard, as it is the next possible reason for this kind of problem. But, even before starting to troubleshoot the motherboard, the logical step is to reinstall Windows again just to make sure that the system crash is not because of any kind of Windows failure or corruption of system files. In some cases, the corrupt Windows files also causes the system crash or hanging, therefore it makes sense to address the smaller issue first. However, if the problem is not resolved, even by reinstalling the Windows, then the problem could be pinpointed to the motherboard. In this case, you must get the motherboard checked for the magnitude and intensity of problems in it. If the problems are multiple then it is better to replace the motherboard rather than getting it repaired.

The next common problem of the computer users is caused by the anti-virus software. Having too many anti-virus software is almost a sure invitation to some kind of problems. Since, anti-virus software have strict security settings, thus it is bound to have some problems somewhere in your system. The most common problem is the slowing down of the system. If your computer is exposed to higher risk, then you should keep higher security settings of the anti-virus software. But, in case your computer is not exposed to higher risk of virus attacks, then you should scaled-down the default settings so that the performance of the computer is not compromised.


It is worth mentioning here that the higher security setting slows down your computer. Thus you should always customise the anti-virus software keeping the risk perception in your case. Also, it is very important to note here that you should always keep the anti-virus software updated as updated and old anti-virus software cause problem in your computer, which includes slowing down the PC to unexpected error messages.

Another common problem of the computer users is related to the slowing down of the computer. It is a common feeling that the computer slows down over a period of time and thus the performance gets deteriorated.

Well! Though, there's no technical reason like wear and tear of the machine etc., which supports slowing down of the system yet the fact remains that practically most of computers get slow over a period of time. The main reason for slowing down the system is the clutter inside the computer, which consumes precious system resources and thus drains out the performance. The best way to keep the performance of the system intact is to keep it clean and free from clutter, which includes *.tmp files, browser cache memory, disk memory, Internet temporary files, history, cache, cookies, fonts, excessive drivers, games involving heavy graphics, video files, lost clusters, orphans, redundant entries in the system registry, expired shareware programs, installation and use of 16-bit applications and installation of too many memory resident programs etc. These are some of the possible drains of the system resources, and if they are under check, then not only the performance of the computer remains intact but the system also remains free of errors. Needless to mention, you should also regularly run scandisk in thorough mode followed by disk defrag for the best performance of the PC.

Another common problem of the computer users is related to the registry. The registry is one of the most critical components of the Windows and also affects the performance of the computer to large extent. Larger the registry more would be the problems. It is a common case with all computer users that over a period of time, the users install and uninstall lot of programs of their PC. Some of these programs get completely removed on uninstalling, while most of other programs leave their traces in the computer in registry. This way, the registry gets fattened and causes multiple problems due to orphan entries. In order to avoid these problems it is always better to trim the registry by using any registry cleaner software.

However, you must note to take a backup of the registry before you attempt to modify it either manually or through some registry cleaning software. Smaller and cleaner registry in itself takes care of many vulnerable problems.