Computer Maintenance and Troubleshooting


·        The following tips are designed for Windows 98; most of the utilities are also available in Windows 95.

  1. You can also start the Maintenance wizard by clicking Start, pointing to programs, pointing to Accessories, pointing to System Tools, and then clicking Maintenance wizard.
  2. Your computer must be on during scheduled maintenance tasks.
  3. Windows 98 will attempt to wake up some computers to run the scheduled Maintenance task. If your computer supports Advanced Power Management (APM) 1.2 or Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) your tasks will attempt to run when the computer is in suspend.

To determine how much free space is on your disk

  1. Open Windows Explorer or My Computer.
  2. Select the disk you want to check.
  3. On the File menu, click Properties.

To remove unneeded files

  1. Open Windows Explorer or My Computer.
  2. Right-click the disk you want to free space on, and then click Properties.
  3. On the General tab, click Disk Cleanup.
  4. Click the unnecessary files you want to remove. You can read a description of each file type in the area under the list.
  5. Click OK.

Wipe Free Space

1.        Double click on the “My Computer” icon on the desktop and then right click on

the drive or partition that you wish to wipe. Choose the “Wipe Free Space” This

may take a while depending on the drive size as it makes three runs.


  1. You can start Scandisk by clicking Start, pointing to Programs, pointing to Accessories, pointing to System Tools, and then clicking Scandisk.
  2. To change the settings Scandisk uses when checking files and folders, after step 3, click Advanced.
  3. To specify how Scandisk repairs the errors it finds, click to clear the Automatically fix errors check box.

Disk Defragmenter

  1. You can start Disk Defragmenter by clicking Start, pointing to Programs, pointing to Accessories, pointing to System Tools, and then clicking Disk Defragmenter.
  2. To change the Disk Defragmenter settings, click Settings.
  3. While your disk is being defragmented, you can use your computer for other tasks. However, your computer operates more slowly, and Disk Defragmenter takes longer to finish. To temporarily stop Disk Defragmenter so you can run other programs faster, click Pause.
  4. During defragmentation, Disk Defragmenter must restart each time other programs write to the disk. If Disk Defragmenter restarts too often, you may want to close other programs while defragmenting your disk.

Using Drive Converter (FAT32)

Drive Converter converts your drive to the FAT32 file system, an enhancement of the File Allocation Table (FAT or FAT16) file system format. When your drive is in this format, it stores data more efficiently, creating up to several hundred MB of extra disk space on the drive. In addition, programs load faster and your computer uses fewer system resources.

  1. You can start Drive Converter by clicking Start, pointing to Programs, pointing to Accessories, pointing to System Tools, and then clicking Drive Converter.
  2. Once you convert your hard drive to FAT32 format using Drive Converter, you cannot return to using the FAT16 format unless you repartition and reformat the FAT32 drive. If you converted the drive on which Windows 98 is installed, then you must reinstall Windows 98 after repartitioning the drive.
  3. Older disk compression software is not compatible with FAT32. If your drive is already compressed, you may not be able to convert to FAT32.
  4. If you convert a removable disk and use the disk with other operating systems that are not FAT32-compatible, you cannot access the disk when running the other operating system.
  5. If your computer has a hibernate feature, the conversion may turn off this feature. See your computer documentation for details.
  6. Because previous versions of Windows are not compatible with FAT32, you cannot uninstall Windows 98 after converting.
  7. Although most programs are not affected by the conversion from FAT16 to FAT32, some disk utilities that depend on FAT16 do not work with FAT32 drives. You will be prompted if you are running one of these utilities. Contact your disk utility manufacturer to see if there is an updated version that is compatible with FAT32.
  8. If you convert your hard drive to FAT32 using Drive Converter, you can no longer use dual boot to run earlier versions of Windows (Windows 95 [Version 4.00.950], Windows NT 3.x, Windows NT 4.0, and Windows 3.x). However, if you are on a network, earlier versions of Windows can still gain access to your FAT32 hard drive through the network.

Problem:    Windows will only launch in Safe Mode or not at all. What can I do?



You can attempt to start the computer with several options:


Turn the computer on and while it is booting (black screen) press the F8 key. The machine will stop at a menu screen with several options to start it.



Inside Your Computer:


·        While many of us are reluctant to open the case to our computers, an occasional cleaning is probably not a bad idea. Because the power supply uses a fan to circulate air through the chassis to keep components cool, you’ll usually find an abundance of dust bunnies lurking inside of your machine. On occasion, I’ve seen them cause power supply failure by clogging up vents and causing overheating of components. Here are some tips:


·        Important: Always ground yourself by touching any part of the metal chassis once the cover is off so that you don’t zap components with static electricity.


1.        Begin by blowing the majority of the dust away with a can of compressed air. Pay particular attention to the power supply vents and unclog them for free airflow. Blow off dust from the motherboard and other components as well.

2.        I like to use a large artist’s paint brush to get at the hard to reach spots and remove dust anywhere I see it.