Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Computer is mightier than the Sword

As a modern day writer, we sometimes might use a pen or pencil to scribble our musing down, but mostly I think we use our computers. So it's important to take care of the tools of our trade. Here are a few things I do to speed up my computer. If you’re like me, as you write you find a million reasons to surf the Internet. Sometimes they are even valid reasons, like research... anyhow, one of the side effects of all this poking around can be a slowing down of your computer’s speed. I’m going to walk you through a few things that may help.
Start at the start button (the bottom left corner on your screen)
Click on ‘Control Panel’
Click on ‘System and Security’
Click on ‘Administrative Tools’
Click on ‘Free up disk space’
This will run quickly or slowly, depending on how long it’s been since you’ve done it. When it has finished a small window will open up. Under ‘files to delete’ put a check mark in ALL of the boxes, don’t worry, it won’t delete anything important even if it is checked off, it just deletes the garbage stored in your computer.
After you check everything off, Click on ‘Clean up system files’
Again, this may go quickly or slowly depending on how much stuff is there. When it is done configuring, the same box will come up again, click okay, then another box will appear and ask if you are sure you want to delete all the files, say yes!
Back in the administrative tools click ‘Defragment your hard drive’
Click on ‘Analyze disk’ (this may take a while)
When it’s done click ‘Defragment disk’ (again, this may take a while, um, a long while if it hasn’t been done for a long time)

Okay, now that this is done, open up your Internet and go to the top right corner and look for ‘Safety’. Click on it then in the drop down menu click ‘delete browsing history’
I check off everything except ‘form data’ and ‘passwords’ (I like being signed in automatically lol) once you’ve checked off the other stuff click ‘delete’. This gets rid of tracking cookies and browsing history (a list of everywhere your mouse has taken you) and stuff that sites like to send to your computer to sit in storage there (I'm sure there's a reason, but I sure don't know what it is)
I recommend you do the first half - freeing up disc space and the defrag - with everything on your computer shut off. (no word docs or email things open) I further recommend you run through this process twice, it should go much quicker the second time, if it doesn’t, run it a third time. Sometimes when the defrag is not done regularly it takes a couple runs through to get everything as it should be.
This should help your system speed up some. A little something extra besides just depending on your security system to do everything. Your computer is a big part of what you do as a writer. From communicating with your publisher, to marketing yourself and your book, and even research (playing on Facebook if you prefer...) So like I said earlier, take some time to take care of one of a writers valuable tools.


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