There are a lot people who run the computer like an appliance. They have no time to learn new things and have near zero knowledge about systems. These are the ones that yell the loudest when their systems start to hemorrhage.
Folks are quick to blame when their computers begin slowing. They always blame the computer.
I’ve seen a lot of these cases and frankly, the blame usually goes on the user.
There are users who are very good at running a fast system. They organize properly and do regular maintenance.
Then there are a lot people who run the computer like an appliance. They have no time to learn new things and have near zero knowledge about systems. These are the ones that yell the loudest when their systems start to hemorrhage.
Even after putting Humpty back together again, these folks reject any advice and just continue wrecking things.
This boils down to, what the heck is a C:/? It’s the most important and most abused area of your system. It’s the root directory of the hard drive, root as in the channel that supplies life to the system.
Each time your machine boots, it checks everything in the root directory for various configuration files. Almost every time you launch a program, the same check happens.
This works well until the root is so jammed with files, the system crawls through them. They are there because users file data files in the root instead of taking time to create or use storage folders on their hard drives.
Data today is far different than yesterday. Most of it is megabyte files containing photos, videos or music. You might get away with a few text files in your C:/ but the multimedia choke it fast.
I’ve seen systems take 12 minutes to boot. The first fix always is to move the data files into organized folders.
Folders are what we once called call subdirectories. Startup and programs ignore them, only caring about the root.
Next question: What is a data file? This is fairly simple. In the Windows Explorer file utility (not the browser), turn the View on to Detail. Then look in C:/. Look at the last three letters of the files, the extenders. This is the key to what the file does.
Be careful editing your C:/ There are configuration files you don’t want to eliminate. If you are paranoid, make a copy of your root directory in a folder labeled Backup.
Here are the extenders on most common data files. Move these from your root file to folders. Note that Windows already has a number of default files you can use.
.txt (simple text file)
.doc (Windows Word file)
.mp3 (music file)
.mov, .wav (video files)
.jpg, .tif, .gif, bmp, .DSC (image files)
.xls (Excel spreadsheet)
.htm (Web page)
.bkf, .bak (backup file)
.pdf (Adobe Acrobat files)
.tmp (temporary file, delete)
Jim Hillibish writes for The Repository in Canton, Ohio. Contact him at email@example.com.