View Full Version : Computer question-this time a really good one!

12-09-2003, 11:51 PM
Okay I have this here computer,I didn't buy it someone else did.It came with all kinds of software and programs on it I never use.It claims that only 18.2% of my avalible disk space has been used,but I don't believe that.My question is,can I clean everything off my hard drive to the point that all I have are the few programs I want?And if that is possible or feasible how would I go about it?

12-10-2003, 12:23 AM
If you're running Windows (any version) go to start>settings>control panel>add/remove programs and uninstall each program one by one. Don't just delete the folder or the program cuz the windows registry needs to do it right or you'll mess it all up. As an aside...when you remove a program and get a message that tells you a file may be used by another program and do you want to delete it, ALWAYS answer "no to all". It won't hurt to leave a program segment in place, but it can be a real bitch if you take out something that another program might use. Then THAT program won't work properly either. If that program happens to be Windows you're screwed....have to re-install Windows from original disk.

To really do a proper job of it, I reformat the hard drive and re-install Windows from scratch, along with all sound, video, LAN, and modem drivers. Then install only the programs you want.

12-10-2003, 12:24 AM
You can use the Windows control panel to add and remove most programs. Find it, and remove the programs you don't want.

That said, with today's large hard disks, it's quite likely that you are only using 18.2% It's likely you don't need more space. However, if slow response is the issue, you can take programs out of the start menu, defragment the disk, etc. What's the problem you want to solve?

12-10-2003, 01:41 AM
Make sure you run scandisk and then defrag after you follow the procedure outlined above. Do not delete anything you do not know exactly what it is or does! And whatever you do, DO NOT COMPRESS ANY FILES - EVER!

If you have the Windows setup disks and the book or certificate of authenticity (it has a loooong serial number on it) you can reformat and reinstall. if you choose this route makes sure you write down all your computers settings (network,ip, modem, etc) and get the current drivers for your hardware on disk before proceeding.

Excitable Boy
12-10-2003, 01:43 AM
If you still have over 80% of teh drive left, why not just leave the programs there. You might not use them today, but you might need them one day. Think of it as extra tooling in a shop that seems to have plenty of extra space (wouldn't that be nice?)..


Pursue Excellence and the rest will follow.

12-10-2003, 02:10 AM
If you decide to remove the programs, the advice above is the way to go. If it was me, I would leave them on but do not have them start automaticly. Just being on the hard drive should not slow or hurt anything. With Window 98 you can check or uncheck the programs you want to start each time the machine starts. Go to Start/Run/type in "msconfig"(OK)/choose SETUP tab and uncheck all you do not want to run. Someone else would have the 'how to' for the other Window versions. Hope this helps. Gerry

12-10-2003, 03:45 AM
What they said.

12-10-2003, 04:45 AM
Not knowing what programs are on there, I can't say whether they will ever cause you any grief, but most likely they won't. If there are a lot of files that have been created using the programs, like text, or pictures, they can be deleted without causing any problems at all, except those files can no longer be viewed once they're gone. If that is just someone else's stuff that's of no value to you, good riddance. In many cases, the files take up more space than the program itself, so if drive space is the issue, just delete the folder those useless files are in, and get some space back. A huge number of text files will not really take up much space, but pictures will, especially if they are BMP's (.bmp) or files that have been created using a program like Corel. Video clips and movies take up lots of space. All files like this can just be deleted, delete the folder they are in if there's nothing in the folder you want to keep. As others have said, if you really want to get rid of the program(s), then use the uninstal feature that came with the program, and if there isn't one, go to add-remove programs in control panel and do it that way. After you're done cleaning up, run the defrag program, then it's a good idea to shut down, wait 30 secs or so, and restart. If windows doesn't report any problems, you're good to go.

12-10-2003, 06:39 AM
Music files were on one machine I ended up with. Eat up large amounts of hard drive.

You never really know what you might need next week. I got a free text engraving program that uses Windows Font's.. On one machine I had them all, on the other just two. Shame to delete something you might need later.


12-10-2003, 11:41 PM
Thanks all,I just learned about defragging today,first Thrud,Then guy at work told me,did it and it did help.

The problems I have been having are that explorer is contiuningly being corrupted by something hidden in a file somewhere,Norton,Adaware,Spybot none have found anything and since there are lots of things like MS money that I never use why not cut down on excess bagage?

Anyway I have reinstalled Explorer twice and I have to run auto repair on it three times a month on average,I also keep getting an MSHTML.DLL."has caused an error" message thats when everything goes to crap.

Excitable Boy
12-11-2003, 12:18 AM
Sounds like what you really need is a reinstall of the operating system, which Explorer is an integral part of.


Pursue Excellence and the rest will follow.

12-11-2003, 12:30 AM
Ya,did just that about four times now,no luck.

12-11-2003, 12:50 AM

Make sure you go to the windows update site and update your windows - there are numerous security problems and fixes. keep doing it until there are no more fixes then do it once per week. If you are useing norton securities make sure you udate that at least weekly as well - same with anti-virus software.

One free anti-Active-x program you can get is SpywareBlaster from www.javacool.com (http://www.javacool.com) download it and then check for updates. then <select all> and <immunize> this will protect you computer form lots of crap.

If you are running XP also download xp-AntiSpy - this is the only way you can get rid of Microsoft Messenger completely along with some other MS spyware. It is also free - seach for it on the web.

12-11-2003, 01:10 AM
WS, if I am understanding it, you have formatted the drive, then reinstalled windoze, more than once now, and still the problem. What version are you installing? Next time you reinstall, format 'unconditionaly'. I'm told this will erase the drive back to new, whereas the regular format won't. I'll leave it to the computer literate among us to say how to do this, but I believe it's a simple addition to the command to format, adding _u, I think. I'd love to hear from someone who knows about this.
Did you download and instal the update for your version of windows?
Beyond that, there may be a problem with the bios on the motherboard, possibly a bios update is in order, and it may even be that the cmos battery is going bad. Only other thing I can think of is that IE may need to be updated, download the latest available patch for your version, whatever is still available.

12-11-2003, 01:15 AM
Last 2 times my computer acted strangely, I had to replace the MB to fix it. The errors were not consistent though.
You could always try another browser, like Netscape.
If you have the disks for all the software you need, then reformat your HDD and reinstall everything. There's nothing like a clean install.

12-11-2003, 01:27 AM

First, to get that error you must be running Windows ME

Second, I assume you have IE 5.5. IE5 is installed by reinstalling ME. IE5.5 isn't compatible with ME. Thanks again Billy.

Sigh, been a long day. Make a boot disk. Boot from it. At the DOS prompt issue format C: Say yes I want to erase the F****R.

Do a flat install of ME. Copy the win9x folder contents to a folder you made on C: called win9x. Type setup at the c:\win9x prompt and reinstall ME. Install all drivers, set up your internet connection. Then, before doing anything else update to IE6 at Windows update. Don't try to use Norton on ME. Some versions are incompatible.


You can fdisk the disk to erase all partitons. That is more complete that a full format. Or to really clean it out you can use the manufacturers zero fill tool which writes zeros to all sectors on the disk. Or most complete is a 20 byte sequence of machine code that I enter from debug that resets the controller and block table in the hard drive.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 12-11-2003).]

12-11-2003, 02:14 AM
Interesting, Evan. You being in the business, I'm wondering what criterion you use to determine when to use, and which one of, those methods. How likely is it that a consumer would benefit from more than the standard formatting?

12-11-2003, 03:14 AM

Without being facetious, the consumer benefits when the technician knows which procedure will do the job. Different problems call for different solutions. If a virus infects the boot sector then formatting won't get rid of it and fdisk is called for. Etc, etc.

Sorry, I'm being a bit short tonight. I do this all day and there have been a lot of these problems lately. It only seems to be getting worse.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 12-11-2003).]

12-11-2003, 03:51 AM
Evan, I can imagine that you would want to get off topic at the end of your day, and get into some relaxing activity instead. Have a nice evening.

12-11-2003, 09:58 PM
Okay,I got IE 6 have had it since it came out,yes I do have ME and yes it does suck,Norton I have and have never had any problems.

I found last night IE's auto-repair,it did the job on the error message,I updated windows about two weeks ago,got everything but one patch(probibly the one I needed)it was a long download and my crappy connection failed.

The connection at my mothers shop is much better and faster so I think I'll pack the unit down there and give it a whirl.

For now all is well except two error messages and a broken shortcut,maybe next week,user friendly my a-- http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

12-12-2003, 05:27 AM
you can download x86 Solaris for free from Sun Microsystems if you want to thumb your nose at evil bill.

Their Enterprise Java Suite is going to be available for AMD processors (Athalon/Opteron 32/64 bit) for $100 - that is one hell of a deal, btw. (it is compatable with Java, Linux, and Unix)

12-13-2003, 12:23 AM
A few additional comments on the subject that has been touched on well by others.

1. I had some real issues with my computer a while back. Illegal errors (blue screens and the red X screens) in Word and in Explorer. Then some memory errors. In a computer repair class i took a few years back, the number one rule was "Check the Cables", and #2 rule was "Re-seat the cards". I checked the cables, and upon further inspection, noticed all of my fans and the mother board was just caked in that fine dust. I cleaned the Mother board off with a can of "blow off", and re-seated the cards afterwards, cleaning each on - card base connection with a pink pencil eraser - which I learned to do in the early 1980's on "BOSS" and Heidenhain controls whenever they went squirlley (quite often) re-seated and checked over the IDE connections, and did a complete clean -out of all fans from the processor to power supply (shop vac), and even the secondary fan on my unit. Even little heat sinks. If you remove the CPU fan, put it back on with that "heat sink" gunk (do not have it handy), available at Staples. helps get the het off faster. ALSO, leave th box open and start up, and be absolutely certain the fan starts - prevent burning up the CPU and all things. Just a quick and cheap test to prevent an expensive new computer.

The issue was heat, and corrupted connections by the dust packing in (I run three fans for my three hard drives, floppy, CD, rather major league Vid card, three parallel ports, USB's and many other bells and whistles, The case is jammed).

Works quite well again. My biggset issue was errors at start-up.

Other times when I get issues (I take care of 21 computers all said and done), I clean as noted, then defrag, then on a semi-annual basis reload the OS (Windows 98) over the top, and even my most used programs I do a re-install without doing the "uninstall" just to keep the DLL's up to date, and to help them find new connections (Example - FONTS are big DLL users).

2. As for removing programs, try each one a couple of times. let it set for a while - say 10 days, just in case you determine it might just be a good thing. If after that time it is useless, do the uninstall procedures. Some may not "uninstall", if this is the case, note it and I will go through this.

Defrag after uninstalls at the earliest available chance, and remember to re-load the OS at some point soon after doing this and some of the other major programs (Set-up in most programs will re-install without the need of the CD or disks). This to update DLL's. When you clear lots of room, you leave little fragments, and DLL's may me resident you do not need, or may also search for items no longer there to link to.

Clean your TEMP file on a regular basis - use "Disk clean-up" in Accesories. Also your temporary internet files cleaned keep the pop-ups down a bit, but delete cookies BUT remember doing this at times will lose some log ins and passwords.

21 computers at school, three at home. C- teach a computer repair and construction class as a guest instructor. Just my routines.

[This message has been edited by spope14 (edited 12-12-2003).]

12-13-2003, 03:02 AM

I hate to contradict you BUT, Do NOT use any sort of abrasive on the card edge connectors. They are gold plated and gold does not corrode. They may be wiped with some isopropyl alcohol and dried with a lint and oil free rag. The gold plating is only a few microns thick and if it is removed (24 carat and soft as butter) then you WILL have problems. Use ESD procedures at all times.

Also, never get a vacuum cleaner near the internals of a computer unless you have one that has a grounded metal lined plastic tip nozzle. You risk static buildup in dry climates that will fry the motherboard. I've had several customers do that.

12-13-2003, 12:07 PM
You know now that I think of it,I have never cleaned this here machine other than around it,geuss I'll do that too just to say I did.

Okay here is a question,keybaord is starting to stick,keys wore off etc. which is the best,plain vanilla or one of them other types?

12-13-2003, 01:05 PM
I just buy the cheapest I can find. They cost me $5.00 US wholesale.

12-14-2003, 12:46 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Evan:
... Use ESD procedures at all times.

Also, never get a vacuum cleaner near the internals of a computer unless you have one that has a grounded metal lined plastic tip nozzle. You risk static buildup in dry climates that will fry the motherboard. I've had several customers do that.</font>

This is very good advise, read it and heed it. I know some people get by OK but don't take the chance. On both ESD and vacuum cleaner, Evan is right on!