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Routine Maintenance to Keep Games Running Smoothly

Learn about ways to keep your games running at their best.

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Don't let a sluggish computer ruin your gaming experience. Learn how to keep your computer and games running smoothly by following these tips. This how to was written with Windows 98 in mind. The tips will work on other operating systems, however you may find that the locations of the utilities are in different locations.

Disk Defragmenter
The defragmenter will organize your files so the computer can use the files you are accessing faster, since it won't have to search as long. Run this program with as few programs running in the background as possible. I suggest defragging your drive(s) every couple of weeks, before you install a program, or after you uninstall a few programs.

Find it here: Start -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter

ScanDisk
This system utility checks for surface, folder and file errors and corrects them. Run this program if you computer was not shut down properly, creating a lot of error messages, or if programs seem to functioning abnormally. I suggest using scandisk about once a week to keep your drive(s) in top shape.

Find it here: Start -> Accessories -> System tools -> Scandisk

Disk Clean Up
You can find a useful function in your drive properties that will clean up your hard drive. It will get rid of Internet files (if you use Internet Explorer), temporary files, and files in the recycle bin. If you another browser, like Netscape, you will need to find the cache or temporary files folder within Windows Explorer to delete the unnecessary files. Delete cookies in your Internet folder. You don't need them, and after awhile you may have a lot of cookies just hanging out on your drive. Uninstall programs you don't use anymore. You're just wasting drive space, when you could be using it for something else. Do this after you delete lots of files; use the Internet for a long time, and/or at least once a week.

Find it here: My Computer -> Right Click on C Drive Icon -> Disk Cleanup

Keep Operating System Software Updated
Use the Windows Update in the start menu to keep your system updated. New security patches are always being released. Occasionally check for driver updates for your video card.

Check Hard Drive Space
Keep clutter off your drive. If you don't need it, get rid of it. Save files you won't be using for a while to a CD or DVD. Not only does it give you more disk space for new files, you won't have to go sift through so many files.

Get Rid of Spyware
Spyware is a cookie that you get by visiting websites. Most spyware will not harm your computer, but the information that save may bother those who like their privacy. Spyware can eat up system resources making your computer run slower.
Download Spyware Detection & Removal Tools

Minimize Number of Programs Running
If you are trying to play a game, surf the Internet, work on your report, read email, and listen to mp3 files, you are using to much of your system resources. If your computer is trying to run too many programs when also trying to play a graphic intensive game, the graphics will be choppy, and figures will move slowly. Whenever possible play with only the game open.

Clean Out Add-on Game Files
If game allows for add-in files, like The Sims, clean out the files you don't absolutely need. If you don't play a particular saved game, save it to a disk or CD and delete it from the hard drive. If you play The Sims, you probably have tons of wallpaper and objects that you rarely use, get rid of them. You'll be amazed by the space you'll recover, by moving saved games, cities, and other custom files to CDs.

Shut Down Properly
Always shut your computer off using the shutdown option in the start menu. If you don't you will cause errors and sometimes lose data.

Find it here: Start -> Shutdown -> Shutdown

Antivirus Program
Sometimes your anti-virus program will slow down the loading and playing of games. So if you aren't on the Internet, go ahead and disable it. But remember to turn it back on if you logged back on to the Internet.

If you don't have an antivirus program, get one today. There are free ones available.

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