Vol. 43, No. 2 January 2006 .pdf version
Tony Barnhart: Big O a big plus
Andy Katz: Courage candidates aplenty
Joe Mitch: Indy breakfast a highlight
Dick Jerardi: Press row model in Philly
Tech tips: Time to clean house

Ted Gangi

Technical advice: Get organized for 2006: Your PC will thank you

By TED GANGI / Webmaster

The basketball season has already started and you're still trying to wrap things up from football season and wondering how it can possibly be 2006. Now is a good a time as any to get your computer and its files in order.

The first thing you should do is make sure you have the latest versions of some of the plug-ins you use on a regular basis: Adobe Reader, Real Player and Windows Media Player are surely among them. You can go to their respective websites or simply click on the help menu of each program and search for updates. While most files will load on older versions, the newer versions will make things faster and easier to load, read and listen to.

And, speaking of faster and easier, you should empty out your recycle bin and clean up your hard drive. Simply click on the start button, the hit "All Programs," then Accessories > System Tools > Disc Cleanup. Choose your hard drive and then cleanse it of all those temporary files.

Now get started on organizing your hard drive, in most cases, the C: drive. You will want to save most of your files under My Documents. Clean out everything you know you'll never need again and sort what you want to keep. Move files into sub-folders to make them easier to find.

Back up some of your most prized work to a CD or some other memory device, in case of a hard-drive disaster.

You should repeat this process with e-mail. Clean out what you don't need. It slows down your server and e-mail program. Save any attachments you might want and valuable e-mails to folders you can create within Outlook or just about any other e-mail program. Then, start tossing stuff.

Look into your sent e-mail folder. Kill those e-mails you don't need. Make sure they don't just sit in your deleted files folder. Empty that out, too.

The longer you wait, the harder it's going to be later on to find and sort things. It's not going to cripple your machine, nor is it likely to fill up your hard drive, but why carry around a bunch of files you don't need? And why add to the mess that will slow you down when you really do need to find something in your personal archive?

If you are lucky enough to have a good IT department at the office, consult with them about how to maximize performance of your hard drive. Once you clean up the drive, you will be surprised at how much easier your life with your laptop will be.

Ted Gangi serves as the webmaster of the USBWA's official site, www.usbwa.com and is the assistant sports editor for DallasNews.com, the website of The Dallas Morning News. His tech tips column will appear regularly in The Tipoff.

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