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It's Time For Home Computers To Get A Fall Tuneup

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RALEIGH — Students are back in school and many of them will be using their home computer to do assignments. It is probably a good time for a tuneup.

Most Windows-equipped computers already have tools to help keep your machine in good, running order.

Computer users can use the Disk Cleanup program by clicking on theStartbutton, thenPrograms, thenAccessoriesandSystem Tools. The program gets rid of unneeded files.

Computers also offer Disk Defragmenter. The program takes awhile depending on the size of the hard drive. The tool moves fragments of files back to their proper place and can increase the machine's efficiency.

The Maintenance Wizard can be set to check a computer at specified times. Running the program deletes unnecessary files, checks the hard disk for errors and can speed up programs. Scan disk is important and should be run at regular intervals. It checks files for errors.

There are also commercial programs that offer even more tune up help including anti-virus protection.

The System Check Wizard looks at most everything on your machine to make sure it is all in the right place. WinDoctor looks for problems with Windows-based programs and system problems. It is important to have an anti-virus loaded, keep it updated and be careful with e-mail.

"Become a little cautious when you open e-mail especially when you look at your e-mail attachments since that's the most popular way viruses occur these days," says Marian Merritt ofSymantec.

Remember, when running these programs, it is important to follow instructions. If you are not comfortable, get a computer-savvy friend to help you.

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Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Ron Pittman, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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