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How to maintain peak performance

By JOHN TORRO

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 17, 2000


Q. I use Windows 95 and during the day the performance of my computer slows down. When I check My Computer and right-click properties, I find the system resources are only 78 percent free. If I restart the computer, it returns to 85 percent free and I get faster performance. How can I avoid having to restart the computer to maintain peak performance?

A. A system resource percentage of 78 is not unusual and I don't suspect that this is the cause of your system's gradual slowdown. Make sure you have sufficient RAM (at least 64 MB) and at least 200 MB of free hard drive space and that you defragment your hard drive regularly.

Spelling and Outlook Express

Q. I reformatted my hard drive. Since getting back online, I cannot use the Office 95 spell checker. I have Explorer 5.0 and use Outlook Express for e-mail. When I try to check the spelling, I get this message: "An error occurred while the spelling was being checked." I accept and hit send. Then a second window appears showing Outlook Express and states the spell checker was halted and asks, "Do you want to send anyway?"

A. This can be solved two ways: Editing specific entries in the registry, or upgrading to Outlook Express version 5.01. I recommend upgrading to Outlook Express 5.01 and forgetting about the registry edits. For information about how to upgrade, please visit Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web site (www.microsoft.com/ie).

Restoring a missing toolbar

Q. I've lost my icons on the left side of my quick launch toolbar. I tried right-clicking the toolbar and clicking quick launch. I receive a message that it could not create a folder. I also have tried dragging icons, but that didn't work.

A. This problem can occur if you chose a large scheme on the Appearance tab in Display Properties. If this is the case, change your scheme to the Windows standard scheme or to a scheme that uses small fonts. Also check to see if you have a folder named Quick Launch at the following location: C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\. If you don't have such a folder, create one.

Unwanted startup messages

Q. I have two startup problems. The first is an annoying screen: "S.M.A.R.T. Failure Predicted on Hard Disk 3 QUANTUM FIREBALL . . . TM3200A(SS) WARNING: Immediately back up your data and replace your hard disk drive. A failure may be imminent. Press F1 to Continue." This has appeared for the past three months. The disk is good. How can I disable this message, and/or turn off S.M.A.R.T.? The second annoying screen is: "Boot:> error, cannot run System Commander: missing SYSCMNDR.SYS. Select partition to boot; 0; 3." I uninstalled System Commander Deluxe, but evidently some files remained. I reformatted the drive but that did not get rid of the opening screen message.

A. S.M.A.R.T., or Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology, is a diagnostic method designed to warn of drive failures. The S.M.A.R.T warning can be disabled by turning this option off within your CMOS, usually found under the Advanced Settings area. (It sounds as if pressing F2 instead of F1 will get you there).

For the System Commander problem, look for the file scin.exe in the systemcommander folder. Run it and choose remove.

Deleting old Favorites

Q. How do you delete favorites from the Favorites folder?

A. You can delete Favorites from the Internet Explorer menu bar by clicking Favorites, then Organize Favorites.

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