In “Tuning up Windows 98: Nine tips that are often overlooked,” Talainia Posey examined simple ways to improve the performance of Windows 98. In response to this information, TechRepublic members sent in their own ideas for tweaking Windows 98, and I’d like to share some of them. Due to the volume of feedback, it's not possible to publish every response, but I believe I have presented the best balance of all the submissions. Where possible, I've also linked respondents to their listing in the TechRepublic Peer Directory.
In Response offers a weekly roundup of feedback from TechRepublic members intended to help inform you and your peers about critical issues in the world of IT.
TechRepublic members respond
Richard S: What about the real basic stuff?
“Disk Cleanup, Disk Defragmenter, and Scandisk are three fantastic tools that always get neglected. Disk Cleanup can take care of the Recycle Bin, Temporary Internet Files (IE Cache), and the Windows Temporary files in one shot. Disk Defragmenter rearranges the files on your hard disk, putting more frequently used files on faster portions of the disk, which speeds up disk reading. Although 999 times out of 1,000 Scandisk does not find any errors, it is a good utility to run every once in a while. You can find all of these tools by clicking Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools.”
Slick: Very true...
“I run Scandisk at least once a week, and defrag the hdd at least once a month. Cleaning out IE caches and temp files is good, too. The tip about the fonts is surprisingly true. Nobody really ever thinks about it, but Windows caches all of those fonts to memory on boot up. And the only way to reduce the amount of system resources that takes is to get rid of the ones you don't use. I did this, and you'd be surprised how much faster Windows boots.”
Chris H: Empty temp Internet files automatically
“Something many people overlook is having IE empty the temporary Internet files folder automatically. At the same screen where you emptied the folder, there is an advanced tab all the way to the right. Click on that. Now scroll down almost all the way to the bottom. There will be two lines that do not have checkmarks in the boxes next to them. One is Empty Temporary Internet Files Folder When Internet Explorer Is Closed. By checking this box, you save time by never again having to go back to the general tab to delete these files. The other box you may want to check is the Do Not Save Encrypted Pages To Disk. My take on this: You can't use the back button on secure sites, so what's the point in saving those files to the disk?”
Craigar: Scheduling maintenance
“One additional step that is necessary to keep Windows happy and running efficiently is the occasional running of Scandisk and Defrag. If you are like anyone else, you probably won't remember to do this on a regular basis. Don't worry—you can make Windows 98 do all the work for you. All that needs to be done is to run the maintenance wizard. You can schedule these tasks to run as often as you would like on off hours when you’re not utilizing your machine. A fragmented hard drive can severely decrease system performance, so I recommend running defrag at least once a month.”
Vince D: Clean up mapped drives, too
“Sometimes having two dozen mapped drives—some of them pointing to the exact same resource—can really slow you down, too. Disconnect 'em if you don't need 'em.
Dixie Penguin: Another space tweak—index.dat files
“Here is another overlooked space hog that can clog your drives using Windows and Internet Explorer. The index.dat files are not cleaned when you use the Delete Files or Clear History commands in Internet Explorer. They continue to accumulate with every session online, and they usually do not appear when you search for large files. Here is an easy solution.
Restart your machine in DOS and type the following, hitting [Enter] after each line:
This deletes the files. New ones (now empty) are created automatically when you log back on under Windows. You can set up a batch file to handle the task if you want. Just remember, the lines above are ones that work for IE 5; you will need to alter them depending on what version you are using. Just locate the index.dat files and enter the appropriate string after the Del command.”
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Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.