By Xin Feng, Ph.D. [08/17/01]
Right after a fresh installation, Windows is very efficient and stable. But this won't last long. Someone told you that the hard drive needed defragment. You did that, but your Windows is still like a crap. More often, your Windows or some applications no longer start after a while. The real solution lies in these three locations:
Every time you add a program, some short-cuts are often added into above locations during the installation. These craps build up as more and more programs you add. They start automatically no matter you need them or not. They do nothing good but slow down everything and cause crashes. It is Microsoft's mercy to provide these auto-start facilities, but programmers abuse them too much. These "smart" programmers always assume you are too stupid to know how to start their programs or their programs are so good that you cannot live without, so they make them always start automatically. Obviously, such programmers are careless (they may think they are thoughtful) and their programs are trouble makers, such as the Find Fast of older MS Office, Iomega Zip and Jaz, Real Audio, WinAmp, Easy CD Creator and DirectCD, QuickBooks Agent, and all anti-virus stuff, to name but few.
Once you cleaned up these auto-starts, your Windows runs like a charm again. Believe me, such clean up is the most important maintenance of Windows and is absolutely necessary. Based on my experience, 99.99% troubles except hardware failures can be fixed this way. If your Windows no longer starts normally, try to start it in safe mode and do above.
How do you know if your Windows is clean or not? A good sign is around the clock: your Windows is as clean as the clock area is. If there are many icons beside the clock, your Windows is running heavily for sure. This is another place that's very badly abused by programmers. To these programmers, making a program start automatically is not enough, it must also show up and take up the very precious territory around the clock. How careless a programmer can be! Maybe this explains why there are so many bugs in software. It always makes my head shake hard whenever I see a new PC and how many icons beside the clock.
Dear programmers, could you please do not make your programs start automatically and help us to keep the clock area clean?
This tip applies to all versions of Windows -- 95, 98, SE, Me, NT, 2000 and XP.
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Xin Feng Company