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Windows 98 Tips and Tricks

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Remove Unneeded Files

No matter how big your hard disk, you'll eventually fill it up. The Windows 98 Disk Cleanup tool can help you free up some space when that happens . Disk Cleanup starts automatically under certain conditions--for example, if you copy a file to a hard disk with less than 3% free space. However, it's a good idea to use the program regularly, so you don't reach that 3% threshold in the first place.

To start the utility, choose Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup. The program opens a dialog with two tabs: Disk Cleanup and More Options. The Disk Cleanup tab includes a Files to remove list box; there are four basic check-box items -- Temporary Internet Files, Downloaded Program Files, Recycle Bin, and Temporary files -- though you may see others (for details, see the next tip). Choose More Options, and you'll see two choices -- Windows setup and Installed programs -- that you also can access through the Control Panel's Add/Remove Programs option. These let you remove unneeded Windows components or application programs. If your disk doesn't use the FAT32 file system, you'll also see an option for converting it to FAT32.

Clear Out the Clutter: The Disk Cleanup tool helps you find and delete unnecessary files. If you have any doubts about deleting a category, such as Temporary Internet Files, choose the View Files button to see a description of the files marked for deletion. You can manually select only those you want to delete.

Know What You're Deleting

Before you delete files with Disk Cleanup, make sure you know what you're deleting. The first two items you'll find in the Files to remove list are Temporary Internet Files and Downloaded Program Files, both of which refer to directories that Internet Explorer 4 uses for files it downloads to your hard disk.

If you delete these files, you'll just end up downloading them again the next time you visit the Web pages; if the pages are on your hard disk, however, they'll load more quickly. If you clean out these directories too often -- say, weekly -- you'll waste time downloading the same pages over and over. The Files to remove list shows how much disk space you'll reclaim by deleting each item. If you'll gain only a few megabytes by selecting these two choices, you may want to uncheck the boxes.

The third choice on the Files to remove list is Recycle Bin; checking it will empty it. The Temporary files option lets you delete files that various programs have put on your disk. These are almost always safe to delete.

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