Cleaning Windows XP for Dummies
by Allen Wyatt
This is a book I’d wish I’d written. Since Allen got to it first, I expect
I’ll be pointing people to it frequently.
One of the major reasons Windows becomes unstable over time is something
I’ve heard referred to as “software rot”. Do nothing but use your computer in
normal ways, and over time, it will slow down, and possibly even become
unstable. The system will “rot” out from underneath you.
Cleaning Windows XP for Dummies is a great
step-by-step guide to not only “cleaning up” your Windows programs, data,
processes, disks and more, but more importantly, keeping your system clean and
preventing that rot from happening. It’s as much about slightly altering how
you use your computer to keep it clean, as much as it is about that initial
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
What do we mean by clean? The various topics in the book illustrate:
- Examining what programs are installed on your machine, which you’ll want to
keep, and how to go about getting rid of the rest.
- Choosing which features to enable or disable in the programs you do keep to
- Finding files and data on your hard disk that can be deleted to recover
free space, and doing so.
- Managing email clutter, including SPAM.
- Preventing viruses, spyware, pop-ups and understanding cookies.
- Cleaning up your Windows desktop, start menu and more.
- Determining what parts of Windows you need, and removing or disabling what
- Keeping your system up to date.
- Keeping your hardware in top form, and when it might be time to repair,
reinstall, reformat or just dump it all and get a new machine.
Advanced topics include how Windows uses memory, getting a handle on
Security, Windows Networking, the Windows Registry and more. The book closes with 4 “Top
Ten” lists ranging from troubleshooting ideas to online resources.
The book is an easy read, and targeted at the novice or less experienced
user. There are plenty of examples, as well as warnings along the way when you
might venture into areas that require caution.
I’ve always been a little leery of the “for dummies” types of books. I’ve
been concerned that they would take too simplistic an approach for the material
to actually be useful in the long run. I’m happy to say that Cleaning Windows XP for Dummies is not only a useful
how-to book for the average user interested in getting the most out of Windows
XP, but will also serve as a handy reference for the life of your Windows XP