theme for this issue is utilities, and it will include several fine articles
on various programs that keep your computer healthy and takes care of support
activities. But you may not need to buy programs to perform these functions;
Windows Me already includes several fine utilities, some unsurpassed by
third-party programs. Before you buy new utilities, make sure you know
what comes with Windows, and where to find it.
System Tools Folder
Many of the Microsoft utilities are located in the System Tools folder.
To reach it, click the Start button, then Programs, then Accessories, then
System Tools. The System Tools window contains several utility programs.
Letís look at the most useful.
This program checks your hard drive and the files and folders it contains
to see if there is either physical to the disk or logical damage to the
files and folders. This is the program that runs when you shut down your
computer improperly. Run Scan Disk at least monthly; weekly if you use
your computer lots.
Rearranges the pieces of your files so that all the pieces of any file
are contiguous, and read much faster from your hard drive. If you havenít
run Disk Defragmenter recently (or at all), you will probably detect a
definite speed-up in retrieving files from your hard drive after you do.
Run it at least monthly.
Windows, and especially the Internet, leaves a lot of residue files
behind when you use your computer. Disk Cleanup gets rid of a lot of temporary
files and files in your Internet cache. I use it daily, where it deletes
7 megabytes of junk at least; often more.
Schedules ScanDisk, Disk Defragmenter, and Disk Cleanup to run at regular
Schedules other utilities (like an antivirus program) to run at regular
A treasure trove of useful information about your computer, System
Information tells you exactly what components are in your computer, and
helps find conflicts. It also has several other useful programs in its
A new feature in Windows Me, System Restore takes snapshots of your
hard drive and lets you revert to a previous configuration if you need
to. For example, I installed new video drivers for my video card, and something
went haywire; I was not able to see anything at all on the screen. I used
the System Restore feature to travel back in time to when my computer and
all worked fine. Note that System Restore only backs up Windows files;
other program files are ignored.
Creating Zip files
Windows Me finally recognizes the compressed file format used widely
on the Internetóthe Zip file. A Zip file contains one or more files compressed
together to form a single, compact file thatís easy to send over the Internet.
You no longer need a separate utility to work with Zip files; Windows Me
lets you create a Zip file from Windows Explorer. Just click on File, New,
then select Compressed folder from the menu. Thatís the term that Windows
Me uses to denote a Zip file. To add files to the compressed folder, just
drag and drop them into the folder using Windows Explorer.