Sunday, September 16, 2012

How to remove Windows.old folder from your (C:) drive and why?

For those of you who upgraded to Windows 7 from XP or Vista, you'll find out that a folder called "Windows.old"was created on the C: hard drive.

This "Windows.old" folder contains files that were used in your previous version of Windows and can use a large amount of storage in your hard drive.

Is it important that you keep this folder? after all it contains all kinds of files:  Program Files, Program Files (x86), Users folder, ProgramData, Settings, and the previous Windows program itself.

This "Windows .old" folder as I said above can be very large. In one of my computers where I upgraded from Vista to 7, this folder was 89 GB in size and held   31,376 folders containing 230,325 files. That is a lot even for a 1 TB hard drive.

After you have been using Windows 7 for a while and you are sure that all programs and important files were successfully  transferred from your old version, that your settings are back where they should be, there  is no need to keep such a large folder in your hard drive.

Of course I assume that you have backed up your important files in an external drive or by any other means. If you have not, do it before trying to delete "Windows.old", since it contains all the old files you are still using. Once you delete "Windows.old", it cannot be undone.

Deleting "Windows.old" cannot be done from Windows Explorer.You have to run "Disk Cleanup" as an Administrator. To do this right-click the  "Disk Cleanup" shortcut and then "Run as Administrator" if you are not already signed in as such.

Here are the steps required to delete the "Windows .old" folder:

1-Click the "Start" button; in the "Search Box" type "Disk Cleanup". You will be prompted to    select the drive in which Windows 7 is installed, normally it is drive (C); click OK. A small box opens for a few seconds in order to calculate how much space you will be able to free on drive (C).

2-  In the "Disk Cleanup" dialog box that opens select the box "Previous Windows Installations" and "check mark" it. Uncheck all other boxes that might be  checked such as "Temporary Files", "Recycle Bin" , etc..

3- In the box that appears, (Are you sure to permanently delete these files), click "Delete Files".

That  is all, a new small dialog box opens up and shows you the files being deleted until the action is finished.

I recently installed an SSD drive in my main computer. Because these drives are still rather expensive, I selected and bought a 120 GB unit. In order to install Windows 7 and other programs that I use regularly, I did this by creating a "C: drive Disk Image" . Prior to this of course I deleted the "Windows.old" folder and transferred high volume folders such as Documents, My Pictures, My Music, User Files etc.etc. to my regular hard drive, now changed to as Drive (F:).

The end result is that the OS plus other programs I regularly use run now on an SSD drive and my computer operation is so much faster it is hard to believe.

Drive F: can now be accessed just like any other drive and its programs and files will just run normally, but not as fast as those installed in the SSD drive (C:)

Note: SSD drives are becoming a LOT less expensive then they were a few months ago. 120 GB to 250 GB run between $120.00 to $300.00. I paid a little less than $120.00 for my 120 GB SSD drive.

I hope this post will be of help to most of you. If you have any questions or if you decide to install an SSD drive in your computer and are not brave enough to do at it by yourselves, just post a question or e-mail me. I will then post a more complete description on how to transfer you OS and other program files to you new and very, very fast new SSD drive.

George Freire

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What is a computer virus? ways to protect yourself

One of our readers, Belinda J Darling from Australia sent me an e-mail with an article she wrote which I think is well worth publishing:
What is a computer virus? ways to protect yourself

 So Belinda here is your nice and useful article:

We’ve all heard of computer viruses, but hands up who knows what a computer virus actually is? How do you get them? And what can you do to protect yourself from computer viruses?
Avoiding computer viruses is not dissimilar to avoiding winter flu’s. By diligently attending to your health and nutrition requirements, you minimise your chances of getting the latest permutation of gastro doing the rounds. Likewise, by keeping your computers virus-scanning software up to date, you can avoid infecting your system with a bug that has the potential to create total chaos. It’s easier than getting a flu shot.
But, I hear you say, I don’t get shots because the winter lurgy has never really troubled me.  And nor has a computer virus. Why should I bother with those irritating little ‘software updates are ready for your computer’ alerts? They just stand in the way of getting where I want to go online.
Computer viruses are insidious things. They can be used to steal your personal information, trick you into buying fake software- and your information can also be sold on the digital black market. Pretty scary stuff. Computer viruses are little programs designed to wreak havoc. They can delete, create, and move files. They can, in other words, bring you to your knees.
Keeping your software up to date is one of the most important components in protecting yourself against computer viruses, but it’s by no means the only one. Carefully screening your emails is a simple and easy way to avoid viruses. Sometimes, even those alert to suspicious looking messages can fall prey. This happened to me on Twitter recently when a trusted friend forwarded a link with the message ‘hey look at this, someone is saying really horrible things about you’ Rest assured that even if they are, it’s probably got nothing to do with that link. It’s just a hook to suck you in.
There are plenty of other simple ways experts such as SuperGeek can help teach you to avoid your computer being infected with a virus. By paying attention to your computers health, you’ll avoid many hours spent picking up the pieces after a computer crash.

By the way, here is a link to Belinda's SuperGeek address:
 Thank you Belinda for your thoughts,
George Freire


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Microsoft Fix It Solutions Center

Back in February 2010, I published a post that is as helpful today as it was then.

Very few people know that Microsoft has a " quick fix it " web page that can help solve many problems encountered with their most popular products. I was reviewing some past published posts and this one is certainly well worth republishing, so there it goes:

We all from time to time have problems related to Microsoft Products, such as :

Internet Explorer
Email and Messaging
Windows Media Player
Windows Media Center

Such problems may be pretty simple to correct, but many times, such problems can be exasperating because "Windows" is a very sophisticated program with thousands of hidden files that only those who are true experts can see and somehow debug them.

Some of you may not know that Microsoft has a web site that is extremely helpful and can help you correct such problems.

The site is called as the title above indicates "FIX IT SOLUTIONS CENTER".

The site address is

If you click the above address you'll be immediately be "transported" to this site. Once there, first select the "About Fix It" on the left side tab of the page in order to understand how it works.

After that, select the product you are having problems with, (which are all described on that same tab). When you do so, the right side of the page opens up and shows a series of most likely problems that can occur with the product.

If you see in any of the described problems areas common with your problem or problems, click on it and a new page opens. In this page you'll see the steps you need to take in order to solve the problem, BUT EVEN BETTER, you are asked if you want the "Fix It Solutions Center" program to do it automatically for you!!

If you click yes, (and who wouldn't...), like magic the "Fix It Solutions Center" will do it for you.

One word of advice here: You must follow a few instructions, and click here and there for the solution program to run.

Even if you are not experiencing any problems now, I suggest, (just for the sake of familiarizing yourself with "Fix It Solutions Center"), that you go to the site and read the instructions.

I hope this will be, (for those who did not know about it), a great tip that will help you solve many problems that sooner or later you'll be faced with when operating your computer.

George Freire