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Using Disk Defragmenter in Windows 7

Fragmentation makes your hard disk do extra work that can slow down your computer. Disk Defragmenter rearranges fragmented data so your hard disk can work more efficiently. Disk Defragmenter runs on a schedule, but you can also defragment your hard disk manually.

Click on the Start button, then All Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools.

Click on Disk Defragmenter. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Note:
Here's another way to open Disk Defragmenter: Click the Start button . In the Search box, type Disk Defragmenter or defrag, and then, in the list of results, double-click Disk Defragmenter.

Click Defragment Now.

Disk Defragmenter might take from several minutes to a few hours to finish, depending on the size and degree of fragmentation of your hard disk. You can still use your computer during the defragmentation process.

Check your hard disk for errors in Windows 7

You can help solve some computer problems and improve the performance of your computer by making sure that your hard disk has no errors.

Click on the Start button.

Click on Computer.

Right-click the hard disk drive that you want to check, and then click Properties.

Click the Tools tab, and then, under Error-checking, click Check Now. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

To automatically repair problems with files and folders that the scan detects, select Automatically fix file system errors. Otherwise, the disk check will simply report problems but not fix them.

To perform a thorough disk check, select Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors. This scan attempts to find and repair physical errors on the hard disk itself, and it can take much longer to complete.

To check for both file errors and physical errors, select both Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors.

Click Start.

Depending upon the size of your hard disk, this may take several minutes. For best results, don't use your computer for any other tasks while it's checking for errors.

Note:
If you select Automatically fix file system errors for a disk that is in use (for example, the partition that contains Windows), you'll be prompted to reschedule the disk check for the next time you restart your computer.

Back up your files in Windows 7

To make sure you don't lose the files that you create, modify, and store on your computer, you should back them up regularly. You can manually back up your files any time or set up automatic backups.

  1. Click the Start button
  2. Click on All Programs
  3. Click on Maintenance
  4. Click on Backup and Restore

Do one of the following:

  • If you have never used Windows Backup before, click Set up backup, and then follow the steps in the wizard. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • If you have created a backup before, you can wait for your regularly scheduled backup to occur, or you can manually create a new backup by clicking Back up now. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Notes:

  • We recommend that you don't back up your files to the same hard disk that Windows is installed on.
  • Always store media used for backups (external hard disks, DVDs, or CDs) in a secure place to prevent unauthorized people from having access to your files; we recommend a fireproof location separate from your computer. You might also consider encrypting the data on your backup.

To create a new, full backup

After you create your first backup, Windows Backup will add new or changed information to your subsequent backups. If you're saving your backups on a hard drive or network location, Windows Backup will create a new, full backup for you automatically when needed. If you're saving your backups on CDs or DVDs and can't find an existing backup disc, or if you want to create a new backup of all of the files on your computer, you can create a full backup. Here's how to create a full backup:

  1. Open Backup and Restore.
  2. In the left pane, click Create new, full backup.

Note:
You will only see this option if your backup is being saved on CDs or DVDs.

To set up backup after upgrading from a previous version of Windows

After you upgrade Windows, you will need to set up Windows Backup, even if you had a scheduled backup in the previous version of Windows. This is because there are several changes to the backup program. Instead of selecting file types to back up, you can have Windows back up data files saved in libraries, on the desktop, and in default Windows folders, or you can choose specific libraries and folders to be backed up. You can also create a system image of your computer.

To set up your backup, follow these steps:

Open Backup and Restore.

Click Set up backup, and then follow the steps in the wizard. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Ways to store backups
You can back up files to any of the following storage types:

  • Hard disks (internal or external)
  • Other removable disks
  • Writeable DVDs and CDs
  • Network locations

The first three options are often known collectively as media. You can also use an Internet-based file storage service. To decide which option to use, compare convenience, price, and ease of use, and consider the amount and size of files that you want to back up.

Keep backups in a safe location
Always keep removable storage or media used for backups (such as external hard disks, DVDs, or CDs) in a secure place to prevent unauthorized people from having access to your files.

Storage devices

Internal hard disks
You can install (or have someone else install) a second internal hard disk in your computer and use it to back up files. Hard disks are relatively inexpensive and are not affected if you have a problem with your operating system. You can even install the disk in another computer if you buy a new computer and you still want to use the disk for backups.

Note:
Never back up files to a location on the same hard disk that Windows is installed on because if your computer gets a virus or has a software failure, you might have to reformat the disk and reinstall Windows to recover from the problem.

External hard disks
If your computer has a USB port, you can attach an external hard disk to it and then back up files to the external disk. Be sure to buy an external hard disk that has plenty of space for your backups (200 GB is a good choice). For maximum protection, keep your external hard disk in a fireproof location separate from the computer.

Writeable discs
You can also save your files to DVDs or CDs. Make sure the discs are writeable, which means that you can add, delete, or change the content. If you decide to use this method and have a lot of files to back up, be sure you have enough discs to finish the job. The Back Up Files wizard tells you how much space you need each time you perform a backup and recommends the type of media to use. If you label the discs with the date and time of the backup, they will be easier to find later. For maximum protection, keep the discs in a fireproof location separate from your computer.

Network locations
If your computer is on a network, you can back up to a network location. Make sure that you have the right permissions for the network and that other users can't access your backup.

Beta testing Windows 7 - Part7 (Photoshop Benchmark)

With the Windows 7 test system running, it's time to see what it can do. Keep in mind that the total cost for just the hardware (less the Antec Skeleton case) was around $525. I went over to Adobe and downloaded the 64-bit trial version of Photoshop CS4. The following is an excerpt from Adobe's knowledge base article '64-bit Operating System benefits and limitations in Photoshop CS4 (Windows)'

Opening 32-bit and 64-bit versions

Photoshop installs a 32-bit and a 64-bit shortcut into the Start Menu. If you need to manually run the application, the 32-bit version is the photoshop.exe file, in the Program Files (x86)/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CS4 folder, and the 64-bit version is the photoshop.exe file in the Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CS4 folder.

Third party plug-ins

Third party plug-ins written for 32-bit versions of Windows will not work when you run the 64-bit version of Photoshop. If you need to use plug-ins that haven't been updated, run the 32-bit version of Photoshop. When you are done using the plug-ins, close the 32-bit version, and run the 64-bit version. Contact the plug-in manufacturer for information about any updates.

Processor speed and Photoshop operations

Although the 64-bit version of Photoshop will speed up some operations, it won't speed all of them, nor will it speed the operation equally. Generally, operations will run approximately 8-12% faster. Overall, processor speed is not the main advantage of using the 64-bit version.

RAM use

The primary advantage of using the 64-bit version is to access amounts of RAM beyond what Photoshop can access when the 32-bit version is run. You can take advantage of more than 4 GB of RAM only when you are on 64-bit Windows, using 64-bit Photoshop. If you use files large enough to need more than 4 GB of RAM, and you have enough RAM, all the processing you perform on your large images can be done in RAM, instead of swapping out to the hard disk.

This table lists the amount of RAM available to Photoshop with the different versions of Windows:


Photoshop Version

Windows Version

Maximum amount of RAM Photoshop can use

32-bit

32-bit

1.7 GB

32-bit

32-bit

3.2 GB

64-bit

64-bit

as much RAM as you can fit into your computer

Now with the two different versions of Adobe Photoshop installed (32-bit & 64-bit) it was time to find a benchmark test. I found DriverHeaven Photoshop Bench V3. I ran the tests as instructed and here's the results:


DriverHeaven Photoshop Bench V3

Intel Core2 Quad 8400

Intel Core2 Quad 8400

64 bit

32 bit

Texturiser

1.5

1.8

CMYK

1.2

1.3

RGB

1.4

1.5

Ink Outlines

20.4

21.0

Dust & Stratches

2.0

2.0

Watercolor

20.3

21.0

Texturiser

1.6

1.6

Stained Glass

13.3

12.6

Lighting

1.8

2.0

Mosiac

9.5

13.0

Extrude

83.4

98.4

Smart Blur

58.9

58.1

Underpainting

21.7

24.1

Palette

17.2

18.4

Sponge

28.3

28.4

Total

282.5

305.2

As you can see, the 64-bit version was, on average, 7% faster than the 32-bit version. To compare the results of the Windows 7 test system with other systems, please click here and look for my name 'Scott St. Gelais'.

I have now shown you the pros and cons of 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Adobe Photoshop CS4 running on Windows 7. Which version would you choose?

Till then,
Scott


Monitor your computer's performance, programs and processes with Task Manager in Windows (Video)

Task Manager provides information about programs and processes running on your computer. It also displays the most commonly used performance measures for processes.

You can use Task Manager to monitor key indicators of your computer's performance. You can see the status of the programs that are running and end programs that have stopped responding. You can also assess the activity of running processes using as many as fifteen parameters.

In addition, if you are connected to a network, you can view network status and see how your network is functioning.

If you have more than one user connected to your computer, you can see who is connected, what they are working on, and you can send them a message.

Open Task Manager:

  • To open Windows Task Manager, right-click an empty space on the taskbar, and then click Task Manager or by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ESC.

Note:
You might need to be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group in order to perform some tasks.

Programs that are running

The Applications tab shows the status of the programs running on your computer.

On this tab, you can end, switch to, or start a program.

Processes that are running

The Processes tab shows information about the processes running on your computer.

For example, you can display information on CPU and memory usage, page faults, handle count, and a number of other parameters.

Performance measures

The Performance tab displays a dynamic overview of your computer's performance, including:

  • Graphs for CPU and memory usage.
  • Totals for the number of handles, thread, and processes running on your computer.
  • Totals, in kilobytes, for physical, kernel, and commit memory.

Viewing Network performance

The Networking tab displays a graphical representation of network performance. It provides a simple, qualitative indicator that shows the status of the network(s) that are running on your computer. The Networking tab is displayed only if a network card is present.

On this tab, you can view the quality and availability of your network connection, whether you are connected to one or more than one network.

Monitoring Sessions

The Users tab displays users who can access this computer, and session status and names. Client Name specifies the name of the client computer using the session, if applicable. Session provides a name for you to use to perform such tasks as sending another user a message or connecting to another user’s session.

The Users tab is displayed only if the computer you are working on has Fast User Switching enabled, and is a member of a workgroup or is a standalone computer. The Users tab is unavailable on computers that are members of a network domain.

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