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Using Disk Defragmenter in Windows Vista

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.

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.

Using Backup in Windows XP

Using Backup in Windows XP

The Backup utility helps you create a copy of the information on a tape or storage device. Suppose the original data on your hard disk is accidentally erased or overwritten or becomes inaccessible because of a hard disk malfunction. In that case, you can use the copy to restore your lost or damaged data.


  • To start Backup, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Backup.
  • The Removable Storage service must be started for Backup to work correctly.
  • You can also use the Automated System Recovery Wizard in the Backup utility to help you repair your system.
  • For information about using Backup, click the Help menu in Backup.

Backing up files and folders

Backup lets you back up data to a file or a tape. When you back up data to a file, you have to designate a file name and a location for the saved file. Backup files usually have the extension .bkf, but you can change it to any extension. A backup file can be saved to a hard disk, a floppy disk, or any removable or non-removable media on which you can save a file.

When you back up data to a tape, you must have a tape device connected to your computer. Tapes are managed by Removable Storage. Although Backup works together with Removable Storage, you might have to use Removable Storage to perform specific maintenance tasks, such as preparing and ejecting tapes.

The following four steps describe a simple backup operation:

Select files, folders, and drives for backup

Backup provides you with a tree view of the drives, files, and folders on your computer, which you can use to select the files and folders you want to back up. You can use this tree view the same way you use Windows Explorer to open drives and folders and select files.

Select storage media or file location for backed-up data

Backup provides two options for selecting storage media:

You can back up your data to a file on a storage device. A storage device can be a hard disk, a USB drive, or any removable or non-removable media to which you can save a file. This option is always available.

You can back up your data to a tape device. This option is available only if you have a tape device installed on your computer or connected to it. If you back up data to a tape device, the media will be managed by Removable Storage.

Set backup options

Backup provides an Options dialog box, which you can use to customize your backup operations. Using the Options dialog box, you can:

Select the type of backup that you want to do. Backup types include copy, daily, differential, incremental, and normal.

Select whether you want a log file to record your backup actions. If you select this option, you can also choose whether you want a complete log file or summary log file.

Select whether you want to back up data that is stored on mounted drives.

Designate file types that you want to exclude from a backup operation.

Select whether you want to verify that the data was backed up correctly.

Start the backup

When you start a backup operation, Backup will prompt you for information about the backup job and allow you to set advanced backup options. After you have provided the information or changed your backup options, Backup will start backing up the files and folders you selected.

If you have scheduled the backup to run unattended, you will still be prompted for information about the backup job. However, after you have provided the information, Backup will not start backing up files; instead, it will add the scheduled backup to the Task Scheduler.


  • You must be an administrator or a backup operator to back up all files and folders. Suppose you are a member of the Users or Power Users group. In that case, you must be the owner of the files and folders you want to back up, or you must have one or more of the following permissions for the files and folders you want to back up: Read, Read and Execute, Modify, or Full Control.
  • The registry, the directory service, and other key system components are contained in the System State data. You must back up the System State data if you want to back up these components.
  • You can only back up the System State data on a local computer. You cannot back up the System State data on a remote computer.
  • You can schedule a backup so that it will run unattended at a specific time or frequency. You can schedule a backup after you click Start Backup.
  • If you have Windows Media Services running on your computer, and you want to back up the files associated with these services, see "Running Backup with Windows Media Services" in the Windows Media Services online documentation. You must follow the procedures outlined in the Windows Media Services online documentation before you can back up or restore files associated with Windows Media Services.
  • If you are using Removable Storage to manage media, or you are using Remote Storage to store data, you should regularly back up the files that are in the following folders:
    This will ensure that all of your Remote Storage and Removable Storage data can be restored.

Free Microsoft Tools for Windows Vista

These free applications can add fun and functionality to the Windows Vista experience.

SyncToy v2.1
SyncToy helps you copy, move, rename, and delete files between folders and computers quickly and easily.
Click here to download

Microsoft Network Monitor 3.3
A tool to allow capturing and protocol analysis of network traffic.
Click here to download

Windows SteadyState 2.5
Whether you manage computers in a school computer lab or an Internet cafe, a library, or even in your home, Windows SteadyState helps make it easy for you to keep your computers running the way you want them to, no matter who uses them.
Click here to download

Windows Help program (WinHlp32.exe) for Windows Vista
WinHlp32.exe is required to display 32-bit Help files that have the ".hlp" filename extension. To view .hlp files on Windows Vista, you need to install this application.
Click here to download

Windows PowerShell 2.0 for Windows Vista
Microsoft Windows PowerShell is a command-line shell and scripting language designed for system administration and automation. Built on the .NET Framework, Windows PowerShell enables IT professionals and developers to control and automate Windows and applications' administration.

Windows NT Backup - Restore Utility
Utility for restoring backups made on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 to computers running Windows Vista and Microsoft® Windows Server® 2008.
Click here to download

Windows Easy Transfer for Windows XP
Download Windows Easy Transfer for your Windows XP-based PC so you can automatically copy your files, photos, music, e-mail, settings, and more to your new Windows Vista based PC. This software enables you to transfer data with Easy Transfer Cables or across a network, external drive, or CD/DVD.
Click here to download

Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator 1.4
Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator allows users to create or modify keyboard layouts.
Click here to download

Free Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP

PowerToys add fun and functionality to the Windows experience. What are they? PowerToys are additional programs that developers work on after a product has been released.

Color Control Panel Applet
Professional-level photographers and designers know that getting consistent, accurate color from file to screen to print and beyond is a requirement for great results. This new tool helps you manage Windows color settings in one place. Download or learn more.

With new sources of files coming from every direction (such as digital cameras, e-mail, cell phones, portable media players, camcorders, PDAs, and laptops), SyncToy can help you copy, move, and synchronize different directories. Download or learn more.

RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer
Are you a serious photographer? Now you can organize and work with digital RAW files in Windows Explorer (much as you can with JPEG images). This tool provides thumbnails, previews, printing, and metadata display for RAW images. Download or learn more.

ClearType Tuner
This PowerToy lets you use ClearType technology to make it easier to read text on your screen and installs in the Control Panel for easy access.

HTML Slide Show Wizard
This wizard helps you create an HTML slide show of your digital pictures, ready to place on your Web site.

Open Command Window Here
This PowerToy adds an "Open Command Window Here" context menu option on file system folders, giving you a quick way to open a command window (cmd.exe) pointing at the selected folder.

Alt-Tab Replacement
With this PowerToy, in addition to seeing the icon of the application window you are switching to, you will also see a preview of the page. This helps immensely when multiple sessions of an application are open.

Tweak UI
This PowerToy gives you access to system settings that are not exposed in the Windows XP default user interface, including mouse settings, Explorer settings, taskbar settings, and more.

Version 2.10 requires Windows XP Service Pack 1 or Windows Server 2003.

Power Calculator
With this PowerToy, you can graph and evaluate functions and perform many different types of conversions.

Image Resizer
This PowerToy enables you to resize one or many image files with a right-click.

CD Slide Show Generator
With this PowerToy, you can view images burned to a CD as a slide show. The Generator works downlevel on Windows 9x machines as well.

Virtual Desktop Manager
Manage up to four desktops from the Windows taskbar with this PowerToy.

Taskbar Magnifier
Use this PowerToy to magnify part of the screen from the taskbar.

Webcam Timershot
This PowerToy lets you take pictures at specified time intervals from a Webcam connected to your computer and save them to a location that you designate.

Since Windows XP has reached its end-of-life, Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP is no longer available for download.

Surge Protectors

A gentleman called me the other day and asked me about surge protectors. A typical surge protector power strip is built using Metal Oxide Varistors (MOV's). The cheapest kind may use just one varistor, from hot (live, active) to neutral. A better protector would contain at least three varistors, one across each of the three pairs of conductors (hot-neutral, hot-ground, neutral-ground).

While a MOV is designed to conduct significant power for very short durations (~8/20 microseconds), such as caused by lightning strikes, it typically does not have the capacity to conduct sustained energy. Under normal utility voltage conditions, this is not a problem. However, certain types of faults on the utility power grid can result in sustained over-voltage conditions. Examples include a loss of a neutral conductor or shorted lines on the high voltage system. Application of sustained over-voltage to a MOV can cause high dissipation, potentially resulting in the MOV device catching fire. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has documented many cases of catastrophic fires that have been caused by MOV devices in surge suppressors and has issued bulletins on the issue.

I have found a company that makes surge protectors that does not use MOV's. They are Brick Wall, a division of Price Wheeler Corporation. I have purchased several of their products over the years and have never had a failure.

Free computer diagnostics

Repairing a PC can sometimes be expensive, and that is why we offer free basic in-shop diagnostics. Give one of our professional and experienced technicians a call at (602) 795-1111, and let's see what we can do for you.

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Here at Geeks in Phoenix, we take pride in providing excellent customer service. We aim to give the highest quality of service  from computer repair, virus removal, and data recovery.

Bring your computer to us and save

Repairing a computer can be time-consuming. That is why we base our in-shop service on the time we work on your computer, not the time it takes for your computer to work! From running memory checking software to scanning for viruses, these are processes that can take some time.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at (602) 795-1111  and talk with one of our Geeks. Or you can send us a message from our contact page contact page , and one of our Geeks will get back to you as soon as possible. Or you can stop by and see us. Here are our hours and location.

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