This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows Vista.
Brand new computers typically have excellent performance. However, after accessing information on the Internet, playing games, making changes to the system configuration files as you modify and optimize programs, and adding a variety of new software programs, you may notice that the computer has started to run slowly and freeze for no obvious reason. It is recommended that you regularly perform certain maintenance tasks to keep your computer running as efficiently as possible.
Using the HP Support Assistant to maintain your computer
For HP computers with Windows Vista operating system, HP strongly recommends that you install and use the HP Support Assistant on a regularly scheduled basis. This tool allows you to perform the most common maintenance tasks automatically.
If you are not sure you are using the latest version, or if the operating system was upgraded to Windows Vista, you should download the current version of HP Support Assistant from the HP Web site.
|Install the latest version of HP Support Assistant for Windows Vista .|
Run HP Support Assistant to scan your computer and get the status of any available maintenance tasks. After the scan is complete, a list of maintenance tasks displays. Review and perform all the recommended actions.
To scan your computer and run any recommended maintenance tasks, do the following:
- Click Start , All Programs , HP , and then click HP Support Assistant . Or click the HP Support Assistant icon on the desktop.
- Click Maintain on the main menu.
- Click Refresh to open the Health Analysis window and start the analysis process.As the HP Support Assistant analyzes your computer, a green-and-red circle displays next to the task the Support Assistant is currently performing.
- When the health analysis is complete, a list of Important actions needed displays. Perform these actions.
Performing routine maintenance tasks
The following are the most common, and most important, maintenance tasks that you can run on your notebook in order to optimize its performance. It is highly recommended that you perform them on a regularly scheduled basis.
Performing a system tune up
- Click the HP Support Assistant icon as described above, and select Tune up .
- Click Settings to select the desired individual diagnostic and repair actions, and then click Start tune up to perform the actions including:
- Set a restore point for system backups
- Empty the Recycle Bin
- Clear Browser caches
- Clear the system's Temporary cache
- Defragment the hard drive(s)
- Install the latest updates for your computer
- Display a notification of known problems
Use the tune up tool in the HP Support Assistant to perform additional maintenance tasks.
The tune up tool gives you quick access to a variety of mid-level maintenance operations, such as setting a restore point for system backups, clearing Internet browser caches, and more.
To open the tune up tool and run it, do the following:
NOTE:A system tune up can take anywhere from several minutes to several hours, depending on how frequently you do it, how fragmented your hard drive is, and other factors. Be sure that you save any work and close down any applications that are not vital to your work while the tune up is in progress.
For help using the HP Troubleshooting Tools, see the HP Notebook PCs - Installing and Using HP Support Assistant support document.
Running Windows Update
It is a good idea to update hardware drivers and the operating system on a weekly basis.
Drivers are software programs that allow the operating system to communicate with hardware on the computer, such as the video and sound cards. An updated driver enables the devices to work optimally. Windows Update provides updates for the operating system, Microsoft software, and important drivers for the operating system.
For help using Windows Update, refer to the HP Notebook PCs - Using Windows Update Program to Update Microsoft Software in Windows support document.
Scanning for and removing viruses
HP recommends setting your antivirus program (such as Norton Internet Security or Windows Defender) to automatically scan the computer for harmful and unwanted material and to check for updates once a week.
Schedule the scan for a time that you do not need to use the computer. The computer must be turned on and connected to the Internet at the time of the scan to obtain updates from the software manufacturer. If the computer is turned off and not connected at the time of the scheduled scan, the software attempts to obtain the latest updates the next time the computer is turned on.
For more information on viruses, Windows Defender, and Norton Internet Security, refer to the HP Notebook PCs - Protecting Notebook From Threats On The Internet support document.
Scanning for and removing spyware and adware
- It often contains code that tracks your personal information and passes it along to third parties without your knowledge.
- It runs in the background on the computer, which takes up memory and diverts system resources from programs that you actually want to run.
Adware is a software application that displays advertising banners while it is running. Clicking the banner ads and other pop-up ads while online frequently installs adware onto a computer.
Having adware installed on the computer is problematic for two main reasons:
Spyware is a software application that collects information about browsing habits on the web, which allows the company that installed the spyware on the computer to build marketing profiles.
Most antivirus programs, such as Norton Internet Security and Windows Defender, offer some limited anti-spyware protection. However, you may want to look into programs specifically designed for adware and spyware removal as well. Some recognized programs are Ad-Aware from Lavasoft, and SpyBot Search and Destroy.
For more information about viruses, adware, and spyware, and how to remove them, refer to the HP Notebook PCs - Protecting Notebook From Threats On The Internet support document.
Emptying the Recycle Bin
- Restore a file that was accidentally moved to the recycle bin.Right-click the Recycle Bin on the desktop and select Open to view all the files that are scheduled for deletion.Select the file that you want to save, and then click Restore this item . The file is returned to its original location on the hard drive.
- Empty the Recycle Bin to permanently remove a file.Right-click the Recycle Bin on the desktop and select Empty the Recycle Bin . When prompted, click Yes to confirm that you want to permanently delete the file(s).
It is important to delete files that are sitting in the Recycle Bin on a periodic basis, particularly temporary Internet files, because they can fill up a hard drive quickly, and slow down performance.
It is recommended that you empty the Recycle Bin at least once a week.
After emptying the Recycle Bin, you may want to run Scan Disk, as discussed below.
Deleting temporary Internet files
- Click Start , type disk into the search field, and then select Disk Cleanup from the list. Grant permission to continue, if prompted.
- Select the drive that you want to clean up and then click OK .
- If prompted, select My files only , then select your hard drive, (C:) , and click OK .
- Wait while Disk Cleanup evaluates the hard disk drive and displays a list of how much space can be saved by deleting various categories of files.
- Select the types of files that you want to delete, click OK , and then Yes to confirm that you want to permanently delete the files.
- Wait while Disk Cleanup permanently deletes the files.
Windows uses several directories, such as the C:\WINDOWS\TEMP directory, to store files (*.tmp, *.spc) that are only intended for temporary use. Over time, the number of files builds up and slows down the operation of programs, such as print spooling.
Windows provides the Disk Cleanup utility to help you find and remove temporary files on your computer, which can include Internet files, cache files, and other temporary files created automatically by some programs in between full saves. It is important to delete temporary files because they can fill up a hard drive quickly and slow down performance.
To use the Disk Cleanup utility, do the following:
The files are now permanently deleted from the computer.
Backing up your files
- Use the Windows Explorer to manually copy the files to an external storage service, such as a flash media stick, an optical disc, or an external hard drive.
- Use the Backup and Restore Center to allow Windows Vista to select files from categories that you choose, and back them up on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule.
Back up your files to a CD/DVD disc, a USB flash drive, or other external storage media to protect them from being lost or changed.
For more information on backing up your files using the Backup and Restore Center, refer to the HP Notebook PCs - Use Windows Basic Backup and Restore Center to Back Up Files support document.
Creating a restore point
Prior to deleting files or performing a Disk Cleanup, consider creating a restore point.
A restore point is a copy of the system files on the computer at a specific point in time. System Restore creates restore points at automatic intervals and when Windows Vista detects that changes have been made to the computer.
For more information on creating a restore point, refer to the HP Notebook PCs - Using Microsoft System Restore support document.
Running Scan Disk
- Close all programs including background programs such as virus scanners and screen savers.
- Click Start and then Computer . The Computer window opens.
- Right-click the icon for the hard disk drive that you want to scan, click Properties , and then the Tools tab.
- Under Error-checking , click Check Now .
- Select the Automatically fix file system errors and the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check boxes, click Start , and then Schedule disk check to allow a full disk scan when the computer is restarted.
- Restart the computer to start the disk check. The disk scan can take a very long time to complete.
- The results of the error-checking are displayed. Click Close to exit program when finished.
HP recommends checking the physical condition of the hard drive once a month.
The Scan Disk error-checking function reveals any bad sectors so that the utility can repair them.
To run Scan Disk, do the following:
After making the changes, it is a good idea to consolidate and reorganize the files that are still on your hard disk drive. To improve drive efficiency by consolidating files, defragment the hard disk drive.
Defragmenting the hard disk drive
- Click Start , type disk in the search field, and then select Disk Defragmenter from the list to open Disk Defragmenter. Grant permission to continue, if prompted.
- Click Defragment now .If you want to change the schedule for automatic defragmentation, click Modify schedule and select a frequency, day of the week, and time of day for the defragmentation to occur.
To improve the performance of the hard drive, periodically use the Windows Disk Defragmenter to consolidate and reorganize the fragmented files and folders on the hard drive.
During normal operation, a computer generates temporary save files, but it does not automatically clean up or remove these files. As a computer is used, the small temporary files and larger data files on the hard disk drive become fragmented - meaning that the files are divided into small pieces and stored in different locations on the drive. When a file is needed, it takes time for the hard drive to find and reassemble all the pieces.
It is recommend that you defragment your hard disk drive(s) at least once a month. To defragment the hard disk drive, do the following:
The computer starts the defragmentation process. Disk defragmentation can take several minutes to several hours, depending on the severity of the fragmentation.
The computer must be turned on at the time that the automatic defragmentation is scheduled to occur. If the computer is turned off at the time of the scheduled automatic defragmentation, the software attempts to defragment the hard disk drive the next time the computer is turned on.
Cleaning the notebook PC
Closing programs that are not in use
It is a good idea to save any personal data and close programs when a task is finished.
Minimizing the window for a program does not stop that program from using the computer's processor and memory. Close unnecessary programs to help the computer perform more efficiently.
Activities, such as browsing the web, listening to music, and running virus scans all use a lot of system resources. Schedule the use of virus scans and other system tools for a time when the computer is not in use. Work offline when convenient.
Preventing programs from loading at startup
At startup, many programs launch background processes that take up space in memory waiting for them to be used. Removing them from the start up process can make your computer run more efficiently.
For example, scanners, photo viewers, Bluetooth devices, and camera software can all load on startup, and remain resident in memory, even when not actively in use. Most of these processes are not needed by every program or game. If the computer is running slowly and overall performance seems to have degraded since purchasing the notebook, removing these speciality programs from a normal startup may improve overall performance. For more information, refer to the HP Notebook PCs - Preventing Programs from Starting When Windows Starts support document.
The following table presents a summary of the suggested times for performing the routine maintenance tasks described in this document.
|Perform a system tune up||X|
|Run Windows Update||X|
|Scan for and remove viruses||X|
|Scan for and remove spyware and adware||X|
|Empty the Recycle Bin||X|
|Delete temporary Internet files||X|
|Back up user files||X|
|Create a restore point||X|
|Defragment the hard drive||X|
|Run Scan Disk||X|
|Clean the notebook PC||X|
|Close programs that are not being used||X|
|Prevent programs from loading at startup||X|
View a video on increasing system resources
See the Increasing System Resources video for more information about how to improve your computer's performance.