Getting To Know My Computer

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You know the way they say you should get to know your own body, so that, if (when) things start to go wrong you’ll notice those subtle changes? Well, my computer has been sluggish and uncooperative lately, so I decided it was time I got to know it.

I started with the Task Master. This is a dandy program that shows all the applications and processes running on the computer. It shows — in real time — the amount of CPU and memory used by each process. Right now, my computer has three applications and 58 processes running. The 3 applications are MS-Word (creating this blog entry) Outlook Express, my email program and Task Master.

The processes are programs that run in the background. Programs that monitor and control stuff, like spooling to the printer or checking for incoming emails. I checked out each of these processes to make sure that I had nothing untoward running, like that pesky Trojan that I discovered recently.

Next, I checked the hard disk. I ran the Defrag program and discovered that 20% of my disk is free. The program told me that I do not need to defrag the disk at this time. Defrag is the program that consolidates all the free space created by file deletions into one area on the disk.

Then I turned my attention to the keyboard. There are a lot of keys on there that I never use. Starting at the top, we have Esc and 12 keys marked F1 – F12. I never use these, so they can go. There are 3 other keys up there: Print Screen/SysRq, Scroll Lock and Pause/Break. I don’t recall using any of those, but they look important, so I’ll hold onto them for now. The block of 6 under these are useful for word processing, as are the arrow keys. On the second row from the top we have the numbers, minus, plus and backspace. I will keep those, of course, but who needs that other block of numbers over on the extreme right? Whip them off. On the bottom row there are 2 Shift keys, 2 Ctrl keys and 2 Windows keys; That’s 3 that I don’t need. Also on the bottom we have a mysterious key with a picture of 2 overlapping windows and a pointer; what’s that about? And finally, there’s one called Alt Gr that I never use.

I call that progress. Maybe my computer will run faster now that it doesn’t have to worry about all those superfluous keys.

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