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Thread: For a Serious Windows House Cleaning

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Pacific Northwest

    Post For a Serious Windows House Cleaning

    For a Serious Windows House Cleaning

    Iím quite confident that most of you are well versed in normal cleanup procedures for your Windows OS, but are there more trash cans just waiting to be emptied?

    I didnít think so awhile back. I thought I knew where all the junk was stowed. However when I started digging around and doing some searching in Windows and online, I was really surprised at how much stuff was left untouched even after completing what I thought was a thorough cleaning. Doggone I even wrote and used a cute little batch file for Win98 that I thought would definitely sanitize that OS. Well I tossed that one into the bit bucket faster than my firewall can drop a packet!

    Obviously, not all of these will apply to every Windows OS, but hereís some examples to give you an idea what Iím talking about:

    - Application Optimization Logs from C:\WINDOWS\applog folder
    - Filecheck files
    - Clean Standard Free Space
    - All the other various locations the different browsers store cache/cookies.
    - .fnd Files
    - Data files
    - Clean File Slack Space
    - Unused Process Plugins
    - Install Junk Files
    - The Windowís Swap File
    - Old CD image files
    - Contents of your Download Programs Folder if your not saving them somewhere else - - Recent Files List
    - Multimedia and gfx files that you donít want, in the C:\WINDOWS folder
    - System.1st folder (itís a copy of the original registry) might want to keep it though Ė itís probably a virgin file
    - Old Install Cab Files from C:\WINDOWS \options folder
    - Windowís Temp Folders
    - Clean those darn index.dat files

    That list is not all-inclusive, but it will get you well on your way to a good housecleaning. And please add to it on your posts. Now obviously Iím not going to hunt down each and every one of those files every time I want to clean house. There are already programs out there that can do it for me. So I thought Iíd toss my cleanup routine out there, the programs I use, and if it helps, great. If itís redundant, then go make out with your sweetie for a while, then come back and post a new routine for us. Iím always eager to learn new ways to clear out the trash and to keep the computer performance peaked. However, please do not share your routine for making out with your sweetie. This is ďGĒ rated thread about improving your system performance and not about your personal skills. PM Tutorials are welcome though.


    Update AVG, Spybot S & D, Ad-aware, Kerio, & Swatit.

    AVG: http://www.grisoft.com/us/us_index.php

    SpyboT: www.safer-networking.org/en/download/

    Ad-aware: www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/

    Kerio: http://www.kerio.com/kpf_home.html

    Swatit: http://swatit.org/

    Run in normal mode: XEN & Clean Disk Security

    Xen: http://www.x9000.net/ This is a kick-butt heavy duty cleaner as such, donít just click ďYĒ when queried. Make sure you read the questions prior to accepting the default. (Also I recommend saying no on the fonts inquiry, some progs & apps use odd fonts and deleting them can have an adverse affect.)

    CDS: http://www.theabsolute.net/sware/clndisk.html Great for cleaning slack space, swap file, etc. Also Clean Disk Security has many other useful features such as: Wiping a HDD by inserting 0ís in 1-6 passes for a Simple Method, NIS (7 passes), and Gutmann (35 passes).

    Reboot into Safe Mode and Run: AVG, Spybot S & D, Ad-aware, & Swatit.

    Reboot into Normal Mode

    Surf over to Trend Micro and do an online scan.

    Housecall: http://housecall.trendmicro.com/

    Startup Xchat and hook-up with the buds on unerror.com

    Kick the browser on and surf over to http://www.antionline.com/ to catch up on info about the good ole days

    Of course the latter two are personal preferences, but if you want to run with the big dogs, gotta get off the porch.

    Additional Information: (use at your own discretion though, you may want to keep some of the files he lists below and some of the info is dated)

    What to Throw Away

    Intended For
    Windows XP
    Windows 2000
    Windows Me
    Windows 98
    Windows 95

    When you install (or upgrade to) a new version of Windows, there are many files placed in your root and Windows directories that can be deleted. These include:

    In your root directory:

    * Anything with the extensions *.TXT, *.PRV, *.LOG, *.OLD, and *.- - -.
    * If you don't plan on uninstalling Windows, you can delete WIN95UNDO.DAT (Windows 98 only).

    In your Windows directory:

    * Anything with the extensions *.LOG, *.OLD, *.- - -, *.BAK, and *.000, *.001 (and so on...)
    * Any files with the following dates can also be deleted, for they belong to old versions of Windows:
    o 03-10-92 - Windows 3.1
    o 09-30-92 - Windows for Workgroups 3.1
    o 11-01-93 - Windows for Workgroups 3.11
    o 12-31-93 - Windows 3.11

    * Do a search (Start Menu -> Find -> Files or Folders) and search for any *.BMP and *.TXT files in the Windows directory. Use QuickView to view them, and delete them if desired.

    In your Windows\System directory:

    * The entire WIN32S directory under your System directory - this is used only in Windows 3.x to allow certain 32-bit applications to run, but some older applications errantly install it in Windows. If you remove this directory, make sure to remove any references to it in your SYSTEM.INI file, and restart Windows.

    In your Temp directory (usually Windows\Temp):

    * You should never delete any files from this directory, unless the dates of the files are earlier than the last time you booted up. Your applications use these files to store temporary information, and won't function properly if you try to remove them. Usually, any files in this directory that are more than a day old can be safely removed.

    Anywhere on your system:

    * Other files that can be deleted include MSCREATE.DIR (an absolutely useless hidden file created by Microsoft installation programs - there may be hundreds of these empty files on your hard disk - see Slack Space.)
    * Any directory named, ~MSSETUP.T - this is a temporary directory created during the installation of a program, and can be freely deleted once the installation is complete.

    Uninstallation Files:

    * There may be up to 70 megabytes of "uninstallation" information - files kept around if you decide to remove Windows (assuming you've upgraded from Windows 95).
    * The best way to get rid of these files (surprisingly) is to use the Tune-Up Wizard - don't bother with the scheduling of Scandisk and Disk Defragmenter (unless you want to) - it will present you with a list of the useless files you can remove. Hack away!

    Files NOT to delete:

    * Anything in your SYSBCKUP directory.
    * Your Registry (SYSTEM.DAT, SYSTEM.DA0, USER.DAT, USER.DA0), as well as SYSTEM.1ST, which you can use if the first four become corrupted.
    * Any files in your root directory not mentioned above.

    If in doubt:

    * If you're not sure if something should be deleted, try moving it to another directory first to see if it makes a difference.
    * Check the file's date - if it's recent, most likely it's still being used.
    * For information on removing a particular application, contact the manufacturer of that application, or refer to the application's documentation.

    Written by: Annoyances.org
    Last updated: Sunday, August 12, 2001

    Now lets finish the job up with a Scan Disk and a Defrag.


    edit: Nihil made a great recommendation that you create a checklist from this thread and keep it handy! So tweak it, as you need to for your particular situation and print it out. And if you havenít already, I would definitely recommend you start a Cleanup Routine and stick with it.
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  2. #2
    AO Łbergeek phishphreek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Some very nice tips you have here.

    I don't understand why you recommend to scandisk and defrag in the middle of the "cleaning".
    I normally do that after I've removed all junk. More of a final step?
    Quitmzilla is a firefox extension that gives you stats on how long you have quit smoking, how much money you\'ve saved, how much you haven\'t smoked and recent milestones. Very helpful for people who quit smoking and used to smoke at their computers... Helps out with the urges.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Pacific Northwest
    Thanks Phishphreek80

    I moved it down where it belongs.

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