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Don't forget to purge your PC

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/2/2006 | Education

Games, downloads and chats are the most popular activities during the summer holidays. Scores of files are downloaded from different sites, many of them with invisible spy ware.  These files clog the hard drive and slow down the computer. To make the computer work properly you need to clean the computer at the beginning of the term.

The cleaning of a system does not mean that your children will not be allowed to chat or download files any longer. Instead, it would mean the following of a few basic ground rules to prevent the computer from being overloaded. This will increase the speed and processing power of the computer, and your children will be able to finish their academic assignments much faster.

There is an endless amount of data that children download during their free time, especially during summer holidays. It can range from music to movies to games. Most children are unaware that free downloads come with several invisible packages. These include viruses, worms and pop-ups that can damage your system or allow a third party to know what you are doing. Even if you want to delete these files you cannot because you dont know where they have been saved on your computer. The only way to get rid of them is to purge your PC.

The foremost thing to do is to remove all unnecessary files from your hard drive. Next, you should uninstall the games that are not required. The best option is to store the information on to a CD for future use. Your children can install the game back and play whenever they wish.

You should also download software like Spybot Search and Destroy or Ad-Aware to get rid of spy ware and pop-ups that has been saved into your system. You also need to install antivirus software like McAfee or Norton if your child is in a habit of opening all forwarded mails and saving them on to the disk.

Another useful activity is de-fragmentation of the disk. There are built-in disk utilities that will help take you through the entire process of de-fragmentation. You should also remove unused shortcuts from the desktop with the help of the Desktop Cleanup Wizard.

After purging the hard drive of unwanted content, you should install the latest version of MS Office available. This software assists your child in completing the school work efficiently and effectively. You can also install other software programs that form a part of your childs curriculum. You can buy a couple of USB micro drives to help your child carry the home work to school. These are more efficient and easier to handle as compared to floppy disks. Rewriteable CDs is another inexpensive way to transport files.

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, or MSN Search are used by most children for their project work. While doing so they may end up visiting unprotected sites. You can avoid this by registering yourself with useful websites, and by installing a firewall. This will keep your computer free of unnecessary files.