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A clean computer is a happy computer!


Remove all those temporary files from your computer.


When things don't seem to be working just right.  You're getting "illegal operation" or other such fatal messages.  Programs don't seem to be letting you do what you think they are supposed to.


So your computer will be clean and happy and able to perform its assigned tasks properly.


Procedure A:  for Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows 98SE

Caution:  this is a bit tricky.  It involves using the dreaded MS-DOS mode and its terrifying command prompt.  If you don't feel comfortable with this procedure, ask someone with a little more experience to help you.

  1. Click the Start button
  2. Click Shutdown
  3. On the shutdown dialog box, select the radio button that says "Shutdown and restart in MS-DOS mode"
  4. Click OK
  5. After a brief(?) delay, the computer will go to a black screen with white text and a bunch of wierd stuff on it.  The last line on the screen should have something like "C:\>" on it.  Your mouse will probably be non-functional here.  This is no time to be clicking.  You must type on the keyboard at this point.  Type "scandisk c:" (without the quotes) and press the ENTER key.
  6. Scandisk will now check your hard disk for errors.  If a message tells you something about "lost clusters" being found, tell scandisk to "delete" them.  You don't need them, they can't help you, don't worry about it.  If errors are found, you will be prompted to put in a recovery disk -- tell it to "skip" this step.  Tell scandisk (when asked) that you do not want to perform a surface test.
  7. When scandisk finishes and you choose to EXIT, you will be back at the scary MS-DOS prompt again.  Type the word "set" and press the ENTER key.  What we're trying to do here is discover where the system thinks it should put your temp files.  You will be presented with a screen full of gibberish.  Somewhere within this gibberish will be a line beginning with "TEMP=" followed by some stuff.  Make a note of this stuff, you'll be needing it soon.  In most cases, the stuff will be "C:\WINDOWS\TEMP" or some slight variation of this.
  8. At the prompt, type in "CD", press the SPACE bar, then type the stuff (probably C:\WINDOWS\TEMP) that I just told you to make note of.   Be sure to enter it exactly as it appears after the equals sign.   Then press the ENTER key.  This has just moved you into the temporary files directory.
  9. Your prompt will have changed to something like "C:\WINDOWS\TEMP" and is ready for you to perform the final steps.
  10. Type "DEL *.TMP" (without the quotes, of course) and press ENTER.  All your misbegotten files have now been banished to bogeyland.
  11. The final step is to restart the computer.  To do this, hold down the CTRL and ALT keys, and press the DEL key.  If you prefer,  press the RESET button on the front panel of the computer.

Procedure B:  for all newer versions of Windows

  1. Close all open programs.  Yes, even AIM (which you shouldn't be running anyway).
  2. Click the Start button
  3. Select Programs
  4. Select Accessories
  5. Select System Tools
  6. Click Disk Cleanup
  7. Make sure that your primary hard drive (usually C) is selected, and click OK
  8. The computer will churn for a while, looking for stuff to get rid of.  Then you will get a box asking you to choose what to do.
  9. Tell it to get rid of the temporary files as well as temporary internet files
  10. Click OK and wait...
  11. When it's done, Windows will silently smile to itself. 
  12. Get back to work...

You have now performed brilliantly, and your computer should function better than it has for quite some time.




Every precaution has been taken to insure that the procedures presented here will not cause damage to your computer system.  However, Mind Over Machines Inc. will not be responsible for any damage caused directly or indirectly by any advice and/or procedures given anywhere on this web site.  Likewise, we cannot be responsible for malfunctions caused by defective hardware, or unforeseen problems which arise from use of the standard Microsoft tools.  If problems do arise, we may attempt to assist in the diagnosis and eventual remedy, but cannot be held liable or bound to do so.

Contents Copyright (c) 1999-2004, Mind Over Machines Inc.

Page last updated 08/28/04.