Frequently Asked Questions

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Every day Pamela receives numerous questions from troubled computer and iPad/iPhone users, by email and at various seminars and workshops. Her answers provide advice on a variety of subjects related to computer hardware and software and Apple iPad and iPhones. Listed below are the questions that Pamela feels will be helpful to most users, from beginners to the more advanced.

If you cannot find the answer to your question listed below, ask Pamela your questions here or click on the ‘Ask Pamela’ link on the sidebar menu below the category list. You can also leave Pamela a Message by clicking on the Blue Button at the bottom of the right hand sidebar. Pamela always answers promptly.

Computer Maintenance

How do I check my system for corrupt files?

Malicious software will often attempt to replace core system files with modified versions in an effort to take control of the system. The System File Checker can be used to verify the integrity of the Windows system files. If any of the files are found to be missing or corrupt, they will be replaced.

Follow these simple steps to fix your system:
Click on “Start”
Click on “All programs”
Click on “Accessories”
Right Click on “Command Prompt”
Choose “Run as Administrator”
Click “Yes” to the “User Account Control” The “DOS” box will appear.
Type sfc /scannow (including the space) after C:\Windows\system32>

System File Checker
The system will begin to check the files on your computer until it reads 100%

System Checking Files
The system found corrupt files and replaced them.

Corrupt Files Found

How do I Clean Up and Speed Up my Computer?

In order to keep your computer running smoothly, without slowing down or crashing, it helps to run “Computer Maintenance” weekly. These three tools will help to keep your computer trouble-free.

FIRST: DISK CLEANUP – Cleans up all the unwanted files.

SECOND: ERROR CHECKING – Searches the hard drive for problems, and fixes them.

THIRD: DEFRAGMENTATION – Allows Windows to access your files faster.Close all open programs before you begin

Cleans up all the unwanted files.

  • To run Disk Cleanup: Click Start then click on ‘Computer’
  • Right click the hard drive (C Drive)
  • On this screen, click on ‘Properties’
 Disk Cleanup Properties  
  • When ‘Properties’ opens:
  • Click on ‘Disk Cleanup.’Disk Cleanup Properties Box

Then the system will begin to calculate which files are available for deletion.

Disk Cleanup Properties Calculating


When the system has Calculated all the files, it will ask you to select which files you wish to delete. Put a check mark next to the files you wish to delete.Then Click OK.Computer TipI suggest keeping your ‘Office SetUp’ files and ‘System SetUp’ files.All the others can be checked for deletion.The system will then proceed to delete the selected files.Disk Cleanup Properties CalculatedDisk Cleanup Deleting Files  
SECOND: ERROR CHECKING – Searches the hard drive for problems and fixes them.To run Error Checking:

  • Click ‘Start’ then click ‘Computer’
  • Right Click the hard drive (C drive)
  • Click  ‘Properties’
  • Select the ’Tools’ tab
  • Click  ‘Check Now’

Properties Tools - Error Checking

  • PUT A CHECK MARK BOTH BOXES the FIRST time you run this feature.
  • Then check just the FIRST box the next few times you run ‘Error Checking’
  • I advise checking BOTH boxes at least every few months to keep the system clear.

Check Disk


Schedule Disk Check

Click – ‘Start’ then click “Schedule disk check.”  Close all open windows and reboot (restart) your computer to make this feature run.

  • When your computer restarts, you will see a pale blue or black screen with white text.  
  • Do not touch any keys, your mouse or use the computer until this process is complete. Just let it run its course. It could take a few hours the first time you run it.

When it has finished cleaning and fixing the problems, Windows will resume and your Desktop will appear as usual.

THIRD: DEFRAGMENTATION – Allows Windows to access your files faster.NOTE: If you have a ‘Screen Saver’ running, It is advisable to turn it OFF before you Defragment your system.To run Defragmentation:

  • Click ‘Start’ then click ‘Computer’
  • Right click the hard drive (C drive)
  • Click ‘Properties’
  • Select the ‘Tools’ tab.
  • Click ’Defragment Now’ even if you have a schedule in place or it advises you that you do not need to do it now.


Let the ‘Defragmenter’ run until finished. This procedure could take some time the first time you run it.

Perform the above three procedures at least twice a month to keep your computer running smoothly.




What do you suggest that I back up on an external drive and what type of medium should I use?

I think that the most important files to back up are your “Documents” and “Pictures.” If you have stored them in the above folders they will be easy to transfer to your external medium.

The new WD (Western Digital) external drives have installed software that will allow you to back up just the files you want and they will also perform incremental back ups when you create new files. You can add a password to protect your data should you lose your external drive. The drive will only “unlock” if the correct password is entered so make sure that you use upper and lower case letters and numbers or symbols to make the password more secure.

The WD Passport Portable External drives are small in physical size and convenient to carry; they also come in several colours. The recent units have 500GB – 750GB and 1TB of storage space. Some are sold with a matching case.

Keeping a back up of your important files will be a safeguard if your computer malfunctions and it is also handy for transporting your files when you travel or wish to move them to another computer.

If I cannot close my computer using the Start Button or my computer freezes, is it OK to pull the plug?

No, it is not advisable to “pull the plug” if your computer freezes. The “shock” of pulling the plug on a working computer could cause the hard drive to crash or malfunction.

The safe way to close down the computer is to hold down the CTRL, ALT and DELETE keys simultaneously, which will bring up the Windows Task Manager. This “tool” allows you to close the troublesome program or programs and then continue working on your computer without closing down your system. It also has an option to ‘Disconnect’ or ‘Logoff’ under the ‘Users’ tab.