Section 3.8. Performance and Troubleshooting


3.8. Performance and Troubleshooting


Back up (copy) files from your hard drive to a CD drive, DVD drive, removable storage device, or another PC or drive on a network for the purpose of safeguarding or archiving your data, or for saving your computer configuration so that you can restore it in the event of a crash.


To open

Control Panel Back up your computer

Control Panel System and Maintenance Backup and Restore Center


Description

The Backup and Restore Center, new in Windows Vista, offers tools for backing up data as well as creating a restore "image" of your computer, which can be used to re-create the state of your PCincluding the operating system, applications, and settingsin the event of a hardware failure. It fixes a variety of shortcomings in the backup program built into Windows XP, such as not being able to back up across a network. On the other hand, it's less flexible than the XP backup program because it doesn't allow you to customize it to a great extent. You can't, for example, choose specific folders, or files from specific folders, to be backed up. Instead, you have to back up all files of a particular file type, such as documents.


Shows an overview of all your system's drives.


To open

Start Computer

Start All Programs Accessories System Tools Computer


Description

Gives a quick overview of all of your computer's drives and folders in Windows Explorer.


Perform computer management tasks and run tools such as the Task Scheduler.


To open

Run as a plug-in for the Microsoft Management Console.

Command Prompt compmgmt


Description

This plug-in to the Microsoft Management Console lets you perform a variety of computer management tasks, including monitoring performance and reliability. It also provides a way to run tools such as the Task Scheduler.


Reclaim disk space by removing unwanted files from your hard drive.


To open

Start All Programs Accessories System Tools Disk Cleanup

Control Panel [System and Maintenance] Free up disk space

Command Prompt cleanmgr


Description

Disk Cleanup summarizes the disk space used by several predefined types of files, such as Temporary Internet Files and items in the Recycle Bin. If you have more than one hard drive, Disk Cleanup prompts you to choose one. It also asks whether you want to clean up only your files, or files from all users on the computer (you'll need Administrator rights to do the latter).


Reorganize the files on a disk to optimize disk performance and reliability.


To open

Control Panel [System and Maintenance] Defragment your hard drive

Command Prompt dfrgui


Description

As you create files on your hard disk, they become defragmented so that a single file is stored in several different noncontiguous locations. As more files become fragmented, the reliability and performance of the hard drive diminish. Disk Defragmenter reorganizes the files and folders on a drive so that the files are stored contiguously, and the free space is contiguous as well.


Prepare and partition a hard disk.


To open

Command Prompt diskpart


Description

DiskPart is a full-featured program used to prepare hard disks and, optionally, divide them into two or more partitions. It's a command-line program and has no interface to speak of. When you start DiskPart, you'll see a simple prompt: DISKPART>. Type help and press Enter to view a list of all the available commands.


Read system logs and view other system events.


To open

Run as a plug-in for the Microsoft Management Console.

Command Prompt eventvwr


Description

A plug-in to the Microsoft Management Console, the Event Viewer provides an easy way to read system logs and view other system events.


Rate your computer's capability to run Windows Vista.


To open

Control Panel System and Maintenance Performance Information and Tools


Description

This screen rates your PC according to how well it runs Windows, using what it calls a Windows Experience Index. It rates the processor, RAM, graphics subsystem, gaming graphics subsystem, and primary hard disk on a scale of one to five. The higher the number, the better the performance. The lowest rating of any of those is called the system's Base Score.


Controls the balance between using advanced Windows Vista visual features and performance.


To open

Control Panel [System and Maintenance] System Advanced System Settings Advanced, click Settings under Performance


Description

Windows Vista contains a great deal of "eye candy" that makes using the operating system a far more visually pleasing experience. But on some systems, these visual effects can slow a system down. Use Performance Options to balance visual effects against performance.


Automatically solve problems with your computer and Windows Vista.


To open

Control Panel [System and Maintenance] Problem Reports and Solutions


Description

One of the best new troubleshooting features in Windows Vista is its capability to automatically detect problems with your computer and offer automated fixes for them. The Control Panel's Problem Reports and Solutions applet is the place to go to find and launch these solutions.

The applet displays any solutions to install, as well as information about problems that do not yet have solutions, are not serious enough to require solutions, or will have solutions. Click any to launch a wizard that walks you through the steps to fix the problem.


Speeds up computer performance by storing commonly used files in a flash device.


Description

ReadyBoost, new to Windows Vista, uses a flash memory device (USB stick, SD card, etc.) to prefetch and store commonly used files, and essentially treats the device as a way to augment RAM. It's an inexpensive and easy way to speed up Windows Vista performance.

ReadyBoost speeds up Windows Vista performance in several ways. It increases the size of the prefetch cache, and it frees up RAM that would otherwise be used by prefetch. Depending on your system configuration, you may see a dramatic speed improvement.

To use ReadyBoost, connect a flash drive to your PC. Windows Vista will recognize the device, and then it will ask whether to use it to speed up your PC with ReadyBoost or use it as a normal drive. Select "Speed up my system" and ReadyBoost goes into action, without further intervention required on your part.


Track and review system performance.


To open

Run as a plug-in for the Microsoft Management Console.

Command Prompt perfmon


Description

This plug-in to the Microsoft Management Console tracks system performance and shows a history of application, Windows, hardware, and miscellaneous failures, as well as software installations and uninstallations. Go to any day for details for the failures, installations, and uninstallations for that day. The graph displays the overall reliability over time, so you can see whether your computer is becoming less reliable as it ages.


Collect and display information about your computer.


To open

Start All Programs Accessories System Tools System Information

Command Prompt msinfo32


Description

Microsoft System Information is a reporting tool used to view information about hardware, system resources used by that hardware, software drivers, and Internet Explorer settings. Information is arranged in a familiar Explorer-like tree. Expand or collapse branches with the little plus (+) and minus (-) signs, and click any category to view the corresponding information in the righthand pane.


Manage system services.


To open

Run as a plug-in for the Microsoft Management Console.

Command Prompt services


Description

This plug-in to the Microsoft Management Console displays system services and lets you start and stop services, control whether they run at startup, and customize how they run.


Get basic information about your computer.


To open

Control Panel [System and Maintenance] System


Description

The System Control Panel shows you at a glance basic information about your computer, including the type of processor and speed, installed RAM, Windows Vista edition, computer name, product ID, and more.

The panel also includes a variety of links to settings, such as System Properties.


View and modify many general Windows settings.


To open

Control Panel [System and Maintenance] System, then click Change settings

Command Prompt control sysdm.cpl


Description

The System Properties window contains settings that affect hardware, system performance, networking, and other Windows features.


Roll back your computer's configuration to an earlier state, with the intention of undoing potentially harmful changes.


To open

Start All Programs Accessories System Tools System Restore

Control Panel [System and Maintenance] System System Protection

Command Prompt rstrui


Description

System Protection (also confusingly called System Restore) is a feature that runs invisibly in the background, continuously backing up important system files and Registry settings. The idea is that at some point, you may want to roll back your computer's configuration to a time before things started going wrong. By default, System Restore is turned on, using at least 300 MB of your computer's hard-disk space.

System Restore is particularly useful for restoring the state of your computer if you ever install an application that wreaks havoc on your system. Theoretically, every time you install a new application or drive, a new restore point is created, which is then used to restore the state of your PC to what it was before the installation. But a restore point may not always be created, so if you're about to install a new application that you fear may not be well behaved, it's a good idea to manually create a restore point. System Restore automatically creates a Restore Point once a day as well as whenever a significant system event occurs, such as installing a driver or a new program.

Oddly enough, Windows calls the feature both System Protection and System Restore. System Protection actually refers to the overall configuration screen for System Restore, and System Restore is the actual application that creates restore points and performs system restorations.


Display currently running programs, background processes, and some performance statistics.


To open

Ctrl-Alt-Delete Start Task Manager

Right-click on empty portion of the Taskbar Task Manager

Command Prompt taskmgr

Keyboard shortcut: Ctrl-Shift-Esc


Description

The Task Manager is an extremely useful tool, but you won't find it on the Start menu. In its simplest form, it displays all running applications, allowing you to close any that have crashed or stopped responding.


Run a program or script at a specified time.


To open

Control Panel [System and Maintenance] Schedule tasks

Command Prompt taskschd


Description

The Task Scheduler allows you to schedule any program or WSH script to run at a specified time or interval.

To create a new scheduled task, click Create Basic Task to open the Task Scheduler Wizard. You'll be prompted to do the following:

  1. Type in a name for the task and its description.

  2. Select a trigger (for example, at a specific day, when your computer starts, when you log on, when a specific event occurs, and so on). The trigger can also be a specific time of the day and day of the week.

  3. Select an action that the Task Scheduler should take (for example, run a program, send an email, or display a message).

Click Finish, and you're done. The task will now run at the scheduled time.


Transfers file, folders, and settings among PCs.


To open

Control Panel [System and Maintenance] Welcome Center Transfer Files and Settings


Description

Windows Easy Transfer can transfer files, programs, and settings from a PC running Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Vista to a PC running Windows Vista.


Tip: If you upgrade from a PC running Windows XP to Windows Vista, your files, settings, and programs will be transferred automatically.

You can use Windows Easy Transfer to transfer files and program settings from a computer running Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Vista to another computer running Windows Vista. Start Windows Easy Transfer on the computer running Windows Vista, and then follow the instructions.


Fixes problems that can stop Windows from starting properly, such as missing or damaged files.


To open

Insert the Windows installation disk into your PC, restart the computer, and click "View system recovery options." After typing in a username and password of an account on the computer, click Startup Repair.


Description

If you can't start Windows properly, this utility scans your system and automatically tries to fix the problem. In some instances, a computer manufacturer will install Startup Repair on your hard disk. If so, you can run it not only from the Windows installation disk, but also from the Windows Advanced Startup Options menu (Control Panel [System and Maintenance] System Advanced system settings Advanced tab, click Settings in Startup and Recovery).


Selectively enable or disable several startup options and get access to specialized tools to optimize performance, customize Windows Vista, and perform diagnostic/troubleshooting tasks.


To open

Command Prompt msconfig


Description

The System Configuration Utility allows you to selectively enable or disable various settings that affect system startup, including the ability to stop specific programs and services from starting. In many instances, there is no other way to stop the programs or services from starting, so this utility is particularly useful. It can also help track down the causes of startup errors; use the utility to selectively disable programs or services from starting until you isolate the cause of the problems.



Windows Vista Pocket Reference
Windows Vista Pocket Reference: A Compact Guide to Windows Vista (Pocket Guides)
ISBN: 0596528086
EAN: 2147483647
Year: N/A
Pages: 63

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