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System/ equipment Refresh

Posted May 2003 by Steve Sinchak

For simple systems/ setups, some may find the following ‘completist’ procedure most useful for refreshing their systems. Stark beginners may, however, wish to steer clear. Those with more complicated systems may wish to steer clear, or carefully modify approach.

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Simple as it may appear to some, it needs to be followed in strict order/sequence. Setting a System Restore point is advisable ( oh, come on, you can turn Sys Restore back on for this, at least for a week or two!)

Others will recall it as similar to procedure/ instructions they have followed in installing a fresh RAM stick, or perhaps some other device. I remember learning it when doing a very complete reinstall of my system, with the help of a skilled technician over the phone.

Even if you are not reinstalling or adding to your system, it may be useful/ helpful for some users to refresh their systems with this approach/ practice. It may be at least as useful as any given handful or other of general ‘tweaks,’ as far as refreshing a system is concerned.

Almost too simplistic and obvious for some, it may still be useful for others of us moderstely advanced computer 'newbies.'

Others with more complicated arrangements, however, with many externals and devices attached to their computer towers/ equipment, may not relish this approach for refreshing their systems, as it may involve too much unplugging, replugging, and even reinstalling whatever externals they may have connected up to their systems. Complications may arise in such cases: be forewarned!

(I, for example, almost always have to reinstall my printer, my only ‘external device’ apart from my DSL external modem. Then again, as I like to disable the printer COM port when I am not using it, and only install the printer when I need to use it, this is fine for me.)

Yet many may find this a useful way to refresh their simple basic setups, such as I have.

I particularly like it, as a system refresher. This is because I like to keep my setup on all the time ( although I don’t recommend abusing one’s monitor this way – powering the monitor off before going to bed, or when away for a time, is the best advice there!)

Loss of actual data from the following procedure, if followed strictly according to numbered listing and common sense, seems unlikely to me. This is so, at least, for most simply arranged systems. However, if you have anything precious on your system, feel free to transfer it to hardcopy print-out, floppy, ‘ZIP-disc,’ or CD –WR, tape, or whatnot, just as a normal precaution. And, as beforementioned, a System Restore point should be inaugurated by the cautious, for return later, if necessary.

I, personally, stick to a simple home system, and have no significant data on my machine. Others with miles of data, pounds of diaries/ files/ personal notes, and tons of video and music files, may be a little leery of the following procedure. Such are invited to forgo it, for the sake of caution.

In any event, I offer it up as a useful addition to at least some people’s judiciously complete armamentariums of regular computer maintenance.

It is advised that you only do the following, simple as it is, when you have a lump of set-aside time to do it in. Read thru all its details first, and decide. Follow the procedures in sequence, and carefully. Rearranging or modifying the sequence in any way is for advanced computer users/ abusers only!

( NOTE: I would advise printing out this page for handheld reference as you proceed with the sequence.)

1.Power off system from screen ( Start menu > press shut down > press red 'off' onscreen button.)

2.Power button off monitor.

3.Power button off any external DSL box or modem, via power button/switch (mine's a flat toggle.)

4.(Be Careful not to yank any jacks or plugs too hard! ) Unplug DSL plug from wall, or power source, strip, or surge protector.

5.Unplug computer tower and monitor from wall, power source, strip, or surge protector.

  1. If it is easily detachable ( don't force it, it may be unremovable), also unplug power cord from back of computer tower ( this is temporary(!), as per procedure. Don’t lose the darn thing somehow, along the way)

Note: I never bother to remove the computer monitor from the back of the tower for this procedure. Until I find out otherwise, I consider such an action a bit superfluous to the overall procedure, unlike removing printer or DSL modem box.)

  1. Leave the whole thing unplugged and ‘resting’ for as long as you like.

  2. Now, for the completist’s ‘coup de grace’: Gently press in the computer tower start button. Hold for thirty seconds or so, then release. This should clear any static or whatnot from at least the start-up button area itself.

9.Again, leave the whole ‘dismantled’ system as it is, for as long as you’d like

Now we reverse the preceding procedure by continuing carefully, and in listed sequence here

  1. Returning main computer tower plug to (back) of tower-however, DON'T turn on system yet.

11.Return monitor plug to wall, or powerstrip/ surge protector.

12.Replace cable for modem to its original jack (back) of computer tower.

13.Power on computer tower button.

14.Power on monitor button.

15.Power on DSL modem box.

... and you should be good to go, with a an over-all reasonably refreshed  set–up.

Some may wish to repeat the whole, careful process every few weeks or months (according to patience, tolerance, and circumstance!) I am not so sure, however, that there is another, or alternative way to refresh overall system and equipment so completely.

I can imagine certain situations involving reinstallation or ‘power outage/surge’ recovery predicaments where such a procedure as the above 15 steps, carefully followed, may also prove useful for a relative 'return to normalcy.'

Note: this tip is an extension/ elaboration of a much more basic tip I offered in my ‘Beginner’s Top 40 maintenance list’ featured here on the TweakXP website. It is here extended/modified as a tip for at least moderately advanced computer users.

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