I am probably the least technically savvy WorldStart contributor, and tend to seek the most direct, simple, answers to my computer questions. An Internet search inevitably unearths various answers, some of which are probably just wrong, while others offer more elaborate solutions that appear (at least to my untrained eye) bewildering and overly complicated.
There are problems that require a complex resolution, but the simplest answer is often the best.
That answer is one that takes the most direct route to its destination. With any luck, an answer to a computer question will also include images that visually enhance the text, and verify the process.
I also look for the answer with the fewest potential side effects. This results in an almost stubborn resistance to registry tweaks. If steps aren’t taken to avoid it, (see Backing Up the Registry) a mistake in the registry can wreak havoc in a computer. While certain changes can be made only in the registry, I have yet to encounter a problem that required such an adjustment. So, if the fix involves instructions including HKEY_ (indicating a section of the registry), I generally move on.
This quest for simplicity includes finding the straightest line between two points in the computer. For this, Lori Cline’s excellent article, Mega List of Run Line Commands has been an invaluable resource. For example, in XP, Vista, or Windows 7, to get to the location below (this path has been slightly modified)…
… use the run line command cleanmgr.
In other words, use the keyboard shortcut (Win+R), type cleanmgr in the run line, and tap the Enter key.
Or, thanks to search improvements built into Vista and Windows 7, to reach the destination above, just type disk in Start search and click the Disk Cleanup link.
Whether this approach has helped or not is probably best answered by the fact that none of the computers in my house have ever required outside service. Much like their owner, they’ve just become obsolete. Hopefully, I won’t share their eventual fate of being replaced by a newer model (at least not anytime soon).