In the Forums...
Posted: September 25, 1999
Written by: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
The First Part of the Miracle
Before attempting this process, reboot the computer to make sure there is nothing that will prevent your system from rebooting. If the computer boots properly, continue on to the first step. Of course, making a backup of your system.dat and user.dat files before continuing would also be intelligent. To make a backup, go into regedit within Windows (Start -> Run -> regedit) and choose Export Registry File from the Registry menu. To restore a backup, click on the Import Registry File selection and browse to the name of the file you saved your registry to. I recommend using backup.dat.
Begin by starting up the Clean System Directory program from the Start Menu. A box will appear with some checkboxes and three buttons at the bottom. Check the boxes that correspond with your hard drives and disk partitions (for me that was c:, d:, and e:). Then click on the "start scanning" button. After the program has gone through the entire system, a white dialogue box will appear with some buttons at the bottom. Click on the "Select All" button and then click on the "Move Selected Files" button. Then restart your computer before moving on to the next step.
The Second Part of the Miracle
The root directory (denoted by C:\ under DOS) is the directory that your computer boots from. It is important for this directory to be as clean as possible. However, this process is just as dangerous as screwing around with the registry - so make sure you have a backup of any files you delete and a convenient boot disk available in case your system won't start. The good news is that recovery is a snap. You just copy the files you removed back to your root directory and you're back in business.
Start by removing all of those old scandisk files and any program files that you might have copied into the root directory. The root directory on the C drive seems to be a favorite receptacle for all that junk people have downloaded (remember that Pinky and the Brain Win95 theme and those audio files of the platypus's mating call that you downloaded from www.weird.com?), particularly if one of the users is an old DOS hound (back in the day when everyone used a text based OS, the root directory was a great place to stash junk). Next, things get a little bit tricky. If you're sure you don't need them, you can delete the old backups of Autoexec.bat and Config.sys. But keep in mind, if you edited either of those files using the System Configuration Utility, don't delete any files with the .TSH extension - they are used by the SCU.
Other than that, what you can delete can vary from system to system. But whatever you do, make sure you don't delete the following files - because EVERYONE (or almost everyone) needs them to boot up. They are:
Reboot the system and make sure it starts up before continuing on to the next step.
* - Deleting these files when Find Fast is installed on a system can cause the system to refuse to boot. You can, however, safely delete them if (1) you use the Find Fast applet in the Control Panel to do it, or (2) if you remove or disable the program before deleting them manually.