Successful software removal

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Q. How do I uninstall programs that I’ve installed in Windows XP?

A. The process of removing programs is almost identical for all versions of Windows. Go to your Control Panel and select Add or Remove Programs. Click to select the program you want to remove from the list presented, then click the Change/Remove button, followed by OK.

It’s important to uninstall in this method rather than deleting a program folder to ensure that fragments or remnants of the program are removed and Windows reclaims space previously occupied by the program.

If you encounter a stubborn program that refuses to budge, an excellent third-party uninstaller is the free Revo Uninstaller at

Q. I’m not sure how to use the Task Manager. Can you explain that for me, please?

A. The Task Manager helps you locate any programs or processes that might be causing your computer to function at something less than peak performance.

The easiest way to launch the Task Manager is to press CTRL + ALT + DEL. (In Vista, press CTRL + ALT + DEL, then select Start Task Manager.) You can also right-click any blank portion of the Taskbar at the bottom of your screen and select Task Manager.

The Applications tab contains a list of programs currently running. If your system ever freezes and displays a “Program Not Responding” message, you can select the program from this list, then click the End Task button to close the offending program. Restart the program and you should be all set.

The Processes tab is intended for the geek-at-heart. You can only get into trouble poking around here, so let’s move on. The CPU column shows what percentage of the Central Processing Unit (think of it as available horsepower) is being used by each program. The Mem Usage column reveals how much memory each program is consuming.

Continuing on our tabulous journey, the Performance tab can be useful if your computer seems to be running exceptionally slow. If the CPU Usage is high, that means the computer’s processor is very busy, which can slow everything else down. If that’s the case, go back to the Processes tab to determine what program is requiring so much of the processor’s attention.

The “PF Usage” (Page File) displays the amount of Virtual Memory used by Windows. When your computer runs short of physical memory (RAM), it allocates hard disk space as additional memory. If your system is RAM-challenged (lacking memory), PF Usage will be greater, resulting in slower computer performance. If PF Usage is consistently high, you can give your system a performance boost by having additional memory installed.

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