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Windows 7: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Chapter 20. Maintenance & Speed Tweaks

Your computer requires periodic checkups and preventive maintenance—pretty much like you, its human sidekick. Fortunately, Microsoft has put quite a bit of effort into equipping Windows 7 with special tools, all dedicated to keeping your system stable and fast. Here’s a crash course in keeping your PC—and its hard drive—humming.

The Action Center

All Versions

If you’re looking for the best place to go for at-a-glance information about the current state of your PC’s maintenance and Internet security, open the new Action Center (it was called the Security Center in Windows Vista). To open it, click the tiny or on your system tray.

Here, all in one place, are all the security and maintenance messages that Windows wants you to see. Be grateful; they used to pop up as individual nag balloons on the system tray all day. Now they accumulate here.

Color coding lets you know what steps Windows thinks you should take. Messages marked with a red vertical bar are things you should fix right now, like not having a virus program installed. Items with a yellow bar are less urgent; they’re maintenance recommendations, for example.

You can read the full scoop on the Action Center on Action Center. For now, it’s enough to remember that here’s the place to check to see ...

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