These precautions help you avoid the bad things:* Don’t delete files without knowing what you are deleting. If you’re in doubt, simply move the file to a different directory or rename it. Then, if you restart your system (or the program) and find out you made a mistake, you can always move the file back or restore its original name.

* Make periodic backups of your system. If you’re getting ready to do a huge cleaning session, you might want to make a backup right before you start. If you want to rely on an older backup, you might want to have it close by, in case you need it when you start your cleaning session.

* Be careful how you delete programs. In the wonderful days of DOS, in the misty past, programs usually consisted of a couple of files or all the files in a given directory. Not so in Windows. When you install a program, the installation program can move pieces and parts all over the place. When you run the program, it can move more of itself to still other places. Because of that, the best way to delete a program is to use either the uninstaller provided with the software or the Add/Remove Programs applet in the Control Panel. Don’t just delete the main folder for the program andmdash; pieces and parts will remain scattered everywhere.)

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