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Discussion Starter #1
I just found out that my sister-in-law often shuts her computer down by pushing steadily on the on button. Not always but if it is slow in turning off she gets impatient. No wonder her computer is slow, slow, slow. There must be a bazillion files out there in cyber space looking for their other parts. Is it defrag that clears them out or rejoins them? What is the proper method here? And yes she now knows not to do that any more. Shsssh! sailmaker:eek:
 

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Yes defrag will gather all the sectors making the files and try to put them end to end. What I would be more worried is the hard drive being written at the time that she forces the shutdown.
I'm not 100% sure but I think that would e a good cause for bad sectors in the long run. Maybe someone can correct me on this one.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The computer is a hand-me-down from my wife to her sister. It was custom built by Canada Computers in Etobicoke perhaps 6 years ago. It is Windows XP SP2. Canada Computers is no longer a store front and operates out of Markem on web sales only. The specs are no longer available but perhaps a 500 Mb harddrive back then? I will defrag in next few days when I get a chance to go over there. Thanks for responses. sailmaker
 

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With Windows XP there is no worry that "pieces" of files will be floating around somewhere.
XP is a Journaling File System whereby a journal of transactions is made before the operations are carried out so simply pushing the power button to turn off the computer will not do any damage to the File System.
The Operating System will read the journal on reboot and correct any errors.
I would never try this with Win98.
This assumes that the hard drive has been formatted using the NTFS File System and not FAT32. You can determine this by right-clicking on the primary drive (usually C) and clicking on Properties.
You should also upgrade the PC to at least XP SP3.
Defragging an old computer is also helpful in restoring some hard drive/file access speed.
Files don't get fragmented just because the PC gets shutdown prematurely.
Having to push steadily on the power button is normal and is called "soft poweroff". It is normal to have to press the button for at least 4 seconds for the computer to turn off. It prevents any "inadvertant" pressing of the power button, although, as stated above this is not a problem.
Your PC's "specs" can be determined by running software such as SiSoft SANDRA. I will tell you exactly what's in your PC.

I hope this helps.
 

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Tell her to just leave it alone. It will power off when it is done its work. Windows updates also will install during shutdown.
 

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I'm not 100% sure but I think that would e a good cause for bad sectors in the long run.
This will not cause bad sectors on the disk. What could happen is that data will be lost or files corrupted due to incomplete writes. The worst damage would be if this were done during an O/S update (and it was incomplete) but there are safeguards against that.

Here are a few things to do:
0) Perform a full disk backup before doing anything on this list. Macrium Reflect (free) is a good choice to make a drive image to a USB drive.
1) Right click on the drive icon. Select Properties > Tools > Check Drive for errors. That will find any corruption in the file system. Checking the C: drive requires a restart.
2) Clean the file system with Start > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup. Clean everything but don't compress old files.
3) Uninstall any unused applications and drivers.
4) Do a disk defrag. The free defrag tool from Auslogics does a better job than the Windows version.
5) Use CCleaner (free) to do additional cleanup on the registry and file system. Use the defaults but select Old Prefetch Data and deselect Cookies.
6) Use SuperAntiSpyware (free) to check for spyware and malware. It will also clean up tracking cookies.
7) Open a command prompt. Run SFC /scannow to check for missing or corrupt system files.
8) Run Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (free) to check for missing or incomplete Microsoft updates and other problems.
9) If everything works as desired, make another disk backup.
 

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I agree with Scarybob's advice, especially the use of CCleaner. That little program finds lost and unneeded files and pieces of files and fixes them with one click of the mouse.
 

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Data will not be lost due to incomplete writes. That can't happen with a journaling file system.
Files that are in RAM and not completely written to disk will be lost. All a JFS does is guarantee file system integrity.

Pushing the power button is a valid way to shutdown a PC, provided the O/S is set to shutdown with the power button and it is a brief push. Forcing a shutdown buy depressing the power button for 4 seconds is not recommended, though it may be needed at times due to a lockup. Pressing the reset button is absolutely the worst thing to do. I don't even connect the reset button any more since it is not needed.
 

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Files that are in RAM and not completely written to disk will be lost. All a JFS does is guaranty file system integrity.

Pushing the power button is a valid way to shutdown a PC, provided the O/S is set to shutdown with the power button and it is a brief push. Forcing a shutdown buy depressing the power button for 4 seconds is not recommended, though it may be needed at times due to a lockup. Pressing the reset button is absolutely the worst thing to do. I don't even connect the reset button any more since it is not needed.
That's what I meant.
Thanks for clarifying.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
WOW !! Thanks to everyone who has responded. I said the computer was custom built by Canada Computers. It was Premier Computers who have since closed shop. The system is NTFS of course. I upgraded to XP3 on my own computer some months ago and promptly reverted to XP2. I won't go into the reasons why here but am totally satisfied with XP2. Back atcha after I defrag (if necessary) and chkdsk her computer. She does have CCleaner because I installed that for her a year or so ago, along with a few other virus checkers. (No good deed shall go unpunished :D) sailmaker
 

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When you say 'steadily' do you mean she holds it down for ~5s?
Or tap the button a few times?

Because when you tap the button, it essentially triggers the shutdown process (just like if you clicked start->shut down)
Holding it down is the one that may cause file loss/corruption if there are files in RAM/being written when power turns off.
 

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My little cousin came over one day and pulled the computer plug out the wall, while my computer was still running :( grrrr. Another time he also turned it off by holding the power button for ~4 seconds. I told him not to ever do that again. (I have Vista)
 
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