Category Archives: Fine Tuning PCs

How to make your PC More effective — Part 5 — Good operator Training

How to make your PC More effective.

Good operator Training

PC systems work best when operated by well-trained staff. Solid training is the best way to turn PCs into effective production tools in the shortest time possible.

Well developed training procedures are the most efficient way to turn new staff into productive employees. The special case scenarios, that could never happen, should be covered as well as the normal day to day operations. Refresher courses are needed as well to keep everyone aware of all the options available.

Training should be periodically reviewed to make sure it covers any changes that have occurred since the last training update. All staff should undergo a training review to make sure they are familiar with all aspects of the system. What to do when things go wrong should be covered as well. This type of training may seem excessive but when needed it is critical.

Training procedures should be developed in cooperation with end-users to make sure they meet the needs of the end-user.




How to make your PC More effective – Part 4 – Documentation

Brent Roberts


Good documentation is essential to getting maximum value from a PC.

Useful documentation must cover ‘What to do’ when things go wrong as well as ‘What to do’ when everything is working correctly. The ‘How to do’ must be covered as well. Make sure a hard copy of the documentation is stored near the computer so it can be accessed while the PC is busy with other work. Hard copy documentation is also useful if the PC becomes inoperative.

A copy of all documentation should be stored off-site as well, to cover situations such as;

  • Fire in the building,
  • Flood cuts off access to the building,
  • Earthquake damages the building,
  • Plane crash into building,
  • Any other event that limits access to the building.

Documentation should be written in a voice the ‘End Users’ understand, using terms they are familiar with. Flow charts are valuable tools for helping understand the operation of a system. It may be worth considering the use of video files as part of the package. Documentation should be reviewed every 12 to 18 months to make sure any changes to the system are covered. Powerful PC systems are less effective if the operator doesn’t know how to use them correctly.

Good documentation makes training new staff quicker and easier. It is a valuable resource that should not be overlooked.

For additional information about documentation see the links below.

How to make your PC More effective – Part 3.

Brent Roberts

File structures affect PC operation

Poorly organised file structures have a negative impact on efficient PC operation.

The complete file structure configuration should be defined during the planning stage. Adding a prefix to a file name can be used to help group files together. This information should be included in the documentation as well.

Because the name of the folder, containing the file, becomes part of the file name, planning of how the whole file structure is organised, is needed.


The file contains information related to monthly account receivables for January.

The top folder would be ACTS

The next folder would be REC

the next folder would be MTH

The file name would be Jan.txt

When viewed on the system, the file would appear as C:\ACTS\REC\MTH\Jan.txt

This creates a meaningful file name, clearly defining the contents of the file without being overly long.

If the Accounting department deals with more than one type of Accounts receivable then an extended tag could be used.



Some utility programs will not process file names with blanks in them. When creating files use an underscore ‘_’ character in place of the blank to overcome this problem. As a general rule, file structure should not involve more than four levels of folders. Exceeding this limit causes the file name to become too long, making it hard to work with. Names of the file folders and the file itself should be kept as short as possible without compromising identification of data in the file. Creating a list of predefined abbreviations to identify the contents of the file is worth considering.

Web sites containing additional information about file structures.


How to make your PC More effective – Part 2.

Tips non Computer Geeks can use to increase PC output.


No special PC skills are needed to implement some procedures that make a PC more productive.

The PC Desktop mirrors your physical desktop in some ways. If too many items are piled up on the desktop, time will be lost searching for the item needed. Time wasted searching for items needed can be frustrating as well.

Configuring the desktop to user needs can save a lot of time. The main PC Desktop screen should only have 3 columns of icons on it. Most of these should be folders that contain items related to a particular system such as Accounting, Warehousing, Sales or some other system. This way the desktop only displays procedures related to the task being processed. This saves time by reducing the number of items the operator has to search through. This also reduces stress on the operator.

Create extra desktop sub-screens, using file folder icons. Assign a name to each sub-screen related to the content contained on that sub-screen. Accounting related files could be grouped on a sub-screen called “ACT”. The “WH” sub-screen could contain programs and data files related to warehousing processes. Manufacturing material would be grouped in the “MAN” sub-screen.


How to make your PC More effective.

Brent Roberts

Utility programs most people will find useful.

PC’s are powerful and flexible problem solving tools.

Unfortunately the PC purchased from the store can not be manufactured to solve all your unique problems. Problems will vary with the work style of the operator and the type of work being done. Listed below are some utility programs that most people will find useful in making the PC more productive.

These include ;

  • Clipmate,
  • Recentx,
  • Notezilla,
  • My Base Desktop,
  • Personal Brain.

There are many useful utility programs available to fine-tune a PC to the user’s needs. Some are beneficial to most users, others are only useful to users with specific needs. Work styles of the user can influence the value of the utility program. Few people use all the options available with the program, but many people will find a few options very useful. Most utility programs have a free trial period to give new users a chance to try them and see how well they meet the user’s needs. Talk to your friends, join a PC user group, check on the web for details about how to use utility programs. It will be time well spent.

In future posts I will explore some of these programs and how they can be used to enhance PC productivity.

Aug. 23, 2013

How to make your PC More useful

Brent Roberts

Overview – The Big Picture

PC magazines mainly focus on specific programs and how to use them for best results from that program. That is a good start but not the complete solution.

No single factor will fully maximise results obtained from using a PC. A number of factors must be considered to get the best results with the least effort. These factors will vary from person to person and application to application. The way these factors are combined can be a factor as well.

Articles contained in this blog focus on finding the best way to solve problems encountered by PC users.

These factors include;
· The work style of the user – does he/she prefer to use The Mouse, Function keys, Short-cuts, Control-keys, Batch files, or a combination of these options,
· Does the application he/she is using – Open-source programs, Commercial programs, Video files, High level graphics, other special functions, favour a special style,
· Operating systems – Windows, Unix, Apple, are a factor as well,
· Is the PC used by multiple operators that have different work styles,
· Processor selection – Apple, Intel, can impact the work flow as well.

Posts will be added to this blog outlining various approaches to solving some of the roadblocks encountered by most users. Some of the fixes will focus on problems that no program deals with; examples –

· Cluttered desktops,
· Poor disk file management,
· Correct training,
· Good documentation,
· Configuring the PC hardware and software to best meet the user’s needs.

Other entries will focus on configuring existing software to make it more user-friendly and productive. A selection of utility programs that can improve the throughput of PC system, will be discussed as well.

Find help in solving PC problem on the Internet. Listed below are some sites that may be useful.

Brent Roberts
Aug 16, 2013

Fine Tuning PCs

Fine tuning your PC seems like a great topic (although covering a vast area) which fully occupy such sites as Windows Secrets and Windows Tips & Tricks.

With everyone moving to touch-enabled devices, how much fine tuning do they allow, I wonder? Maybe we can at least limit the number of Apps running at once 🙂

For PCs, some things to consider might be:

  • To defrag or not to defrag
  • Cleaning up the Registry
  • How to quicken bootup times
  • Adding more memory
  • SSDs — Solid State Drives
  • CPU overclocking & water cooling

and many more.

Please add your thoughts and “Leave a Comment”.