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Solutions: Compressing files saves space while retaining content

I have Windows XP and regularly do a disk cleanup. I erase temporary Internet files and empty the recycle bin. But I don't know what to do with "compress old files." To me, "old" does not mean "unnecessary." They might still be used by me regularly, but I have no way of knowing. I am afraid of erasing something that is needed and used.

Compressing files does not erase them, it just "zips" them into a compressed format, still fully readable and writable by the system. Text documents are usually the best candidates for compression. Music, video and picture files typically don't yield much more space when compressed, as they are already in a tight format. Writing to compressed files takes a little more time, but reading compressed files is actually more efficient. I usually don't compress my files through the disk cleanup tool, instead choosing to do it at a directory (folder) level by right-clicking the folder, selecting Properties, the Advanced button and then checking the Compress Contents to Save Disk Space option. When the compression is done, you'll be shown how much disk space was actually saved.

When I try to go online, I receive the following message from McAfee Virus Scan: "Some components of Active Shield are either missing or might not have been installed properly. Please reinstall Active Shield. If you have started your computer in a safe mode, please restart your computer in normal mode to enable McAfee Virus Scan."

This message usually occurs from a partial install or if a core McAfee file is corrupted. The suggested approach is to uninstall, then reinstall. You need to use McAfee's special uninstall tool. Here's how to find it: Go to and click on the "Go to Technical Support" link. Click on "FAQs and Search," then the Search tab, and type in mcpr.exe and click the Search button. Click and follow the instructions from the "How to uninstall or reinstall supported McAfee consumer products" link. If this doesn't fix the problem, contact McAfee technical support. If still no luck, my recommendation is to once again uninstall McAfee using the uninstall tool and then install Microsoft OneCare (from You get a three-month trial period, at which time you would need to purchase to continue getting updates. However, sometime this summer Microsoft is planning to offer OneCare as a free product. So if you time it right, you may not need to pay.

Send questions to or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Compressing files saves space while retaining content 03/13/09 [Last modified: Friday, March 13, 2009 10:32pm]
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