Free Up Space on Your Hard Drive with Three Simple Steps

I needed more space on my laptop’s hard drive so I did two things (after I deleted all temporary files and emptied the Recyle Bin).

Reduce the amount of space reserved for the Recycle Bin

The first thing I did was to reduce the amount of space that was reserved for the Recycle Bin. Right-click the Recycle Bin icon on your Desktop, click Properties. On the Global tab, move the slider to 1% (the Recycle Bin will still have over 200MB reserved).

Delete all but the last System Restore files

Next, I deleted all but the last System Restore files. Right-click on the Start button, click Explore. Find your C: drive and right-click on it, then click Properties.

On the General tab, click Disk Cleanup. Let the Disk Cleanup do its thing. When it’s finished, View Files and decide if you want to delete anything.

Stay in this dialog box.

To delete all but the last restore point, click the More Options tab. In the System Restore section, click Clean up, Yes to delete, OK, Yes.

It’ll take some time for it to finish. Click OK when done, then go back to Properties to see the change.

These two simple steps freed up over 5GBs of space on my laptop. Now I won’t have to buy a new one.

Update: Reinstalled Windows and laptop is like new. This was the biggest improvement of all!

Do You Need an 800 Number? Or a Separate Fax Line?

If you’re a small business owner (or otherwise) and are trying to cut costs of doing business, let the toll-free number go. And unless you have to send a lot of faxes, get rid of the dedicated line for that too.

Incoming calls on your toll-free line or a dedicated fax line that’s not used a lot can be a big waste of money. What else could you do with that money you’re spending every month? Are you still hanging on to these thinking you’ll get more business? Do you think this is helping you appear bigger than you are? You can accomplish more if you put that money into a more professional Web presence.

Here is why I got rid of my toll-free number years ago.

  • Phone companies offer unlimited long distance. For $20 a month, I get unlimited long distance from AT&T. I don’t think anything about making a call and staying on the line until I’ve finished my business.
  • Cell phones make it economical to call long distance. I don’t give out my cell phone number and always have minutes to roll over to the next month. If I need to make a call away from my office, it’s no problem, no cost.
  • Google could work better than a vanity number. Getting a phone number that spells your company name, etc., is a cute way for people to remember you. But the perfect vanity number is hard to come by. If someone hears me on the radio, etc., they can Google various terms they heard me say, my name, etc., and find me right away. If I had a vanity number to give out, would they remember? I don’t think so.

Here is why I got rid of my dedicated fax line years ago.

  • Combo copier/fax/printer/scanner with a splitter makes it easy to fax. On the rare occasion that I have to fax something, I fax from this unit using my regular phone line. I have DSL (it uses a different signal from the analog phone) and the splitter on the phone jack eliminates the need to unplug or switch any wires.
  • efax for incoming faxes. Since I rarely have to receive a fax, I use the free service from I don’t publicize the fax number, and only give it out as needed. As long as I don’t receive more than 20 pages a month, the service is free.
  • Mail it instead of fax. If they can’t email it, and it’s too many pages to fax, use snail mail. We often forget about the option of mailing something. It still works.

Peggy Duncan Personal Productivity Expert

Wake Up in the Morning Knowing What You Need to Do, Where You're Going, and How to Get There

I was standing in the lobby of a client’s office, and a gentleman walked in asking for directions. After the receptionist explained everything, he took out a piece of paper and asked her if she knew how to get to the other places on his list.

Turns out he was a salesperson and had planned on calling on several companies. He was new to the Atlanta area and had no idea where anything was. He’d moved from a small town and was used to getting from one place to the other fairly quickly. In Atlanta, you need to know where you’re going and make a good guess as to how long it’ll take you to get there (we don’t explain timing in miles…we do it in minutes. You could be ten miles from somewhere, but we’ll tell you that it’s 45 minutes away). Our traffic is bad early morning and late afternoon, but it’s easy to get around in between.

Well, anyway, I mentioned to him that he was going to spend most of his day getting directions and getting lost. And because he didn’t figure out anything in advance, he could end up driving around in circles…instead of driving with a plan and closing sales. Instead of having sufficient time to sell his stuff, he’ll be in the car having no idea where he is or which way he’d need to go.

When you wake up in the morning, you should already know what you need to accomplish,where you’re going, how to get there, and when you need to leave in order to get there on time. This gentleman could have used a combination of MapQuest, GPS technology, and the telephone to develop a plan.

I devoted an entire chapter to getting out of the house on time in my time management book, The Time Management Memory Jogger(TM). It’s available on my Website. Want training? It’s on my site too.


Word asks if I want to delete and I don't want it to

This question came from a Computer Magic seminar attendee. I don’t provide technical support, but when I can answer something quickly, I will (but don’t get any ideas about sending me your problems…OK?).

“In Word, if I highlight text, it wont’ let me delete by just hitting the delete button. It puts a message in the left-hand corner that asks Delete? Y or N. Then I think it makes me type Y or N. Annoying. My coworker suggested just hitting backspace instead of delete and that does work instead of the delete key. Any ideas?”

Solution from Peggy

You probably have the WordPerfect option checked. Turn it off by clicking the Tools menu, Options, General tab, and untick Help for WordPerfect Users box.

This should fix it.

Add a Signature to Your Email Messages

After one of my computer tips seminars (Computer Magic), an attendee sent me a question about a problem she was having in Word. (“In Word, if I highlight text, it wont’ let me delete by just hitting the delete button.”)

I don’t come anywhere near providing technical support, but when a question is something I can answer quickly, and it’s from an attendee, I will when time allows.

I sent a response that I’m sure would solve the problem, but the email bounced back. For some reason her company’s servers rejected my email. I would have called her, but the only thing in the signature line was her first name. I had no idea who she was because I presented the seminar at a large conference. I could have called the company, trying to track her down, but I’m busy.

So now someone who loved my seminar now thinks I ignored her. Bummer.

As a professional courtesy and convenience, add your contact information at the end of each email message. In Outlook:

  1. Click the Tools menu, Options, Mail Format tab, Signatures, New. (If you want to create a more extensive signature, click Advanced Edit to go outside of Outlook.)
  2. Create one that includes all of your contact information.

If you’re curious about the answer, it’s here in another post. For more tips, tricks, and strategies in Outlook, check out my book, Conquer Email Overload with Better Habits, Etiquette, and Outlook 2003. You can also join me LIVE on the Web for training. Details are on my Website.


Carbonite and MozyPro online storage offer peace of mind data backup service

In an earlier post titled, Which files should you back up, I discussed various ways I back up my critical computer files. I admit that I’m somewhat anal in doing this. My data is my business, my life. My training and speaking business takes me all over America, and I don’t want to lose that.

If you lost all the data on your computer today, could you recover quickly, painlessly? I could.

I’m fully satisfied with Carbonite, an online storage vault. This technology monitors my computer’s hard drive and backs up the new stuff in the background as I work.

I especially like it that Carbonite keeps my files organized the way I have them on my computer (this is a biggie for me because I’m very meticulous about how I save my files). I’d been frustrated with other services because I didn’t want my files scattered. I have a very logical filing system that enables me to find files the instant I need them. (I don’t need desktop search because I know where everything is.)

(Update 1/9/08: I’m using Mozy Unlimited Backup – $4.95/Month’> to back up my Membership Website. This is a huge Website with 1-2 minute movies of my computer tips and tricks. I had to move my source files to my external hard drive and (at this writing) Carbonite does not back up external drives. Mozy Unlimited Backup – $4.95/Month’>Mozy does.)

(Update 5/26/08: My laptop crashed and I was able to get my files. But getting the files downloaded to a borrowed laptop didn’t run as smoothly as it should have. I was frustrated when I realized that Carbonite’s tech support is 9AM-5PM weekdays only. I’m moving all of my backups to MozyPro who has 24/7/365 support. I’ll consider keeping the files with Carbonite as a secondary backup.)

Simplify your life, and make data recovery one less thing you have to worry about. If you don’t think you have time to deal with this now, how will you find time to recover later?

P.S. Learn how to organize your files in my booklet, Get Organized At Work and Make It Easy. A link to Word templates that I created that will make this easy and also a File Index to get you started are inside.


Attach the Native Word File to a PDF Before You Send It

When I send a training agreement to a client, I’ll create the agreement in Word, create a PDF of it, and email both of the documents together. (I’m using Adobe Acrobat 7.0.)

  1. From the open PDF, click the Document menu, Attach a File.
  2. Browse to find the file you want to attach, and double-click it.
  3. Add other files as needed. You’re not limited.

Important: Once the attachment(s) is in place, you can change the PDF Options to show them by default (you’ll see an Options drop-down arrow on the right side of the screen near the scrollbar where the attachments start).

Why do I send the Word file along with the PDF instead of just the Word file? Because I want to ensure the file is formatted the way I intended (the PDF). The recipient can open the attachment in Word if they need to make changes* (it’s easier in Word than on the PDF).

*Client Changes
If the client needs to make changes, they’ll do so in Word. When they return the file, I need to see, accept, or reject any changes they’ve made. To do this, I turn on Track Changes in the Word document before I attach and send it (in Word, click the Tools menu, Track Changes. See Word Help for more information).

Set Security in PDF
To prevent changes to the PDF, set the security level with a password (click the Document menu, point to Security, click Secure This Document, then click Restrict opening and editing this document using passwords, follow the prompts, and set as desired).

Note: I used this technique to create a product that is a combination of Word documents and PDFs (instead of mailing a CD).

Get Quoted in the Media

When you’re quoted in the media, you get instant credibility in the marketplace.

If you want more publicity, you could be going about it the wrong way. I train a lot of journalists, and here are some things I know for sure.

  • Their absolute #1 pet peeve is receiving PR pitches, calls, books, etc., on topics that in no way fit what they do.
  • They delete almost all email messages from PR people without reading them.
  • They trash almost all (I want to say all) faxes without reading them.
  • Spam filters that make them get permission to send you an email message get ignored, deleted. They then move on to the next expert.
  • They’re way too busy to return phone calls (although their voicemail says they will).

So knowing all this, what can you do?

Do the work to make your Web site come up on the first two pages when they Google your expertise (mine does and I never paid one red cent to make it happen). I’ve written an ebook and conduct seminars on how to get found online.

Related Articles
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Shameless Self-Promotion: DIY PR. Get Found Online

Host Multiple Websites Using One Hosting Package

If you’ve registered various domains and are not doing anything with them, create more Web sites.

I’m about to start creating different Websites that will serve various purposes. Most will be one-pagers promoting one product or service. Instead of paying for multiple hosting accounts, they will all share space with my main site,

All of these sites will be totally separate, not subwebs. They’ll reside in separate folders on my computer and on the Web. Everything is separate: they’re just in the same space….like your neighbors in a high-rise.

My sites are hosted by Network Solutions. Terrific customer support. If you want a company that will walk you through and hold your hands anytime you need it, they’re it. They must train their American-based employees well because everyone I’ve ever talked to knew what they were talking about…a rarity these days.

Which Files Should You Back Up?

If anything ever happens and I have to recover data saved on my computer, I want it to be as painless as possible. That’s why I paid attention to which files I should protect and how.

A backup is not a backup if it’s not off site. To simplify offsite/online storage, I use MozyPro. This technology backs up designated files to an online vault every day as they change on my computer. MozyPro. proved to be the best service for me because it keeps my files organized the way I have them on my computer (this is a biggie for me). My external hard drive also provides automatic backups (it’s also backed up by MozyPro). And I have critical files saved on a 4GB thumb drive for easy access when I’m offline and traveling. In addition to having the means to back up your data, you should also have a plan for knowing what to back up.

UPDATE 1/22/2012: I’ve switched to Carbonite. I wanted to start fresh, but both services are great. 

My Documents Folder: My two main business folders are separated into broad categories, then into smaller subcategories. If you keep like subjects together, it’s easier to back up everything (and to find anything I need later).

Outlook Files: You can back up Outlook to include your contacts, emails, calendar, tasks, and journal entries. (See my post on backing up Outlook. The path to my Outlook files is at C:Documents and SettingsPeggy DuncanLocal SettingsApplication DataMicrosoftOutlook). You’ll want to back up the Outlook.pst file.) 

UPDATE 1/22/2012: In Windows 7, the path is  C:UsersYourComputerNameAppDataLocalMicrosoftOutlookOutlook.pst (replace YourComputerName with your own).

You’ll probably also want to back up your signature files and rules if you’ve set them up. The path to the Signatures folder is C:Documents and SettingsyournameApplication DataMicrosoftSignatures (MozyPro keeps this folder backed up for me).

And if you’ve created any rules, you’ll want to back them up too (see my post on backing up Outlook. To find out where your templates are stored, in Word, click the Tools menu, Options, File Locations tab. Double-click the location that reads User Templates.

Templates: If you create any templates (with the .dot, .xlt, .ppt extensions), they’re automatically saved outside of the My Documents structure (mine are at C:Documents and SettingsPeggy DuncanApplication DataMicrosoftTemplates). I added this location to my Favorites so it would be easy to remember.

UPDATE: In Windows 7, it’s difficult if not impossible to find the Templates folder. Let the system find it for you. Hold down the Windows key (the one with the Windows logo left of the spacebar) and type R. The Run command box will appear. Paste this in that box, C:UsersYourComputerNameAppDataRoamingMicrosoftTemplatesTemplates replacing YourComputerName with your own, and click OK.

Downloaded Programs: These are miscellaneous applications I’ve either purchased or downloaded for free. I don’t have the CD. Instead of saving these in the same folder as the Programs folder, I put them in a separate folder called My Downloaded Programs. If I have to restore my computer files, I won’t have to remember which applications I downloaded.

My Books: These are all the files I have for all the books I’ve written. I keep these outside of my main business files folder and off my computer because the files are so large.

QuickBooks: In addition to being backed up on my external hard drive and online vault every day, I back QuickBooks files up on my hard drive every time I make changes (QuickBooks has this feature built in. Every time it asks you if you want to back up, click YES! I name the file the same each time so it also gets backed up online).

Favorites. I’ve bookmarked some great sites and don’t want to lose the easy access. To find where your Favorites are stored, double-click My Computer, double-click the C: Drive, double-click Documents and Settings, double-click on your username folder. You should see your Favorites folder.

Pictures. Pictures I use on my Website are safe on the Web server. All others are saved in the My Pictures folder.

Special Projects. I’m working on my family tree with the software Family Tree Maker.

In addition to being backed up on my external hard drive and online vault every day, I also saved them to a flash drive that I keep with me.

I must admit that I’m somewhat anal about backing up my data. My computer is my livelihood, and I don’t want to lose over 10 years worth of business. Plus, I cannot tell you how much better I sleep at night because I’ve taken the time to put this plan in place.

Simplify your life, and make data recovery one less thing you have to worry about. If you don’t think you have time to deal with this now, how will you find time to recover later?

P.S. Learn how to organize your files in my eBook, Get Organized So You Can Think! Word templates that I created that will make this easy and also a File Index to get you started are attached.

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Back Up All of Outlook Pleeaaze!

Peggy Duncan, Personal Productivity Expert