I dare not guess the numbers of Pentium systems purchased since last Christmas. Whatever the number - I am one of them since I upgraded from a 386 to a Pentium in late December.
Since then - I have purchased, installed, configured and even removed almost all of the popular programs. This spring, I began to see a performance drop in my dear expensive machine. I began researching and found that I needed to help my PC by optimizing its hard drive and by finishing the removal of programs.
First I backed up my hard drive. Then I purchased a tool called UnInstaller - it was one of several packages on the shelf which would do what I needed. I needed help, and anyway, I had a backup of my disk in case things went badly.
Uninstaller took a long time searching through my hard disk, but when it was done it had identified a great number of files I could delete as they had been 'orphaned' when I removed programs. It also found for me many duplicate files. I read the manual carefully and followed its advice for the actions I took.
I also learned that I had been removing software programs inefficiently. Some programs come with an icon labeled 'Uninstall', some can be removed using the 'Add/Remove Software' icon in the Control Panel, and the rest have to be deleted by finding their files on the hard drive and removing them by hand. It is the latter type which leave parts of themselves behind to clutter up Windows95.
After all this wonton file removal, I ran a utility program which came with Windows95 called 'Disk Defragmenter'. I had learned long ago that as files are written and removed from the hard drive, they leave behind small spaces on the disk where nothing is stored. The next program to be loaded will often be fragmented so as to fill these little spaces. This utility will gather together all the pieces of a file, and will move that file to an empty place on the large enough to hold it in its entirety.
After all of this work - my expensive computer resumed acting like the powerful machine it is.