You clean Windows XP in an effort to rid it of things that shouldn’t be on your computer and things you don’t need on your computer. The following list explains some of the things a cleaning tries to sweep off your PC and some of the tools you can use to clean things up:

Term Definition Term Definition
adware A program that delivers advertising directly to your computer, typically in the form of pop-ups. program inventory A list of what programs should be installed on your system.
archive A data file kept for historical reasons. RAM An acronym for random access memory. RAM is used as the working area for both programs and data being processed by the computer.
cache A storage area used as a repository of temporary files. Caches are typically implemented by programs because reading information from a cache is much quicker than retrieving it from the primary source. All Web browsers implement some sort of cache to make browsing the Web faster. Registry The central repository of all configuration information in a Windows XP system.
cookie A small data file, stored on your system, designed to save information about you and your preferences. This information is used by Web sites to customize the information presented to you in some way. spam Unsolicited e-mail received from people or companies that you have no prior relationship with, or from people or companies that you previously severed your relationship with.
firewall Software or hardware designed to prohibit unauthorized access to your system across a network. spyware A program that reports information about you or your actions to someone else, all without your knowledge.
flash drive A storage device implemented through the use of static RAM. The memory is viewed as a disk drive by Windows, even though the device has no moving parts. Flash drives are relatively small in size (64MB to 512MB) but are extremely fast. temporary files Data files created by programs for temporary use. Sometimes temporary files aren’t deleted properly, and they end up cluttering a system with unnecessary data.
orphan data Data files left behind by a program long-since removed from a system. Trojan horse Effectively the same as a virus, but delivered to your system as part of an otherwise acceptable software program.
pop-up A form of advertisement that results in small browser windows “popping up” on your screen. Pop-ups can be displayed by visiting Web pages that include code that displays them, or by the installation of adware on your system. virus A program designed to interrupt or change your computing efforts, or designed to corrupt or destroy data. A virus always includes ways to propagate and spread itself to others.