I am a big fan of free computer software. Some of it is worth free and some of it is quite valuable. One that I like, and have found to be praised by many computer professionals is CCleaner by Piriform.com. This one has a very nice Pedigree - -
If you are not using this software, you may want to consider it because of its multitude of great features. It will clean up:
Not too bad for a freebie! What I like is something 'hidden' in the Tools group. It is called Driver Wipe and if you are careful, it will clean up your drive for you. Look at the Drop Down selection and see that you can wipe just the Free Space Only or THE ENTIRE DRIVE (All data will be erased). Make sure you don't select the second option and you will have a cleaner drive.
You can opt for a single wipe or multiple wipes. I first did a single wipe (overnight) and worked my way up to 35 wipes. I really feel like my pc runs faster now.
One thing about Alpha Xpress that I find to be very sophisticated is that it understands the difference between leather and lace. Stay with me here, I will get there, I promise.
If you digitize, I don't have to explain this to you, but the rest of us are in the dark on these issues. There is an issue with machine embroidery that is called "Push/Pull Compensation." As I noted in my blog on purchasing magazines and books on embroidery, I have another often used book by John Deer called Digitizing made easy. I don't digitize, but understanding what it takes to digitize can be very helpful.
John describes push/pull (this is only one facet of push/pull) as in the following example (disregard that the stitches are uneven):
As your machine is placing stitches, it is generating a force that can make problems like puckering and/or drawing in. That can make a letter "I" look strange or even ruin a beautiful embroidery design.
Enter Alpha Xpress to (help to) save the day. Look at the following information and see that there is a software generated difference.
First, we are working in the "Options" Menu and under 'formats' using the 'recipe' for Silk.
We are going to next explore what "Silk" generates in the 'Properties' area, in the 'Fill' tab:
It is 'suggesting' a .4 density. Remember that the higher the number, the less dense your area will be. The .4 can be adjusted if you like which would be relative to your design and fill and fabric. I adjust the fill frequently when I am doing lettering for my hankies. Furthermore, the wider the stitch, the more pull compensation is needed.
Next I am selecting "leather" for my fabric.
The fill had adjusted the density change to .5. (Satin is the type of stitch here, not the fabric.)
In his book, John does say that software is unable to adjust the 'push' so the digitizer will need to make that adjustment manually. The computer is great but limited in some areas. Understanding these details will help you when you run into problems.
As Microsoft says, "Unexpected results may result." Which is their way of saying - - - the computer cannot fix it and/or we cannot figure out how to make the computer fix it.
If you have not read my blog on needles, I suggest that you do because there is information that is, IMHO, valuable for understanding embroidery in general.