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Saturday, 9 October 2010

What May Be Making Your Computer Slow and What You Can Do About It


I am sure that you have asked yourself this question many times. Many inept technicians may immediately point to memory, or processor speed. Both of these are definitely reasons your computer MAY be running slowly. However there are much more relevant reasons your computer may be running slow. In fact after reading this article and applying some of the techniques I describe, you may bring new life to your computer even an older, slower machine.

In our present day and age the software business is huge. There is a meaningless competition that many software companies like to use to ensure that their software is always on your mind. It seems like in this day, every software package you have loaded on your computer wants to load when your computer starts. This can cause even a newer computer to run slow.

This creates a complex problem for a consumer. The majority of computer users are not techno-geeks like me. In order to speed up your machines, normally you might hire a technician and pay a large amount of money to gain the speed you should have had when you bought the machine.

The worst part is that there are genuinely only a handful of startup programs that have to be there. Printer programs are usually picky and have to start when your computer starts. Anti-virus programs would have to start when your computer does. In addition you might add any security related program would need to start when your computer starts. (Although I do not recommend most of these) Lastly Adobe writer requires a program that starts when your computer starts.

Since most of you use Windows XP and possibly Vista, I will directly be referring to these operating systems. Both XP and Vista also start "Services" along with your computer. Many are Windows related however software designers also have found a way to add there own "Services " when your computer starts. These "Services" are in addition to your startup programs. What I think absolutely stinks is many software designers add both "Services" and Startup Programs. What this causes after many programs and a short time is a cluster.

Realistically your computer only has so much memory to start with. If 1/2 of it is used upon your computer starting how fast will your machine run?? Most of you will never believe me when I tell you this, in a normal computing environment of an everyday user 512 megabytes of memory is sufficient to run Windows XP. Save for maybe gaming activities, and higher computing functions. However most users I service to clean there computers that are running too slow are pushing over 1 gig of memory and there systems are taxed.

The reasons for this can be many below I will discuss several of these.

Since the dawn of internet security scares, and real problems, every anti-virus company seems to want to shove a system security packages down your throat. In fact most of the time you cannot even buy a computer with out Norton Internet Security Suite, MacAfee's Internet Security Suite, Trend Micros, or many others. Most of these programs are a serious resource hog, and then you add on top of them the double, I use this term loosely "protection" added by the Microsoft Firewall and security programs and your computer is going slow out of the gate.

Do not misunderstand me, every user should have a firewall, anti-virus, and spy ware cleaner. I just will never endorse Big Business companies using inflated programs that are somewhat costly, to do a job; when you can use a free or affordable program using minimal resources, that does the job better.

For a wonderful free or affordable anti-virus package I recommend using AVG Antivirus. By Grisoft. It uses minimal resources, has timely updates to its virus dictionary, and does an excellent job of cleaning your system. If you own a business for a very affordable price you can buy the business edition.

Another plague of today's world is spy-ware. An in a high tech day and age you need a high-tech solution. Another product by Safer Networking is Spybot Search and Destroy. This product is an excellent free spy-ware cleaner and it is extremely slow on system resources.

In the firewall game field you have two options. A software firewall and a hardware firewall. Hands down I will always recommend a hardware firewall in the form of a router. There are many reasons for this. Software firewalls are buggy and can be manipulated. Hardware firewalls are reliable and do a better job of restricting ports in my opinion. Routers also offer you the double benefit of potentially giving wireless access and offering many other built in services. A router normally allows you to take your single internet connection and hooking up 4 wired computers (standard) and many more wireless computers. Many manufacturers offer these D-link, Linksys, Airlink, Net gear and many others.

Using less resource intensive programs will improve your speed. In the last part of this article we will discuss how to disable startup programs, how to uninstall unused programs, and finally discuss how you go about disabling startup services. We will also touch just a little on what services are safe to disable and which ones are not.

In this the last and possibly most important part of the Why Is My Computer Running So Slow; we will be discussing how to disable start up programs, how to uninstall unused programs, and finally how you can disable certain services that you may not be using.

Do not take any of the three of these lightly; you have to be careful because you can cause many problems with your computer if you do not proceed with caution.

Ok let's get started. All of you should be familiar with what the start menu is. When you click on the start button, on the right hand side of that menu is an option called run. Please click that and in the box type "msconfig". After you have typed this you can press the enter key. The last or second to last tab will be labeled"startup". Click on this tab and you will see a scrolling box that is listing all of your startup programs. Chances are, most of the programs that are listed here are un-needed.

With some time and care you can track what most of these programs are. To disable them, you will make sure there is no check mark in the box next to them. You can do this by highlighting and clicking with the mouse in the box. After you have enabled or disabled the services you wish to, you will press ok.

Occasionally your computer may be running so slow it makes the usual troubleshooting impossible. A remedy for this is called Safe Mode. It is basically a built in troubleshooting platform for the windows operating system. At the post or boot up of your computer wait about 3 seconds and then press F8. In most systems you will wait until you have heard the beep, on the screen it will ask you if you would like to enter the bios, right after this screen press F8. You will press it several seconds before it begins to boot Windows XP.

Once you have pressed F8, a menu will pop up asking several options. For inexperienced users you can choose the top option for regular safe mode. What safe mode does is load windows with many of your startup programs disabled, and just a the few drivers it needs to get by. From there you can run "msconfig" and begin to troubleshoot your computer.

Another option can be that you may want to uninstall unused programs; this can be done in safe mode or regular mode. You will choose Start-Control Panel, and then Add and Remove Programs. You will see a scroll through list of programs you may not even be using. You can uninstall most any of these programs by choosing the uninstall option. You may only uninstall one program at a time.

A common program that can cause huge slow down problems if left on your computer is the AOL dialup platform. I have seen systems that have 3 or 4 versions of AOL left on there system, and now they are a broadband customer. These versions can be un-installed and you will see a performance enhancement.

The last item we will cover in this article are services. If you go to Start-Run-type services.msc- press enter, you will see a list of your computer services. I will not tell you in this article every needed service and every service you can disable safely, however with a little research you can find out programs you disable. For example one that comes to mind is desktops that are wired with wireless internet management service on.

Once you have researched what services are safe to disable you can disable it permanently or stop it just during one computer session. You do this by highlighting the service right clicking and choosing properties. In the middle you will see a drop down box that says startup type. You can choose Automatic-Manual-or Disabled. Underneath there you can choose Start or Stop.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and feel free to ask any questions








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