Make Your Computer Run Brand New Again

Don't Let This Bug You

They say that computer users belong to a group known as procrastinators when it comes to maintenance. I confess I sometimes fall into this group too often and get reminded its time when someone cries out their “computer is so slow”.

In the old days of computing we had to manually clean out files and programs on our computers. This is when we had to know what we were doing. Cottage industries quickly grew in popularity, taking on the task of cleaning up computers. These businesses still flourish today. However, you can easily avoid the high costs of sending your computer in for repair by doing it the easy way: Do it yourself.

For some fun I called a local computer repair business to find out what it would cost to clean up my very slow computer. I don’t have a slow computer, I was curious on some pricing. I know it would be costly but I was not ready for the price of $101.70 for virus removal, of which they would not guarantee to get all the viruses or spyware. They suggested spending $113.00 for a complete format of my hard drive, meaning it would wipe everything from my computer and I would lose all the data. Wow!

What is a person to do?

My advice is to NOT pay these high costs when you can very easily do the same work yourself with a few clicks with a mouse? Want to learn more? Read on…

There are usually three issues that can slow down your computer.

  1. Malware and Spyware: Spyware and Malware software “programs can collect various types of personal information” (wikipedia.org) and redirect you to unsafe websites while on the Internet. It gets worse in that “Spyware is known to change computer settings, resulting in slow connection speeds, different home pages, and/or loss of Internet connection or functionality of other programs.” Here is a free program you should download and run:
    http://superantispyware.com
  2. Wasted Hard Drive Space: More than likely your computer is clogged up with junk files, unused useless files, traces of your Internet searches and other data that puts your registry out of sync. In the past, a highly trained technician was the only one to repair this section of your computer. Now the same task can be easily performed by you, and done extremely fast. The program to download for free is called CCleaner found at http://www.piriform.com/. You will note that more than 600 million people have already downloaded this program and it comes highly recommended for computer maintenance.
  3. Slow Starting Computer:I have worked on computers that are so slow starting up I didn’t think the machines was even going to run at all. Some didn’t. Those that were so slow starting were terribly slow running and some people said they could put a load of laundry in while waiting for the computer programs to appear.The problem could very well be that there are too many programs on your computer fighting for startup at the same time. Everything on your computer wants to begin running at the same time and that makes for a very slow computer. Why would you have a full blown office program starting up when you are not going to use it right away? What to do, you ask?

    CCleaner does a fast and amazing job of cleaning “up your Taskbar, ActiveX, Brower and Startup programs. WinPatrol monitors and exposes adware, keyloggers, spyware, worms, cookies, and other malicious software (cnet.com).”  A real benefit of this program also is that it keeps a watchful eye for you as it takes “a snapshot of your critical system resources, then alerting you to any changes that occur without your knowledge.” This is a good way to know if the bad guys have tried to enter your computer without your knowledge.

If your computer is still running strange, then you should consider formatting your hard drive, which means a reinstall of your operating system. Here are some websites that will help you:

Windows XP:    http://bit.ly/lhPy7g
Windows Vista: http://bit.ly/kagWR9

Windows 7:       http://bit.ly/ivEwt4

Good luck and I hope the first three items work well for you and no further work is required. Email me and let me know how you make out.

Gregory can be reached at: gregory@alternatecloud.com

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Windows 7 – the missing manual REVIEW

Windows 7 the missing manual

"A keeper"

Review: by Gregory West
prospector16@gmail.com
Member of Computer Users’ Groups:
COMP: http://www.bwcomp.org
SCUG: scug.ca

Windows 7
The Missing Manual 2010

By David Pogue
Published by O’Reilly Media Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-596-80639-2
Pages: 887
USA: $39.99 / CDA: $43.99
missingmanuals.com

As a computer user since 1984 and an instructor for the past ten years, I found this book an amazing read. David Pogue’s humor keeps me turning pages and I simply could not put it down. The information on this new operating system herein is an invaluable resource for both the novice and the well seasoned computer user.

This book is packed with so many excellent tips, tricks and general computer knowledge I highly recommend reading it from cover-to-cover. However, most people won’t and that is good too. You can follow along in a systematic manner, or simply use the Table of Contents or the vast 30-page Index to quickly find what you need within the 8 parts and 27 chapters.

The Table of Contents begins with “Getting Started” covers the desktop and start menu and is an excellent place for novice users to begin. This is where you learn how to search the computer, organize files, decorating your Windows screen and most importantly: “getting help”.

Internet Explorer 8 (web browser) and Windows Live Mail (email) are fully explained from setup to tricks and tips that will take you well beyond the average user if you care to go that route. A complete step-by-step for your email setup from sending, reading, calendar syncing, RSS feeds, and the infamous junk mail.

Part Four will interest many these days with the complete guide to pictures, music and TV. The main tops include: Live Photo Gallery, Media Player, Media Center. Part Five takes the pain out of setting up how to Print, Fax, and Scan.  Part Six can save you money. This is aptly named: PC Health, Maintenance and Speed Tweaks. I know that most people don’t backup, but if you do want to change, Chapter 22 takes you through the easy steps in preserving your data for that day when things go bad.

This book is for those who want to not only learn Windows 7, but who do not want to hire an in-home computer tutor. I recommend keeping this book close to your computer for easy reference. For me, it is a great read, packed with information, help, and neat tips and tricks.