Ordinarily, I like to rant about the crap I come across. Not this time. This time I’m going to try to help you with a problem. It seems like every time I turn around somebody is getting jacked by some computer repair shop like Geek Squad for something they could fix right at home. I personally am not a fan of the Geek Squad, anyway, but that is an upcoming rant.
Now, if your computer is running slower than it was, there are some simple steps to fix this problem without getting jacked for $100 by some geeks.
First: Do a complete virus scan. If you don’t have an anti-virus program, well, you may be to stupid to own a computer. Yes, that is a mean thing to say, but it is true. 99% of most computer problems are caused by those electronic bugs that sneak into your system and eat your data or funnel your personal info to some crook. If you don’t have virus protection, get some. Yesterday! Where was I? Oh, yeah…do a complete scan. Follow the instructions when it is done and shoo away those pesky bugs.
Second: Do a Malware scan. What’s that? You don’t know what that is? OY! Malware is the nasty little spyware and spoofware bugs that get into your system and spy on you and try to scam you with phony virus threats. And guess what? Anti-virus won’t catch it. You need something like Malwarebytes (which I use and works well for me) to scan your computer again. You can get a free copy of Malwarebytes. Just Google it. It is also simple to use. And no, I don’t get a kick-back for recommending it.
Third: OK, you zapped all the bugs and either your system is going faster or it isn’t. Either way you should do a disc clean-up. Good news is that it is a utility in Windows so you don’t have to download or buy anything. Yay! Now, hit START (lower left corner of your screen for the computer illiterate) then hit PROGRAMS, ACCESSORIES, SYSTEM TOOLS, and finally DISK CLEAN-UP. A little window will pop up. Click OK. Be patient while it goes through its routines. Eventually another little window will pop up. Check pretty much everything then hit OK. If you have more than one hard-drive then you will have to repeat this process for each drive.
Fourth: Now comes the fun part…defragmenting. Once again hit Start, PROGRAMS, ACCESSORIES, SYSTEM TOOLS, then DISK DEFRAGMENTER. A new window will open (yeah, I know, big surprise.) Highlight the hard-drive and click on DEFRAGMENT. This could take a while, but it can run in the background while you play Freecell or whatever you do normally.
OK, you did all that and the system is still running slow, so what’s the deal? Now it gets a bit more complicated. First guess, you have insufficient RAM to keep up with everything you do. Windows XP needs a minimum of 256 MB RAM to operate smoothly. However, every program you add to the system eats into the available RAM. Anti-virus programs will eat up RAM even in passive mode. If you have Vista, then you REALLY need more RAM! Standard PC systems use a 32 bit OS. Don’t worry if you don’t know what that means. If you had a 64 bit OS, you would know. So, with a standard system, you can upgrade the RAM to a maximum of 2 GB (assuming you aren’t running on a real dinosaur…check the specs and see what they say.) This is especially important if you got suckered into buying a Celeron system (suckerrrrrr!)
Finally, we come to the hard-drive. If it is too full it will slow down a bit, and even prevent you from running a Defrag. Get a new hard-drive with more capacity. If you have room in the computer case you can even piggy-back it with the old hard-drive giving you even more room to play with. Of course, you will need to move a lot of data from one drive to the other to make space on the primary. I typically run four to six hard-drives, but I have a custom built system…I built it myself.
Now, after all that the system is still slow. Well, bad news, folks. Time to unlpug the Mouse and plug it into a new PC. Odds are your motherboard or processor are on their way out. In this case it could be cheaper to get a new computer than to fix the old one. It’s not 100%, but those are the odds. If you know somebody who works on computers, check with him first. It could also be a bad RAM chip (easy fix if not easy to spot) or a bad power supply. Power supplies can be tricky to identify, but I’ve done it. Make sure your power supply isn’t under powered. My system hit a point where I killed three 450 Watt power supply boxes in one year. Solution? New power supply with 650 Watts. End of problem.
I don’t usually do this, but if you are having a computer issue I’ll take questions and see if I can assist. Just leave a comment on my blog and I’ll get back to you. Consider this my X-Mas present to you all.