Nothing is worse than a slow computer, and these days there is no excuse to have a computer with these issues. You do not have to be a computer wizard to keep your computer clean and running to its full potential. Just a few years ago, only that “one kid”, down the street could be trusted to safely remove your spyware and virus issues without completely nuking your computer. But most people I know just opted to leave it well enough alone and just go get a new computer; which of course was afflicted with the exact same issues just months later. But nowadays, even your grandmother can channel her inner hacker spirit to quickly and safely remove spyware,virus, and registry issues. Today’s PC maintenance software is not only all freeware, they’ve “safety scissored” all of the options. It’s nearly impossible to brick your computer with the tools below, not that it could get any worse, right?
Step 1: Anti-Virus Software
If you do not already have anti-virus software, now would be the time to install something. We highly recommend AVG Free. If you are already lucky enough to have a virus, you may not be able to install a virus protection software; hackers are so clever! In this case we would recommend a web based scanner such as TrendMicro or Kapersky, after that you should be able to install real anti-virus software. If you have a nasty infection and are unable to run a web based scan either, you will need to find a CD-ROM based scanner that boots before you go into Windows. Yes, your computer is that hosed. AVG Rescue CD is a great free option for this, it can also be run from a USB stick. Viruses account for 8/10 cases of major PC problems. Once you have that taken care of, notice how nice your computer runs! But we’re not done yet….
Time Needed: 15 minutes to 2 hours
Step 2: Anti-Spyware Software
Spyware/Adware/Malware accounts for rest of slow running PCs. They are a less intrusive form of a virus, however, some are more annoying than others. Sometimes they run “silently” in the background and do not alert you of their presence by changing the way your computer operates. Right now the king of Anti-Spyware software is made by Malwarebytes. Spybot S&D (Search and Destroy) is another good, albeit antiquated option.
Time Needed: 15 minutes to 30 minutes
Step 3: Clean that “Crap”…
CCleaner combines the best functions of many “tweak/cleaner” programs into a one-click ordeal, did I mention it’s freeware too? It cleans caches from programs, windows system files, and internet browsers. Cleans and fixes orphaned registry links from un-installed programs. It’s one of the final steps that really ties together all of your work so far.
Time Needed: 5-10 minutes
Step 4: Find a better internet browser (and set it up properly!)
Yes, Internet Explorer users, I am talking to YOU! No matter how many numbers they keep adding behind the IE badge, it will still be a sub-par internet browser. It’s akin to someone that still burns whale oil lamps; because it “works”. Rather than using something like an incandescent bulb (Firefox) or a CFL bulb (Chrome). It’s not that IE is a bad web browser, it can load most pages just fine. Internet Explorer has an uncanny ability to infect your computer with today’s latest virus without asking any questions. In other words, IE would probably get fired from that bouncer job within hours. Security has never been IE’s strong point, and the truth is a Firefox/Chrome user with no virus/spyware protection is safer than an IE user with full protection. Once you have joined the rest of the world, install a few necessary plug-ins/extensions to complete your new web experience. (AdBlock, namely).
Time Needed: 5-10 minutes
Step 5: Sit back and enjoy the speed
Your eyeballs should now be bleeding due to the new found speed of your trusty, old, computer. Keep your Anti-Virus and Spyware software up to date through the update menu in each program on a regular basis. If your computer is still slow, don’t worry, your computer might actually be really, really, old. Or it still might have a whole lot of problems, because you ran it ragged. By the way, when was the last time you changed the oil on your car?
Time Needed: Your computer is so fast now, it’s making time.For those people who still have the need for speed, or lack of speed as it were, we will be covering some specific tips in part 2 that should do the trick.