This article is designed to help you make your Windows computer more stable and run more
efficiently. This will be done by using free programs available from Microsoft or as freeware from
Before we get into performance enhancement, let's cover some basic requirement for safe computing on the internet. YES, you need it. That's how you got here to read this.
There are five major threats facing you
on the net. They are: virus infection, trojans, spy ware, ad ware
and hackers. A virus is a hidden program that damages you data
and cause loss of everything. A trojan is a program that looks
like one thing but is doing other things as well, such as sending data
from your computer to someone else or allowing somone else to do things
using your computer. Spyware is a program that is loaded on your
computer, usually when you install a free program, that reports your
browsing habits to some collection agency that sells the data or uses
it to target advertising to you. Ad ware is a program that runs
and sends you ads, usually as those annoying pop-ups.
How to protect yourself? A virus
is prevented or removed by a virus program. Get one and make sure
you keep it up to date. Up date at least weekly. I have my
system to check for updates every six hours and do a full scan
daily. That may be over kill, but I haven't had a virus since
1988. A trojan may be detected by your virus checker, but
the best way is to not get it to start with. If you must,
and I do, download free programs use the well known repositoiries, like
download.com or any of the major share/free ware sites. The small
"hacker" sites can be deadly. On site I tried was infected on 9 out of
10 programs I checked. Sypware and adware can be found and
removed by programs designed to do that. I check at least weekly
and everytime I install a new program.
To protect yourself from hackers, who
once in, can do anything they want to do, is to get and use a
firewall. For the home user, a hardware solution may be overkill
and there are good software programs out there that do well.
All of these things are covered in this
article and links are provided to software solutions. Good luck
and safe computing.
Start by running scan disk on all of your hard drives and correct any errors found. When this is complete, defrag your hard drives. A combination of the runs may stabilize your computer and it certainly can't hurt! Both of these programs come with Windows and are normally under the Accessories menu. The folder within that menu may vary depending on the version of Windows that you're running. If it's not in the main entry, try the System menu item.
Obtain and run the regclean program. It
useded to obtainalble from Microsoft. If you can't find it else where
you can get it here. Just click on REGCLEAN
and download it. This program is available from many places and
was originally published my Microsoft. It functions well on Win98
SE and lower. I don't know if it works on later versions of
Next, you'll want to remove all adware from your system. Adware is NOT the ads that appear on your screen while you're browsing. They are routines installed on your computer that track your browsing habits and PHONE HOME when they get the chance and tell "home base" what you've been viewing. The purpose is to target advertising to you, but it can do a lot more. The fact is that no one really knows what it's doing because the companies that use this stuff won't tell and they'll not make the source code available. It could be sending any information that's on your hard disk back to its home. That is scary!!!
It's available at HERE Go to the download page and click on Download.com icon to start the download process..
Not only is that scary, it can be causing lock ups and freezes and the malfunctioning of many programs. Get the adware removal program and get it off of your system!!!! Do read the documentation (it's not that much) and understand what you're doing.
That's a biggie and can help a lot.
Next, you'll want to clean your system. There's a great clean program that cleans the registry, unused files and such. Get this gem and run it. Unless you are very sure of what you're doing, I wouldn't recommend deleting duplicate files. Just skip this step.
You'll find a lot of interesting stuff at ToniArts, but Easy Cleaner is the one to start with! Another disk and registry cleaner that's good is at http://www.haysoft.com/ It's hard to have too many!!!! Believe it or not, this one comes from Turkey!!! The Internet makes the world a small place!
When you're on the Internet, you want to insure that internet hackers cannot get into your system. The place to start is by making sure that NO Microsoft network access is available into your system. There's a great web page that can help you at http://grc.com Select the shields up logo. You'll get a second screen from which you'll select shields up again. Scroll down the next screen and let it test your shields. Read the results and go from there. IF you're vulnerable, solve that problem. There are instructions on this site that can help you. After your shields have been tested, let it probe your ports. Again, read the results and decide what, if anything, you need to do from there.
There's a lot of great information at this site. The more time you spend here, the better informed you'll be.
In today's world, it makes sense to have a virus checker. I useTrust which is at http://antivirus.cai.com/ It's no longer free but it does offer online
autmatic updates of virus pattern files to keep your virus checker current. This one seems to have the
necessary bells and whistles of virus checkers that cost far more. If you don't already have a virus
checker, this could be a good place to start. If you need a free one, you might check here: http://www.thefreesite.com/Free_Software/Anti_virus_freeware/
Or check at http://www.free-av.com/
I really like this one. It's from Germany and seem to do a decent
job with real time protection, although updates are manual.
Another free for home use protection is http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_4_home.html
I've not tried this one, but it comes recommended from several
sources. I think it offeres real time protection, email
protection, and automatic updates. Give a read and compare.
You may have heard the term fire wall. A fire wall is a technique that prevents unauthorized access to your machine via the Internet. If you have a DSL or Cable modem, you should absolutely have a fire wall. Even if you only use dial up, a fire wall is a good idea. One of the best fire walls available for a PC is at http://www.zonelabs.com/ and, again, it is free. How can you go wrong????
Hints, Helps, & Tricks
If you've ever wondered if you have email and don't feel like loading your email program OR you have multiple pop3 accounts Click here This may be the solution for you. Now, this only works on pop accounts, not web mail accounts.
If your PC clock gains or loses time, check out http://www.thinkman.com/dimension4/index.html for a simple fix.
If you're having strange system freezes, this is worth a try. We're going to turn off graphics hardware acceleration. To do this, right button the "My Computer" icon and select properties. Click on the performance tab and then click on the graphics button. Move the slider towards a lower position. How much lower? What ever works!!! You may want to try different settings.
One approach is to set it to none and run a day that way. If there are no lockups, you know that this was causing problems. The next day, move it up one notch and see what happens. Keep doing this till lockups begin and then lower it one notch. Problem solved.