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Old 12-16-2004, 07:41 AM   #1
315RLS
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: North Andover
Posts: 669
M.O.C. #1900
A Checklist for Tuning Up Your PC

I came across this article a week or so ago and sent it to dozens of people whom are always asking for help to cleanup their computers and to keep them running optimaly and virus/spyware free. It was nice to find this as it covers everything I do on a regular basis and saved me typing the same. Hope it is of use to others as well.


Url to this article:
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...mn_programs_dc

Article text:

Programs: a Checklist for Tuning Up Your PC

Sat Dec 4, 8:47 AM ET

By Gene Emery

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Reuters) - You change the oil in
your car every 5,000 miles or so. You clean your house
every week or two. Your PC needs regular maintenance
as well -- especially if you're using Windows and you
spend a lot of time on the Internet.



Virus checkers need to be updated. Spyware or adware
may have sneaked onto your PC and the clutter could be
slowing everything down.

I have a checklist I follow at the end of every month
for keeping my computer properly tuned. The steps may
differ slightly, depending on your operating system.
Clicking the "Start" button, going to the "Help"
section and searching for a feature will show you how
to adapt this list to your machine.

Here's my drill:

CLEAR THE DESKTOP. I look at my desktop icons to see
if I can consolidate some of them in folders. To
create a folder, put your cursor in a blank portion of
the screen, click on the right mouse button, select
"New" and "Folder." Click on the folder to rename it.
Then you can drag desktop icons onto it. I had a
friend who, until I taught him this trick, had a
screen so cluttered with icons he could barely see his
wallpaper.

CLEAR THE PROGRAMS. Next, I get rid of unused
programs. But beware: Dragging their desktop icons
into the Recycle Bin won't work. Instead, click on the
"Start" button, select "Programs," find the program
you want to remove, and look for an "Uninstall"
option. If there isn't one, click on "Start," select
"Settings," then "Control Panel," double-click on the
"Add/Remove Programs" icon, look for the program on
the list, and then click "Add/Remove." If that doesn't
work, I insert the original disk that contained the
program. The opening screen often has an "Uninstall"
option.

UPDATE AND RUN THE VIRUS CHECKER. This should be done
at least once a month. I've been using McAfee for
years and, once you're connected to the Internet,
updating is as simple as opening the main program and
clicking the "Update" button. Once that's done -- the
computer can appear to stall for many minutes, so be
patient -- reboot the computer and run the virus
checker.

By the way, if you keep your computer on all the time
-- which I do not -- most virus checkers can be
programed to run at specified times. I recommend 3
a.m. daily.

CLEAR THE CLUTTER. Running the "Disk Cleanup" program,
found by clicking on "Start," "Programs,
"Accessories," and "System Tools," will get rid of
temporary files, empty your recycle bin and eliminate
other junk.

UPDATE SPYWARE/ADWARE REMOVERS. Spyware and adware --
also known as scumware -- are programs that can sneak
onto your computer via the Internet, slow your PC
down, give you unwanted ads, and snoop on your
Internet browsing habits. I use "Ad-aware" from
http://www.lavasoftusa.com. Use the "Check for Updates
Now" feature and let the updates install. But wait
before you actually run the main program.

By the way, many readers have told me they run both
"Ad-aware" and "Spybot: Search and Destroy" from
http://www.safer-networking.org, another free program,
to be sure all the spies are out of their system.

GO INTO SAFE MODE. I close all my programs and restart
the computer in "Safe Mode." In my case, after the
rebooting process has begun, I have to hit the "F8"
key when I hear the beep. The process varies from
computer to computer. In safe mode, the graphics look
horrible, but it doesn't load programs that will
interfere with what I do next.

RUN THE SPYWARE/ADWARE REMOVERS. They work more
effectively in the "Safe Mode." For me, Ad-aware takes
about 5 minutes to run.

The remaining steps don't need to be done regularly,
but it's a good idea to do them once in a while.

Again, make sure you are in "Safe Mode," and turn off
your screen saver by going to "Start," "Settings,"
"Control Panel," "Display," clicking on the "Screen
Saver" tab, and using the pulldown menu to select
"None." Then click OK and close all windows.

RUN SCANDISK (unless you have Windows XP (news - web
sites)). "ScanDisk" can be found by going back to the
"System Tools" folder. It checks your hard drive for
problems. Make sure the "Automatically Fix Errors" box
is checked and do a "Thorough" scan. Don't plan on
using your computer for quite a while. It typically
takes many hours.

RUN DISK DEFRAGMENTER. This is also found in the
"System Tools" folder. It consolidates the files on
your hard drive, making things run smoother. I start
this when I'm ready to go to bed. It takes all night.

When I'm finished, I reboot the computer and it brings
me back to normal.

If you're having problems, visit the site
http://www.pcpitstop.com. Their free scan can be very
helpful. (Gene Emery is a columnist who covers science
and technology. His Internet address is
GEmery(at)Cox.net. Any opinions in the column are his
alone.)
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Old 12-16-2004, 10:10 AM   #2
stiles watson
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M.O.C. #2059
Good information. Thank you.
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Old 12-16-2004, 10:13 AM   #3
sreigle
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Location: Oceanside
Posts: 20,028
M.O.C. #20
Thanks for a great tip. I've had a pc at home since 1980 and my career was in computers. I'd like to think I know a thing or two about them although I'll be the first to say I don't know anywhere near everything and continue to learn. I was not aware of the Disk Cleanup applet. I've been doing those things manually, to the point of having a shortcut on the desktop to temp folders, etc., to assist and remind to cleanup. The Disk Cleanup applet is a sweet little applet that will save me some work.
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Old 12-16-2004, 10:38 AM   #4
315RLS
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: North Andover
Posts: 669
M.O.C. #1900
Quote:
quote:Originally posted by sreigle

Thanks for a great tip. I've had a pc at home since 1980 and my career was in computers. I'd like to think I know a thing or two about them although I'll be the first to say I don't know anywhere near everything and continue to learn. I was not aware of the Disk Cleanup applet. I've been doing those things manually, to the point of having a shortcut on the desktop to temp folders, etc., to assist and remind to cleanup. The Disk Cleanup applet is a sweet little applet that will save me some work.

Steve, after getting tagged every time I visit relatives or close family friends and spending the time to do the above to their machines it was very nice to find the write-up to forward on to them. One thing that does surprise me is the amount of spy-ware you find on your machines even if you are diligent with firewalls and anti-virus management. Especially if you use Microsofts Internet Explorer as my wife does. I deleted well over 400 tracking cookies and removed hundreds of spy-ware objects off her machine the first time going through it..
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Old 12-16-2004, 02:22 PM   #5
sreigle
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Oceanside
Posts: 20,028
M.O.C. #20
I had some problems with the spyware making the system instable and Vicki did, too. Now I have McAfee's AntiSpyware running and watching things constantly. Also, my Norton AntiVirus watches for adware. And I regularly do full system scans with both. I had trouble with one adware/spyware that came back every time I rebooted even though it had just been "deleted". I finally found a service I didn't recognize, checked online and found it's part of somethingorotherbuddy (forgot its name). Removed the service and that ended that. I also had some that didn't go away fully even with mcafee, norton, and adaware se. I emailed mcafee and found out I had to stop all non-necessary things running (with msconfig), then boot into safe mode and scan/delete from there. That did the trick. My brother has one I still haven't figured out.
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