5 Easy Steps To Keep Your Computer Running Fast, Without Paying For It

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It really doesn’t take a lot of effort to make your computer run fast and stay fast. In just 5 easy steps you can have your computer running just as fast as it was the first day you got it. Plus, you don’t have to fork over any money to do it, just a little time each week. Here’s how:

Let’s start by explaining that most times computers slow down because they have a lot of programs resident in memory. These programs take up space, most of them aren’t needed because they are waiting for you to open another program, printer or Adobe or iTunes or an updater. The second thing that slows down your computer is the amount of temporary data that is stored on in your local temp folder. Third, is poorly organized hard drive space and fourth is just having to many uneeded programs or pictures limiting the amount of free space for the CPU to use for swapping program information from memory to the hard drive. Lastly, and this is a touchy one for some people, is the use of major companies AntiVirus or Internet Security programs. I will explain my reasoning for disliking the major software when I get there later.

The 5 easy steps are download, uninstall old, install new, create a Weekly Maintenance Folder folder, and run the programs. The initial setup is a one time deal that will take 15 to 30 minutes.

So lets start with what you need to download to keep your computer running well. With these 3 downloads and 2 programs already installed with Windows you are ready to go.

Step 1

  1. Microsoft Security Essentials – for AntiVirus
  2. MalwareBytes – click the download free version
  3. CleanUp – to clean up the local profiles

After downloading these programs I highly suggest that you make a System Restore point.

Now that you have these programs downloaded and we are about to start installing and uninstalling things I will explain why we have downloaded Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) and you should remove your current antivirus. The only AV programs that I have found effective are MSE, AVG, Avira and Eset’s NOD32. All have a free version except NOD32, which precludes it from here because you have to pay for it. AVG tends to hide it’s free version so you end up downloading the pro/pay version. That knocks it out for me because I don’t recommend something that a normal person can’t find easily. Avira has a nag DLL that bothers you every time you do an update to buy the paid version and that is way to annoying to be free. I also will not bother clients with that nag. I like them all for their ability to fight viruses and their low overhead in loaded processes, but won’t use them for the reasons mentioned. That leaves MSE, which has had good reviews and has done a pretty good job in my tests with controlled virtual machines.

As for the major companies like Symantec (Norton) and McAfee, they both rate lower than anything else I have mentioned, they are bloatware with heavy memory overhead and they are just plain ineffective. I have watched McAfee let a virus or rouge antivirus install itself without question and I have had to clean it with the solutions above that you are going to use. The same programs that you are going to use in this article have caught and prevented the same viruses from installing or downloading at all when installed. That is why I will not use McAfee or Symantec on a system that I have to work on for a client. The choice is yours, a clean, fast computer or a slow infected one. Every one has an opinion on antivirus, so if you like Norton or McAfee leave them on and skip the MSE install.

Also included in the uninstall below are the Google Desktop, Search and Windows Search because they all access the hard drive all the time and slow it down immensely.

Step 2

  1. Uninstall your current Antivirus, any Malware solutions and others including:
    1. AdAware
    2. SpyBot Search & Destroy
    3. RegCure
    4. Google Desktop
    5. Google Search
    6. Windows Search
    7. Reboot your computer now
  2. Click Start > Run
    1. Type msconfig into the box
    2. Click the Startup tab
    3. Uncheck the following
      1. Adobe/Flash anything
      2. QTTask
      3. Java Updater
      4. Apple Updater
      5. Google Updater

Step 3

  1. Install MSE, Malwarebytes and CleanUp
    1. Do any updates and set the MSE to run a scan weekly
    2. With CleanUp, uncheck the Open ReadMe and Run Application

Step 4

Now that you are done with the installs we need to create a Folder on the desktop and call it “Weekly Maintenance”. You can then drag and drop the MSE, Malwarebytes and CleanUp icons into this folder. You can also go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools to right click the Disk Defragmenter, hover over “Send To” then left click “Desktop (create shortcut)”. Drag the newly created shortcut to the Weekly Maintenance folder and you are ready for the last step, which is running the programs.

Step 5

The order to run the programs once a week is as follows:

  1. CleanUp
    1. During your first run you need to click options and turn off Delete Cookies if you have user names and passwords saved for web sites and click “no” when it asks you if you want to run in demo mode the first time
  2. Malwarebytes
    1. Always run an update first, then run a quick scan. The first time you run it you should run a complete scan

CleanUp takes 30 to 90 seconds to complete and up to 5 minutes the first time it’s run. A full scan of Malwarebytes will take from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on how much you data you have. A quick scan takes 2o minutes.

MSE runs itself once a week from your initial setup.

The last program that you need to run is the defragmenter. You can do this manually each week or you can follow these instructions for Windows XP or in Windows 7 to setup a weekly schedule and forget about it the same as MSE.

There you go, 5 steps to a faster computer. Once a week just do Step 5 and you should have a clean running computer for a long time.

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2 thoughts on “5 Easy Steps To Keep Your Computer Running Fast, Without Paying For It

    Andy said:
    January 5, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Awesome tips! We would love if you shared more at http://www.facebook.com/windowscanada

    We’re always looking for great content!

    Andy
    Windows Canada

    Daniel Oleksiw said:
    January 10, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Great tips, I enjoyed your suggestions. I have heard that Microsoft’s free antivirus is less-than effective at preventing threats by people that have used it and had their computers infected with trojans, but I suppose this might be because the software is in its infancy?
    Anyways, I use malwarebytes all the time and agree that it is the best for removing whatever junk students somehow manage to clutter up my PC lab machines with. Sometimes certain pieces of spyware are also aided the use of the tool “rkill,” which kills the processes that sometimes may prevent malwarebytes from running effectively.
    A link here for generic rkill instructions: http://www.brighthub.com/computing/smb-security/articles/59807.aspx
    Keep up the great advice pages, it’s always great to know how to work on your own PCs if you’re teaching in a lab often.

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