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Keeping your Windows PC running Smoothly

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Bob_M

#1
I enjoy fixing/reformatting friends' & family's Windows PC as needed.

I do my best to install lots of protection for them. I also try to teach them how to properly keep their PC safe, up to date, and running smoothly as long as possible.

I have a Word File that I update as needed. Please take a look at my document. I'm looking for suggestions/comments additions/corrections.

Hopefully my doc might help you or your less Windows-Literate friends :rolleyes:
 

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C

chaosweary

#4
Windows = "Send Error Report"

Boy what a sore spot for me. My windows 98 running on an Intel P3 333mhz platform with Office software for that era runs faster than my Dell Win XP with Office Pro with a Pentium 4 3.6GHZ.
I guess another tip would be if you can afford it, have two computers. One for the internet that you can experiment with and load and unload software at will and one for purely SOHO business purposes. (this model has worked the best for me).
I load and unload software like crazy and it still screws up the registry even in XP. Unloading software still leaves footprints and unassociated filenames. Even with 1 gig of ram, memory still gets clogged and never truly clears after a program is terminated. "Cleaning" or "tuning" software usually just makes things worse. I am not impressed with XP.

:mad: Another thing that gets my goat is that all these software makers just assume your computer is hooked to the internet, some even require internet registration, what a scam.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#5
chaosweary said:
I load and unload software like crazy and it still screws up the registry even in XP. Unloading software still leaves footprints and unassociated filenames. Even with 1 gig of ram, memory still gets clogged and never truly clears after a program is terminated. "Cleaning" or "tuning" software usually just makes things worse. I am not impressed with XP.
Installing and uninstalling software will not "screw up" the registry in an NT system. There seems to be a widespread fallacious belief that programs, when needing a registry entry, must scan the whole registry until the entry is found. Under such a scheme, it would make sense that when the registry becomes "bloated" things will slow down. The problem is that the registry doesn't work that way, and programs can and do go directly to the relevant entries, so the relative size of the registry is irrelevant. Orphaned registry entries take up a small amount of disk space, but other than that there really isn't any harm being done. The exception would be an orphaned entry that tries to load a process at startup, but that's the fault of the uninstalled programs own uninstall routine, and not the fault of the OS. In those cases, Task Manager can be used to identify and kill the offending process, and MSconfig can be used to stop the process from loading. As for RAM getting "clogged," that's a fairly rare occurrence (more common in 9x systems, btw) and is almost always due to misbehavior of an application, not the OS.
 
B

Bob_M

#6
As far as the registry being bloated:

A word of caution: Registry cleaners sometimes cause more harm than good. I've had bad experiences with Norton's Systemworks' registry cleaner.

However knowing how to use MSCONFIG and similar problems can help speed up your boot time and removed unwanted/unnecessary programs from starting.

That's not something quite covered in the document, but I do alot of tweaking before I return a computer.

I use a program called AutoPatcher to get all of the post-SP2 updates and MANY useful tweaks. I also use TWEAKXP alot (included with Autopatcher - found in control panel after install). However, if you don't know what you're doing, you can screw it up worse. :frust:
 
B

Bob_M

#7
Jim Wynne said:
Good job, Bob:agree1: . I've added a few comments and suggestions to your file. Thanks for sharing--if everyone would take your advice, all of us would be a lot safer.
Thanks for the comments/corrections.

IEVIEW - I use it. I just didn't think about it for the list

Firefox ActiveX - I didn't realize it didn't run ActiveX by default, but I think that's why its safer for most "newbies" - I still use IE but very rarely

Password Manager - I just added that today - I don't know of any bad ones by name, but I'm sure some are actually bad and will try to steal your info (user beware) - Depending on the person, they might forget their passwords over time and are screwed if their computer dies or password manager breaks - It all depends on the person

Downloaded/Free games - Good luck finding what HIDDEN stuff might be in the EULA - Most spyware scanners will find them after the fact, but as a rule of thumb people just shouldn't download the "free" stuff - Use at own risk

I give this list to "newbie" and people who had done just about everything wrong from my list. Alot of people, just have no idea what they should/shouldn't do to keep their PC's safe and running.

IMHO - XP was not the cure to computer safety problems like Bill Gates claimed it was! :mad: :bonk: :nope: It may crash less, but its still far from safe. (To bad I don't know how to setup Linux for myself at home - But I like to many Windows-Only software).
 

Domoreto

Registered Visitor
#9
Hi. Very interesting and helpful collection of tips . :applause:
Few more, which may help :
- Using Download manager ( helps , especially if using unstable Dial-up connection) which can split the downloaded files into few parts and will continue download if interrupted ( Chose on carefully - some are Shareware , some are Adware (brrrr) ( I'm a fan of Fresh Download from - www.freshdevices.com - it is clean and reasonably working freeware)
- Check the downloaded stuff with antivirus (build in freshdownload)
- Monitoring the Start-up programs - easiest way - Start-Run- MSConfig -Startup - then remove all the non-daily used stuff ( if not sure - use "search:" to try and trace the suspicious startup entry) ( CC- normally stands for Norton Products...., etc..)
- back-up data monthly - not the programs but docs , spreadsheets, pix, etc. ( use WR DVD-s ). ( Backup the data after full virus scan )
- If some virus /intruder is detected by your Antivirus /Anti spy ware , before cleaning - disable your System Restore .
- After un-installing some program - use some reg.cleaning software ( don't do it if not sure)

To Long?
OK . Enough for now :bigwave:
 
C

chergh - 2008

#10
A few things I would add:

1. Got ADSL? Buy a router with a hardware firewall, a hardware firewall is essential for when connecting a new computer or a fresh install to the internet for the first time.

2. Don't download anything that isn't from a site you trust

3. Never enable macros on MS office documents unless you know they are dafe

4. Get a spam filter for your email client

5. Don't use Outlook Express, get thunderbird instead

6. Never click on any spam ever

7. Someone offering you a few million to help them move some cash/gold/oil etc are not genuine. Try a google for 419 if your not familiar with these offers

8. Dont blindly click on links. http:\\www.microsoft.com
See what I mean now imagine if that is your bank and some fraudster has set up a page to look exactly like your banks page. You would probably put in your log in info.
 
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