Skip to comments.PC technical question (vanity)
Posted on 10/21/2012 12:29:48 PM PDT by Former Fetus
So, here I am again, the technologically challenged FReeper, with another "life or death" question.
My husband is ready to throw his PC through the window. It is slower than molasses in January, it freezes... We used to blame Vista for it. But lately I've noticed something when I run Microsoft Security Essentials on both his and my pc. Even though I have lots of pics in my pc, class notes, power points... it scans right under 650,000 items in less than an hour. My husband does not have ANYTHING installed, except the OS, IE, and Microsoft Office. But at the end of the scan it says there are about three times as many "items" in his pc and it takes over 2 hrs to scan. Obviously this is what is slowing down his pc so much. I tried cleaning the cache but it didn't make any significant difference.
Can anybody suggest our best course of action? We do not know enough to go item by item through his hard drive and remove anything unnecessary. What can we do?
Back up the data that you know you want to keep, format the hard drive and re install Windows, then your security software. Finally, scan your backup, and reinstall your data if it’s clean.
I’d recommend WinDirStat to investigate the file system:
Run defrag and ScanDisk to look for and correct errors on your HDD.
>>Back up the data that you know you want to keep, format the hard drive and re install Windows, then your security software. Finally, scan your backup, and reinstall your data if its clean.<<
That’s the best advice you’ll get. It is really your only choice.
If that is all he has on his computer, his best move would be to reformat the hard drive and reinstall the OS and office.
Or if you’re not prepared to go to that much trouble, try this. Start Windows Explorer. Right click on the C: drive and select “Properties.” Click the “Disk Cleanup” button and do what it says. That should take off all kinds of temporary and other files that aren’t needed and free up some space.
First, if you have an external drive, copy all folders w/ important files/data to it.
Do you have a separate Utilities Program?
Start->All Programs->Accessories->System Tools->Disk CleanUp->Disk Defragmenter.
If you have Norton/Symmantec, Run PC Tune-Up: use File CleanUp & Disk Optimization.
Reformat is last resort.
That’s not likely to do much. Just for giggles, I just checked my desktop, which has never been cleaned and it’s reporting that if I run Disk Cleanup, I can reclaim 295mb of storage. Out of 2 terabytes of storage, that’s not worth the trouble even if it only takes seconds.
Anything from Vista forward, there is little reason to run disk clean or defrag utilities. Those are leftovers from the Windows shell over DOS days. The more modern OS’s do a wonderful job of housecleaning with no user intervention.
I use Glary Utilities and it works good. Free- give it a try.
CCleaner is a great program for cleaning up Windows.
Very safe and easy. You see a marked speed-up.
Last time I updated I had to uninstall something (Chrome maybe?) that came with it so I quit updating it.
CCleaner is free.
Ditto. I was going to recommend Advanced System Care too. After downloading, run deep scan and do what it says. You might lose something, but the software does establish a rollback point.
I use CCleaner for a quick cleaning.
Ccleaner is better than Disk Cleanup.
Auslogic is better than Microsoft's disk defragmenter.
By "better" I mean faster, more comprehensive and does a better job.
Get Ccleaner here.
Get Auslogic here.
I have the full version of this program (Advanced SystemCare). It does a very good job of cleaning up your hard drive and making it run better bu it’s also possible that you have a virus. ACS has an antivirus program yhst is okay but you might try some other antivirus programs like these:
I have a laptop with Vista and learned, through bitter experience, to do nothing on that computer but download podcasts of Rush’s show and listen to them while exercising. Even with this tiny task it crashes. If I listen to more than 2 hours I get a message that “memory is low,” which is absurd since I do absolutely nothing else (no open Windows with Excel, Word, e-mail, etc.). Vista is hopeless. Nothing will help ...
Vista is garbage!
Get a Mac.
Also once you reinstall please find a decent browser (Firefox) and install the following add-ons: Adblock Plus, Ghostery, Flashblock, and maybe NoScript. This will make the computer safer to use. Do not use IE unless some broken Web site that you trust needs it. Make FF your default browser.
I'd suggest, if only you weren't using MS Office, to ditch Vista and install some Ubuntu instead. But if MS Office is a requirement then you can't do much about that. Running MS Office on Linux is only for the geeks who know what WINE is and what it is not. Perhaps you would be happy enough with OpenOffice ... but I personally cannot afford a free office suite - I cannot accept the risk to my business. But if OpenOffice works for you then I strongly suggest setting Vista aside and loading Ubuntu. It would be far more reliable that way.
Throw out windows.
Get a Mac !
That is sick ... eewwww...
Don’t get me started on Macs, I own two, one is a couple of years old and the DVD doesn’t work, the other is a month old and needs to go to the shop because there is something wrong with the video chip.
They just don’t build them like they used to.
Reinstalling windows should be a last resort, not the first.
What is running on start-up?
Select “Start” then “Run”, then type: MSCONFIG then hit enter.
Select the Startup tab. Anything that is checked-marked executes and runs on start up. Do you need all that stuff running ? If not, uncheck it. After unchecking whatever you think needs to be unchecked, then click “Apply, then ok.
Others recommend disk cleanup and scan disk. Do it and do it now.
Run an anti-spyware and a good anti-virus.
Download malwarebytes then run it.
Always verify whatever the results of any anti-spyware\virus scan return, as they can identify things as viruses when they are not.
Also, you can set windows up to run for performance.
Select: Control Panel\System, Select: Advanced System Settings. Select “Advanced”. In the performance box select: “Settings”. Check the box for “Adjust for Best Performance” then click “Apply” then ok.
delete everything out of all you “TEMP” folders.
Do a search on C:\ for “TEMP” to find all the folders.
Restart you PC then run defrag again.
Just some easy things to do.
When in doubt, don't..ask first.
clean out the system. delete all temp folder items(not the folder)delete all *.tmp files. Next run chkdsk then defrag.
Assuming both complete build a MS defender offline usb stick or dvd and run that. Next make sure your temp dir are mostly empty, search for temp and delete.
After that patch everything. run windows update, patch your drivers and programs. Drivereasy and Secunia are great free tools. once that is all done we start on hardware.
If hubby's computer is a brand you can get hardware checking software from them. Personalty I'd rather go to the MFG for their diag software when it's available(especially for hard drives).
Lastly a good registry cleaner is now imperative. Backup before you run it.
Postscript, windows 8 drops next week, for $40 you can update, and a lot of clutter issues will go away, but not the clutter. Here to help, MIA monday
Slow computer, with not much hard disk space in use, points to running more processes than available memory can handle. It may be thrashing - meaning you are using more memory than is available. When that happens, windows, which is always prioritizing and swapping from one task/process to another, has to write ] memory to disk (called virtual memory - where you are temporarily storing what’s in memory to the hard drive) - in order to make ‘room’ in memory for loading something else to run. If it’s doing this every time it’s switching processes, your computer will take forever to do anything.
Looking in your startup folder is a good idea as was mentioned ... these are programs that automatically load whenever your computer starts - if a ton of programs are running in the background - and they may be invisible to you, that is one thing that will use all your memory.
Use Ctrl/Alt/Delete and go to the processes tab of the task manager (which comes up when you use ctrl/alt/delete). Take a screenshot and post it here.
There are processes and services running all the time on computers that aren’t what you think of as programs or exe’s.
The list will be pretty long, even for a clean computer. I would suggest taking a screenshot of that tab and posting it.
What year is the computer?
... regardless, there is too much loaded in memory, which is what would cause any action to be slow - including opening documents, switching from one program to another. You said a file search on the computer takes forever - that’s usually a process that does this when there isn’t enough memory available.
If, when it’s slow, you hear a lot of the crunching of the hard drive (as it’s reading and writing to disk), then it’s continuously swapping memory to disk - temporarily ‘putting down’ a task so that it can handle another task. Then for the next task, it has to write memory to disk to free up memory deal with the new task.
That kind of thing can be caused by having too much open at once, or too many background processes running, or it could be a virus that’s having the same effect.
Screenshot of exe’s running and processes running - both of which you can get from the ‘task manager’ using ctrl/alt/delete will show this.
Of course you can reformat the drive and reinstall windows ... but that really shouldn’t be the first resort.
I don’t using cleaning utilities on my computer, but some of the ones mentioned here are i’m sure fine.
Summary: Find out what’s hogging all your memory, and get rid of what you don’t need. (For the step of knowing what you can get rid - often you’ll recognize some things, but many processes have seemingly random names and you can’t figure out which is good stuff and which is wasteful stuff - which is why I suggest posting the screenshot of the list of your processes here)
This assumes you have taken the obligatory steps of ridding the computer of trojans, virus, and failed applications without success.
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