Sometimes even simplicity beats Rocket Science – Part 3

Apologies for the delay, but to complete my series of advice, here are my final tips for maintaining a healthy computer:

  • Security – it amazes me how often I find machines that either don’t have antivirus protection, only have expired trial versions or use programmes that hog so much computer memory that it really slows the machine down. Here’s the secret: you don’t actually need any of them. Instead, consider installing CCleaner, Malwarebytes and Microsoft Security Essentials (not needed for Windows 8). Click on the individual links for installation instructions. This trinity of programmes will be more than enough for you if you scan your computer with them every week or two and keep them updated. If a virus can get through these, it will get through any of the traditional antivirus softwares like Norton or McAfee. The best bit about these is that they’re free and small, so they won’t reduce the speed of your computer or your bank balance!
  • Msconfig – This one requires a slightly more technical eye. If you go to the start menu and type in msconfig into the run command it will bring up a list of all of the programmes or processes that your computer loads when it first starts up. If you do this before you remove something like Norton antivirus, you’ll see there are five processes running and start to see why it really slows down machines with smaller memory capacity. If you don’t know what you’re doing here or someone who can help you it’s best to leave it alone. However if there is a process which you don’t need to start up straight away like Skype, iTunes updater etc then deactivate them. Applying any changes will require a computer restart, but when it does you should notice a difference in how quickly the computer loads up.
  • Broadband Hardware – If your computer seems to be performing reasonably but you’re finding browsing online takes an age (or would be quicker for you to physically visit wherever you’re viewing!), then make sure that your broadband hardware is up to date. Like anything, these do wear out over time and need upgrading or replacing. Many broadband providers will happily give you a new default router if yours is playing up. More often than not, it’s the ADSL filter which plugs into your wall phone socket that will go first. Try replacing this first, as providers are usually more than happy to send out replacements for these too. If you can’t wait for them to send one out, you can pick one up for £5-10 pounds.
  • Have a Backup – Sometimes bad things happen. Computers are man made so like us as individuals they will never work or behave 100% of the time. So whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re storing, whatever device you have, think to yourself “if I didn’t have this, how else could I do this?”. If you have an answer, or at least the beginnings of one, then hopefully things won’t be quite as unexpected or traumatic for you if and when things go wrong. Hopefully they won’t, reliability has vastly improved in recent years across the board.

I hope some of this advice helps. If it’s still not working after all that, then yes there probably is an issue worth spending your money to have your pride and joy looked at!


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