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How to speed up your computer

How to speed up your computer

The majority of us use a computer on a daily basis at work or in the office. Having a slow computer can be highly frustrating and can be a major drag on productivity. Similarly to a Vehicle, computers require consistent regular maintenance in order keep them running at peak performance. Your computer can and will slow down with regular usage without performing some basic key maintenance tasks.

If you are using a standard hard drive as opposed to a solid state drive, you will experience fragmentation which will result in slower read/write times when using programs and accessing or transferring data on your machine. Fragmentation occurs when a user installs or uninstalls programs as well as moves files around. Not only does this cause fragmentation, but this can also result in registry errors if the programs are uninstalled incorrectly. Furthermore, this can result in a drop in performance due to unnecessary simultaneous background tasks and services.

Here is a step by step list of my recommended tasks to perform when setting up a monthly maintenance regimen for your computer.

The first task you should perform is a temporary file clean-up. On average, I am able to clean up about 1.5Gb of Free Space on a machine that hasn’t seen regular maintenance. I recommend using a program like Piriform’s CCleaner.

CCleaner also features a built in registry cleaner, which I recommend for the next step. Simply run the registry cleaner by hitting “scan for issues.” After this is completed, simply click “fix selected issues.” I recommend that you check the option to backup the registry before applying the fix.

The next step is to clean up any unnecessary programs, toolbars, etc… Click on the “tools” tab in CCleaner. Look for any programs that are no Microsoft or anything you recognize installing. If you are unsure about a program, do a quick search on Google to determine whether or not you need it. I recommend uninstalling any unknown programs, toolbars, coupon clippers, etc… You would be surprised at how many programs are including toolbars within their installation files. Be sure to properly read the installation text when installing a new program.

The last thing you want to do when uninstalling programs, is to ensure that you only have one antivirus program installed. On quite a regular basis, I see machines with one or more antivirus installed such as a combination of Norton and McAfee. This can cause a endless amount of problems with your machine, not to mention they are both huge performance hogs. I recommend Vipre Internet Security or Microsoft Security Essentials, as they are more thorough and also lightweight programs.

Now that you have done a good system clean, I recommend optimizing your Windows startup items. Click “Start” > “Run” (search in windows Vista, 7 & 8) > type “msconfig” > hit enter. Click on the 3rd tab over labeled Services, then click “hide all Microsoft services” in the lower left hand corner. Go through the list and disable anything that is not needed to run in the background. Typically, you can disable everything except Antivirus services.

After you have cleaned up the services, within System Configuration, click the next tab over from services, labeled “startup.” Go through the list as you did in the services tab and disable any items that are not necessary to have running at startup. Most programs will start the services they require once you use the program. Next click apply and restart your computer.

You have successfully completed the majority of the necessary maintenance. The next step I recommend doing is a disk defragmentation (skip this if you are using a SSD.) Click Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter. Click Analyze Disk, then Defragment Disk. This process can take several hours depending on the size of your drives and how much data is stored on them.

After this has completed, I recommend doing a full system scan with your Antivirus program (I recommend Vipre Internet Security or MSE).

The next thing you should do is run a full scan with Malwarebytes. This will ensure removal of any trace viruses, malware, etc… that your antivirus may have missed.

My final recommendation is to setup windows automatic backups. Click “Start” > “Control Panel” > “Backup and Restore” > “Setup Backup” > Select the Drive to Store Your backups > click “next” > select what to backup, either let windows choose or choose them yourself > click “next” > click “save settings and run backup”

If you are not already using DropBox for file storage and backup, I recommend installing it and replacing your My Documents folder with it. This will allow you to access your files from anywhere, as well as act as a automatic backup in case of a system crash.

Follow these recommendations and you will have a computer running like new if not better.

The Difference Between A Rootkit Virus And A Regular Virus?

 

When most computer users think of malware, they think of viruses and root-kits and all kinds of bad things that they don’t want on their computers. While they are right about the “bad” part, many users don’t understand that viruses and root-kits are quite different, and virus protection software might work well against one while being completely ineffective against the other. But what is the difference?

Viruses are the bombers of malware. They are made to invade your computer, perhaps send themselves to other computers, and to launch a specific kind of attack. Whether it’s a popup window telling you to click to claim your prize or an e-mailed link that mysteriously sends itself to everyone in your address book, it’s there for a purpose, and it’s not going to be quiet about that.

Root-kits, on the other hand, are the ninja of malware. They slip in quietly, secretly. There’s no visible attack, no flashy pop up window, no long list of e-mail replies from friend and family telling you you’ve sent out a virus. No, they are trickier than that. A root-kit gets into the very operating system on your computer, sets up a nice little nest, and carries out its dirty deeds without drawing attention to itself.

How can this mischief happen? Simple. Both malware programs were designed by people to achieve a certain end. Viruses and root-kits are just designed differently.

Viruses are files added to your computer somewhere in the hard drive. Thousands of new viruses are discovered daily, and many antivirus software programs do a good job of either protecting your computer from the virus or finding and eliminating it if it does get in. It’s a pretty straightforward process, and it happens all the time.

However, root-kits are sneakier. They replace key parts of your operating system, insinuating themselves into vital files without adding any new files. Some root kits can replace your master boot record, so they are activated before your antivirus software even launches. As a result, many antivirus software programs will scan right past a root-kit and upon finding nothing out of the ordinary, declare your computer to be just fine.

Once it’s in your computer, a root-kit allows other operations to run and conceals those from your view, so your computer can be doing things you don’t even know about, like letting in other users or granting administrator rights to strangers. These are not a once and done popup window; they can allow continued and repeated access to your files by an outside person, who is probably up to no good.

A root-kit is much harder to eliminate than a virus. Sometimes a complete wipe of the hard drive, erasing absolutely everything, is required to get rid of the infected files. If you think you might have a root-kit on your computer, you should seek technical support before trying to wipe your own hard drive.

After all, what’s the point of erasing your computer and reinstalling infected files on a clean system? Professional tech support can help you identify and eliminate your root-kit problem while preserving as much of your data as possible.