More information about your computer would be helpful ie. Operating System, RAM, Processor, etc. But being that I do not have that information, I will assume Windows XP, 512mb of RAM, and a Pentium 4. If this is the case (or close) then you have an older computer and slowing down is a common complaint.
First off.....What AV are you running. If you are using either Norton or McAfee, get rid of them. They are notorious for slowing older computers to a crawl. They do a good job at keeping your computer clean, but at what expense? There are others that will do the same thing and will not slow your computer down.
Open Source (free)
Both are good, however I prefer AVG.
Both of these paid versions are superior to Norton or McAfee. That being said, I think that AVG is more than sufficient to keep your computer safe. It is a real good AV.
Directions to install new AV
- Download the new installation software for the AV of your choice. DO NOT INSTALL.
- Disconnect from the internet by pulling the CAT5 cable from your ethernet port.
- Uninstall your current AV
- Install your new AV of choice
- Reconnect to the internet
- Get all the new updates for your new software.
- Scan your computer.
NOTE - You can only have one AV installed on your computer at any given time.
Ok, now we have AV protection out of the way, now it is time for Malware protection. In today's day and age, this is actually more important.
Here are good free softwares that will protect you.
Spybot Search and Destroy
Spyware Blaster by JavaCool
Now unlike AV's, you can have as many Anti-Malware software running on your computer at a time. I would suggest you download and install all of these. They all scan differently. For instance, Spyware Blaster is the best at picking up ActiveX infestations, while the others will not. But, Spyware Blaster will not protect against Trojans, Keyloggers, etc. where the others will. They each have their strong points. Download and install all of them. Update each of their definition files, and scan your computer with each of them. Actually you do not have to scan with Spyware Blaster, just update the definitions and enable all the protection. It is pretty straight forward. When installing Spybot Search and Destroy, I would recommend not enabling Tea Timer as this will slow down your computer. Tea Timer is Spybot's version of real time protection. Windows Defender will do this without slowing your computer automatically.
Next is your internet browser. If you are using IE6, get rid of it. It is slow, and not secure. Windows IE7 is better, but I would recommend using Firefox from the Mozilla Foundation. It is faster and more secure than IE.
Next we need to clean that computer.
Go to Start>Control Panel>Install/Uninstall Programs.
Get rid of any software that you do not use or want anymore.
Start>All Programs>Accessories>Disk Utilities>Scan Disk
Let if run and get rid of all of the stuff that you don't need on your Hard Drive. Make sure you look at everything before deleting as it will empty your Recycle Bin. Make sure there is nothing in their that you may want before emptying.
Next you will need to defrag your hard drive. There are some free utilities that you can download that will do this more efficiently than Windows defragger, but for now just use the Windows version, it is sufficient.
Start>All Programs>Accessories>Disk Utilities>Defrag.
Now Windows may tell your that your disk does not need to be defragged, ignore it and do it anyway.
The next thing you will need to do is download a good maintenance software for your computer and run it. It will do a lot of the things that are easy to do manually, but that most people do not take the time to do.
Here it is....
Ok, we are getting to the end here.
You will now need to shut down all of the software that is running on your computer that you do not need. These programs all start up when you boot your computer and many of them, you don't need, and are eating up resources and slowing your computer.
Start>Run>in the dialog box type msconfig and press enter.
Now click on the "Startup" tab. Rule of thumb here is to uncheck everything EXCEPT the files whose paths lead to C:/Windows/System32 and any files that are related to your Anti-Virus. Let these files start when you boot. Un-select everything else and press OK. You will now need to reboot. When your computer reboots, you will get a message stating that you have reconfigured. Just click on the box that says not to show this message again and press OK.
Don't be afraid of reconfiguring, as long as you stay in the Startup tab you cannot do any harm. The worst case is something that you want running will not work, unless you manually start the process. However, do not mess with any of the other tabs. Your .ini files are executable files that Windows may need just to boot. Stay in the Startup tab and you can do no harm.
Ok that is it,
- Make sure that your Firewall is turned on. You should get a software firewall, but Windows Firewall or a Router will protect against all incoming nasties. However, they will not protect you from transmitting anything outgoing. A software Firewall like Zone Alarm will do both.
- Be Smart. Stay off of sites that are known to be infested with malware/adware. P2P sites are one of the worst, as are porn and gaming sites. Use real caution. Smart browsing is your best defense.
If you do all of the above and your system is as I assumed at the beginning of this "book", your system should speed up significantly. However, if my assumptions at the beginning are incorrect, and say, you only have 256mb of RAM, then I would suggest upgrading your hardware. It is easy to do, and not that expensive. Get at least 512mb, 1gb is better.
Now all of this maintenance listed above is not a one time deal. It needs to be done all the time. Weekly is best, bi-weekly will work, monthly at the very least. I know it takes time, but if you want your computer to stay healthy, you need to bite the bullet and do this.
I wish you luck!!!!
Made on a Mac!!!!