I was challenged by Officer Resource’s venerable moderator maclean to write this article around Christmas time, but just finally got off my lazy ass to do it. Thinking about it though, now might just be the perfect time because now is the time that the new-computer glow has started to wear off of those shiny new machines that Santa brought and a cold reality is starting to stare a lot of you in the face…Your brand new computer is s l o w.
It’s not your fault, and it is nothing your kids did to it (well, probably not anyway:)). The problem is the computer manufacturer’s themselves and the crap that they load everyone of these sleek machines with as they leave the factory. Every Tom, Dick and Bill Gates lined up around the block to pay Dell or HP a penny a machine to put the trial version of their software on your new computer gets their chance. In the end you get a machine loaded with crap software you will never use, or never could use, that are all checking the internet for new versions of themselves, taking up valuable hard drive and registry space and doing nothing but making Dell money and your computer slow.
So what to do about it? First of all don’t pay Best Buy for this service they call “optimization”. You can easily do this on your own. I’m going to show you how and if you want to pay someone then buy the professional versions of the free (as in beer) software I will introduce to you.
Speaking of which you could jump into your Control Panel and uninstall them, but all that does is invoke the programs own uninstaller which could leave behind whatever it wants or does not want to. We want to get rid of all the stuff those programs don’t want you to which is really the stuff slowing down your computer. For instance, I recently worked on a friends computer who has an HP printer. The driver installation disc for the printer installed 9 different programs. 9 programs just to run a printer, wtf? While uninstalling just the program that allows you to buy more ink from HP when you run out I got rid of 1500 registry entries. You may not know what that means, but it is an absurd number and was partly responsible for slowing her computer down to a crawl.
What you will need before we begin are a few free (as in beer) software tools. These are:
First download and install the free version of Revo Uninstaller. This is really the program that will make most of the magic happen. Revo, unlike your Control Panel, will allow you to uninstall all that software you never use AND remove all the left over files and registry entries that would otherwise be left behind.
If you have a program that for some reason does not show up in the list of installed programs and it is running you can use the “Hunter” mode to click on that program and Revo will close it and uninstall it!
When uninstalling programs with Revo get rid of those trial versions of Norton and McAfee that came with your computer and install Avast anti-virus which is free and awesome. Simply put, Avast is just more comprehensive and proactive in it’s approach to keeping your computer safe, and it’s just more in tune with how people use their computers now than those older programs are. I can’t tell you how many computers come through my “shop” riddled with viruses but with one of those programs installed. Those machines leave with Avast installed and they rarely come back.
Lastly, run Autoruns (free download from Microsoft) to figure out what programs are starting up when your computer does and making you wait 10 minutes for your computer to boot up. Now you do have to be a bit careful with Autoruns as you can shut down important things that your computer needs, but stick to the “logon” tab and do some Google searches to figure out what all those programs are before you turn them off.
Following these steps what I do when people (lot’s of people) bring me their terribly slow machines for repair and they typically leave my house faster than they were when their owners first purchased them.
Good luck, and if you have questions feel free to shoot me a PM in the forums.