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Old 11-19-2006, 10:42 PM   #1
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Computer Health -- PC owners

Susie & I tried to watch an iTunes recording of last Sunday's Desperate Housewives and my state-of-the-art (or it was 4 years ago) Dell felt like it was trudging through molasses in winter. I have literally spent this whole day backing up and cleaning out many unnecessary files on my computer. So let us review the basics:

1. Before we get into solutions, update and run your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. A malicious program running in the background could cause Disk Defragmenter to fail. Run your Ad-Aware or Spybot (the latter is probably better because it found Wild Tangent spyware that the Ad-Aware had missed). Run your antivirus program and clean things up. Delete your temporary internet files and clean out the Recycle Bin.

2. Tidy up your hard drive. Start by running Disk Cleanup (Start>>Programs>> Accessories>> System Tools>>Disk Cleanup). After running Disk Cleanup, check for programs that you don't use. To delete them, click Start>>Settings>>Control Panel. Double-click Add/Remove Programs. Find the programs in the list and click Add/Remove. Use care. Only delete programs that you know you do not use.

3. Hard drive flaws also can stop Disk Defragmenter. So it's a good idea to run ScanDisk before Disk Defragmenter. [on edit: woops! Not necessarily available in Win XP. Google on "ScanDisk XP".] You'll find ScanDisk at Start>>Programs>>Accessories>>System Tools>> ScanDisk. Select Thorough and Automatically Fix Errors. Next, click Options. Under "Areas of the Disk to Scan," select "System and Data Areas." Click OK>>Start.

4. I’ve heard from some people that they could not get Disk Defragmenter to work when connected to the Internet. It’s never happened to me. But anything is possible. Try disconnecting and see what happens. Read this for instructions. I did restart my computer between several steps until I opened enough space on my 45 gig hard drive -- most of your space gain will occur with the Disk Cleanup utility. Disk Defragmenter does require space to operate.

The above are some very good diagnostic and repair tools for PCs and this is not intended to prime the Mac vs. PC flamers. (though I absolutely love the ads with John Hodgman) Mac owners should look at this as an opportunity to air the best recommendations for dusting & cleaning of their systems -- or actually start a Mac thread to do so.
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Old 11-19-2006, 11:56 PM   #2
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Thanx for the computer tip. My computer sure needs to be tick-dipped and have its toe nails trimmed.
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:32 AM   #3
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Ha! Back up, Back UP, BACK UP!!! Oh, did I mention that you should back up your hard drive?
I've got way too much info on my 3 computers and run backups on my TWO flash drives. (actually just bought a new 1 GB USB thumb drive / mp3 player from Tiger for $29.95 after rebate!!
I'm getting ready to replace my laptop with a newer updated model.... seems I can renew these every three years for about the same price while gaining speed and functionality.
My wall mounted mobile desktop "wall top" is a great DVD player for the coach and seems to work great. There are no stray files on this box....everything is subdirectoried in nice neat anal order....unlike the rest of my life.
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Old 11-20-2006, 07:30 AM   #4
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bob,
sounds like you are pretty lazy when it comes to computer maintenance..... i run disk defrag once a week to keep my 6 yr old axe hoppin. i also would recommend system mechanic professional 6 utility....it is pretty awesome.
norby
p.s. it is interesting that you like spybot better. i run both, and have found that adaware picks up stuff that spybot misses....i have a geek friend that sez you need to have more then 1 spyware program.
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Old 11-20-2006, 07:49 AM   #5
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Honestly, this is not a Mac vs. PC diatribe, but for those concerned about defragging on a Mac, the answer is don't bother. Mac OS X has built-in automatic defragging of files smaller than 20 megabytes. I've seen Mac hard drives that were virtually full with no noticeable negative impact on performace. Pretty cool. Just one more thing that you don't have to worry about on a Mac.
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norbert
sounds like you are pretty lazy when it comes to computer maintenance..... i run disk defrag once a week to keep my 6 yr old axe hoppin. i also would recommend system mechanic professional 6 utility....it is pretty awesome.
norby
p.s. it is interesting that you like spybot better. i run both, and have found that adaware picks up stuff that spybot misses....i have a geek friend that sez you need to have more then 1 spyware program.
Not too lazy Norby. Lutefisk keeps my cerebral arteries clear, so I do think of doing this every month or so. Once a week? I commend you!

I do run Ad-Aware most often -- it picks up a lot of junk by concentrating on the major issues and a lot of minor ones. This broad system cleaning and throwing everything at it started when my Firefox wouldn't start up Saturday night; I had to reload the 11-20-06 build this morning and am now happy again. I was mad at getting Wild Tangent spyware in my system.

Mike, I walked away from Macs in about 1990 and am seriously considering going back in that direction. I definitely steered my daughter to a Mac when she needed something as she started grad school this fall. I am too heavily committed to a couple programs to give up PCs completely, but think I'll have to have a MacBook for road travels when my wife joins me in retirement a year from now.
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Old 11-20-2006, 10:17 AM   #7
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Bob,

I think you will be pleasantly surprised when you take a hard look at the new Mac offerings. All models except the Mini use the Intel Core 2 Duo chipset. Also, Macs now run more software than any other PC on the planet by virtue of virtualization via Parallels, for example, or Apple's own Boot Camp. Not to mention that Linux and Unix software can be run on the Macs too. More and more people are coming to realize that one computer can do it all with style, grace, and absolutely none of the viruses, adware, spyware, trojan horses, etc. that are a fact of life in the Microsoft environment. Check out recent reviews in PC only or PC-biased publications and you will see that hell is coming close to freezing over.
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Old 11-20-2006, 11:12 AM   #8
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Anyone tried the Avast! product? I've been running it on my notebook PC at home for about a year, and other than maybe being a little resource-intensive it seems to do a pretty good job handling viruses, pop-ups, mail scanning, etc.

I have to agree with Mike, the new Macs are pretty nice. If only Adobe would hurry up and get of the schneid with CS3, which is supposed to be released in May. Would also be nice to see someone write drivers for XP that allow the Mac hardware to be properly recognized as something other than "unknown hardware".
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Old 11-20-2006, 05:06 PM   #9
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just updated my browser to IE 7. it is a tabbed browser like fire fox.

it comes with microsoft's malicious software removal program. perhaps ad aware and spybot will become a thing of the past.

it also came with a phishing filter.

will be interesting to see how it works, took me almost an hour to reset the fonts. it seems it comes with a feature called "clear view" or something like that. it is designed for lcd displays and looks fuzzy on crt's it is turned on by default and makes everything blurry. you can find it under the help section -or- go to internet options, advanced, multimedia. remove the check next to clear view and restart.

they must think everyone running IE 7 has a flat screen monitor!

john
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