Seeing that I have received multiple PM's about computers, I have taken the time to write this guide out and make it a sticky. I work on computers for a living, i make no claim at being "the best" at it, there other people that know more than me.
Microsoft is the most popular Operating System in the world, last numbers I heard was around 98% of computer owners run Microsoft Windows in some form or the other as their primary Operating System.
Microsoft Windows isn't known for it's organizational skills. When you open and close a program, it's the equivalent to trying to get your kids to keep your toolbox clean.
Your toolbox is very organized, the teenager comes in, takes the tool, uses it, and puts it back in the general vicinity of where it belongs (if they put it back at all). Windows is the same way. When you open a program, it uses files from your hard drive, and then "kind of" puts the program back in the general vicinity where it belongs.
This guide will help you clean up your hard drive. It's based on a Windows XP application, but should work for Vista too, if you're still using 95/98, it will work for you, but your Operating System is no longer supported by Microsoft and should be upgraded. Linux users, well, i could do a whole nother thread on that, so we're going to stick to Windows. I am also going to stick to the two most popular internet browsers, Firefox and Internet Explorer.
If your browser is slow to load web pages:
Step 1: Clear your cache (pronounced cash, not cashay just an FYI)
1. Click the Tools
2. scroll down to "Clear Private Data"
and click it.
3..A separate window will appear with check boxes, make sure you include "cookies" in that checkmark
In Internet Explorer 7:
1.In Internet Explorer, click the Tools
button, and then click Internet Options.
2. On the General tab
, Under Browsing History
, click Delete
. In the Delete Browsing History dialog box, click Delete Cookies
3. Click OK
to confirm deletion of all cookies in the Temporary Internet Files folder.
A cookie is basically a tracking file. Too many of them will lag your internet connection. Some people choose to just block cookies entirely, but this will cause you to miss out on some things that FSB has to offer.
Clearing up some of the unneeded files, or organizing files on your Hard Drive.
The first thing to do is run:
Step 1: Disk Clean Up
Where is it at?
1. Click "Start"
2. Scroll over "All programs"
3. Choose "Accessories"
4. Choose "System Tools"
5. Choose "Disk Clean up"
If you've never run this program before, it may take a while to perform it's task. It is scanning your hard drive for unneeded temporary files, or unneeded files in general. This will analyze then ask if you want to delete the files, click okay. It rarely ever discards a file that you need, but it has been known to happen but is very uncommon.
Step 2: Disk Defragmenter:
It's located in the same place as "Disk Clean Up"
But step 5 changes, click "Disk Defragmener"
This program will actually tell you if you need to Defragment if you choose "Analyze".
Imagine the teenager using your tools again. The Defragmenter basically takes the files that aren't in the right place, and organizes them, replacing them to their proper location. a "Fragmented" file is basically part of an application that is misplaced. This commonly happens when installing new programs, or deleting old files. It also happens if you frequently open and close applications like Excel, Word or IE. The computer uses the program, and then just "kind of" puts it all back.
I have applications that run my defragmenter and disk clean up once a week. You can pre-set both of these programs to automatically run without manually doing it. Mine is set-up to do it while i am at school or not at my computer. If you want to know how to do it, let me know.
Running these programs may help improve your connection to FSB.
From this point forward, these are just suggestions, they are what i do to keep my computer Virus Free and running smoothly. The programs listed below are all either Freeware or Shareware. Click on the names, they are linked
Adware and Spyware are two common problems when surfing the internet. They are both basically tracking software added to your computer through a back door when you are using the internet. Both of these will slow your computer greatly.
The first thing you may want to do is download:
Spybot Search and Destroy
This is a free program. It searches out spyware and removes it from your computer. Leave this program running in your task bar and it will also protect changes being made to your registry, you will have to approve them. Keeping your registry organized is important.
The second thing you may want to download is:
Adaware by Lavasoft
This will remove adware from your computer. It may pick up some of the same things as Spybot, adware and spyware tend to cross over in genres and are commonly found by both programs. They also find different things. The more you find and remove, the better.
The third thing you may want to download is:
Also known as "Crap Cleaner". This program cleans your C Drive of any unneeded files. This includes cookies, if you schedule this program to run, you won't have to worry about cleaning your cache out. This program also has another nice feature that repairs your registry. It will analyze your registry and remove any files that aren't being used by programs or applications
The registry on your computer is a file system that keeps a listing of all your programs. The registry is basically the big reference book for your computer, any program or application or system setting you perform, is kept in the registry. It's important to keep this file system clean and organized to keep your computer running properly.
And finally, if you don't have a Anti-Virus, or your Anti-Virus licensing agreement is due to be renewed and you don't want to pay for it, simply download:
This is a bare bones Anti-Virus program. It doesn't contain spyware or adware applications. It looks for Virus/Worm programs only. It's very efficient and when run with the other programs listed above, will keep your computer clean.
A simple tip:
Even if you don't use the programs listed above, it is very important to keep your Spyware/Adware/Virus protection up to date. Malicious software is constantly changing or being created on an hourly basis. Keep your protection software updated constantly!
UPDATE WINDOWS! Microsoft is constantly changing and upgrading and fixing it's operating system. Even if you don't use Internet Explorer, keep it on your computer and turn Windows Updates on.
Some people choose to shut Update off to avoid problems, by doing this, you also avoid any fixes and updates to make your operating system run more efficiently.
The best way to get rid of a Virus is to never get it in the first place, so watch where you're surfing. In other words, don't get the virus in the first place. Scan ANYTHING you download with your specific Anti-virus program, especially .exe (executable files)
DO NOT! Open Attachments on e-mails if you don't know the sender!
While Internet Explorer is a great browser, it is also the most attacked by hackers. I strongly suggest using FireFox or Opera. I won't tell you what browser to use, it's your computer, run what you want these are just my suggestions.
I also run an additional Firewall:
Windows Firewall is constantly under attack, and since it is the most common firewall, it's easy prey for hackers.
Comodo Free Firewall
A firewall prevents programs from accessing your computer. It also limits programs from accessing the internet without your permission.
I run Three Firewalls, the windows firewall, my ISP firewall and Comodo Firewall.
I run a cable internet connection, much like DSL connections, unless i shut off the modem, my computer is constantly
connected to the internet. Even if you shut your computer off, you're still not 100% completely safe, there are programs out there (while very difficult to program, they are capable) of making your computer boot up after you have shut it off.
If you run a DSL or Cable modem, and your Power Supply has an on/off switch, and you shut down your computer, but leave the power on to your modem, turn the switch off on the power supply!
MOST DSL and Cable ISP providers have a central firewall that protects it's users, i just prefer to be all that much safer.
Just so you know, there is no sure fire 100% way to stop somebody from accessing your computer. The only thing you can do is slow them down. In most cases if you make it hard enough for them to get into it, they don't feel like spending the time to attack an individual, they would rather go after something that's going to make the nightly news.
I can't tell wireless network users this enough: once you have your network set up, and your computers know where to look for a wireless connection, quit openly broadcasting your signal.
If you constantly broadcast a signal, people who don't have web service will access yours and slow your network down. More Network users = slower network response
Once again, these are just my suggestions. There are people here who have more knowledge than i do in computers and networks, and are very willing to help members out.
If you have comments to add to this, know of other programs that you would like the masses to know about feel free to post it here.
If you're having trouble with your computer, please feel free to post it here and we will do what we can to help you!!