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Zombie Hunter
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13,698 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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)

In FireFox:

1. Click the Tools menu

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:

Ccleaner

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:

AVG Anti-Virus

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!

My opinion:

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.

I run:

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!!

~Bronco Rob
 

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Premium Member
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Thanks B-Rob! Great info/advice.

I read these suggestions in your response to a thread the other day and have since implemented these software packages at work and at home. FYI to those of you who are looking into downloading these software packages - you can (you dont have to but you can) donate to the companies or people who created and update this software. If you have a couple extra bucks and are going to be using the software, it would be nice if you would dontate a few bucks to them. I did (more on my work computer because they paid for it!).

I have a question for you... what is the best way to deal with temporary files and picture files you might not want left on your computer?? There was a process posted a few months back that had to do with viewing hidden files (local settings I believe) and deleting all temp files, temporary internet files and history.... I used that process on both of my PCs and it worked well. I know you have to be careful with doing this because if you click on and delete files from the wrong folder, you can be in a world of hurt.... any advice/suggestions on this process?

Thanks again for this info Rob. Very handy.....
 

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Zombie Hunter
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13,698 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I have a question for you... what is the best way to deal with temporary files and picture files you might not want left on your computer??
Someone might be able to help you more with this, because i may be wrong here.

But Ccleaner will pretty much remove anything that isn't required, along with Disk Clean up.

Hidden files are usually system files that the Operating System hides on purpose, you can't use them for anything, but the operating system uses them to do things like boot your computer and it just kind of keeps them safe from being deleted.

I *think*Ccleaner will clean up unnecessary hidden files and temporary files and ask you if you want them removed. It's a pretty deep scan. It won't delete things like .JPG or AVI (picture and movie) files that have been downloaded to your computer. It assumes you want that .JPG file there, you downloaded them or transferred them to your computer.

At the moment the only way i know to locate all picture files on your hard drive is to do a search using a wild card through windows. (Start>Search) and under all files to search for type *.jpg and let it run it's process then pick and choose the ones you want to keep. It's a long process, there are tons of different file extensions that pictures can be saved under.
 

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Designated Tranny Killer
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good write-up

I have to do some of this now
 

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Zombie Hunter
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13,698 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
If you do more write-ups I think one on backing up would be awesome. How many times have you seen stuff about people losing their hard-drive or files and what-not?
i was thinking about doing a lot of write ups on how to do stuff like that, didn't know if there was a big interest in that

things like setting a restore point, backups as you mentioned, and minor upgrades and repairs to computers.

was also going to do a basic write up on how to use a multimeter to check, voltage, current and resistance. I could use a couple programs i have to make it real easy.

Would you guys want something like that?
 

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Registered
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I think it would be nice. Lots of people ask on here about there PC probs. Having a readily available resource that is as easy to read and understand as yours would be great. Just whether you wanna spend the time and effort to do it.
 

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Zombie Hunter
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13,698 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Okay, i will do more. and just add them to this thread.

Some of the other guys might be able to add more, there is definitely people here with more experience then me.
 

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Maybe combine all of them into one thread with a title for each section and name the thread something about pc maintenence or sumthin. Then you can edit it so all the techy stuff is at the top.

I for one would like a simple back-up solution to save my favorites and settings, blah blah blah. Or how to effectively use windows back-up (since it has three different ways to use it) and so on. So if after a crash and re-load someone wouldn't lose their favorites and important docs, e-mail addresses, you know the stuff that might be taken for granted they have saved. And then how to re-load it back onto the pc.

And while I got you here (he he) my Firefox randomly disappears from the task bar. I goto task manager and it's still running and when I "switch to" it. it's back. Weird?

And somehow all my folders got the same picture on them. I have no idea how THAT crap happened. To make matters worse, it's of a fairy chick that I saved for my 5 year old daughter:



Horrifying I know. Almost every single folder (including all the "My" folders in My documents) have this pic on them. I went into folder options in control panel and reset all the views and it didn't help.

I think my 'puter is possesed. Seemingly by something that likes pink fairies.

P.S. We have the same Firefox skin. I think FSB looks great with RedShift :thumbup

EDIT: I cannot go into the folder's properties and change the pic either. The "MY" folders don't even have the "customize" option.
 

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Enjoy my
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Wireless users-

Change your router password and user name-Most companies run off a preset, universal password. Any 16 year old kid can go in and lock you out of your own router.

Edit: This is even easier when you leave the default SSID name from the factory up. Make something creative, like mine- yourmom
 

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Zombie Hunter
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13,698 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
How aboot ones on setting up/using RAID and one for overclocking?

Those are a couple of things that could use some "easy to understand" re-wording for the intelligence impaired :toothless
Those would be seriously long threads.

I run a RAID configuration on my computer right now, but i strongly advise against overclocking.
 

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Overclocking can be bad, real bad. I f*cked up one day oc'ing my old comp and fried the CPU, Mobo, and Ram :toothless , but that convinced me to upgrade the computer.

RAID would be a cool idea esp identifing the difference between SCSI, and SATA RAID configurations. Which most computers that are RAID for the home users are SATA, But there are still some of us using the "ancient" technology. That and it would also be usefull how to setup the RAID array and which Sequence would be best for each individual users.

I am just clueless about SATA Raid Arrays, I just know when I bought my laptop it had an option of which I selected, Sata Raid 0,1 array (forget the exect wording but I know it has a raid array on the comp)
 

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Enjoy my
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Alright, suggestions on how to stop my 10+ minute windows startup from the Logon screen? I have already done the whole msconfig startup thing and have been always try to keep background programs to a minimum but this is friggin rediculous, been going on for over a month now.
 

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Satyr of the Midwest
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17,741 Posts
How aboot ones on setting up/using RAID and one for overclocking?
RAID would be a cool idea esp identifing the difference between SCSI, and SATA RAID configurations. Which most computers that are RAID for the home users are SATA, But there are still some of us using the "ancient" technology. That and it would also be usefull how to setup the RAID array and which Sequence would be best for each individual users.

I am just clueless about SATA Raid Arrays, I just know when I bought my laptop it had an option of which I selected, Sata Raid 0,1 array (forget the exect wording but I know it has a raid array on the comp)
Those would be seriously long threads. I run a RAID configuration on my computer right now <snip>
I'd love to write some stuff about RAID, outlining its uses, levels, and setting up a RAID. However, included in that would be reasons for people NOT to implement a RAID, especially RAID0 (zero, which technically speaking isn't RAID at all). There are several articles online I could refer to, and most of them are well written and make sense. If there's enough interest, I'd consider doing something like that or at least provide some linkage.

FWIW, I too am on a SATA-II RAID 0 running two Maxtor DM10 300GB 16MB-cache HDDs. :D

, but i strongly advise against overclocking.
Overclocking can be bad, real bad. I f*cked up one day oc'ing my old comp and fried the CPU, Mobo, and Ram :toothless , but that convinced me to upgrade the computer.
Pussies. :goodfinge It's LESS dangerous than it used to be back in the days before IHSes and built-in thermal throttling were universally-utilized schemes on CPUs. However, you can still cause damage by long-term effects of higher voltage and heat. I've modded voltage regulation circuits on mobos before, and they held up well for about a year or so until the OTHER components associated with it decided to die. :toothless

Got anything about Apples and Safari?
Safari is cool. :thumbup It runs natively, and is included with, Apple's Mac OS X. There is a Safari Beta out for Windoze, and it seems to run well. Apples and OS X are great as long as you just need a machine that always works and looks great. If you're an engineering major and you need commercial design and/or simulation programs (AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Pro/E, etc) then forget 'em.

Alright, suggestions on how to stop my 10+ minute windows startup from the Logon screen? I have already done the whole msconfig startup thing and have been always try to keep background programs to a minimum but this is friggin rediculous, been going on for over a month now.
10 minutes?!? :shocked What OS are you using, and what are the specs on the machine (CPU, memory, motherboard, etc.)?
 

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Enjoy my
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10 minutes?!? :shocked What OS are you using, and what are the specs on the machine (CPU, memory, motherboard, etc.)?
XP home, 2.8ghz p4 1gb ram few years older dell inspiron 9100
 
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