You know that you should probably call us and order a new system, but you’re trying to stretch every penny right now. We understand. Here are 6 ways to make your aging Windows computer less terrible.
6. Clean up your startup queue. Programmers have large egos and expect that you will want their software running all the time. Obviously, this consumes resources that you might want to use for something else, like what you’re currently working on. Here’s how to get back to basics: Go to start>run and type MSCONFIG and hit enter. Click on the startup tab. This is a basic list of stuff your computer is running when you turn it on. Generally it is safe to uncheck most of these boxes. If you go too far, do it again and check the box for the service you wanted to run. On my laptop, I’m currently allowing some printer software, a program that tethers my phone on demand, and our remote support client to run on startup. As far as I’m concerned, everything else can wait for me to click on it.
5. Add memory. Windows XP users should have 2gb, Windows Vista and 7 users should have 4gb, with few exceptions. Memory is a cheap upgrade that will make a big difference when you have more than one program running, especially if you ignored the advice above. You may also want to fiddle with your virtual memory settings, but that could be a post in and of itself.
4. Get a better antivirus program. Some of the “big name” antivirus software vendors will sell a “corporate” version that is decent, and a consumer version that consumes resources more aggressively than an actual virus would. Our recommendation on this changes frequently, so feel free to ask us which one you should get, but if you need a free one, check out ClamWin.
3. Don’t use Internet Explorer. If I became extremely evil and wanted to write a bunch of malware that would destroy global productivity, help me send spam, and commit identity theft, I would target the #1 browser in the world – Internet Explorer. It gets a little better with every release, and probably by Internet Explorer 10 it will be as good as any other browser. In the meantime, it’s slow, it’s not standards compliant, and it’s a big time security risk, which translates to this: Use any other browser. It doesn’t matter which one. Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera are all fine browsers. If you must use Internet Explorer, at least make sure you have the most current version, which leads me to my next point…
2. Run Windows Update. If you turn your computer off at night, make sure it’s scheduled to run during the day. More than occasionally, Microsoft finds problems with their software, and they fix them. If you don’t get the fix, you are vulnerable to malware. You can find your windows update settings in your control panel. It won’t run? You probably have malware – this is usually the first thing malware will disable.
1. Stay out of bad neighborhoods. Peer to peer file sharing networks are festering cesspools of malware, and generally speaking, so are websites that feature adult content and gambling. If you must engage in this sort of behavior, use a virtual or spare machine to keep your important data intact. If you are a business, consider a solution like our Grizzly Secure Gateway to protect your productivity.