Did that get your attention? You probably should not have opened it. It coulda been a virus.
Actually, my point is this… We see the above subject line on Facebook (wall posts from friends) all the time. It is an indication that the PC it came from probably has a virus or some sort of malware doing its nasty deeds.
I wanted to post a some quick fix things you can do to your PC to get it running satisfactorily again.
1. Restore the PC back to factory default. This means plunking that original restore CD in the drive and restoring it to how it was the day you brought it home from the hospital… nerd store. This is a bit drastic and could end up being a pain in the ass re-installing applications. You could also lose things you long forgot about. First, Backup your data, know what you have installed, write down any serial numbers for software etc. You should do this anyway for future reference. Restoring is NOT my first choice but I figured I would list it first.
If you don’t restore, you can perform these steps below to help speed things up.
– BE SURE YOU HAVE anti-virus and spyware software installed, updated and working. This is critical. You need to defend your PC. You don’t have to spend a ton of money either. You can buy Norton, or McAfee if you want. I prefer to stay away from these commercial versions because they install a large footprint on your PC and can be a resource hog themselves. Checkout AVG or Microsoft for free versions.
– Cleanup applications, utilities, etc that might be running in memory. Start by going through your Add/Remove programs and uninstall anything you no longer use or don’t recognize. If you don’t fully know what it is, google it and educate yourself before uninstalling it. You will find a bunch of apps and applets that install themselves either without you knowing or when you are online and click through weird web pages. Yahoo Toolbars, Google Toolbars are the most common. Unless you really love them, remove them. Pop up windows are to blame for much of these unwanted apps. You click the window, it installs a troublesome app.
– check the Run key in the registry (HKLM | Software | Microsoft | Windows | CurrentVersion | Run) and remove any keys you see unnecessary. Be careful though. Some of these items are necessary (mouse, anti virus, etc). Again, google it and educate yourself. This Run key is what executes when you boot your PC. Often times a malware applet will stick itself here and with each boot up, the application runs in memory and slowing down the PC. Might also check the Runonce key too. As my friend James pointed out, you can also use MSCONFIG (in the Start |Run line type “msconfig”). It is like using regedit for the items above with training wheels. But I’m old school sometimes.
– The Startup folder. This is where applications will load upon boot (after the run key). Click Start, All Programs, Startup. If you see anything odd, remove it. This is a bit easier since the GUI might show you the recognizable icon of the application. HP likes to toss their piggy printer tools in this startup folder.
– Add more RAM (memory). This might be a higher ranked item, but unless you remove crap that runs in memory, adding RAM only masks the problem. Memory is cheap. You can buy it online. Do your homework and find what your machine needs. See Kingston’s website or the site for your PC manufacturer (more expensive).
– I will say this again. BACKUP your Data. You don’t want to lose your pictures, music, or Kim Kardashian videos. I started using carbonite. Its in the cloud (thus off site and safe from fire). Its off my potentially faulty hardware. Here is my experience…