OMG This made me cry…

Zoom Zoom

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…

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Resolution Season: Weight Loss?

Burn it off...

Most everyone has quit smoking by now.  If not, you probably won’t and you enjoy being isolated from the world in your home slowly killing yourself because you can’t smoke in public or on your work property.

Weight Loss is the obvious choice.  Your vanity has awakened today.  This is the wake up call for those who have Mexican getaways planned or are thinking ahead to Spring Break.

Be realistic about weight loss. Take is slow. Don’t rely on a pill, a piece of machinery, a gimick program.  It’s all on YOU.  Only YOU can do it.  Don’t be hindered by yourself.  Like all the ad campaigns say, “Just do it”.  “Let’s Move”.

Losing weight requires motivation to exercise more and discipline (willpower) to consume less.  Keeping the weight off requires the same thing over the long haul for lasting results.  Eating right doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat a twinkie again.  It only means you can’t have one for the next 12 weeks.  However, in the long term you can indulge from time to time.  The simple truth is to not indulge all the time.  Understand your lifestyle and maintain a good balance of eating and exercise.  Calories in, calories out.  By the way, today is the last day to eat cornbread until about April.

TV Diets: quick thought on these…  These can work but they can be expensive and all they do is restrict your calories.  They are not realistic long term.  When you are off the plan, you have not fully learned the skills to eat your own prepared foods.  You need to learn to do things for yourself (teach a man to fish… blah blah blah).  DVD programs can work too but many are far too intense for the beginner.  Again… be realistic.

Exercise: Don’t have the time?  Bull crap! You CAN make time for it.  Just get up and walk.  Get up and do some lunges.  Watch TV and do planks on the floor.  It’s that simple.

I have fallen into this trap where you think you have to “prepare” for working out.  You can actually come home from work and do some things (assuming you are not wearing a 3 piece suit).  As long as you have comfortable clothes, you can do squats or pushups, or situps.  You get the point.  Just do it.  But don’t over do it at first.  Ease into it and you WILL feel better.

Eating Right:  There are some basic principles that you need to understand to cut the empty calories from your diet.  This is not forever, but in the short term you should start following these things.

– no bread, sugar, or pasta.  Eliminate them at first and ease into them later but not reverting back to bad habits.

– no fries, eat potatoes only baked and sparingly.  Eating out is easier now.  You don’t get dirty looks when you substitute the fries with a side salad or steamed vegetables (I don’t like the term “veggies” by the way.)

– Eat meals using utensils.  This does not mean eating a Snickers Bar with knife and fork.  I think you understand what this means.  Avoid sandwiches, burgers etc.

– Hungry?  Drink some water and eat a palm full of almonds or nuts.  A palm full, not a bowl.  A hunger tweak is often times a signal of thirst.  Fill the stomach with no calorie water.  Side note: you will burn more calories making extra trips walking to the bathroom to pee.

Focus on entrees of Chicken and lean meats.  Eat more vegetables.  I have some tasty ideas here on this website.

Harsh Reality:  No more deserts. This is probably the biggest mental block that people have.  If you have to trick yourself, go buy the sugar free pudding mixes that you add skim milk too and mix it up and have it handy in the fridge.

For great cooking ideas, get to the book store and hunt for cookbooks.  There are a ton.  You can even find good crock pot ideas for the families with sports and after school stuff going on.  My wife and I have many good crock pot recipes that work well for busy families.

Today is the beginning.  This time next year you will be 20 lbs lighter and feel great. Minus the vodka hangover (when you get into serious eating right you will understand the Vodka thing).