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Slow Computer Checklist

Because many members post about their computer responding slowly, BC is posting a summary checklist of general steps a member can take to resolve this problem, and briefly discussing the three most common causes: malware, uncontrolled applications, and lack of maintenance.


Perhaps the greatest contributor to a poorly performing computer is malware. Usually this is associated with downloading an application that contains spyware, by not having browser security settings high enough, by carelessly downloading P2P files, or by failing to install security patches in a timely manner.

Step 1. Update the definitions of your anti-virus and run a complete scan of your hard drive in Safe Mode. Resolve any unfixable issues. Note that some viruses require additional steps before they can be removed; usually a websearch will find specific instructions or a special removal tool. If you cannot find a solution, use the BC forums to request help.

Step 2. If the sluggishness is sudden, and you have recently downloaded an application, the problem may reside there. Test this by completely removing it. A wise user will generally perform a websearch about the application before downloading it because in most cases, any potential problem with malware or poor performance will have surfaced.

Step 3. Adware and Spyware can drastically effect your computer’s performance, and these are all over the Internet. A very recent study indicated that one out of every 20 executable files on Web sites is spyware, and 1 in 25 domains contain at least one piece of spyware waiting for victims.
Update the definitions of your anti-spyware applications and scan your hard drives in Safe Mode. Experienced users will regularly run two or three of these applications, because each company has its own criteria for what constitutes spyware and will only search against their own set. (A list of very good, free anti-spyware applications is provided by BC). Again, resolve any open issues before proceeding to the next step.

For further reading about Malware and some malware removal applications, use BC’s Tutorial section; most of the applications have very good Help files that explain how they work as well as the unique features of each.

Uncontrolled Applications

Step 4. Review applications that self-launch on startup. You computer can be a battleground for your attention. Many programs, for instance, install a quick-launch feature that allows them to be opened quickly; other programs will include an automatic update feature that requires them to be running in the background. Each of these slows down your launching Windows and each requires a small bit of resources while your computer is running.
The easiest way to review and than to manage start-ups is to use one of the many small utilities available (see the BC list of free applications). If, for example, you have Spybot Search and Destroy, you can use its startup tool that lists startups and allows you to turn off any you do not need. If you are unsure about what can be safely deleted, remember that BC maintains a very comprehensive Startup Database that includes information about whether the questioned item is needed, optional, or not needed.
At the same time, remember that all those icons on your Desktop also take a small amount of boot time to place themselves.

Lack of Maintenance

Step 5. Clean up your hard drive (preparation for Step 7). Delete unused programs and transfer old files to a CD. Unplayed games, lots of family pictures, zipped files that you have already opened, applications you have not used in two years, software for that old printer you threw away last year---these are some examples of files you can delete. Then use Window’s Disk Cleanup to delete temporary internet files, temporary PC health files, etc..

(Note for advanced users: some experts would include the additional maintenance step of cleaning up the Windows registry, and there are several applications to help do this. For the most part, registry maintenance will not make a significant difference, and unless you are very comfortable with Windows, and carefully make backups of the registry, you can do serious harm by making registry changes, so this step is not included.)

Step 6. Run scandisk/checkdisk in Safe Mode. Have it repair anything it finds.

Step 7. Defragment your computer. Windows tends to put new files in any available open space; defragging will place associated segments of files closer together so your read arm has less travelling around the hard drive to do, saving wear and tear while speeding up programs.

Hopefully, now that you have have finished, you will see a marked improvement in computer performance. However, if you complete these steps and your computer is still sluggish, then the next step is to submit your problem to the BC user community for more detailed help. The problem, for example, may be application/operating system specific or turn into a hardware issue.

Thre is a small ap named Startup Inspector that is superior to using the Microsoft utility msconfig to regulate your start menu as it shows you for the most part what each ap is, its name and the ap it is connected to and lessens the chance of stopping one that may be inportant to keep.(like an av program or firewall)


It also lessens the chance of changing the mode in which your computer starts from normal mode to ? as is easy to do with masconfig.

My computer moves unusually slow is almost every program, but I notice it mostly when I am on the internet because that is what I am mostly doing. I have followed all of the advice I have found on this and other websites and nothing seems to be working, does anyone have any additional suggestions?

Perhaps defragging would help, I am not completly sure how to do this, can someone help.

For a shortcut to the Disk Defragmenter,click on My Computer from the Start menu,right click on your hard drive,and choose Properties.
Then click the Tools Tab and click the Defragment Now button.

When the window appears,click the Analyze button.If it says your hard drive does not need defraging,click the Close button.
If it says you should defragment,click the Defragment button.

It does it's job in the background,sometimes finishing in a few minutes,other times a few hours. When it's done,your computer should run more quickly when opening and closing files.

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.
aaaaaaaa a~Suzie Wagner

Some protection agents out there such as Norton Antivirus (http://www.symantecstore.com/v2.0-img/operations/symantus/site/promo/pd/sidebysideus.htm) and Maintenence Checkup Home Edition (http://www.schrockinnovations.com/mche.php) can protect against malware and other threats in the background.

This can help reduce the resources used by malware, but unfortunately it has the problem of increasing the amount of system resources taken up by programs running in the background. I find that the trade off of security against malware that actually deletes my data and the large amounts that can slow my pc is worth it.

This would be especially true for a multi-person family account with kids on it. I can't tell you how many family computers I have worked on that I was able to double the speed on simply by removing malware on them. It's best just not to let it get on there in the first place.

With regard to viruses/spyware its worth noting that once you've removed it you'll want to keep it off there so its a good idea to install a firewall.

Zone Alarm is a good free firewall and can be downloaded here:
www.filehippo.com/download_zonealarm_free/ (http://www.filehippo.com/download_zonealarm_free/)

With regard to startup programs if you dont want to download anything just go to Start then Run and type in msconfig then click the startup tab. Just be careful what you turn off though!