MAKING A PIT STOP

As you’re roaring around the web in your new Windows computer, or putt-putting along in an old one, you might enjoy a pit stop at PCPitstop.com. We did, and we found out some interesting things about Joy’s computer. The visit was entertaining and informative.

 Though her computer came out well in some of the tests, some of the hardware was ranked in the bottom 29 percent of most computers. The central processor was rated fairly slow and the graphics card mediocre (she was suitably abashed). She also needed to update her sound-card driver. On the plus side, the computer was virus free. And its “RAM,” at three gigabytes, was in the top 30 percent of all personal computers.

 RAM, stands for “Random Access Memory” and is the chip memory inside the computer, as opposed to the hard drive. Adding more RAM is one of the cheapest ways to make a computer run faster and feel new again. If you have a lot of RAM, you can usually handle several programs at once. We found two-gigabyte sets on the web for $25-$30.

 You can get a free scan at PCpitstop, but you have to pay $30 each for programs to fix problems. These programs are “Optimize,” “Erase,” “Disk MD,” “Driver Alert” and “Exterminate.”

 The free scan tells you a lot without having to buy the fix-it programs, but we decided to spring for “Optimize,” which recently came out in a new version. It improved our Internet speed slightly, though it’s still slow, and got rid of 864 junk files. It also eliminated unnecessary start-up programs, which are the bane of most users. 

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