COMING CLEAN

the slow PCWe heard from a reader who said his PC is “as slow as a stalled car in a parking lot.” (There’s an image for you.) He said his anti-virus program is running well and it’s a relatively new computer. So what gives?

Well, he could call AAA to get his car started but he probably wants to deal with his computer first. And his first problem there is he gets a lot of intrusive ads when browsing the web. That’ll slow you down.  Adblock Plus is a free program from AdblockPlus.org and it will take out almost all of those.

His second problem is he never clears out his Internet history and other junk files. CCleaner, from

We heard from a reader who said his PC is “as slow as a stalled car in a parking lot.” (There’s an image for you.) He said his anti-virus program is running well and it’s a relatively new computer. So what gives?

Well, he could call AAA to get his car started but he probably wants to deal with his computer first. And his first problem there is he gets a lot of intrusive ads when browsing the web. That’ll slow you down.  Adblock Plus is a free program from AdblockPlus.org and it will take out almost all of those.

His second problem is he never clears out his Internet history and other junk files. CCleaner, from Piriform.org, does that very well and is also free.

Third, he never updates his Adobe programs and isn’t sure what those are. Well, it’s like this: Adobe Reader is used to open PDFs, a common document format. Adobe Flash lets you view videos from YouTube and other sources.  It’s a good idea to download the latest versions of both of these from Adobe.com to make your system less vulnerable to hackers.

Fourth, add the free anti-spyware program from MalwareBytes.org to be sure you haven’t already been hacked; it catches some things many anti-virus programs don’t.

Finally, try Startup Cop Pro 6, $8 from PCMag.com, or free if you subscribe to their utility library for $20 a year. Startup Cop found a half a dozen programs that didn’t need to be loaded at startup. What a difference it made in our boot time. As chance would have it, we downloaded the original version without looking for updates. It worked great. Then we tried the latest version. Works, but more complicated.

If you totally hate computer maintenance, by the way, consider getting a Google Chromebook which costs around $250 and is coming out soon in new models from several makers. Macs are also fairly maintenance free, but not self-correcting like the Chromebook.

, does that very well and is also free.

Third, he never updates his Adobe programs and isn’t sure what those are. Well, it’s like this: Adobe Reader is used to open PDFs, a common document format. Adobe Flash lets you view videos from YouTube and other sources.  It’s a good idea to download the latest versions of both of these from Adobe.com to make your system less vulnerable to hackers.

Fourth, add the free anti-spyware program from MalwareBytes.org to be sure you haven’t already been hacked; it catches some things many anti-virus programs don’t.

Finally, try Startup Cop Pro 6, $8 from PCMag.com, or free if you subscribe to their utility library for $20 a year. Startup Cop found a half a dozen programs that didn’t need to be loaded at startup. What a difference it made in our boot time. As chance would have it, we downloaded the original version without looking for updates. It worked great. Then we tried the latest version. Works, but more complicated.

If you totally hate computer maintenance, by the way, consider getting a Google Chromebook which costs around $250 and is coming out soon in new models from several makers. Macs are also fairly maintenance free, but not self-correcting like the Chromebook. On the con side, you can’t add any Windows programs to a Chromebook. Nearly everything you do takes place online. So instead of Microsoft Word, you’ll use Google Docs, and so on. For many, this is a deal breaker.

2 Responses to “COMING CLEAN”

  1. As usual, you know very little of how to trouble shoot a computer. The things you posted to do about a slow computer new or old have very little to do with a ‘slow computer’.
    1. Most slowness is caused by the number of programs that are open and not necessary. Printer, Photo, Adobe, Itunes, just to name four. These type of programs when installed by the user always want to start up at start up time which is totally unnecessary. And then as you posted, they look for updates.
    At least you had a suggestion about a startup program to look into.
    2. Many anti virus programs use far to much overhead to run. You would be better off show a report on which ones are the worst offenders.
    3. Very very seldom is a virus the cause of slowness these days.
    4. While cleaning up old or unused files can be good, with the size of hard drives these days, it doesn’t do much. When we had small drives and paging and speed was an issue, yes, but that is the case these days. The same with defrag.
    5. While I use Adblock, it doesn’t work exactly like you imply. It only blocks the ad from getting onto your computer. It doesn’t stop the web site from going out to get the ad which is why many sites are slow loading. To test this out (which you should be doing), use Firefox and watch the bottom of the screen which it shows you what other sites it is going to. You will find that there are many ad sites that are being looked at.

  2. Thanks Cyril. These are good points and we will try to get some of them in the next column.