How to Speed up your Computer – Part Five: Clean the Registry

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This is Part Five of a five part series about how to speed up your computer. Here are the other four posts.

Why should you clean the registry? The registry is a listing of all the settings and options in Windows. They are listed in the form of “keys”. When the registry gets cluttered with unfunctional and useless keys the computer still has to refer to and process them and this slows booting, running applications and going on-line. To fix this and speed things up, you can delete or edit the keys manually, which is tedious and risky, since changing the registry is a good way of messing up the computer completely, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

There is a free registry cleaner called EasyCleaner by Tony Arts. It works well. If you use it, please leave the creator/owner a donation. You should use EasyCleaner as part of your regular computer maintenance routine.

The best registry tool is jv16 PowerTools by Macecraft. The trial of 30 days is not limited but gives you access to the full version. In some computers, it is the tool that makes the most significant difference in speed. Use both the Registry Cleaner and the Registry Compacter components.

Ducktoes to the rescue!!

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How to Speed up your Computer – Part Four: Uninstall the P2Ps

I know that among some people, this suggestion will be a very unpopular, but if your computer is too slow you really ought to remove your free file sharing music and video P2Ps, such as Bearshare, Grokster, etc. If just reading this advice makes you howl and scream on the floor, you might, after you pull yourself together, reconsider. All that free music is filling up your hard drive and making your computer more cluttered than it needs to be, plus it allows other people access to your computer. This traffic uses up resources and slows your computer down. It also degrade your network performance, making going on-line a lengthy process. You can always buy music from iTunes for 99 cents each, which is much cheaper than all the computer maintenance, troubleshooting, and computer hardware will cost you in time and money. Also using legitimate music sources will force you to be more selective and download only songs you really like. How many songs can one person listen to in a lifetime anyway? Paying for downloads gives royalties to your favorite musicians, which might inspire them to record more albums.

Some diehard P2P lovers tell me that the artists only get a small percentage of the money–the corporate record labels get most of it. True. Yet who is going produce albums and promote groups if it is not profitable enough for corporations? Also almost all peer-to-peers have adware and spyware attached to the software downloads. If you think corporations are bad, cyber-criminals are worse. They steal from ordinary people without doing anything positive in return.

Speaking of spyware from filing sharing P2Ps, you’ll need to use a good anti-spyware like Spyware Doctor or Webroots Spy Sweeper to get rid of the mess. Yesterday I removed Grokster from a client’s computer. I had to buy a Spyware Doctor license ($30) for the client. Not only did Spy Doctor find and delete the Grokster application, it also deleted all these all these programs that installed with Grokster: Active Delivery, Casino Outlet, ClipGenie, Commonname, CyDoor, DelfinMedia Viewer, Downloadware, eAcceleration, eUniverse, FavoriteMan, Flashtrack, Gator, IGetNet, IGetNet ClearSearch, Incredifind, IpInsight, Look2Me, Lycos SideSearch, Network Essentials, SC Bar, PeopleOnPage, RVP, Search Enhancement, SearchEnhancement, TOPicks, VX2/e, VX2/f, and WebEnhancer.

That’s a whole heck of alot of c***!! (Of course, that’s caca, lol!!)

To uninstall your P2Ps or any programs, go to Start, then Control Panel, then Add or Remove Programs. Wait for the list to form. Select the name of the P2P you want to uninstall and click remove. After you delete your file sharing program, you’ll need to run your anti-spyware to get rid of the spyware and adware. Spyware and adware do not show up in the Add and Remove Programs tool of the Control Panel, since the creators and promoters of such applications, don’t want you to be able to remove them.
So get rid of the illegal file sharing P2Ps and use iTunes or Napster or other legal music downloader instead.

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Anti-spyware Hints for Techies: Editing the Registry

Sometimes as techies, we want to keep programs from running at startup. This helps get rid of spyware that is running in memory. Once stopped, we can eliminate malware with Spybot, for instance, without running Spybot again on reboot, which is time-consuming. Also techies often are asked by clients to speed up old computers or new computers running Vista (lol!!), and stopping unwanted programs from running at startup is a good way of doing this. Using msconfig is another way, but problematic since it turns off System Restore, which is another useful tool to return to a computer to more pristine state without reformatting.

Here is a site that tells you how to stop startups by editting the registry. I have found it extremely helpful. However, only edit the registry if you make a backup first, since editing it incorrectly can cause major damage or problems.

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How to Speed up your Computer – Part Three: Turn on Automatic Updates

Windows works best and is most secure when Automatic Updates are turned on, so the most recent updates from Microsoft are installed regularly.

To turn on the updates, open your Internet Explorer (Blue “e”) and then go to Tools on the menu bar at the top, next to Favorites. On the Tools drop-down menu you’ll find Windows Update. (If, as is sometimes the case with Internet Explorer 7 , the menu bar is not visible, go to the Tools (with the small picture of a grey gear by it) on the far right of the browser, just about the open browser window. Click on Tools. On the drop-down menu, click the words “Menu Bar” so a check mark appears next to the words. Now your menu bar should be visible back at the top left.)

When you click the Tools on the menu bar, a drop-down menu appears. Click on the words “Windows Update.” The Microsoft Windows Update webpage will open. If your Windows Updates are turned off, you’ll see a red shield and the warning “Help protect you PC.” Underneath you’ll find a button that says “Turn on Automatic Updates.” Click it. A new smaller window will open. Select the time when you want your computer to download the updates. Mine is set for “Everyday” at 12 p.m. Click “Okay.”

If you’d like to install the Updates right away, go back to the Windows Update website and click, “Express Updates.” Follow the instructions that Microsoft gives you.
If you have any questions please e-mail me. Or if you have any comments please click “Comments” below.

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How to Speed up your Computer – Part Two: Defragment the Hard Drive

After you run Disk Cleanup (see Part One), you’ll want to defragment the hard drive.

Hard drives have arms that retrieve data much like those on old phonograph players. (Some of us actually remember those!) Except instead of staying in one place as a phonograph arm and needle does as the record goes around underneath it, hard drive arms move back and forth across their round platters. When data is too scattered, the hard drive arm has to move excessively to retrieve it, therefore wearing out the hard drive prematurely. (I learned this from my friend Ken Wicker who was a computer teacher at Swainston Middle School in North Las Vegas when I was an ECS there. Ken is amazing a hardware expert!) So fragmention also slows down the computer.

Defragging puts files together saving time and wear and tear on your hard drive. Contiguous files are much easier and faster to retrieve and process.

To defrag in XP, from the Start button, go to All Programs, then to Accessories. Under Accessories you’ll find System Tools. Inside System Tools, you’ll want Disk Defragmenter.

The Disk Defragmenter window will open. You’ll be presented with a list of volumes. Select one to start with, that is, if there is more than one listed. (C:) is usually the main drive, but there also may be (D:) and (E:). Then click the button “Defragment.” Defragging a drive can take a long time, so outside and go for a walk or play with your kids or dog.

I’ve learned from my friend Zenon, of Computer Junkyard, to defragment over and over again, until–in XP–all the blue is together and the red has vanished. The red are the fragmented files. One of the unfortunate things about Vista is that you can’t see the defragmentation process happening. Here’s what Mauricio Freitas has to say about this. I know, I know, only a geek would like to watch the defragmentation process. But I find it satisfying somehow, where all the blue lines come together into a blue band, like a solution being forged from disparate ideas, or the papers in a “to be sorted box” collected into the proper folders in your filing cabinet.

Speaking of Vista, defragmentation is set to run automatically, every Wednesday, at 1 a.m., unless your computer is powered off. You can modify the settings by going to the Start button, All Programs, Accessories, and System Tools.

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