Getting to Know Your PC

For the average Joe, a close look at a PC reveals a frightingly complex string circuitry, wires and computer chips. But Chad Rushka of TSG Computer Services, says: “You need not be scared anymore.”

To help you overcome your fear of looking a little closer at your PC, and perhaps getting your hands a little dirty, Rushka offers the following advice and guidelines:

Your computer is running really slow and taking forever to start, or open programs.

Your first steps should be to take care of the obvious.
(The steps outlined below are for Windows XP)

Take a look at your system tray, which is located at the bottom-right hand corner of your screen with all the icons in it. The icons showing in the system tray represent all the third-party programs running in the background. These programs are using precious system resources that would otherwise be available for other applications.
Browse through these icons, and determine which programs are necessary and which ones are not.

Typically, programs that you haven’t used in a while, or maybe used a couple of times in the past, would be considered candidates for removal.

Hint: Norton’s AntiVirus Software is known to use approximately 30% of your system resources. Indeed, 30% is a HUGE percentage!

TSG Computer Services recommends using AVG or AntiVir over Norton. Both are noted to be excellent, have a small footprint, and come with free versions available for Personal Use.

•    Update your AntiVirus Software and run a Virus Scan on your computer. You might have to run the VirusScan from “Safe Mode” if you run into Malware that is difficult to remove. “Safe Mode” is achieved by rapidly pressing the F8 key on system startup prior to seeing the Windows splash screen.

•    Make sure Windows is set to manage your Virtual Memory on your Computer.

Some people set their Virtual Memory to a predefined size. This prevents Windows from increasing and decreasing the size of your Virtual Memory as it sees fit.

To set your computer so that Windows maintains control of your Virtual Memory, follow the instructions listed below.
1.    right click on “My Computer” and click properties
2.    click on the “advanced” tab
3.    click on the “settings” button under the performance section
4.    click on the “advanced” tab again
5.    click on “change” in the Virtual Memory section
6.    highlight C Drive (your system drive), and select “System Managed Size”, if it isn’t selected already
7.    click “set” and then “ok”
8.    click apply and/or ok to work your way back out.
9.    You may have to restart your system for the changed to take effect.

•    Remove programs from your computer that you no longer use. These programs take up space in your registry as well as your Hard Drive. If you don’t use them, you should get rid of them.

You can accomplish this by:
1.    going to your “Control Panel”
2.    select “Add/Remove Programs”
3.    go through the programs listed on your computer and determine which programs are not needed.
4.    remove these programs.

•    The next program we are going to use is called “SPYBOT Search & Destroy”. We are going download it, install it, run it, then uninstall it again. This is because even though the program itself is one of the best at removing SpyWare, it has a tendancy to use a substantial amount of system resources as well.

1.    go to and download the program.
2.    when the option is presented, select “open”, instead of save.
3.    follow the installation instructions. Make sure “tea-timer” is selected when you get to that portion of the setup routine.
4.    launch the program “SpyBot Search & Destroy”
5.    watch and follow SpyBot tutorial
6.    shut down SpyBot.
7.    go to your “Control Panel”
8.    select “Add/Remove Programs”
9.    remove SpyBot.

•    The next program we are going to use is called “Glary Utilities”. We are going download it, install it, run it and keep it. We will use again many times.

1.    go to this site and download the program.
2.    when the option is presented, select “open”, instead of save.
3.    read and follow the installation instructions carefully. It will ask you if you would like to install the “ask toolbar”. Un-check  the box next to this.
4.    click “Scan for Issues”.
5.    click “Repair Problems”.
6.    Close Glary Utilities, and restart your system.
7.    You should run Glary Utilities once a month.

•    Run Disk Cleanup. Disk Cleanup is located under:
>>START >>Programs >>Accessories >>System Tools

•    Run Disk Defragmenter. Disk Defragmenter is located under:
>>START >>Programs >>Accessories >>System Tools

•    Run Glary Utilities once more, and again restart your system.

To recap, speeding up your computer system doesn’t have to be a daunting task. As demonstrated, by running a few programs and changing some settings, you can literally bring a computer back to life.

TSG Computer Services is a Richmond, BC-based computer maintenance and IT tech support firm that serves Greater Vancouver.

One response to “Getting to Know Your PC”

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