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Discussion in 'Technology' started by Capt, Aug 5, 2004.

  1. Capt

    Capt Karting

    Nov 9, 2003
    221
    North of Boston
    Full Name:
    Michael
    A computer is a lot like a car, it needs regularly scheduled maintenance to run optimally. I would recommend that if your running Windows (98, 2000 or XP) that you perform the following:

    1) Keep Windows updated with all of the critical updates and patches which can be found on their site at this location:
    http://v4.windowsupdate.microsoft.com/en/default.asp

    2) Run a good, reasonably current, Anti-Virus program and keep it updated. New viruses are being released everyday and the only way you can protect yourself is to keep updating your virus defiinitions so your system knows what to look for. Most commercial programs have a way to do automatic updates, turn it on!

    3) Periodically Defragment your harddrive. I would recommend doing it once a month. On XP this can be found by clicking the Start button (usually in the lower left), then choose All Programs, Accessories, then System Tools and then run Disk Defragmenter

    4) Run an Anti Spyware program. This has become an epidemic and companies like Dell report it is accounting for most of their support calls. Spyware will bog your machine down to a crawl. I actually run two free programs to make sure my machines are clean. I use Spybot Search and Destroy which i like a lot because it can immunize your machine against known Spyware as well as look for new ones: http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html I also run Adaware from Lavasoft: http://lavasoft.element5.com/software/adaware/

    5)Run a pop up blocker. I avoid the known ones from Google and Yahoo because companies have found ways around them: I like the one from Panicware: http://www.panicware.com/ lots of Spyware installs off of popups.

    6) Run Msconfig periodically to see if which programs are getting started automatically when Windows starts. This can be found by clicking the Start button (usually in the lower left), then choose Run and type msconfig in the run line and hit the OK button. This will open up the System Configuration Window. Choose the Startup tab and look at the lines with the checks next to them, those are the programs that are starting automatically. If you don't know what something is, uncheck it. You can always go back and turn it back on. I try to keep the things starting automatically to a minimum. You can usually tell what something is by looking at the location it is installed in and is running from.

    7) If your running Internet Explorer, I would get a copy a BHO tool. BHO is a Microsoft technology and stands for Browser Helper Object and are basically things that startup when you open IE. Lots of Spyware and other garbage, attach themselves to IE and run as BHOs. I've see BHOs that throw up popups when IE opens, or change your homepage, or your search preferences (when you type in a bad url, it will redirect you to their search page. Some are benign and some are down right nasty. Check out BHODemon: http://pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,23611,00.asp

    Consider dumping the Internet Explorer browser for something like Firefox or Mozilla http://www.mozilla.org/

    and consider dumping Outlook or Outlook Express (most of the mail exploits were targeted at those programs) and use the mail function in Mozilla or get something like Eudora http://www.eudora.com/download/

    -Michael
     
  2. milstanselnino

    milstanselnino Formula Junior

    Jan 8, 2004
    573
    MN
    Full Name:
    Jon P.
    What does it mean to defragment yopur hard drive?
     
  3. SrfCity

    SrfCity F1 Veteran

    Nov 1, 2003
    9,842
    Orange County, CA
    Great tips, thanks for taking the time to post this.
     
  4. Capt

    Capt Karting

    Nov 9, 2003
    221
    North of Boston
    Full Name:
    Michael
    No problem on posting the tips. It's basically the service that I do on the side when I try to help family and friends with their machines.

    In the course of normal usage, data files are regularly being read from and written to the computer's hard disk, often in small blocks and often not in contiguously (in a row or grouped together). As a result, pieces of files end up getting scattered around the disk, and when being accessed, forces the harddrive to have to seek and find the pieces, which compromises your computer's performance. Defragmenting your harddrive, takes the blocks of data and consolidates them togehter, thus speeding up file access time and over all system performance.

    -Michael
     
  5. Z0RR0

    Z0RR0 F1 Rookie

    Apr 11, 2004
    3,445
    Montreal, Canada
    Full Name:
    Julien
    the msconfig thing is great!!! Thx
     
  6. Fan512bbi

    Fan512bbi Two Time F1 World Champ
    BANNED

    Mar 25, 2004
    20,080
    Wales-UK
    Full Name:
    Steve.
    My virtual memory is low, windows keeps telling me to enlarge it, how do i do this?
     
  7. milstanselnino

    milstanselnino Formula Junior

    Jan 8, 2004
    573
    MN
    Full Name:
    Jon P.
  8. ASG 86TR

    ASG 86TR Formula 3

    Aug 23, 2001
    1,473
    New Jersey
    Full Name:
    Adam G
    Msconfig does not work on Win2000......does something else work on 2000
     
  9. TurboTodd

    TurboTodd Formula 3

    Jan 8, 2004
    1,078
    Brentwood, TN
    What OS?

    Under XP, open control panel, choose system. There should be an advanced tab, with a submenu section with performance as it's title, and a settings button. Click the settings button, advanced tab, and then at the bottom there is a section to change the virtual memory.

    TT
     
  10. Capt

    Capt Karting

    Nov 9, 2003
    221
    North of Boston
    Full Name:
    Michael
    Virtual memory under XP is found by going to Start, choosing Control Panel, doubling clicking on system, choose the advance tab, under the Performance section click on Settings, then choose the Advance tab and at the bottom you will see the settings for Virtual Memory and a button labeled Change.

    For you users on Win2000, here is link to get msconfig: http://www.techadvice.com/win2000/m/msconfig_w2k.htm

    -Michael
     
  11. MikeZ_NJ

    MikeZ_NJ Formula 3

    Dec 10, 2002
    1,533
    Southern NJ
    Full Name:
    Mike Z.
    2 more tips for preventative maintenance:

    1. Norton SystemWorks. Run Win Doctor and Disk Doctor once a month... the former fixes Registry problems, the latter fixes hard drive problems.
    2. Compressed air. Open up your computer case, and blow out any dirt and dust that has built up. Remember to get the fans and power supply. Blow out the dirt buried in your keyboard too. Dust can be really really bad for your parts.


    On that note, don't neglect physical maintenance. Clean the mouse insides if you still have one with a ball in it. Use a floppy drive cleaner. You get the point... all this software won't run anyway if the hardware isn't working properly.
     
  12. Fan512bbi

    Fan512bbi Two Time F1 World Champ
    BANNED

    Mar 25, 2004
    20,080
    Wales-UK
    Full Name:
    Steve.
    I am currently running Windows 2000 PRO.
     
  13. Capt

    Capt Karting

    Nov 9, 2003
    221
    North of Boston
    Full Name:
    Michael
    2000 and XP are pretty close in look and feel and where you find stuff. The other thing you could do is open up help (click start and then choose help and support) and do a search on Virtual memory.

    -Michael
     
  14. Z0RR0

    Z0RR0 F1 Rookie

    Apr 11, 2004
    3,445
    Montreal, Canada
    Full Name:
    Julien
    Any tips of freeing up some space taken by unused Windows files after a a year or so? My puter has probably 10Go (ok, maybe 5) worth of "nothing", and I can't get rid of it.
    I did do a disk cleanup. Said it would free up 15Gb by compressing old file, but only got 4Gb ...

    Thx in advance.

    Another question.
    I have msn. Actually, I have 2. The basic msn integrated in Explorer, and MSN6 (or whatever the latest is). How can I get rid of the basic msn so that it stops interfering with the newer one? And connect automatically when I don't want to! ...

    Thx again

    :)
     
  15. Capt

    Capt Karting

    Nov 9, 2003
    221
    North of Boston
    Full Name:
    Michael
    Zorro,

    Let me introduce you to Add and remove programs. Under XP, click on Start, choose Control Panel and then double click on "Add Remove Programs" this is the preferred method to removing unwanted software on a computer running Windows.

    -Mcihael
     
  16. Z0RR0

    Z0RR0 F1 Rookie

    Apr 11, 2004
    3,445
    Montreal, Canada
    Full Name:
    Julien
    Already did that ... and removed a lot of useless stuff! Still can't figure out why I only have 4Gb free, when I only have a couple Gb of documents (2.5 or so) on a 30Gb HD :(
     
  17. MikeZ_NJ

    MikeZ_NJ Formula 3

    Dec 10, 2002
    1,533
    Southern NJ
    Full Name:
    Mike Z.
    In terms of automatically connecting, open Internet Explorer...
    Go to "Tools"
    "Internet Options..."
    "Connections" tab
    check "Never dial a connection"


    In terms of free space... could it be mp3s or movies? Do a search for *.mp3, *.avi, *.mpg, etc... see if there were any you forgot you might have had.
     
  18. Admiral Thrawn

    Admiral Thrawn F1 Rookie

    Jul 2, 2003
    3,932
    Los Angeles, CA
    Full Name:
    Jim
    Firstly, be careful of msconfig and regedit; they're useful tools but can kill your OS if you adjust the wrong thing.

    Secondly, when it comes to disappearing storage space, it's usually as a result of the restore program within the OS continuing to take snapshots of the OS and storing them; basically you need to delete all the old restore points, and just running the basic Disk Cleanup in Windows XP won't fix that.

    What you need to do is when you open Disk Cleanup, go to "More Options" and then click on "System Restore", then click yes. You'll probably hear alot of HDD activity at this point... then go back to the main Disk Cleanup page and run it as usual.

    This may sound like a simple procedure but it amazing the number of people I've come across complaining of having no disk space left, I ask them whether they've run disk cleanup, they say yes, and then when I tell them the above procedure they often free up several GB's right there and then!

    Another thing to do...

    Go into My Computer, and make sure the address bar is visible. If it's not, just right-click on the toolbar at the top of the screen and activate it.

    Go to C drive, Documents and Settings, then click on the file with the username you're using for Windows login.

    Then at the end of the address now listed at the top of the screen add \local settings\

    As soon as you add the last blackslash, you should see a list of History, Temp and Temporary Internet Files. Temp should be regularly cleared (and it's not even after using disk cleanup... you have to do it manually) and the Temporary Internet Files can be too if you're really short on space... but I usually leave them as I like websites to load as fast as possible. :)
     
  19. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
    6,099
    MA USA
    Full Name:
    Mr. Doody
    if you're not running XP, you should consider spending the $99 to do the upgrade. it really is head and shoulders above 2K or ME or Win98 etc. it's probably the best OS they have ever released - which isn't to say it's magical or glorious - but imo it's the first OS release that actually was an improvement as opposed to "it sucked less".

    in XP, you can right-click on a hard drive in the explorer window and choose Properties and then there's a "Disk Cleanup" button that automates a lot of the space saving tips mentioned here.

    doody!
     
  20. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Apr 3, 2001
    11,237
    Austin, TX
    Full Name:
    Randy
    same goes for win98 and anything after it. so... not necessarily just xp.
     
  21. Fan512bbi

    Fan512bbi Two Time F1 World Champ
    BANNED

    Mar 25, 2004
    20,080
    Wales-UK
    Full Name:
    Steve.
    Thanks for all the help guys, it was very useful.
     
  22. Capt

    Capt Karting

    Nov 9, 2003
    221
    North of Boston
    Full Name:
    Michael
    Now that you have an understanding of protecting your computer, we can take it out a level and talk about the network security.

    Today, with most people having high speed internet connections, especially through cable modems. I highly recommend that you be using some form of Firewall.

    In the cable modem scenario, the cable comes into your house, gets split off from your TV signal and then comes up to a cable modem. Usually your personal computer plugs directly into the cable modem and that is how you get your internet connection. I highly recommend that you insert a Firewall or Network address Translation (NAT) box between your machine and the Internet. Network communication relies on "ports", basically locations where programs know where to plug in and communicate. All software you use on the Internet, whether it's a browser, email or an FTP program, use these ports. A firewall will close these ports and based on rules, with either allow or restrict communication through these ports. A firewall can be a piece of software that you run on your machine (called a personal firewall) or a piece of hardware that you put between the internet and your machine. Another effective, less complicated way to protect yourself is through the use of a NAT box. In order to communicate on the Internet, every machine needs a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address. What a NAT box does is sit between your machine(s) and the Internet and becomes the only public facing machine with an IP address that the public can see, and the beauty is, since it's not really a computer, it is essentially closed off. It "hides" all machines behind it, by assigning them private addresses which when your trying to address the Internet, the NAT box will then translate the internal private address, to it's public one and thus allow communication. To the outside world, all the communication looks like it is coming from the NAT box which is sealed off from hackers. Another major benefit of a NAT box is it lets you share your Internet connection. Most have built in Hubs or Switches that let you plug in many computers, which all get the same protection and can share that single Internet connection. Many companies now make small firewalls or NAT boxes for the Small Office, Home Office (SOHO) market, once such example is this one from LinkSys http://www.linksys.com/Products/product.asp?grid=34&scid=29&prid=561
    I personally use a Linksys model which in addition to the features included in the product above, also allows for wireless connections, so my wife and i can roam the house and yard with our laptops and still securely connect to the Internet.

    -Michael
     
  23. infraredline

    infraredline Formula 3

    Mar 15, 2004
    1,029
    San Francisco
    Full Name:
    John
    badass thread! - if everyone took a couple hours out of one day to go through your recommendations, computers worldwide would be 1000 times more secure and work much better!
    Which begs the question - why doesn't microsoft incorporate similar programs into their OS or service packs?
    Not to go off on too far of a tangent, but if more people kept their computers cleaned up as you described, a lot less people would be buying newer and faster computers. Which, we all know, is how microsoft, intel, AMD, etc make most of their money. The only way that should happen in a capitalist economy is if someone has a monopoly. Hrmm.
     
  24. someday

    someday Karting

    Jan 8, 2004
    120
    Baton Rouge
    Full Name:
    JP
    This thread is useful as hell, popups should be a felony offense IMHO.

    Why Why Why Why, these people are ruining the internet. Advertising is one thing, but to make your product install itself and attach to your registry should be no trial by jury, straight to the chopping block.

    Just a rant after fighting this for the last two hours, can someone please tell me Why Why Why?

    JP
     
  25. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Apr 3, 2001
    11,237
    Austin, TX
    Full Name:
    Randy
    Some people make a heafty profit, not recognizing the consequences as a whole. Heck, some people do it to fund their Ferrari addiction. (not I, I'm the one cleaning up this crap)
     

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