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jimmiller

How to clean a hard-drive

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My computer is running very slowly and I suspect it's because of the accumulation of junk on the hard drive. Other than taking it in to a service outlet, which means erasing everything and being out of commission for a couple of days,are there any other ways to clean it? software? techies coming to the house,etc?

thanks for your suggestions.

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Have you tried a good registry cleaner and a deep disc defragmentation? I use these

on my computer on a regular basis to get rid of the accumulated junk. You might want to delete any uneccessary

programs via your control panel. Deleting the browsing history now and then also frees up disc space.

There is lots of good reading on the web about this subject. Norton Security

Suite has all these features and more.

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My computer is running very slowly and I suspect it's because of the accumulation of junk on the hard drive. Other than taking it in to a service outlet, which means erasing everything and being out of commission for a couple of days,are there any other ways to clean it? software? techies coming to the house,etc?

thanks for your suggestions.

There are 2 programs that you can download for free. Advanced SystemsCare and Smart Defrag. Just google them and download. These programs should solve your problem.

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If you save the programs you really want onto a disc or whatever, then you can do a Restore which will take your computer back to the way it was when you bought it.

There was a Tech Talk or Bits & Bites article in the Reporter a while back - maybe Pete can help with this part - that discussed how many programs wind up being loaded at start-up and that slows down the computer. It then went on to say how to fix this issue. Sorry I don't have that article any longer.

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If you save the programs you really want onto a disc or whatever, then you can do a Restore which will take your computer back to the way it was when you bought it.

There was a Tech Talk or Bits & Bites article in the Reporter a while back - maybe Pete can help with this part - that discussed how many programs wind up being loaded at start-up and that slows down the computer. It then went on to say how to fix this issue. Sorry I don't have that article any longer.

RESTORE will restore your computer to the condition it was max a few days ago, depending on how the "Restore Points" are set.

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Your computer can be slow for a number of reasons. Defragging the hard drive helps but also check for programs and spyware running in the background. Download and run Hijack this as well as go to start and run msconfig and limit the programs that automatically load at startup that are not needed as they slow your system down. Also buy more RAM as you should be running at least 3 gig if on XP or more if Vista or Win 7.

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Caution on running Msconfig .... if you don't know what you are doing. Better to just remove anything from the Startup folder in Programs. And get a spyware program

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My computer runs ok, but I've noticed I've got an awful lot of Microsoft programs that were installed by Dell (in the control panel add/delete programs). I'd like to delete some of the unneccessary ones.

Any way to know which ones you really need (and don't need)?

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My computer runs ok, but I've noticed I've got an awful lot of Microsoft programs that were installed by Dell (in the control panel add/delete programs). I'd like to delete some of the unneccessary ones.

Any way to know which ones you really need (and don't need)?

Unless you are short of disk space I would leave them alone. They're not slowing anything

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Your computer can be slow for a number of reasons. Defragging the hard drive helps but also check for programs and spyware running in the background. Download and run Hijack this as well as go to start and run msconfig and limit the programs that automatically load at startup that are not needed as they slow your system down. Also buy more RAM as you should be running at least 3 gig if on XP or more if Vista or Win 7.

Agree in the amount of memory, however if you are running 32bit version of any operating system, XP, Vista or Win 7 it does not matter how much memory you add as it will only use 3 GB, in 64bit you can add pretty much any amount.

Tom

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Unless you are short of disk space I would leave them alone. They're not slowing anything

This is correct imho, the amount of "stuff" in a hard drive now days almost does not affect the performance of the operating system, what affects is the number of programs running in the background as well as the number of applications that start when the computers starts, the registry needs to be cleaned but I would leave this tasks to professionals as if you delete or disable anything that is not supposed to the computer may stop functioning completely.

My 2 cents

Tom

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My computer runs ok, but I've noticed I've got an awful lot of Microsoft programs that were installed by Dell (in the control panel add/delete programs). I'd like to delete some of the unneccessary ones.

Any way to know which ones you really need (and don't need)?

All those programs that came installed with the computer are something called "bloatware", Dell gets paid to put them in every computer they sell, in my opinion you do not need anything but the programs you use in a regular basis and the anti virus, everything else can be uninstalled, specially everything that says Dell in it :)

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Caution on running Msconfig .... if you don't know what you are doing. Better to just remove anything from the Startup folder in Programs. And get a spyware program

Yes, be very cautious, a good antimalware and antispyware program is Malwarebytes, it is a free utility and works great with most of the nasty malware programs floating around.

http://www.malwarebytes.org/

Tom

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Maybe i don't have much of a problem after all. I stopped using Internet Explorer and things improved immediately. I had that happen once before,I just forgot about it. When I run IE everything slows down remarkably. When I run Firefox,everything works fine,like now.

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Lots of junk on a hard drive won't make the pc run slow. Slowness is typically based on either an out of control program consuming large quantities of your CPU or you have so many programs running the total memory required to run them all exceeds your available memory. In that case the OS must swap programs in and out as they are needed. The swap uses disk which is extremely slow compared to memory.

If you right click on the taskbar (the area on the bottom where the minimized programs live) you can select Task Manager. You need to pick an empty spot toward the right. One of the tabs is processes. This lists all the programs running on your computer. You can click on the CPU column to see which ones are eating your processor or the memory column to see the memory hogs. Normally when you sort by CPU, the System Idle Process runs at 95+%. That means the computer is doing nothing.

When you click on the Performance tab you'll see graphs showing your CPU usage as a percentage and how much memory is being used. When you start to get close to 100% the OS has to work hard to manage those limited resources. That's why more memory is better up to the limits of your processor.

You mentioned that things were slow when running IE but not when running Firefox. That can happen sometimes and it's typically due to addons. A few months back IE8 was doing the same thing to me so I went to tools, manage add-ons and started disabling them one at a time. I finally found that the Adobe Flash addon was the culprit. I ended up having to uninstall Flash and then went to the Adobe site to re-install. Since then no issues. That was on my XP laptop. My Vista quad processor 8GB desktop running Vista x64 doesn't have any problems.

If you do find a program you don't recognize that consumes a lot of processor or memory just Google the name to find out what it is. Normally that's enough to help you decide if you need it. Once you know you want to eliminate it, there's steps you can take to fix the problem pretty easily.

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Maybe i don't have much of a problem after all. I stopped using Internet Explorer and things improved immediately. I had that happen once before,I just forgot about it. When I run IE everything slows down remarkably. When I run Firefox,everything works fine,like now.

Which version of IE? Is Firefox a better browser in your opinion?

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Two of the absolute worst things you can do to a computer: running a registry cleaner, and defragging (unless you still have Windows 98).

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Two of the absolute worst things you can do to a computer: running a registry cleaner, and defragging (unless you still have Windows 98).

Can you please explain why one should not defrag one's computer? That seems to go against popular wisdom, no?

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OK, I'll try to keep it un-technical. I know Peter writes every year about defragging, and every year I talk to him about it.

If you've done a defrag, you've seen the little colored dots moving around, as the program tries to sort out the files, and make them contiguous. The problem is, it moves some dots to a temporary storage area, then moves them to a place it thinks is proper. This is okay, unless it moves any of the dots to the wrong place, and that's when problems start. It might replace a proper dot with the wrong one, or put one in the wrong spot. And the result is that you get weird things happening in Windows or some of your programs: not enough usually to kill a program, but enough to make you wonder what's going on. For example, the letter "T" gets stuck into repeating. Or in your email, one of the Send/Receive buttons is gone, or doesn't work. Not enough to stop you working, as I said, but annoyances.

The fact that there is really one one commercial defragging program left on the market should make one curious. With the introduction of Windows XP, the defragging requirement became pretty much a thing of the past. Since defragging even a heavily-used hard drive rarely results in any noticeable improvement for most people (yes, there are definitely exceptions), it's just not worth the risk.

Here's a link to a much more technical explanation: http://www.thenorth.com/apblog4.nsf/0/0E7396DBF20B1F4285256EBC0054555B, written way back in 2004.

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Many thanks for all the input.

I un-installed Adobe Flash Player and now my computer works wonderfully.

What am I missing by not having Adobe Flash Player?

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A large percentage of the displays and animations on the Web are designed with Adobe Flash. Your browser will show blanks, and you will get error messages asking you to install. If you have completely uninstalled Flash, you might try re-installing with the latest version. http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

That being said, your computer should not at all be reliant on whether or not Flash is installed, so this is indicative of some other system software problem.

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A large percentage of the displays and animations on the Web are designed with Adobe Flash. Your browser will show blanks, and you will get error messages asking you to install. If you have completely uninstalled Flash, you might try re-installing with the latest version. http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

That being said, your computer should not at all be reliant on whether or not Flash is installed, so this is indicative of some other system software problem.

this morning,before I uninstalled Adobe Flash Player, Internet Explorer was consuming 130 mbs of memory. now it's using 17 mbs.

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this morning,before I uninstalled Adobe Flash Player, Internet Explorer was consuming 130 mbs of memory. now it's using 17 mbs.

Then there's probably corruption in your Internet Explorer. Or perhaps in the installation of Flash. And I repeat that running Flash in a browser should have no effect on your computer overall.

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