Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Computer Problems?

It's easy to forget. We may occasionally defrag or allow our virus checker to do its thing, but we need to be proactive regarding our computers. I'm guilty. I have allowed things to get so bad that I've had to reformat. I've changed my tune though, my anthem these days is "Maintenance". I'm not endorsing any programs, I'm not a computer expert, I just know that when I do certain things regularly my computer isn't attacked by virus or slowed to mud by adware, those pesky little bots that some bastards like throwing onto your system to track your browsing habits, follow your keystrokes, or redirect you to other sites. It's bad enough that our search engines try and direct us hither and non from time to time.

So...here are my top programs. They are all free. I use them all. I am not recommending any of them, but hey....again, I use them and I see results. In order of how they impress me:

1) Ccleaner---this one is a must for me. I can't believe all it does. It cleans everything and gives you two settings: easy (dummies) and advanced (less dumb).
2) Spybot-- A blessing. The newer version will sit in your tray like a watchdog and keep any nasties from making changes to your registry without your permission. Growwwlllll.
3)AVG- the free virus killer. To be honest, I have grown less in love with this program over the last few years. It seems more invasive these days and I suspect that it slows down the system. I actually allow spybot to guard things and only activate AVG when I do a full cleaning. In other words, unlike spybot, I won't let it sit in the tray and guard stuff.
4)Zonelab--a great firewall. I would even consider buying it and running it as a virus checker if I weren't so cheap.
5) Eusing Registry Cleaner---a nice program. Not sure I need it with Ccleaner, but again, easy to use and it runs smoothly.

These don't represent all the great stuff out there to keep your computer free and fast, I could have added lavaware's Adware, but these are a good start. If you have anything else you use that's wonderful and tested, let me know.


Sphinx Ink said...

Thanks so much for the tips, Stewart. I've been having major difficulties using my six-year-old desktop for the last few months--running very slow, frequently hanging up or freezing, takes forever to download things. I'll try some of your suggestions and hope they help.

miller580 said...

Wow, great advise! Or...another option is to buy a mac.

You know I had to do it. It is pretty much automatic.

Another piece of advise I would give (including mac people) is to create a folder on your hard drive that you keep all your most precious files in. Of course, once inside this folder organize like crazy. Then once a month, once a quarter, or once a year...burn this folder to a disc. Use a sharpie and label the disk (back up_date). This way if one of the pesky viruses gets in or lightning strikes or a masked burglar jimmies open a window and robs you, you are one disk away from near restoration.

As writers, we need to be aware of the potential misery that would crash down if something happens to these files.


Sidney said...

Good advice. I battle slowness even when I'm trying to stay on top of things.

Vwriter said...

Wait, did I stop at Kim Komando's Computer Goddess site by mistake? There must be something wrong with my computer.

SQT said...

We've used AVG, and I agree, it's annoying. Zonelab is good though.

Mostly my husband does this stuff. He's the detail person around here.

Vwriter said...

And hey, miller580, what is your blog address again?

Avery DeBow said...

Ah, Miller580's response was the one I was going to suggest; get a Mac.
Leopard OS X has the new, fabulous Time Machine feature. If you lose files, you just go "back in time" to another auto-saved day and find them there. Then, you just click an icon to bring them back to the present. The only thing is, you have to have a clean external hard drive for Time Machine. But, they're really not all that expensive anymore.

etain_lavena said...

The AVG does work:)
But your forget to say you need to also talk with your PC, I do....oops ok maybe I must not share that to openly;)

Keep safe:)

Stewart Sternberg said...

Sphinx, I'm telling you, maintaining and backup is everything. Jim Miller, I should have gotten a MAC when I got a new laptop this time, but I couldn't. I just couldn't. Maybe I enjoy the frustration.

Sid, a little precaution goes a long way. Rick...just go away.

SQT, you don't need to worry about the computer, you get by on charm alone. Avery, you and Jim should get together. Etain, keep talking to machine. Love the machine. Give the machine.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Thanks for the laundry list, Captain. I'll try CCleaner because I've never heard of it.

spyscribbler said...

Honestly, I got fed up with the way anti-virus programs hogged my computer's speed. First, I'm very careful about what I click on and download. Second, I pop by housecall.trendmicro.com about once a week and have it do a complete (and free) scan on my system. It puts very little on my computer, so it doesn't hog resources at all.

There's enough junk in my system tray!

Lana Gramlich said...

I would definitely add Lavasoft's Ad-Aware to that list. #1, actually. Thanks for sharing the other programs, however. I might be able to use that registry cleaner.

William Jones said...

By using 200 spam/virus mail scanners, I think I've limited the computer invasion. I'll second the ad-ware. Also know that some of the lower-end software (in cost) comes with their own tracking ware. Large companies normally don't include them, but smaller software houses do.

Mark Rainey said...

That's a good list; I have most of those, through I haven't heard of Ccleaner. Will check that out.