Cleaning up a slow computer

People are always asking me to help fix a slow or virused-up computer for them, and I really do want to help, but it’s an enormously time consuming experience.  In an effort to help people fix their own issues, I thought I would compile a list of what I do when I need to fix a slow machine.

Download and install all of the following software:

Ad-Aware free version
Microsoft Security Essentials

Then, put your patience pants on, because you’re going to be running software, and restarting your PC for the next 2 to 8 hours, depending on your machines speed, your hard drive size,  and how messed up your machine is.

First, if your computer is running any McAfee or Norton virus protection, uninstall it.  Completely.  Until no mention of it comes up in your program list.  We will replace it with something better later.

Second, run Malwarebytes.  It’s pretty straightforward, just follow directions.

Then, restart.  Run Spybot.  Again, just follow directions.  This one takes a LONG, LONG time.

Restart again.  Run Ad-aware. Again, follow directions.  This one is also time-consuming, but less so.’

Restart again.  Run CCleaner.  Run the cleaner, then run the registry tool.  Let CCleaner clean all that stuff out.  Then click on Tools>Startup.  You will see a whole list of programs that are running when you start your machine.  Most of these do not need to be run at startup.  Delete those that are extraneous.  DO NOT DELETE anything that you do not recognize, but feel free to stop running things like Dropbox, Yahoo, Evernote, Utorrent, Spotify, or any other 3rd party programs.  Those programs will start just fine when you need them, and do not need to be enabled at startup.

Restart again.  Run Soluto.  Soluto is cool, but requires several restarts to learn your system.  Just do it.  And then Soluto will make recommendations for you about what to do to speed up your boot time.  Follow the suggestions.

Now install Microsoft Security Essentials.  It is a far better anti-virus tool than McAffee or Norton, which are both crappy as hell.

There’s  hundreds of other ways to help your system out, too, but this is a good enough start for most people.  Have patience, good luck, and now maybe you’ll understand why I really don’t want to do this for you.  🙂


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