Slow computer?

February 5, 2007 by Diane Vigil in

Every once in a while, people tell me that they're suffering from a slow computer problem. Mind you, they're not saying that the computer was slow when they bought it, but that it's slow now. And Dan, the fellow who maintains our computer network, says that people often just solve the problem by getting a new computer when they don't need to.

Sure, brand new computers may slow down a bit as you add programs to it, but that isn't what we're talking about here — that computers can really slow down because, with use (and without a little diligence in maintaining them), they can become loaded up with adware and/or spyware.

True story: I bought a new computer system last summer. It was speedy. Everything I wanted in a computer, etc., etc., etc. Around October, it was suddenly slow … I mean sluggish. I wasn't really sure what was happening, but thought it was a temporary glitch. And then I realized: this was a brand new computer with four Gigabytes of RAM (memory) — so there was no way that it should be slow.

So I scanned it for adware/spyware, found a few nasty little items, and -presto!- my computer was back to full speed.

What can you do about a slow computer?

If your computer slowed down suddenly, you can do a few things to determine whether there is any adware/spyware on it. You can download, install and run the following programs (there are more, but these will do for starters):

  • Lavasoft Adware — has many versions, including for home, business, enterprise, and a free version. Take your pick.
  • Spybot S&D — Spybot Search & Discovery is also excellent; I've linked to Spybot's home page, as you'll have to walk through choosing your country, etc.

At any rate, these are things you can do for your computer without going to too much trouble — and it's important to do them.

Anti-Virus Software

One last thing: if you're connected to the Internet and not scanning your computer for viruses and their ilk, it's important to do so. It's also important to know that some of the "big names" in anti-virus software (that possibly come pre-installed on your computer) may not be the most effective. In fact, they may be far less effective than you think.

Give a visit to virus.gr. They test dozens of anti-virus programs by installing them on their computers and throwing tens of thousands of viruses at them. You may be surprised at the results. [Note: Unfortunately, virus.gr is down for the immediate future; however, I'd recommend Kaspersky Anti-Virus.]

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UPDATE: For some time now, there has been a note from Antony Petrakis on the virus.gr site that it has been closed due to " personal reasons" — I do wish him well, and hope as he does that it is temporary.

One Comment for "Slow computer?"

  1. Ingeborg Cridge

    Fantastic read, my old computer was soooo slow, so I tried a different AV program from esetprotection.com.au and now it's ok again.

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