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Poll: What do you do when your PC's performance deteriotes?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 20, 2008 7:00 AM PDT
What is the first thing you do when your computer's performance starts to deteriorate?

-- Run an antivirus application (Why?)
-- Run antispyware/adware applications (Why?)
-- Run a disk defragmenter utility (Why?)
-- Run a disk clean up utility (Why?)
-- Remove any unnecessary programs (Why?)
-- Run a registry cleaner (Why?)
-- Download and install the latest OS and driver updates (Why?)
-- Call for help (Who do you call?)
-- Other (What it is?)
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Shut down and restart

Go to bed and try again the next day. Find something else to do that's more fun...stuff like that.

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Good Question
by Grimbles / June 20, 2008 8:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Shut down and restart

Hey Lee - Good question mate. I perform most of those options fairly regularly...especially the cleaning and maintenance. I guess I am a tad obsessive when it comes to maintaining a lean if a problem arises, I run all my security software scans first.
I think it is great that you are bringing this subject to the fore, too many people wait until the symptoms appear before performing any cleaning and maintenance, which of course, makes the chore that much more complicated and long winded.
Raising awareness that a regular maintenance regime and safe surfing ethic will help PREVENT many issues down the track can only be a good thing and possibly drastically reduce the number of cries for help on forums such as this.

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Cheers Grimble!
by desirawson / June 20, 2008 1:45 PM PDT
In reply to: Good Question

It's a Godsend to see someone else point out the obvious. You spend a fortune on this stuff (computers, scanners, printers, cameras, ETC.) why wouldn't you take good care of it????

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Wheel of time my friends...
by Kutusov / June 20, 2008 12:27 PM PDT
In reply to: Shut down and restart

Ahahah, nice answer!

PC's are a pain. Even if you don't load your computer with new programs, the constant OS and plug-ins update will turn your machine obsolete in 3 or 4 years. Less then that if you start with anything below state-of-the-art. It's the wheel of time taking it's toll.

Drop of performance means that the machine is not coping so well with whatever it is it must run. Now this can mean that you have something new and more resource demanding then before, so it makes sense to start by an anti-virus and spyware check.

Reg cleaners... I avoid them like the plague. I used them before and they completely messed up my reg tree. I now have to uninstall programs through a 3rd party application because Add/Remove is Kapute. If what is slowing down your PC are bits and residues of uninstalled programs, then a clean install is the best thing you can do.

If all of the above fails, you need to upgrade. New processor, more memory, it really depends but you might end up having to buy a lot of new things. For example, I really need a new processor, but that means changing my mobo also and, because of that, my old and trusty AGP graphics card.

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about registry cleaner
by sanjayrajure / June 20, 2008 4:00 PM PDT

You mentioned in your answer about the bad experience you have with registry cleaner. I beg to differ, I have been using the freeware CCleaner since several years now, and not experienced a single instance of malfunctioning because of the registry cleaner. Here is a video from youtube about ccleaner

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by Kutusov / June 24, 2008 10:38 AM PDT
In reply to: about registry cleaner

Hi, thanks for the video. I do have CCleaner but I also used others that I wished I didn't. I uninstalled them long ago so I don't recall the names but one I think it was RegCleaner.

Part of the problem they caused gave me part of the solution. I have to uninstall everything through a 3rd party software and I'm using Revo uninstaler to do that. What's great about this program is that it will also clear every bit left behind by the uninstallation shell, registries included.

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I know people who spend more time
by Steven Haninger / June 21, 2008 3:38 AM PDT

loading utilities, scanning, de-fragmenting and worrying about their computers and doing much useful with them. I have the basic scanning programs and make regular full backups that restore in minutes if needed. I don't put a stopwatch on processes and compare these week after week to see what's going downhill. Keep in mind that what comes home with you on the bottom of your shoes depends on whose yard you went walking in. I don't walk where I shouldn't. My self-build rig is nearing 5 years old and rarely hiccups. Someday it will just go belly up. "C'est la vie", I say. That makes room for a new PC. Some day I'm going to go belly up too. That makes room for a new computer user. Happy

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Hard question. . .
by Coryphaeus / June 20, 2008 8:33 AM PDT

I have six, sometimes seven, laptops and desktops, home built and IBM, all running XP Pro, my main IBM ThinkCentre and others, including my home built server/web server, all running SP3, all running Firefox 3 except the wife's IBM laptop no FF, all patched and running AVG, Spybot S&D, Spyware Blaster, Defender, all behind my D-link DIR-655 Gigabit/wireless N router, never blindly accepting cookies and blocking all third party cookies, uh. . .

My machines don't break.

Wayne (IBM freak - 6)

Click here to see the CNet faces, learn a little about analog and digital data, Internet connections, Spyware removal, and download free software.
My mini-Schnauzer is smarter than your honor student.

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Never happens

It never happens to me, since it's not that difficult to keep things running smoothly. You just have to be a little selective in the programs you use.

No IE, not Outlook or Outlook Express, no P2P/file sharing... That sort of thing. It's not rocket science, it's just taking some time to find and eliminate problematic programs, then seeking out replacements that aren't so burdened.

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System Restore, Then WinPatrol
by Ol Rod / June 20, 2008 9:41 AM PDT

Really, the first thing I do is examine any changes that I have made in last few days. Then I do a Restore. I still like WinPatrol. No I'm not on his payroll, and I don't get any commission. I run WinPatrol to see if anything is running in my computer that I don't want, then use WinPatrol to stop it. I now have SuperAntiSpyware, and if I suspect something I run it. Then after I think I'm as clean as I can get I defrag. If it indicates that files are still scattered, I run Defrag Twice.

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does it deteriorate?
by squirtlewa / June 20, 2008 9:49 AM PDT

Do computers really slow down, or do demands just keep increasing while our hardware remains static?

I have a computer from the late 90s with software that won't easily run on a modern system. The computer itself is too slow to even run a web-browser anymore, but the original programs go at their original speed.

It's simply that programs, webpages, and the like have become so much bigger over time. Consider for example, there's so much junk on these pages with ads and scripts, if we were back in the Mosaic/Netscape days, we'd not even get it to load.

I think most of what we see as slowing down is the rest of the world just speeding up.

I know in earlier generations that things would actually slow down, particularly if you didn't defrag often. I think anymore disks are so big you never really get to the fragmented-state. My impression was it was always more noticeable on Mac OS than Windows.

I definitely use a registry cleaner on Windows, but that's when first getting a computer, not later. There's so much junk on store-bought 'puters that it takes a good afternoon just to get it all cleaned out. If you skipped that, there's surely some lost efficiency.

My antivirus/malware scans go automatically. I wouldn't automatically install OS updates -- they're as likely to cause a problem than to solve. I will update drivers and firmware.

A fresh install feels nice and tidy, like new bedsheets.

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I do a lot of preventative maintenace
by 4Denise / June 20, 2008 11:10 AM PDT

so I don't get problems unless there really is a problem. In that case, it is easy to figure out since it will be detected almost immediately. If I've just installed a program, I uninstall it. If I suspect malware I run my scans. If I've just made a lot of changes to the file system (adding and removing files, etc.) then I defrag. So far, I haven't ever had a software problem that I haven't been able to fix myself in an hour or so (at most). I've always been able to diagnose any hardware problem I've had, even if I got help fixing them.


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Remove unneccesary programs - from startup
by flytdeck / June 20, 2008 11:48 AM PDT

Over time, installed programs tend to place many "utilities" into the startup area. These load during bootup (slowing down the process), then run in the background. Some take few resources, others take many.
If performance starts to deteriorate, I usually review my startup (using one of many utilities) and remove those that are unnecessary. This often rectifies the problem.

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by nrowe46 / June 20, 2008 12:04 PM PDT

I user a Mac so I simply do not get viruii.

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Boot back into Linux
by geneven / June 20, 2008 12:25 PM PDT

I run Sidux lots of the time, and it is blazingly fast.

But the first thing I would do in Windows is check to see how much disk space I have, especially on the C: drive. Windows swaps information to disk when it needs more memory than it has, and low disk space gives it conniptions.

If that wasn't the culprit, I would run a bunch of free optimization programs and see if that helped. I would try to see if the slowup was related to Net speed.

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Poll: What do you do when your PC's performance deteriorate?
by huntnlabs / June 21, 2008 4:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Boot back into Linux

I'm not computer whiz by any means. I'm more a semi-illiterate computer hunt & ******. From what I've pieced together for different info I've stumbled onto I thought it was necessary to run virus and spy ware scans before doing a defrag to rid anything that might be compromising your computer performance and/or files. I have automatic virus and spy ware scans automatically scheduled but I'll still run them before I do a defrag. Is this over kill or unwarranted?

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All of the above
by mjd420nova / June 20, 2008 12:29 PM PDT

First I run adaware, then spybot, then virus checker, followed by a disk cleanup and finally the disk defrag. Actually I do this on a weekly basis and it keeps things running smoothly all the time. If I notice a serious slowdown, the virus checker will usually reveal an infection. Adaware never fails to find lots of spyware that has resulted from cruising through my normal sites and I'm aware of them and can't seem to find a way to block them out and still be able to visit the sites. Check it out, you'll be surprised at who loads spyware unto your machine.

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After basic maintenance, time for the disk cleanup utilities
by chuckkel / June 20, 2008 12:36 PM PDT

You should have already be running an antivirus, antispyware and defrag as a normal course of action and should have done a reboot. If it is still abnormally slow, I run 'Evidence Eliminator' disk cleanup which throughly cleans up the inside and frees up drive space. I then force a defrag to reintegrate the freed up space.

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Defrag won't help performance
by dknapp / June 20, 2008 12:47 PM PDT

I saw that too many folks, in my opinion, go to the defrag as the first step in checkig performance. Believe me, after monitoring about 1,000 PCs in my company, I can tell you that very very few problems can be helped by defraging the computer. Our server group never defrags their servers, even those with a 50-80 simultaneous users. A defrag might help on program startup, but not on overall performance. Better to check the number of processes running, check for memory hogs, etc. With the disk cacheing going on, a defrag is of minimal help.

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use a backed up image of the C drive
by lenwaldman / June 20, 2008 1:17 PM PDT

I am a very big fan of ACRONIS TRUE IMAGE. I make a back up of my OS C Drive at least once a month and keep it stored on a partitioned 2nd Hard Drive. I keep at least 4 months backup and amm quick to restore , usually the last one, whenever I feel the unit is slowing down or for that matter if any installed program starts not to repsond properly or promptly.
This procedure is diferent than backing up my DATA which is on a different partion on yet aother (3rd) hard drive. Oh I forgot to mention my C drive ( partition) has ONLY my WINDOWS operating system on it.

Never fails me!!

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I do the obvious first

1,2,& 3 are part of my normal routine. In fact 1 & 2 are programmed into a daily routine. 4-6 are performed regularly, as needed, based on the type of work I am doing on my computer(s). Between redundency and a solid set-up for maintenance and protection, I can usually pin-point the source of a slow down fairly quickly.
If all else fails. I IM my favorite SIL (love him) and with what I have narrowed it down to, between us, we can usually work it out.
My biggest enemy is usually bandwidth lock down because I have downloaded a new purchase (program) or update that has exceeded the bandwidth allowance (and we have business BW). Anyone know a REALLY good program to get around that problem?

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by Dango517 / June 20, 2008 5:08 PM PDT

Daily - disk defragmenter utility, Run a disk clean up utility, Run a registry cleaner, plus much more. All of this is done by this:

Takes about 2 minutes

Weekly - antivirus application, Run antispyware/adware applications. Mine are automatic but I run manual scans weekly.

This thread untracked
Don't put them in to begin with - Remove any unnecessary programs.

Once a month or so - When the Icon pops up I down load them but I do receive a newsletter from MS that notifies me there coming and what other downloads of interest there are.

This sounds like a lot but it isn't. Iolo takes care of most of it in just a few minutes.

Why because for the most part my PC runs great and I want to keep it that way.

I also run a RAM optimizer in - real time.

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Speeding UP my Vista
by ohdesertrose / June 20, 2008 5:50 PM PDT
In reply to: Other

1) I run a disk clean up
2) I run registry clean up
3) I run Ad aware
4) I ADORE the IObit Advanced Windows Care, all in one package and the SpeedRAM is a HUGE difference I am flying on my Vista!

* One thing I noticed wasn't mentioned....OUT OF THE BOX, DEFAULT the history pages to ZERO! ) Internet settings) Factory sets the pages to 20!! Zikes!

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Poll Question
by Peterderek / June 20, 2008 5:54 PM PDT

I through a few choice Anglo Saxon words at the screen and then work through the possible solutions more or less in the sequence you list.

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Other, because
by ironfist72 / June 20, 2008 6:48 PM PDT

a) I clean up temp files every day
b) I perform defragment on a weekly base.
c) I have buy the "Driver Genius Professional Edition" software to keep drivers updated.
d) Basically I don't run "strange" software on my pc. (And the few times I do, I make all the necessary acts to be sure that nothing suspicious is being left behind after I uninstall it).
e) I perform unistalls by the book (uninstall > manually check the program files for files that left behind and looks empty > reboot) and from what Mark Russinovich, Author of the ?Bible? said the registry cleaners are not something useful. And if you are using a pc with more than one user they can really mess up your system.
e) I have both untivirus and untispyware software running in "real time"
So, if my pc starts to deteriorate (and because I haven't change the setting so far, to automatically clear all dlls after I stop using a program)I do the folowings until I found the reason:
1. I close it for 5 minutes.(Sometimes the RAM -and besides your setting- can be overflowetted, or the CPU temp can go up high)
2. I perform a full scan with my antispyware.
3. I login on safe mode and run my untivirus
4. I check with "Process Explorer" and "Security Task Manager" to see if something strange going on.
In the end,even if I do all 4, I always find and what is going on and I can fix it.
And for that special time that nothing from the above will work, I have on my external hard drive 2 back up files.
One,right after the fresh and clean installation of my windows.
One more with the programs I mostly use.

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Speeding Up My New Vista PC
by jofish420 / June 20, 2008 8:55 PM PDT

I don't have alot of problems with speed on my vista laptop as I regularly run a disc clean up every few days, as well as using a program called Revo Uninstaller. It cleans all my programs up, gets out the leftover bits of data that remain on your hard drive even if you do delete certain items. It also cleans out both my IE and FF browsers and it also cleans my windows. I love it! I will also run spybot S&D, and my comp automatically will run my antivirus every Friday. It takes regular maintenance to keep ur PC running smoothly. I also have an old 2002 Celeron with XP sp2 that has crashed 3 times to which i have restored. It still runs well as I do the same to that PC. My friends have all gone through a couple of comps since I originally bought that one and mine still works. So now I have two. I regularly get called by my friends to help them with their comp much so I'm thinking about charging for my consulting services. LOL

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Deteroriation of pc performance

My computer tech has always told me to run defrag on a regular basis and I do, but if my computer does start playing up I run a defrag and disc cleanup and if that doesn't help, I go into panic mode and I phone him and he comes out and fixes it Happy

Saskia Cornell

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System images
by DOSpower / June 20, 2008 11:53 PM PDT

Whenever I configure a new computer I always make a recovery image with all the applications (at least the bulk of what I believe will go onto the machine) and then burn the image(s) onto a self booting CD/DVD. I have been using Powerquest Drive Image 2002 for a good few years now and it has yet to disappoint me. In all it takes somewhere between 5 to 15 minutes depending on the system and the size of the configuration. It certainly beats reinstallation of OS and applications.

I would add that I also partition my hard drive and have all my working files and documents on the partition that doesn't contain the OS and program files.

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Other; Clean it!

I notice most people use various software programs but nobody seems to want to check the hardware.
I live in a rural area which gets a lot of airborne plant dust. This gets into the fan blades & heatsinks, major clogging of airflow.
Knock the covers off & vacuum clean with a long haired soft brush, followed up with a blast of CRC CO-contact cleaner(no residue or flame).
A lot of city friends have found this picks up some lost performance as well, so it's an easy and cheap bit of maintenance.

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Check my temps and hardware status.

Anti-virus/spyware/adware, disk defragmenter, clean up, OS and driver updates are all automatic, I only use the programs I need, and I won't touch registry cleaners, so since the software side of things is always up to snuff on my machine, it could only be a hardware issue, which is where checking up on my hardware status and temps comes in. If things are running too hot or somehing looks like it's about to fail, then it probably is.

I progressively eliminate any software issues that aren't solved automatically as they pop up, so that only leaves the mechanical aspect of things to look at. If it's not a mechanical problem, and I've ruled out all software issues and things are still just not right, a reinstallation of Windows is usually in order, which for me is quick and easy.

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