Greetings – I’ve been hearing ads on the radio recently asking ‘Is your computer running slowly?’ They then go on to spew out a bunch of techno-babble about how your computer ‘might be infected with spam, popups, adware’ etc. “Don’t buy a new computer” they say, just run our ‘free’ program and your computer will run twice as fast!
I’ve evaluated some of these applications, going by names like ‘double my speed’ and ‘finally fast’. In every case these ‘free’ programs do nothing except show you a bunch of ‘scary’ errors and then attempt to extort $50 from you for a ‘registry cleaning’ program which will ‘fix’ the ‘problems’ that were found.
Folks, don’t be fooled into purchasing these applications. Even the so-called legitimate programs do nothing that you can’t do yourselves with free tools like CCleaner (www.ccleaner.com). At best these programs will take your money and ‘fix’ things which will not improve the overall performance of your PC. At worst, some of these programs can be gateways for truly malicious program (spyware, viruses, trojans) to get onto your computer. I’ll go into more detail on these things in a later blog posting.
When your computer is really running poorly, most usually this is because:
* Your computer has run out of resources (memory, CPU, hard drive space). Your computer may be older (4+ years) or you may just be a ‘power user’ and are taxing the limits of the hardware in your computer.
* You have a hardware problem (failing hard drive, bad memory, faulty network card, weak wireless signal). This is a less common cause of problems, but needs to be ruled out.
* Your computer is infected with malware (viruses, spyware, trojans, etc). Typical symptoms of a malware infection would be lots of pop-up windows appearing on your screen, even when you are not actively surfing the web. You may notice that when you search for something on Google, your results come back to bizarre results – you search for Expedia airline tickets, but get results for bestcheapticketsintheworld.com.One thing to note – just because your computer does something ‘unexpected’ doesn’t mean it’s a virus infection. Many people jump to that conclusion whenever something goes wrong. When in doubt, give us a call and we’ll help you determine what is going on.
There can be other reasons for under-performing systems, but these are some of the most common. Bottom line, don’t waste your money on software programs that purport to make your computer ‘good as new’. Most likely the only problem these programs solve is how to make your wallet a little lighter!
On another note, I’ll be making more regular postings to this blog. If anyone has specific topics of interest, or technical questions please send them in. We’ll be trying to answer a couple of reader questions each week.
Until next time…
Owner – GeeksAKnockin’