So your computer is running slow and you’re thinking about having someone look at it. Before you do, here are several things to look for in a sluggish computer.
1. Does it have AOL installed? AOL has evolved into one of the biggest memory hogs you can have running. Years ago with versions 5, 6, or 7 it was somewhat basic and ran pretty well. But now with all they are trying to do for you, it can run up to 15 processes to do its job.
2. Does it have Norton or Mcafee antivirus running? Each of these can run an additional 15 processes. I have a lot of people tell me, “My antivirus expired so I’m not using it.”
The problem is, it is still installed and running, it just has outdated virus patterns and isn’t doing you any good. Even worse would be installing additional virus programs when one expires. You must uninstall any previous antivirus before installing a new one.
3. Is it running Kodak easy share? Once again this and other programs like it take a lot of memory while waiting for you to plug your camera into the docking station. I have seen machines’ running 70 to 80 processes at idle, when they should be running 35 to 40.
Hold down the “ctrl, alt and del” keys at the same time and bring up task manager, look at the number in the bottom left corner, this will tell you how many processes are running. Keep in mind documents, pictures, music or anything just stored on the hard drive do not make your computer slow down. So don’t delete stuff thinking it will speed up your machine. Look for programs running in the background, like incredimail or screenshots.
If you don’t have any of these then check for spyware. It doesn’t show up in task manager, but can really eat up a lot of memory.
And finally check how much memory your machine has. This can be done in task manager by clicking on the “performance” tab, or by using the right mouse button and clicking on “my computer’ and left clicking on properties. With the programs out today I would want at least 512 Mb of ram on a Windows XP machine, 1 Gb would be better. And at least 1Gb. On a Vista machine preferably 2, and 3 if you play games.
Times are changing and programs are getting bigger, so if you have a computer several years old don’t assume it’s time for a new one just because it’s slow. You may get a few more years out of it with some inexpensive fixes you can do yourself.