How To Speed Up A Slow Computer: Free Ways To Troubleshoot And Fix Your Virus-Infected PC
Do you remember that exhilarating feeling when you bought your first, second or third brand new computer? You could hardly wait to get home to open the box, read the Quick Start Guide, turn ON your desktop or laptop, start browsing the web, read articles, listen to music, download software, games, screen savers, free e-books, etc. and, well, in the process, you’ve exposed your PC to untold scores of viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, and malware.
Well, my friends, the honeymoon is over, your computer is now infected and runs as fast as a turtle, which is rather slow. How does it regain that rabbit’s lightning processing speed of yesteryear, which it was accustomed to when it was a brand new machine? Read on to learn what to do when your PC falls prey to viruses and malware. Let’s examine the causes of and provide the remedies to a slow computer.
Computer memory (DRAM: Dynamic Random Access Memory) can and do work wonders for your laptop, desktop, smart phone, tablet, etc. in terms of boot up speed, program launch, download speed, page loading speed, internet surfing, software interaction, etc.
Many a time a memory upgrade (memory makeover for our fashionistas!) can breathe life back into any of the aforementioned electronic gadgets or devices that were about to be discarded or destined to the recycle bin/dumpster due to poor performance.
Smooth operations, overall functions and noticeable speedy performance are usually observed subsequent to a memory upgrade, which alone cannot explain the nimbleness of a computer’s performance.
Processor CPU Speed (GHz), Total Memory, Maximum Memory Supported, Hard Drive Capacity (used space vs free space), Virus Infections or not- to name just a few other factors, determine the speediness or slowness of a computer as well. Watch how to replace a memory module.
Computer Memory Module
Causes of and Remedies to a Slow Computer
Lack of RAM
Lack of RAM (Random Access Memory)- An amnesic (memory-deprived) computer does not boot up, let alone run. Ironically, it forgets to boot up or run, due to amnesia. Although a PC with minimal RAM will always remember to start, boot up, and run, it will never reach its full potential (optimized and peak performance) and is condemned to run slowly.
A memory upgrade will remedy the situation and put a new spring in your computer’s step. Don’t be surprised if your laptop, with the new spring in its step, thanks to the memory upgrade, is invited to Dancing With The Stars as a contestant! (a laptop whose memory has not been upgraded will be green with envy!)
If you don’t know the specifications of your computer’s RAM (often expressed in MB- Megabyte, or GB- Gigabyte), look up Memory (Total Memory and Maximum Memory Supported) under Specifications or Specs.
For instance, the Toshiba Satellite L755 S5167‘s total memory is 4GB, maximum memory supported 8GB. If you can’t locate that information, just download CCleaner (CCleaner displays Operating System, Processor Speed, RAM, Chipset Family, etc.) from:
Piriform.com or Filehippo.com
CCleaner displays: Operating System, Processor, RAM and Chipset.
With free CCleaner, which comes with tools to uninstall unwanted software or programs, the following can be cleaned:
- Internet Explorer’s Temporary Internet Files, History, Cookies, recently typed urls, Index.dat files; Windows Explorer’s Recent Documents, Search Autocomplete, Other Explorer MRUs”, etc.
- Registry’s Missing Shared Dlls, Unused File Extension, ActiveX and Class Issues, etc.
- System’s empty recycle bin, temporary files, memory dumps, etc.
Another free program, which performs similar tasks to CCleaner, id es cleaning of temporary files, history, cookies, etc., is CleanUp!. It can be downloaded from:
Cleanup.StevenGould.org or Stevengould.org
Slimware Utilities is another cloud-based cleaner worth mentioning. Removal of “junk files and unwanted items, speed up PC, faster startup, update and fix broken drivers, improve performance”, etc. are the tangible benefits from using Slimware Utilities (SlimCleaner, SlimComputer, and SlimDrivers), free of charge.
SlimWare Utilities slimwareutilities.com
Uninstallation and incorrect removal of software leaves junks behind which bloats your computer’s registry size and causes it to run slow. The remedy is to clean the registry to remove “invalid entries or obsolete information”, according to Eusing Free Registry Cleaner 3.0 for Windows 9x, Me, NT, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, and 7.
Eusing Free Registry Cleaner eusing.com
Eusing does not stop there. It ups the ante by offering a Free Registry Defragmentation Software, a tool to compact your computer’s registry and speed up your PC, according to Eusing.
Eusing Free Registry Defrag eusing.com
Overloaded C- Drive
If you enjoy downloading music, videos, photos, software, games, web pages, documents, free stuff, etc. to your computer, chances are your data-laden computer’s C-Drive is almost filled to the brim, which impedes the CPU’s processing speed (too many hoops for your PC’s operating system to jump through). The solution lies in downloading these byte-hungry files to a portable or stationary external hard drive and in cleaning the computer’s disk.
External Hard Drive
How clogged is your computer’s C-Drive (Free space vs Used space– Windows XP)? To find out, left click on Start, My Computer, right click on ©, and right or left click on Properties.
After the above exercise, here is what your computer C-Drive (Free space vs Used space) looks like:
The deletion of junk or unneeded files, transfer and download of non-essential files to an external hard drive will undoubtedly result in creating free space galore on your computer’s C-Drive.
If you enjoy downloading free music, videos, software (freeware and shareware), games, clicking on suspicious attachments or links in e-mails, and frequenting x-rated sites (if you sleep with dogs, you’ll wake up with fleas), sooner or later your computer is bound to fall prey to the scourge of viral infections and malware malfeasance, which can compromise your PC operation and bring it to a crawl first, then a screeching halt, unless the proper anti-viral software is installed beforehand to keep your computer from being infected in the first place. Here is a list of free anti-virus software to protect your computer from virus infections:
Avast! Free Antivirus avast.com
AVG AntiVirus Free free.avg.com,
Comodo Antivirus antivirus.comodo.com
Avira Free Antivirus avira.com
Microsoft Security Essentials windows.microsoft.com
Panda Cloud Antivirus cloudantivirus.com
Immunet Protect Free immunet.com
Digital Defender Antivirus digital-defender.com
PC Tools Antivirus Free free.pctools.com
ThreatFire Antivirus Free threatfire.com
AD-Aware Free Antivirus lavasoft.com
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware malwarebytes.org, and
SuperAntiSpyware Free Edition superantispyware.com
Are viruses and malware lurking in and around the corners of your computer? To find out whether viruses and malware are lying dormant (actually, wide awake) in your PC, run a free online Housecall virus scan of your computer to troubleshoot, identify, and fix the bugs, if any. According to Housecall, “a wide range of threats including viruses, worms, Trojans, and spyware” can be fixed.
What if the severity of your PC’s viral infection keeps it from accessing the internet, what are you to do? First, note the date or time frame within which your computer starts experiencing the malfunction, then start it and hit the F8 key (Windows) repeatedly before and while it’s booting up until Advanced Boot Options is displayed.
Once in Advanced Boot Options, you can Repair Your Computer. Follow the instructions.
Let’s presume that the malfunction was noticed on the 15th, chances are your PC became infected on that day or the day before, as a result of downloading music, software, games, etc. or clicking on suspicious links. In which case, your computer’s earliest restore point should be on the 14th or the 13th. Once the restoration is complete, start your computer again. If the problem persists, the restore point should be pushed back to an earlier time frame (12th, 11th, etc.). Repeat the process until the issue is resolved to your satisfaction. It’s worth noting that the offending files (music, software, games, etc.) will be gone, erased. Your computer will be restored back to its former self: fast as a rabbit, nimble as a cat, and smooth as a virus-free PC should be.
Advanced Boot Options
Websites: Safe vs Unsafe
Wouldn’t you like to know whether a website is safe or unsafe before you visit it? Yes, you would. How does one make that determination? That’s where McAfee‘s SiteAdvisor comes in. SiteAdvisor is a free software download that color-codes websites’ safety ratings and warns you before you click on a link.
- Green Icon: Safe, very low or no risk issues;
- Yellow Icon: Caution, minor risk issues;
- Red Icon: Warning, serious risk issues; and
- Grey Icon: Unknown, not yet rated. Use caution.
SiteAdvisor sports a Secure Search Box, a Browser Button that “validate site ratings”, and is Android, Mac (Safari) and Windows-compatible. As a bonus, not yet rated sites can be submitted for a test.
Another free program that sports similar features to the above free software download is Web Of Trust. Color-coded icons warn you when it’s safe to proceed, and unsafe to do so.
- Green: Site is safe;
- Yellow: Be cautious; and
- Red: Potential danger.
Optional child safety rating is offered. WOT rates shopping sites and fraudulent sites as well.
Web Of Trust mywot.com
If those precautionary steps are taken, which you can do yourself, your PC will run as smooth as the lean and mean machine that it is. Calling on the experts to repair your infected computer would be an option of last resort.
However, since computers are sensitive and delicate electronic devices, if you are not technically inclined, and the extent of the viral infection, malfunction and/or repair is beyond the scope of this article’s content and your level of expertise, please, by all means, do seek professional assistance, call on the experts for your peace of mind. ‘Better be safe than sorry.
Devoid of the right information, fixing a virus-infected computer seems to be a daunting task; however, armed with the proper knowledge, it’s a piece of cake, not a challenge.
Happy and safe computing!
Coming soon: Is Crucial Computer Memory Module The best?