Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Keeping your computer quick and secure.

For my first post to start this blog off, I thought I would give some tips as to how to get rid of Viruses and Spyware and keep your computer running smoothly.

Is your computer running slower then it should be? Do you find yourself dealing with Spyware a lot? Do you have computer Viruses on your system? These are some problems that many internet users face. You would be surprised just how many people ask me for advice about these subjects. And this includes Grandma calling because she has over 50 viruses on her system, no joke lol. I decided to write this article and explain the best way to keep your computer running smoothly and Spyware/Virus free.

Note: I wrote this article with a focus mainly on computers running Windows. Not all of the programs mentioned in this article may have a Mac or Linux version.

Many times, when people go about searching for programs to fix their computer, they often make the problem worse. The reason is that many security software programs may actually be Spyware in itself or otherwise do a really poor job at removing the Spyware and Viruses from your system. That is why I will also give links to good products in this article so that you do not have this problem.

- First off, if you have any computer Viruses on your system, you need to get rid of them right away. The same goes for Spyware. For getting rid of Viruses, I would recommend you download the free version of AVG Anti-Virus. After you download it, make sure and update it before doing a full scan.

- Now, for getting rid of Spyware, I would recommend you use Spybot Search & Destroy and Ad-Aware. I recommend downloading them both and running a scan. Again, make sure to update it before you do the scan though. I have found that sometimes one program detects something that the other did not. By using two separate scanners, you will have a better chance of getting rid of the Spyware.

Now that you have gotten rid of the Spyware and Viruses on your system, here are some ways to increase the speed of your computer.

- Run Disk Defragmenter on your computer. This is something that many people forget to do. I could go into a long explanation about what this does, but the short way of saying it is that the time the computer takes to access files will be reduced. I recommend doing a Disk Defrag once a month.

Most people already have Disk Defragmenter on their computer. If you are on windows, you should be able to find it under (Programs - Accessories - System Tools). If you don't have DiskDefragmenter. Try going to Download.com. There are many great Disk Defragmenters available to download there.

- Clean your computer registry. But please don't do it yourself. Use software designed for this. You can really mess your computer up if you don't know what you're doing in the computer registry. There are many registry cleaners out there. Unfortunately, they all cost. However, here is one registry cleaner that I have found to be good. It's called Regdefense. They even offer a free scan so you can see just how much your registry may need to be cleaned before you decide if you wish to buy this software or not. In addition to the registry cleaner, this software offers many other tools for keeping your computer running smoothly.

- Remove unneeded programs that are set to run when you turn on the computer. These include various IM messengers, audio and video programs, etc. I have seen many people with over 30-40 programs set to run at startup. No wonder the computer was taking awhile to load! For me, I have a total of 9 programs running at startup. For a free startup manager to remove startup entries, I recommend Startup Inspector.

- Get rid of the unneeded files on your computer. There are many programs that can do this. I'm going to recommend one you should already have on your computer though. It's called Disk Cleanup. You should see it under (Programs - Accessories - System Tools). It may not have some of the advanced features like other cleaners, but it should do the job.

Now that you have done these steps, your computer should be running a lot smoother. Now you need to keep it this way! Run Disk Defrag, Virus scans, and Spyware scans regularly. Try and keep your computer registry clean and your computer startup items to a minimum. And here is an extra link to a program I recommend to keep your computer secure. SpywareBlaster. Once you install it and update it, you will need to click to enable the protection. It will protect you from thousands of types of Spyware and will block it before it even installs onto your system. A very cool program!

If you are on a high-speed connection, I would recommend getting a firewall. ZoneAlarm has a free firewall. I've used it for years and it has never let me down.

Also, I recommend using a System Utilities program. These are computer programs that offer many tools to keep your computer running smoothly. Normally you might have to download separate tools to do these things. System Utility programs combine all of the tools into one big program. They are very useful. I personally recommend iolo System Mechanic. If you would like to read a review I did of System Mechanic, then click here.

Wrapping this up, if you do all of these tips, your computer should stay safe and run smoothly. I have been doing all of these tips for a long time, and it has been years since I have had any type of Spyware or Virus infection. You shouldn't have to deal with these annoyances on the net. Just do these tips, and you shouldn't need to worry. Good luck!

- Justin Truth