Optimizing a Computer

May 31st, 2009

When you are considering “optimizing” a computer, the goal is usually to have that computer run faster and more efficiently. 

More visable improvement in performance can be seen in defragmenting a hard drive, cleaning the computer from temporary files, and performing a spyware or virus scan using tested software.  DO NOT USE SOFTWARE THAT HAS NOT BEEN TESTED.  We provide a list of links that have been tested and verified that are not spyware.  Even if you have anti-virus, you can still run an online antivirus check.


1.      The first thing I do is make sure those important data files are backed up!

2.      Defragment the hard drive

3.      Clean out temporary files

4.      Uninstall old versions of Java, download the latest version

5.      Scan with Malwarebyte, Spybot, and Superantispyware

6.      My next step is to scan with “hijackthis” which shows me everything that is running….including the software installed and various other components (“hijackthis” should only to be used by an expert)

7.      Scan for viruses using an on-line scanner

8.      Add additional memory if required

9.      Remove those resource hungry software applications such as AOL, McAfee, Norton, Security Suites, etc.

10.   There is more to Optimizing a computer than people realize, and it can take hours.  Various precautions are taken to ensure that data is not lost or compromised.

What’s your opinion about Registry Cleaners?

May 30th, 2009

Basically, my advice is – don’t use a Registry Cleaner.  They don’t “optimize” a computer (more on that in a future blog), and in fact they are more harmful to your Registry than you even know. It is not worth the risk.  The majority of internet ads out in cyberspace that tout Registry Cleaners will, in fact, cause your computer to have further problems and  your computer will likely crash.    

Another problem is that unless the program creates a restore of the registry or a backup of the registry, a mistake can turn a computer into a big old paper weight!

Quoting from another experienced Computer technician and blogger….“Don’t run registry cleaner programs, period…….If anyone has done any serious performance testing on this class of software, I’d be interested in seeing it. In the absence of really rigorous testing and fail-safe design, I say: Stay far away from this sort of utility.” click here for link to Ed’s blog

In addition, this website has more information about Registry Cleaners and why you should not trust them:


” . . . The problem with most registry repair titles is that they are based on the same open source software script . . . they are being sold by companies that didn’t develop them – and therefore have no real understanding of their function or even how they work. The result is that you risk installing an inferior piece of software that can permanently damage your computer”

Another excerpt:

“The issue lies in the explosion of spam-review sites which are nothing more then websites promoting affiliate links under the guise of an official ” review ” site. There main goal is to accomplish one thing – to send you to the site they are promoting and hoping you buy the product they are selling – if you do, they get up to a 75% cut of the sale. In other words, their reviews are up for sale – and are not anything but thinly veiled sales pitches. For example, if you do a search for the term ” Paid Survey ” or ” Registry Repair ” you’ll notice that the paid listings all include sites that say ” read our review ” or ” warning, don’t download anything until you read this…”

Recommended Protections (Software)

May 29th, 2009

Q:  What types of software do you recommend when it comes to anti-virus, firewall, anti-spyware (or anti-malware) protections?

A:  On my link  page, I offer recommendations for these types of software.  Of course, your anti-virus protection also depends on if you have youngsters who will be accessing the internet, or adults only. 

Kids have a tendency to be too trusting when it comes to scams, while Adults may be more skeptical – Adults might be more able to distinguish between the scams and honest advertising.  This is not always black and white.  I know it is often quite difficult to know who to trust, what is a scam or a fake offer, or bad website that you might be directed to.

If you find you’re receiving “pop-ups” concerning your security, or a warning that you have viruses, you most likely have some spyware or viruses.  It is important to scan you computer. 

Call us (508-370-8080) if you have any questions.  We can remotely log into your computer and diagnose the issues going on.

MS Office 2007 & Office 2003 – Compatibility

May 24th, 2009

Many people use MS Office, which is a suite of products (such as Word, Excel, and Powerpoint).  In MS Office, the word processing program is MS Word.  The newest version, Word 2007, saves documents with the extension .docx and these documents (if saved this way) are only able to be read by other computer users who also have the 2007 version.

A study shows that 50% users have Office 2007, while 50% have Office 2003.  When a 2007 user sends a word, excel, or powerpoint document to someone who has Office 2003, the default formats in Office 2007 cannot be read from Office 2003.  To resolve this problem, the Office 2007 user needs to change the default to a format that Lower versions of Office can read.

for MS Word 2007 USERS:

1.      Open Microsoft Word 2007

2.     Click the “Office Button” (top left of your screen), then on the bottom of the list click “Word Options

3.      The “Word Options” window will open.  Now click on “Save” in the left panel

4.    Change the top option (in the right panel) “save files in this format“ from “Word Document (*.docx)” to “Word 97-2003 Document (*.doc)”

5.    Click “OK” and you’re all done!

for MS Word 2003 USERS:

If you have Office 2003, then you should click on this link and download the following “compatibility pack”

Click Here

This will allow Users with Word 2003 to be able to read and save documents sent to them that were originally created by someone using Word 2007.

Following the above steps will give you the ability to save all your documents as *.doc files, and will save a lot of compatibility headaches!

If you have Word 2007 and still want to save a document in the new *.docx format, just select the new format when saving individual documents.