QUESTION: What is the primary reason for computer slowdown? ANSWER: The most common reason for a slow computer is malware infection. Computers can become infected these days just by browsing the internet. Surfers can get hit with "drive by downloads" even by visiting a legitimate web site that has been hacked. Use of software to prevent some attacks is effective, and we recommend Avast as our go to anti-virus program. Once infected however, we use other tools to clean the machine up. Some of these tools are not available for use to the public, but some are, like malwarebytes and superantispyware. It is important that if you think you are infected that you have your machine disinfected by a professional because proper removal often not only includes disinfection, but repair of the operating system as well. In our computer service business, we can count on one hand (bit of hyperbole here) the number of times we have serviced machines that were not infected in the last 5 years. Not only is malware annoying, with the prevalence of identity theft, it is important that your infected computer be cleaned properly and that any possible residual threats to your privacy and safety online be brought to your attention.
QUESTION: What are the secondary reasons for computer slowdown? ANSWER: Secondary reasons for chronic computer slowdowns are first lack of adequate memory, and secondly imminent hard drive failure. All other slowdowns are secondary to these two potential problems. For WinXP, we recommend at least 500MB of RAM, preferably 750MB. For WinXP Media Centre edition, go for at least 1GB. For Windows Vista and Windows 7, regular users should plan at least 2.5GB of memory. We are seeing a lot less memory problems these days as manufacturers routinely include 3-4GB of memory in new machines. As we said, the other common reason for computer slowdown is hard drive failure. All hard drives now ship with what is called SMART. SMART technology is a tracking and logging system built right into the hard drive. This system monitors the hard drives own performance, and as that performance degrades, it logs the problems. With the right software, the drive can be queried on how it is doing, and if it is accumulating too many errors of a certain kind, it should be replaced. The bottom line is if your computer is noticeably slow, you should have it checked by a professional immediately. For those in the Comox Valley, you can call the Computer Doctor at 866-267-2773 to schedule and on site visit. Others are welcome to call the same number for over the phone help if no local computer professional is available to help you.