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Archive for December, 2008

boost speed by increasing virtual memory

When your RAM is not enough, your PC resorts to using the free space found on your hard drive in order to deal with data overflow. This free space that is used is called virtual memory, and it is pretty much RAM, that has been simulated on your hard drive.  Having enough of this Faux RAM available is extremely important when it comes to keeping your PC running at its peak performance.

How Virtual Memory works…

Virtual Memory on your PC is akin to having a reserve fuel tank on your truck. When you are running at full throttle and your computer’s RAM is used all up, your PC starts dumping inactive parts of program applications into the empty space of your hard drive, restoring them to the RAM when they are needed. Virtual memory is pretty much a way to trick programs into thinking that there is still enough memory space to go around and keeps them running, while in reality your computer is merely doing a complicated juggling act, shifting used and unused data between its actual RAM and its Paging File.

How to increase virtual memory

Increasing the size of your virtual memory is relatively easy and requires no special downloads. First click on your Control Panel then go to  the Performance and Maintenance Tab, now click on the System Icon. When the System Properties window pops up, go to the the Advanced Tab, then click on Settings tab in the Performance box  which will open a Performance Options window. Move down to the “virtual memory” section and click on the Change.

How much Virtual Memory?

The general rule is to make the amount of virtual memory available about one and a half times bigger than the amount of  RAM you are using. So, for instance, if you have 1000 MBs of RAM, make your Virtual Memory size 1500 MBs. Another good trick to know is to make minimum and maximum paging file size the same value. This will keep your PC from constantly changing your Page file Size and keep its performance more stable.

Thrashing

Sometimes having too much data flowing in and out of your virtual memory space can end up slowing down your computer even more.  Thrashing happens when a chunk of data happens to be too large to be efficiently handled by your computer’s paging system and swapping it in and out of virtual memory causes frequent faults. The best way to prevent thrashing is to increase the size of your Ram.

Making more room

Another way to make more room within your virtual memory without increasing the size of it is to get rid of unneeded processes and freeing up resources in your computer’s registry. This can be done with any good registry cleaner.

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boot up kind of slow?

There is probably nothing more annoying than a pc that takes longer than a geriatric cow poke to boot up. Waiting for your PC to go through the motions can be especially annoying if you just have one little task to do, like check your e-mail and you need to wait ten to twenty minutes in order to get it done.  Let us take a look as to why the start up process is so slow and what we can to about it.

The icon army

If you take a quick look to at the bottom right panel of your screen and see a giant army of icons assembled, indicating that you have over a dozen processes running at once, this is probably why your computer takes all day long just to boot up. A lot of the processes that you choose to download, such as messenger applications like Yahoo and MSN  will automatically embed themselves into your startup tray unless you are tech savvy enough to keep them from doing so. Having all these applications open upon start up is akin to trying to speed to work during rush hour traffic. Your computer’s processing power and memory becomes bogged down as all these processes vie for attention.

Boot out to boot up

In order to get your PC’s boot up time back to something reasonablelike a minute or two, you might want to get rid of a few unnecessary processes in your start up tray. There are several ways that you can do this.

If you are feeling like a pro you can click on the Start menu, go to Run and then type in: msconfig.exe. This will take you to Window’s system configuration menu. Now click on the Startup tab and check out all the programs that began running when you turn your computer on. Getting rid of the ones that you do not need can be a little tricky and if you have any  doubt about a program, leave it alone until you know some more about it. There are lists availble on the Internet that will let you know what processes are absolutely necessary, and which one are not.

A slightly easier way to do it

If you do not feel like going through lists of processes and are afraid of playing doctor with your computer, I did find a slighlty easier way to get rid of some start up processes and make my computer faster. RegCure, the registry fixer, actually has an option that lets you decide which uneccesary programs you want to remove from start up, taking all the guess work out of what to get rid of.

A slow PC and what you can do about it

Has you PC become akin to the old man putt putting down the freeway with his blinker light on, shaking his fist at the “punk kids” flying by him in their fancy hot rods? Do you wish to do something about it besides retiring it to a PC rest home where it can sit on the porch, sip sarsaparilla and reminisce about the good old days when Windows Me was hot stuff and music on the internet was still free to download? Well, do not go and put Ol’ Yeller down just yet, there just might still be zip in those old circuits if you are ready and willing to do something about it. Here are several things that you can do to get your fist shaking old man PC back to cruising in the fast lane.

Step 1: get rid of all spyware, malware and viruses

Downloading suspicious programs, opening up infected e-mail or even visiting certain sites can get your PC muddled in a mess of different problems that lead to slower performance, freezing and even total system failure. Obtaining a good virus scanner as well as an antispyware program and keeping them up to date will help keep most of these guys at bay.

One of the most common problems to be aware of are browser hijacks, which are malicous programs that train their attack your browser and do dastardly things like change your homepage and compromise your window to the web. These guys are really hard to get rid of once they creep into your system.  Most of the better virus protection programs should keep these guys out, but you might also want to consider switching browsers. Explorer, being the biggest, is also the browser that is most often targeted by the creators of malware and adware. Switching to Firefox or Safari might help keep you under the radar and hijack free.

Too many apps at startup

If your computer takes forever to boot up, then you might have way too many programs wanting to open up at startup. Many programs that you download, especially those IM programs, assume that you want to to start up when you turn on your PC and embed themselves into your  Start up folder.  Running MSCONFIG on your command line will allow you to pick which ones you want to keep  and which ones you would rather choose to open up in your own sweet time when you need them.  If you do not have the courage to play PC doctor, then you might want to get download a program such as Regcure, which will help you figure out which apps to get rid of at start up.

Fix your registry

As your computer sees continual use, and programs are installed, uninstalled, reinstalled, only to be uninstalled once again, your computer’s registry can start looking like a convoluted mess with corrupted links and remnant of uninstalled programs floating around. A bloated or corrupted registry can lead to a slow computer  that has trouble booting up, or even shutting down. You can try running the REGEDIT program and fixing it yourself, which is a task of herculean proportions or you can download a good registry fixer to do it for you.

These are just a few tips to get your old PC up and running like a champ again. Stay tuned to learn about a few more tricks that you can do.

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Is your registry important?

With all the trouble your computers registry tends to give you, you may have asked yourself whether this whole registry thing is actually worth having in the first place. How important could this registry be to the daily operation of the computer anyway? It just seems like a overly complicated data filing system that can easily get overrun and clogged up with junk. Well, unfortunately for you, the registry  happens to be an integral part of your computers operating system which you cannot merely get rid of as if it were a appendix or gall bladder. The best thing you can do is performance regular maintenance on you registry and hope for the best.

The registry defined

A registry is a list of gifts a couple who is about to get married gives to a specific store so that their family and friends… oh wait, that does not seem to be what we are talking about, dang nab wikipedia.

The registry we are talking about is actually database used by windows to store system configuration information. Information that is typically stored on the registry are things like…

  • file associations and object linking and embedding (OLE) information
  • current user preferences
  • information for each user
  • Your machine’s hardware, installed application and operating system settings
  • Display and Printer settings
  • Performance data

All window apps tend to write something into the registry at some time, especially during installation. If you happen to download a lot of different applications or constantly change your preferences and setting, your registry  is most likely in a constant state of flux with data always being added and subtracted from it (well, added anyway).

What does the registry look like?

Your registry is configured in a tree structure breaking down to specific nodes and keys, sub keys and data entries (that are called values).  If you open it up by running regedit.exe at the command prompt you will notice that it looks very similar to your Windows explorer menu.

When you run an application, it will most likely either need a  associated key, a specific data value from a key or a group of related data keys  in order to run. Upon boot up your system automatically retrieves specific data sets (called hives) which are a group of keys, sub keys and values which  contain back up system data.

What causes registry problems?

Missing or invalid keys within the registry will cause your PC to crash repeatedly, stall, or just plain slow down. Most of these problems occur during the program instillation and removal process. If you are constantly deleting and installing programs, improperly installing software, deleting start up programs, or running programs with suspected spyware, chances are you have a large number of registry problems.

How to fix registry problems

If you know exactly what you are doing and read through all the help files in windows, you could attempt to fix the registry on your own by  running the regedit program. Going this route however, can be extremely precarious if you do not know exactly what  you are doing, and what data values can be erased. It is a good idea to make a back up before you proceed and only then proceed with the utmost caution. If computer brain surgery is not your thing, you might want to look into getting a good registry fixer to do all the thinking  for you. Registry fixers are found everywhere on the web and are either free or are priced quite reasonably, especially when compared to the price of a new pc if you cannot get yours to boot after monkeying around with it. The good registry fixers on the market will allow you to make a data backup in case the changes lead to undesired results and will take you through the process point by point.

Speed up your Internet

Does surfing the web on your computer make you feel like its 1997 all over again?  Does it take so long to check your e-mail that you need to go and shave again after checking through the billion e-chain letters that your superstitious sister sent you? In this era of the super high speed internet, waiting till the cow comes home before you can check your MySpace status is completely uncalled for, unless of course, you still happen to have a dial up connection. If you pay for high speed internet, it makes sense that you should be able able to enjoy fast and seamless cruising upon the internet freeway.  Let us look at ways to get that fast internet that those commercials promised you.

Make the switch already

Dial up is so passe. Getting some sort of high speed internet connection that is faster and more reliable is  a no brainer if you desire to keep up with the times. While DSL is okay, for my money, I prefer cable. While more expensive, cable internet service is much faster and way more reliable then DSL whose speed is dependent upon how close you are to the  servers (I cannot tell you how many times I had problems with DSL when I was a customer). However, if you are on a budget, DSL is better than nothing at all.

Pick a good browser

There seems to be about a million alternatives to Window’s Explorer nowadays. In my opinion both Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari browsers are better options then the virus prone Explorer. Explorer itself is good, but is victim of its own immense popularity. Most viruses and spyware that are created usually  target this monolith slowing it down and  invading your PC. Browsers that I do not recommend, are the ones provided by your ISP (yeah you heard ATT Yahoo). These guys usually do thier best to hijack all of your Internet Activities and are extremely hard to get rid of once they are installed on your computer.  I personally like Firefox. It is reliable and allows  for quick downloads.

Clean out your cache

Your browser likes to store every page you go to in a cache for quick reference later. While this kind of makes sense, have  too much data stored on your hard drive can slow down your PC considerably. Perform a cache purge on a regular basis and free yourself of all the junk data that you do not really need.

Pick the right time to surf

Even with high speed, surfing the net at peak hours is akin to trying to drive anywhere during rush hour. Pick a good time to surf, like early in the morning avoiding the typically dreary early to middle evening hours when all the kids are online doing their “homework”.

Clean that registry

A fast computer equals faster internet browsing and one of the surest ways to speed up your computer is to fix your registry.  An error free registry will insure quicker download times and faster response.