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PC Checkup - how to improve my PC's performance

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paulita
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PC Checkup - how to improve my PC's performance

Hi,

I have been with some issues with my computer because its performance has been very low, so I want to buy a program to improve his performance. Can someone please tell me what program is the best between these two: Zone Alarm checkup or Error Fix?

I´m choosing between these two because I have received a message from someone saying that Error Fix is a great program although is more expensive. The problem is that I don´t know if zone alarm is better than error fix. I would rather pay more for a program that will be better for my computer than pay less for another that will not be so good.

Thanks.
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Last edited by michellerana on 13 Nov 09 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
 

clarafaie
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It will depend on what's really causing the problem. Low performance can be caused by one or a combination of the following:
registry errors
spyware and/or other malicious software
viruses
low disk space
low ram
fragmented disk space
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paulita
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Hi Clarafie,

Thanks for your answer. I think i have a little bit of everything, for example I know that I have low disk space, but I also made a free scan on my computer using both programs and they say that I have multiple security, performance and repair issues, and on error fix says that I have performance features that are not optimized, registry entries on my pc, junk files on my pc, and other things.

So do you think that these problems are better resolved with Error fix or iolo system mechanic from zone alarm ?

Thanks.
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Last edited by michellerana on 13 Nov 09 1:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
 

jjperkins
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From my personal experience with Zone Alarm I wouldn't expect great things from it, don't know about Error Fix but remember you can buy it through your own affiliate link so it won't be full price!

I hope it's ok to suggest that, shh!
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faradina
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I would personally first run scans with my security software for viruses and similar and then run disk clean up and disk defragmenter. I'm wary about touching the windows registry (which, from what I understand of their functions, is what error fix and iolo system mechanic will do) because if the registry goes, everything goes with it and you won't be able to boot up the computer again unless you do a system restore (in some cases this is not even possible and you'll have to reinstall everything, which means you will lose all your data on the computer) and doing that is like opening another whole new can of worms.
Whew, that's certainly one of the longest sentences I've written. Shows how strong my feelings are about fiddling with the registry. It actually happened to me once. Used something to supposedly fix my registry and kaboom! - no computer until I took it back to the shop and had everything reinstalled so it was like new, and of course my documents and other stuff were gone because I didn't even think to back them up.
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PremiumMember
paulita
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Hi JJPerkins and Fara,
Thanks a lot for your answers.
Fara i´m so glad that you shared your experience with me, because I know nothing about computers and I don't even want to imagine loosing everything on my computer. So i will follow your instructions.
But the first thing I want to tell you is that I only have these programs that I use to scan: AVG free edition, zone alarm security (free), Adware lavasoft (free). So what should I do first? What security software do you use for viruses? Is it from those that I mentioned? How do I run disk clean and disk defragmenter?
Sorry for the abc questions but I´m really ignorant on this subject.
Thanks.
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Last edited by michellerana on 13 Nov 09 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
 

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jpastorizo
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Anarim,

If you have the budget I will suggest you use Norton Internet Security. It is the best I have used so far. Also, make sure you have a back up external hard drive where you copy your files from your PC/laptop on a weekly basis. I think the best set up is to have 2 external drives. 1 act as the main back up to have all your files and the other as the back up of the back up - Redundancy! Can't be too careful when it comes to your computer files. Losing all your files is a pain in the rear and can cause a lot of emotions! (and these are not the ones you will enjoy). =) Your PC/laptop will run best if it only has programs in it and just access your files from your main external drive back up.



Regards,
Renato
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paulita
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Hi Renato,
Thanks for your answer.
So do you think that the two programs i have spoken doesn´t worth it to buy at all?they are not going to improve my pc performance?The only solution is to only have programs on my computer and the rest on a disk drive?I´m asking that because i think that Fara also gave me a solution, but i just don´t know how to do that exactly, so i think that i will wait for her answer first.
Thanks anyway.
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geoffjackson
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Just gonna give my input here.

Avast Anti-virus - free
Registry Mechanic - $20 or something
Spybot Search & Destroy - free
O&O Defrag - £30

Completely trouble free PC without slowdowns.. been building PC's for years and this is the best combination of software for the price that i've found thus far (new stuff coming out all the time obviously)
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wollowra
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Hi Renato,
I have to disagree with you on the Norton dude.
Hey, I am sure you have had good results with it though..
For me, Norton is a big resource hog and once it's on your computer it gets into everything.
Trying to uninstall for the average user is a real pain in the backside.
Hey it's good at blocking everything.. and I mean everything...lol the good, the bad and the ugly.

I do PC training and building and Kaspersky is the best I have seen by far.
Doesn't leave any footprints if you uninstall and works a treat.
If you can not afford it then Avast is the next best free one in my opinion...

also guys... For spyware removal.. try this one, it's a real cracker..
http://www.superantispyware.com I use it daily.

The free version is great..

If none of those speed things up it's most likely your registry.
Go to clickbank and search registry fix .
That can really speed things up.

Also, if your harddrive has not much space left.. get someone to put in a slave drive.
It's basically another hardrive that you can just drag and drop stuff to.
I have a 80 gig for my main drive... but the stuff with most of the info I have is on my slave drive and thats 300 gigs.
so it frees up my 80 gig drive.

Anyway.. each to their own and I suppose you have to be happy with what works for you.

Regards
Troy
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Last edited by michellerana on 13 Nov 09 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
 

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize
they were the big things.

-- Robert Brault
 
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jpastorizo
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Troy,

Really? From what I know Norton 360 is the one that drags the PC speed not the Norton internet security version. I guess I got to try Kaspersky when the license for my Norton expires. =)


Regards,
Renato
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wollowra
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Hmmm, yes 360 was what I was talking about as it has the firewall and everything included..
I actually haven't tried the security as a stand alone product on my test machine.. so it might be ok.
Yeah, kaspersky is great.. although it probably one of the most expensive.. but no more than norton I suppose.
There are alot of techs around where I live and they all say Kaspersky...
anyway.. what works for me may not work for everyone else and each to their own.
The main thing is to have some protection there.

I went to a guys house last week and he said his laptop was running slow..
I looked to see what anti virus he was using and he didn't have any.. AAAHHHHH
he didn't even have his firewall enabled.. AAAHHHHHHH

but guys try that super anti spyware it's great..
I like to scan first with one program and then another to see what the other one didn't pick up.

Troy
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Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize
they were the big things.

-- Robert Brault
 
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jpastorizo
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Troy,

Do you reckon it will work alongside Norton? Have you heard of any security programs that conflicts with super anti spyware?


Regards,
Renato
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wollowra
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No It's a stand alone program.
It does not run in the background.
You just run it when you want to run it.
It won't conflict with Norton I am pretty sure as Norton will just ask you if you want to allow it to run...
you can always disable the norton and try it.. but in your case... if you have the Norton running then I don't think you need the SAS as it is just a free option for people.

Hope that helps.
Regards
Troy
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Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize
they were the big things.

-- Robert Brault
 
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jpastorizo
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Troy,

You mentioned putting a slave drive. I am thinking of using my current external drive as a back up for all the files and buy a new external drive just to contain all the files of my laptop's drive. I am thinking of just having all programs only on my laptop. This is how my brother in law set his PC and it runs so much faster. Is this the way the slave driver is set up? And basically when the computer is on the slave drive just have to be connected so the when the programs are running they can get necessary files from the slave drive?

Thanks,
Renato
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wollowra
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Yeah there is a few ways you can do it.
Some external hardrives have a USB port that is always connected and people just send files to it and use files from it.
My cousin has it set this way so all he has to do is hit a button on the drive and it backs his normal PC drive up.
He also sends files to it that he doesn't want to keep on his PC.

The way I did it was I put another hardrive in the PC tower.
I use my C drive as my main program files drive.
I use the slave drive or drive E as a drive to keep all my music, vids, well.. just about everything.
Then, on top of this.. I have an external hardrive 500gigs that I do weekly backups on.
I just back up all the files on Drive E to the external drive.

so, drive C is for windows and operating files
drive E is for all my music, vids, internet marketing stuff.. etc.. etc..
external drive is for weekly backups and that unplugs and stays in a safe area.

That way, if my drive C goes.. I just reload windows ( Yes, a pain I know )
if my drive E goes.. I have a weekly back up on the external drive.

I am actually looking at an easier more automated process as I know there are ways to just back up all the program files that run on my main drive and the music, vids etc.. but for now.. I am soo busy I just haven't had time to set it up...lol
T
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Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize
they were the big things.

-- Robert Brault
 
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jpastorizo
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Thanks for the detailed reply brother.


Regards,
Renato
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faradina
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On my laptop and on my kids' pc I have superantispyware pro and it works very well for me in removing all sorts of malicious software. You don't have to purchase the pro edition as the free edition for home users is just as effective. It will not conflict with any of the security software that you already have.
Speaking about the security software that you already have on your computer, it strikes me that you have more than you need and it would actually help if you remove the other two. Security software are jealous programs and they tend to fight each other when installed together on one computer, and the fighting contributes to the slowness. On my kids' pc I have avg free (version 8 if I remember right) and it works very well with superantispyware in protecting the pc from infection and believe me that pc is quite exposed as my kids are into gaming as well as nonstop surfing and downloading. Based on my personal experience, you will do better having the avg free and superantispyware together on your system and getting rid of zone alarm and lavasoft. this is because superantispyware has the smallest footprint that I've ever seen and thus does not conflict with anything in as far as I know.
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PremiumMember
paulita
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Hi Fara,
Thanks for your message.I only installed zone alarm and lavasoft because those were programs indicated by affilorama as good ones and as programs that we should have on our computer, for security questions.I didn´t even know that they were doing the same thing.
So if i uninstall those two programs and install the superantispyware, i will not need to run disk clean and disk defragmenter?Ok, i think that i can always run disk clean.I personally use CCleaner, and it´s ok all the time, isn´t it?But run disk defragmenter i never did that.Can you help me?Or it will not be necessary doing that after installing the superantispyware anymore?
I am also going to put some files on my hard drive, but there are some that i like to keep them on my computer like music for example, and things that i need to use daily so i don´t need to have the hard drive all the time next to me.But if i see that i will definetly need more space then i might buy another drive to insert on my computer or something like that.
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faradina
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After scanning your computer to get rid of any infection and cleaning out unnecessary files using disk cleanup, you should run disk defragmenter. When a drive is fragmented, even if it still has a lot of space available, some of the sectors may not be available for use because they are not contiguous, that is, they are not near to each other, and programs can not easily write to them because of this. Defragmenting the drive makes sure that most of the hard disk space can be used by making the available sectors contiguous. When programs are able to write to available sectors easily, the computer can run faster.
To run disk defragmenter from a computer that has windows xp, click on start then go to All Programs > Accessories > System Tools and then click Disk Defragmenter. Select the drive that you want to defragment (if you have more than one hard disk drive) and then click Defragment. It could take a while for it to finish defragmenting.
I'm not familiar with CCleaner so I can not give you any feedback about it. It's generally better to use the disk cleanup utility that is built into the windows operating system.
If your system can accommodate another drive, that other drive would be a good place in which to store documents and backups of your system. Just make sure that your computer has the necessary resources for it.
An alternative for storing copies of your personal files is to upload them to a password-protected folder on your web hosting server. I'm pretty sure you have a lot of space on your server that you may never really be able to use even when you already have a lot of websites. This way you'll put what you are paying for to good use, and, even if you are not at your own computer, you will still be able to access your personal files. If you are not sure of how to password-protect a folder on your server, get in touch with your hosting server support.
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faradina
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Forgot to mention the other security software I have on my laptop. It's PCSecurityShield. Doing a good job, so far, in conjunction with Superantispyware. The former just needs to have the settings fine-tuned because it has the tendency to block everything, good or bad, like the norton 360. It's not that difficult to adjust the settings though and once I got the right combination of on/off settings, it's been smooth sailing. Not free, although I got my license without charge because they gave it to me as a bonus.
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PremiumMember
paulita
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Hi Fara,
I am going to do what you have mentioned and then i will talk to you soon about that.
So you think i should uninstall Zone alarm and Lavasoft, and install Superantispyware and PCSecurityShield, before defragmenting the drive, right?
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faradina
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Not necessarily the PCSecurityShield because you already have other security programs on your computer and I don't really want you to be making an investment for any program at this stage because it might not be what you need. I only mentioned that it is what I have on my laptop because you asked if I had any of the programs you mentioned. This may be a bit confusing after all that I had written earlier, but what i want you to do is choose which one you feel most comfortable with among the three security programs that you already have on your computer and then uninstall the other two. After that, make sure that the definitions of that remaining security program are updated and run all available scans.
After running the scans, download, update and run superantispyware.
After scanning with both programs, run disk clean up first, and then disk defragmenter.
Of course at this point we don't really know if doing the above will result in any significant improvement on the performance of your computer but we would already have addressed some of the possible causes of poor performance. This is the reason why I don't want you to be buying any software as yet. As mentioned by a member on one of the earlier posts on this topic, it could be any one or a combination of causes that's making your computer perform poorly.
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jpastorizo
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Hi Fara,

What does running disk clean up do? It won't wipe off the files within the drive will it? Sorry about this newbie question. =)


Renato
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faradina
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Disk cleanup frees up space on your hard disk by removing temporary Internet files, removing installed components and programs that you no longer use, and emptying the Recycle Bin. It does wipe off some files but not the ones that you need, nor does it do anything to the files and documents that you specifically created or saved. It searches your drive, and then shows you temporary files, Internet cache files, and unnecessary program files that you can safely delete. You can direct Disk Cleanup to delete some or all of those files.
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Moderator
jpastorizo
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Hi Fara,

Is that the one where you right click on Local Disk (C:) and click on "Properties" and it says "Disk Cleanup"?


Thanks,
Renato
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wollowra
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I Just go to start- programs- accessories- system tools- disc cleanup.
Also, Disc cleanup will also compress some files on your computer... so if you do this you may open some folders on the computer and see the links to folders with some blue and some black.
The blue text folders means it was compressed, so don't freak out when you do it.
I did the first time...lol

Regards
Troy
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Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize
they were the big things.

-- Robert Brault
 
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jpastorizo
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Ok cool. Thanks for the warning brother!

Renato
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HOW WE DID 200K+ ON THE DEADEST MONTH OF ECOMMERCE
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paulie69
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Hi Anarim (and everyone else!),

I've tested so many of these products I don't care to remember. I settled on CCleaner which I manually run about once a week. It's really easy to use, it's as good as anything else out there and better than a lot of paid products. Personally I've never corrupted my registry in the three years and hundreds of times I've used it nor have any of my friends.

Like Faradina I also use and recommend SuperAntiSpyware. The free version is really good, they sometimes offer a special deal (I think $19.95) for a lifetime license and upgrades which is a great buy. It just gives you the automatic "on demand" scanning that the free version doesn't (meaning you have to scan manually, that's all).

And I also use Avast! Antivirus free plus ZoneAlarm free Firewall. They've also served me very well.

You don't need to spend a lot of money on software to keep your computer running safely and cleanly, a lot of people fall into that trap.

Hope you sort things out soon :)
Regards,
Paul
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PremiumMember
paulita
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Hi everyone!!

Thanks a lot for your advices and suggestions.Thanks Fara for telling me what to do.
I have just finished to run my disc cleanup (I did with the one you told me to, that is on the system, but yesterday i had already done it with Ccleaner).

And my god, when I ran disc cleanup with the tool on my system, I got more 4GB of free space on my C drive!! I didn´t imagine that I was going to gain so much more space. That never happened with CCleaner before. I ran the disc defragmenter too, like you told me, and everything is okay.

But I have to tell you that i haven´t installed the superantispyware yet, because I'm a little confused.
Some months ago I bought a program from someone, aimed to improve PC´s performance, but I never got time to read it and put it to use. I was a little afraid of doing things by myself without anyone helping me, or without any explanation. But now I am on vacation, I started to read it yesterday. I was surprised because some of the programs that were recommended (after doing some things on my computer) are AVG, Zone alarm security (as an extra level of blocking protection against spam, viruses and other malware) and Lavasoft (as a Spyware), exactly the ones I already have on my computer!!!!!!!!!

Well, when I remembered that I had this program (I was almost forgoten that i bought this), I had already uninstalled zone alarm from my computer and lavasoft too, but then I decided to keep reading the program and did some of the things that he mentioned to improve my PC performance. I ended up installing lavasoft again, but i didn´t install Zone alarm, because I'm really not sure if I need this. That´s why I'm a little confused. He also recommends another programs for windows cache and disk defrag, but I did like you told me to and it seems that it really worked.

Anyway my computer is better now (the greater change was when i run disc cleanup), so I will keep working on my website and when I got time I will read the rest of the program I bought to see what more i can do to improve my PC performance.

Thanks.
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Last edited by michellerana on 13 Nov 09 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
 

diyacorp
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You can try super antispyware. It is really V.GOOD. You can download the professional version for a month (it is free for a month) and let the super antispyware cleanup your machine. After one month you can install the free version and continue with that.
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Diya
 
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paulita
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Hi diyacorp,
Thanks for your advice.
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wollowra
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Just an update on the backups...
I am getting a dual mirror back up drive from Western digital. (Western Digital 2TB My Book Mirror External Hard Drive)

Basically it has 2 drives in the external case.
When I back up my PC files ( My docs, music, photo's etc ) it saves it to the first drive and also saves the identical back up to the second drive.
That way if one fails.. I have another identical back up.

If you can not afford that then I would just get 1 external drive and do weekly backups.
There is also software available but I don't like the fact it saves all the registry files etc.
I would rather just do a clean install of windows and replace the files I backed up.

EG: here....
"http://www.officeworks.com.au/retail/products/Technology/Data-Storage-and-Recordable-Media/Hard-Drives/External-Hard-Drives/WDH2U2TB"

Regards
Troy
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Last edited by sydney on 05 Apr 11 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: 404 link fixed
 

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize
they were the big things.

-- Robert Brault
 
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markling
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Depending on how computer savvy you are, formatting the hard drive and doing a fresh install of Windows is a good idea every couple of years. Computers get choked with all the programs we install and a lot of software is really untidy, not cleaning up after itself even when you do a proper uninstall. The only way to really clean that up is format the hard drive.

But of course you'll want to make sure you have a full backup first and there are lots of options. An external USB hard drive can work well and then just use a free program like Microsoft Sync Toy 2.0.
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paulita
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Hi Mark,

Do you think it´s safe for a person who knows nothing about computers to format the hard drive and do a fresh installation of windows - as long as the files have backups? Can you explain how I could do that? Or do you think I should give that job to someone who really knows how to do that?

Is the program you mentioned used to format the hard drive or to install windows?

Thanks
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Last edited by michellerana on 16 Nov 09 2:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
 

Moderator
wollowra
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Hi Anarim,
If you are not comfortable with backing up your files and reformatting your hard drive I would just get your local PC guy to do it. I had a client of mine try to do it and he ended up losing some folders he forgot to back up and he also got stuck with the formatting.. so I had to do it for him.

Make sure all your passwords are not viewable by anyone on your PC. You can back any password folders and personal files up on a CD and then tell the PC guy you want a fresh windows install with your main documents put back on the PC.

You could always just back up your MY Documents, My Pictures etc to an external Harddrive then just get the guy to reformat the PC and you can load your backed up files back to your PC. ( Or Mac)

Regards
Troy
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Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize
they were the big things.

-- Robert Brault
 
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paulita
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Hi Wollowra,

Thanks for the advice.
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marklincoln
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There's a lot of other stuff that might be handy to backup too, if that's what you're doing. Things you may not think about at first. Like your e-mails (if stored offline) and all your browser bookmarks for example.

A lot of the sites I visit have got complicated names that I'd never remember, or I've bookmarked an old article on a site like Affilorama that might be tricky for me to find again from scratch. I've built up quite an extensive list of bookmarks in my Firefox browser and it would suck if I lost them all!

Of course there are some good facilities for storing your bookmarks online so they're never even on your hard-drive. I've just stated using Zeadoo (www.zeadoo.com) which is a great portal. All my bookmarks are now stored on there so I can get them from any computer and any browser (sometimes I use Google Chrome when Firefox is playing up).

Anyway! I'm going a bit off-topic but bookmarks were just at the forefront of my mind as I only discovered Zeadoo a few days ago.

Good luck with all your computer issues! :)
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jpastorizo
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I think Zeadoo is one of Mark's websites that's why it is a good one. =)
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michellerana
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Yes it is!
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PremiumMember
paulita
Posts: 215
Joined: 12 Mar 09
Trust:
Hi Marklincoln and everyone,
Thanks a lot for all of your opinions and advice.
Thanks everyone!!
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Last edited by michellerana on 18 Nov 09 4:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
 

marklincoln
Posts: 12
Joined: 11 Nov 09
Trust:
@ jpastorizo and michelle, yeah I secretly knew that, just didn't want to make it look like I was biased just because I'm posting on Mark's site while also endorsing another of Mark's sites!! Zeadoo's still working well for me. Good homepage.

@ Anarim, no worries :) I just noticed your first question on this topic was back in August. With all this help and advice, you'll be running some kind of super-computer by now! I hope it all goes well for you. If you have any hesitations at all, don't be afraid to ask around your direct colleagues/neighbours/friends. Sometimes I'm surprised by buddies when they expose hidden talents I never knew they had!
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PremiumMember
paulita
Posts: 215
Joined: 12 Mar 09
Trust:
Well I do not have a super computer right now because I still have less space in my hard disk, but that´s because i like to have my music in there...but I didn´t know that I should format the hard drive and do a fresh install of Windows every couple of years, like Mark said. My computer is from 2005 and I never did that. However, I have been so busy working on my job, and in my website, that I don´t know if I am going to format the hard drive, now!!

Thanks.
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Last edited by michellerana on 19 Nov 09 7:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
 

faradina
Posts: 2171
Joined: 01 Jun 09
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Formatting your hard drive basically means erasing everything that you have stored on it. This includes not only your files but your programs and settings also, as well as any device drivers that may have been installed from disks other than the Windows Installation Disk, such as the drivers for your printer, for example. I believe that formatting should be done only if you really know how to do it and you still have the installation disks/sources for all your programs and device drivers.
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PremiumMember
paulita
Posts: 215
Joined: 12 Mar 09
Trust:
Hi Fara,
Yes, I also agree with you when you say that format the hard drive should only be done by someone that really knows how to do it. I am definitely not that person.
Thanks.
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Last edited by michellerana on 19 Nov 09 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
 

marklincoln
Posts: 12
Joined: 11 Nov 09
Trust:
I'm with you on having heaps of music files. I tend to store them all on an external hard drive though. They're getting cheaper and cheaper these days.

I keep my more commonly accessed music on my computer and keep everything else on my external hard drive to free up space. It's small enough so I can carry it to work every day so I have access to all my music (and photos) whether I'm in the office or at home.
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Moderator
wollowra
Posts: 1283
Joined: 14 Mar 08
Trust:
Hey Mark,
I would do backups of that drive.
I had alot of music and ebooks on an external drive and it broke down.
Heat is the main enemy of the external drives especially if you use them alot.
So maybe backup your backup...lol
Troy
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Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize
they were the big things.

-- Robert Brault
 

This topic was started on Aug 17, 2009 and has been closed due to inactivity. If you want to discuss this topic further, please create a new forum topic.