Tag Archives: defrag

A Scatter-Brained Hard Drive Will Slow Your Computer

If your computer is slow, it might not be malware. Hackers and cybercriminals are much more sophisticated these days. They want your machine to be running well. It helps to avoid detection and they want your computer to be efficient for their own purposes. For example, the hackers may want efficient computers to spew out spam in their bot network.

One of the reasons that the computer may be slow is that the hard drive becomes more and more fragmented. To simplify the concept, it means that the data needed for each file is spread over the hard drive. It becomes necessary for the hard drive to search for the pieces of the program and the computer appears to function slowly. The problem can be solved with defragmenting the hard drive. In effect, this boosts the performance of the hard drive and allows it to work more efficiently. It contributes to the overall health of the hard drive.

Most operating systems supplies a utility to defrag a hard drive. For example, Microsoft includes a defragmentation process. It will comes as no surprise that not all defragmentation processes are the same. We recommend PerfectDisk 11:

“PerfectDisk 11’s patented Advanced SMARTPlacement is an intelligent file placement strategy that organizes files according to usage patterns and eliminates most fragmentation before it happens. It also results in faster defrag passes, quicker server boots, slower refragmentation, reduced resource consumption and improved overall performance. File, application and directory data can be placed on the drive according to your specific requirements for even faster system performance and file access.”

It works with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. And, from April 8 to April 16, 2010, our readers have a twenty percent discount on this excellent program. When purchasing, please use coupon code: PDLOCKER.

There are a number of reasons why we are recommending PerfectDisk 11. However, if you are wondering why we are recommending something that is offered already with the operating system, the answer is that it is simply better. For example, copy/paste is one function that Microsoft has offered since from the beginning. Nevertheless, it can be greatly improved. Undoubtedly, you have wanted to copy something and keep that along with the next bit of text that is copied. This just illustrates how basic efficiency can be improved.

PerfectDisk 11 is an award-winning program. It is what should have been included with your operating system but wasn’t. As our readers know, we remind you to backup your data for security reasons. Here is a program to help take care of that hard drive better and boost the performance of your computer. The difference between PerfectDisk 11 and what comes with your operating system is significant. You will want it on all your machines.

Living Life to the Fullest

A few moments ago, I read a tweet by my friend Chris Brogan. It said simply: Know what kills you in life? Not living.. Holy wow…

Chris is right. Sure you’ll continue to breathe if you don’t go out and embrace every moment of life. But is that really living? I don’t think it is, no. Standing in place and letting time slip by isn’t living. Staying stagnant in your career, relationships and personal growth aren’t living. Convincing yourself that your life, mind and soul are okay as they already are isn’t living.

Living is about embracing life. It’s about always pushing yourself to do more… to be more. It’s about challenging your mind, opening it to new experiences and learning opportunities. Living is about changing directions sometimes so that you never become stuck in a rut. Living life means that you are constantly growing and changing in every aspect you possibly can.

Those few words from Chris are very powerful, and provide much food for thought. What do you think? How do you define living life? It will be very interesting to see what everyone has to say on this subject, and to learn how varied our opinions can be at times.

This wasn’t the only thought-provoking thing I’ve read so far today! As always, our community members are busy producing some excellent content. Are you one of them? If not, you can join us in our community today!

Today in our downloads center, you’ll find a handful of excellent deals on programs for your Mac OS X system! Be sure to check back daily to see what’s new.

Keep Your Computer in Tip-Top Shape

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The folks at PC PitStop have been a tremendous help to our community during the time we’ve been doing live streaming. We contribute videos to their newsletters as often as possible, and they contribute to all of you via excellent and exclusive deals on their software!

Optimize 3.0 is a program that I would recommend even if these folks weren’t a part of our team. It’s honestly that good. Optimize 3.0 is a powerful tool that does a lot to boost the speed, stability and security of your computer.

You can schedule Optimize remotely to run on any computer in the World that you have access to. Use it to kill unneeded processes that eat up memory and CPU cycles, which in turn speeds up your boot times! Optimize automatically gets rid of junk files for you, to reduce excessive hard drive clutter.

PC Pitstop has now introduced a new (and still free!) product that is going to blow away previous offerings they’ve had. PC Matic is a single piece of software that combines FIVE of their other programs into one nice scanning bundle!

PC Matic includes Optimize 3.0, Disk MD, Driver Alert, Exterminate and OverDrive!! By running a simple scan using PC Matic, you’ll receive easy-to-understand reports about your computer, including:

  • High and Low Threat Security
  • Fragmentation Analysis
  • Drivers
  • Junk Files
  • System Specs
  • Internet Tweaks
  • World Rank
  • Registry Tests

One other awesome feature to point out is that all of the scan and clean results are stored on the PC PitStop servers. They can be viewed from any computer, not just the computer on which the functions were performed. The results can also be sent to you via email, in order to easily manage all of your computers from one place.

The bottom line is that we couldn’t continue doing what we do without the help of our partners, such as PC PitStop. We appreciate each and every one of you, and the support you give to our community as a whole.

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Are Registry Cleaners Safe to Use?

People ask me all of the time if registry cleaning software is safe to use, and which one I would recommend. The truth of the matter is I don’t recommend using any of them! I did a video about this last year, with the help of some very knowledgeable people.

As most of you know, my assistant Kat is considered an expert in the field of malware removal and Windows security in general. In fact, she has been awarded the prestigious Microsoft MVP award four years in a row now. She’s been removing malware on huge sites like GeeksToGo for more than six years, and is a site administrator there. She also teaches malware removal in its free training program.

Over the years, Kat has helped literally thousands of people online to clean and fix up their computers. It’s something she has a lot of passion for, and is very good at. She answers questions like this every day, and recently posted a blog on Geeks about this very question. The information she posted is gleaned from her own experience with users, as well as many of the other experts she works with. I asked her permission to copy it here, so that more of you might be able to read her advice, and even add to the discussion.

Programs like CCleaner can be very dangerous to your computer. No registry “cleaner” is completely safe. There is also no hard evidence that “cleaning” out the registry has any effect on the overall speed of a machine. It will speed up searches within the registry itself, but has no effect on overall performance.

There are a few misunderstandings about the registry. People seem to think that “cleaning” the registry will make it smaller and easier to manage. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. What you are doing is creating mini gaps in the registry’s file. These gaps will be reused by new data that inserts itself into your registry. The end result is that the registry becomes fragmented. Searching the data in a fragmented file is way slower than it is within an optimized file. In short, the only way to speed up the handling of the registry is by completely rewriting the file(s)… and even that is marginal at best.

Registry cleaning will not improve your system speed. Even though there are a lot of orphaned keys and/or values present, you won’t notice a difference in your system speed. The only difference you’ll notice is when actually searching your registry. Do you even ever do that? I know I don’t.

To be quite frank, if you “clean” your registry often enough, it will become fragmented. That will result in slower system performance… quite the opposite of what you were trying to accomplish in the first place. I think I’d rather have orphaned keys in my registry instead of deleting something by a so-called “cleaner” that should have never been touched.

That’s the problem with programs like these. They will miss entries that are “bad,” and mark good entries for removal. I’ve seen it happen hundreds of times over the years. A novice or “normal” computer user hoses their system completely, simply by deleting everything a program such as CCleaner told them to.

If you must do something with your registry, do it manually. If you don’t know how, leave it alone! You honestly never need to do anything in there. If you have a case of malware that attacks your registry, I urge you to seek help from someone trained to know how to properly remove it. Also, even if you consider yourself to be an expert on the registry, I beg you to take a few extra minutes to make a backup before you begin. I promise you’ll thank me later.

Last, I know there will be people who argue with me. There will be those who swear up and down that CCleaner is a wonderful program. They’ve never had a problem with it! Maybe you’re a tech who uses it in your line of work. Good for you! I’m glad you’ve never had a problem — yet. Even when you know exactly what you’re doing, programs like this still occasionally can and will completely hose a system. I sincerely hope it never happens to you.

credit to Sari and Bobbi_Flekman for some of the wording of this writing.

Kat makes excellent points in the above writing. I hope everyone will take the time to ponder what she’s written, and even add your own thoughts to the mix. If you’re using something like CCleaner to clean out your temporary files, stop it now. There are some excellent free alternatives that are much safer for your machine, such as ATF Cleaner or even TFC. Both are very safe, and very effective.

How to Speed Up Your PC

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PCPitstop is one of those resources you need, but don’t realize it until you need it! These guys have been around for nearly a decade now, and their reputation is rock-solid. They have a feature called “Ask an Expert” – and they’ve asked me to answer one of the questions. Candace is wondering how she can speed up her computer. She defrags regularly, and isn’t sure what more she can do.

There are several things you can do, Candace. Memory could speed things up, although there’s a law of diminishing returns. Since you didn’t mention a specific operating system, I know you’re running Windows due to the mention of running a defrag. If you’re using Vista – stop it. Spring forward to the Windows 7 beta, or roll back to XP. Even if you like Vista, you still have to realize how much of a resource hog it can be. The operating system is as important as the software you’re running on it.

Defragging is only going to help you so much. If your hard drive is full – consider cleaning it up. Store some of your videos, pictures and documents on a separate storage drive. If your hard drive is full, it definitely will not run at optimal importance.

Another option is to upgrade your hard drive itself. Consider switching from the HDD hard drive you likely have to a Solid State Drive. The problem could be due to the bottleneck speed of your current hard drive.

It’s difficult to guess at what will work best here, since I don’t know the full specs of the system. However, I’m willing to wager that the problem is bottleneck with the hard drive. I couldn’t believe how much faster my own personal machine ran after upgrading myself to the Samsung SSD.

How else can Candace make her computer faster? Let’s make this a community effort – if you have an answer to this, please feel free to leave your thoughts in a follow-up comment to this video.

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Tips for a Good PC Gaming Experience

Getting your computer ready for gaming can be complicated… at least, if you want a good gaming experience. Here are some excellent tips sent in by a community member. These are things you should definitely do before you install your next game.

  • System Requirements and Hardware Always Read the minimal system requirements. If your computer barely meets the minimum requirements, don’t expect your gaming experience to be mind-blowing. You will have to lower the graphics options of the game. Hardware is another issue most people don’t seem to think about. Make sure you have good performance hardware and graphics cards before gaming. Make sure your CPU, PSU and Mobo are up to the task, as well.
  • Installing Procedures Installing the game can be a hassle, especially when some of the manufacturers bloat their ame with extras you really don’t need. Be sure to read carefully through the installation process, so you don’t install something that could harm your computer and its performance. Always install in the Default Directory, and never change that. Type in your serial codes carefully. DirectX upgrades are a must if the game install suggests it.
  • Updating For newer games, updating all of your drivers is definitely recommended. When patching the game itself, make sure your firewall allows the game to get through. Use Manual Patching at your own risk. It’s best to let the game do the work, since that’s how it was intended. Update drivers for your video card, chipset, anything that you can. The more updated you are, the better chance you have of having a smooth gaming experience.
  • Game Settings and FPS This is another thing that people tend to neglect. Your goal in any game is to run between 30-60 FPS. Resolution and graphics settings will affect your FPS, so adjust them accordingly.
  • Maintainence After you have done all of the above things, perform a system Defrag on your computer. This will go a long way to make your gaming experience better.

Tips for Keeping your Computer Running Perfectly

Even though it has all been said many times and in many places, it will never be enough until every computer user knows exactly how to properly care for their computer… inside and out. One of my regular community members who goes by the handle of Night sent in the following list. These are ten excellent ways to take good care of your computer.

I am avid about my computer’s performance and so I take a great deal of care in keeping it running smoothly. It is often little more than running a scan once every week or taking 5 minutes out of your schedule to wipe your computer case’s exterior of dust. I have several friends who several times within a year find themselves with a system full of spyware/adware, occasionally in a completely un-usable state. I rack my brain trying to figure out how the heck this is possible if I’ve never had any major incidents; we’ve all had one or two in our life since being online, but repeatedly is counter-productive and unnecessary.

  • Stick to what you know and trust. Often times we have friends who spend their days doing God knows what, visiting websites that are unknown or full of ads. There’s a reason they have so many ads, pop-ups, etc. Sites that are heavily covered in advertising are dependent on it for maintaining their service online, however, some merely use this to make money. I am not going to put down other search engines, but I am going to say, stick to Google. I have always used Google as my primary search engine since it came online years ago and have yet to be directed at a site that caused me any types of issues. It was when visiting sites that were out of the ordinary that i found myself at risk.
  • Don’t download everything you see. Just because it’s freeware does not mean you must have it. Several of these programs come with a catch. Real world rules apply online, trust no one or only those you know, but always be wary. Some things you really need, you shouldn’t cut corners on. Sure, that program does the same thing as this, and yes it’s free, but it comes full of spyware and internet trackers. I’d rather pay $10 and have my peace of mind.
  • Be paranoid. More often than not, this alone will keep your system safe and clean. Can you afford down time? Maybe you can. But it’s time wasted over poor judgment.
  • How well do you know this person? I must confess, one time several years ago I met this person online. I had a program I wanted to try out. It was a netbus trojan. Sure enough, I gained their confidence, had them try it out, disguised as a fun game. I had them visit a site through which I was able to capture their IP address. It was all for fun, all I did was open their tray a few times, scare them a little. And after, well, I felt bad, and worried. It’s easy to trust someone you’ve never met based on their word, however, it’s a bad call on your part. If someone sends you something always, always, ALWAYS scan it before you run it. And if it’s an *.exe file, don’t run it. Ask them for a link to the site where they got it from and try it there. If they can’t provide one, you’re better off missing out on the “fun”.
  • Scan your system. There are a multitude of free applications from known and trusted developers available online. AVG, Avast!, DrWeb CureIt!, SuperAntiSpyware, Comodo, etc.. the list goes on. There is no reason for you not to have at the very least an Anti-Virus. Nevermind the fact that some of the more well known products are resource hogs that just bog down your system, people have them installed. If you bought a new pc recently, chances are it came with your system. For those of you who don’t have one already, get one. AVG and Avast are free Anti-Virus programs. I use AVG myself and i am firm on what i run on my hardware. If it slows my system down at all, I’d rather not run it. If you’re paranoid about being online from hackers, you can try Comodo firewall. It’s free for personal use and it’s among the best, if not the best. A simple scan once a day will keep you safe.
  • Defrag your drive. It can be scheduled to run once a week at any time, I’d suggest while you’re sleeping or when you’re away from home as it can take several minutes to an hour or two if you have a large drive. This is important in maintaining an optimal running system. Heck, do it right now, go get some air, go grab a bite away from the screen for a few, talk to your siblings, or your parents, give that friend a call like you’ve been meaning to.
  • Organize your files. If you were more strict about where you put this and that, you wouldn’t waste time having to search through entire folders to find a single file. Keep a folder for your downloads, a folder for your documents, a folder for your programs, etc. It’s a bit of work at first to set up, but once it’s in place, you’ll be so much more efficient you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done it sooner. This also makes it easier when using applications that scan for a certain type of file ie: Winamp, WiMP, etc. These programs will offer to scan your entire computer looking for specific files, now, if you kept them all in a specific folder, you just point it there, it does its job and you’re able to enjoy it rather than having it scan your entire system pointlessly.
  • Finally, just learn when to say no. If it looks questionable, just say no and go elsewhere. You know when you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be. A folder on your system or a site online. Give a 5 year old a box of crayons and put him in a room with no paper and blank white walls, what’s gonna happen? Don’t be that 5 year old. You receive an email from someone you don’t know, it has an attachment..hmm, what should I do? you know what to do. Curiosity is a dangerous thing here too.
  • In closing, what else can I say but, be aware of your surroundings. You know some people here, you know there are bad among the good, don’t forget that and you should be okay. I’ll add one more pun to this, it’s like the ad for safe driving, “Just because you’re a good computer user, doesn’t mean your friends are”. How do you think most of the major viruses/worms have spread so fast? Let your friends know what you know so they can be safe as well. If they put you at risk, maybe you should be more careful about how you interact with them. Just a thought.

    Oh, and if you’re gonna keep your computer on the floor, have a can of compressed air handy, blast them every now and then and airflow should not be a problem. Think of it as keeping your computer’s pores clean, you don’t want it getting a pimple do you?

    Top 10 Tips to Keep Your Windows Vista Computer Running Smoothly

    Are you using Vista on your computer? If so… have you had any issues with the performance, and how your computer actually runs? These tips were sent in by a community member by the name of Elis.

    When I used to be on Windows XP, I always had the problem of keeping my computer running smoothly. Now that I,’m on Windows Vista the job has become much easier. Although Vista uses more resources, somehow I think it has been brilliantly built if running under optimum specs. So here is my top 10 tips on how to keep windows vista running smoothly.

    His suggestions are general guidelines…

    • Leave your computer on for as long as you can. I leave my computer on for months on end. Every time I restart my computer, the cache to certain folders, files etc is deleted. This means that files will open slower than normal. No harm comes from leaving your computer running, and it has been proven that there is no long term damage… apart from receiving a higher than normal electricity bill
    • My note: I don’t know how that was proven, but I keep my primary computer on all the time as well.

    • Firewall. The Windows Firewall now has the option to configure incoming and outgoing traffic, which I think is great. It comes in very handy when you need it most.
    • My note: I don’t fully agree with the above tip, about using Windows Firewall. Many free firewalls are much better at protecting you than the one from Windows… such as Comodo.

    • Antivirus. Get yourself a decent anti virus. Personally, I prefer ESETs NOD32 Anti virus which does a magnificent job. It is also light on resources unlike its competitors Norton and McAfee. Every month or so I do a virus scan, but nothing is usually found.
    • Defragment. Defragmentation of your hard disk is very useful, as files are spread all over the place. There is nothing wrong with the built-in Windows Defragmenter, but there is a better one which is faster and has better options. O&O Defrag 10 repacks fragmented files together and optimizes your hard drives. You should check it out. You can also save 5% off Purchase using coupon code ALEX-KCBH
    • Disk Cleanup. The Disk Cleanup can come in very handy usually. It’s mostly needed when things get overcrowded. I recommend you DO NOT delete the temporary internet files and thumbnails. There is also an excellent free program called ATF Cleaner. It safely cleans things like temp files, cache, java cache, and more… at the click of a button. YOU decide what you do and don’t want ATF Cleaner to clean for you.
    • Keep files organized. I keep all my pictures, videos, documents… everything is organized. I truly think it is very helpful to know where all your files and folders are. This way, they are also not thrown all over the place so you forget what you’re looking for.
    • Have only one instance of each type of software running at one time., such as Browsers or Antivirus. I know most people stick to Firefox, but personally I like IE7. No, I haven’t mistyped. Thats correct: Internet Explorer 7 is my choice. Web sites pop up in under a second. I have tried Firefox. Although it is brilliant with all the nice features and plug ins, I find them irrelevant. IE7 does a marvelous job for me.
    • Delete software that you do not need from “Remove Programs.” I used to have a ton of software on my computer. These were usually things I did not need or didn’t use. I know some software may be considered ‘cool’ to have so you can brag to your friends about them. But when they have no use… they are just wasting computer resources.
    • Startup programs. MSCONFIG does a magnificent job on helping you choose what programs should start and what shouldn’t, although it is up to you. If you haven’t heard of msconfig before then here’s how to open it! Click “Start”, then “search”. Type msconfig, and click “enter”. After it has appeared, go to the “startup” tab, and choose what irrelevant programs you want to cancel from starting. Keep in mind that you cannot disable things like display drivers, and any other necessary system files/programs.
    • Running Programs. Always check what programs/processes you have running on your computer through the task manager. It usually helps because some programs will stop responding in the background if you have one that is taking up a huge amount of resources. You might experience some lag.

    How to Keep from Getting Bored if the Internet Goes Down

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    *GASP* What? The Internet could go down? What will we do? How will we survive? Unfortunately, it happens to all of us at some point. Here are some interesting ideas to keep yourself busy during the “Intarweb’s” downtimes.

    • Clean out and categorize your bookmarks. I don’t know about you, but I tend to just click ‘bookmark this page’ and call it good. Yesterday, when I hit the little ‘down arrow’ on Firefox to let the bookmark list scroll down I counted. I didn’t count sites, I counted seconds. 11 seconds worth of scrolling bookmarks is way too many. If you haven’t visited a site in a month it’s not important. Create categories and organize the list of bookmarks after you’ve eliminated all those links you don’t need. Do not create a miscellaneous category. Catch-all categories do exactly that and soon become difficult to use.
    • Uninstall programs you don’t use. Why delete them when you have plenty of space on the drive? Because it makes things like Scandisk and Defrag run faster. It might not make your PC run any smoother, but you’ll feel good knowing you aren’t wasting space.
    • Unplug your PC, take the cover off and clean out the dust. Invest in some canned air. Heat is a PC’s enemy and even in a clean environment, cooling fans suck dust through every opening and it builds up fast. If you have pets, do it once a month. I cleaned out enough dust to build a rabbit hutch to keep all the dust bunnies in.
    • Write your next blog post. If you use a blog client like BlogDesk just write and save. If not, write to a text file and format it after your connection is live. Not being connected may force you to write about something different, like say, five things to do when you have no Internet connection.
    • Run any maintenance programs you don’t have auto-scheduled. Reclaim your drive space and allow your PC to run smoother.
    • And now for number six, the bonus item. This is something I put off for a long time because it’s time consuming and no one really likes to think about what happens to the ones we love should something happen to us. You may need connectivity to accomplish this one, which is why the title isn’t six things to do with a PC when you have no Internet connection, but this one is important.

    • Write down your logins and passwords for all your sites, blogs, email accounts, Adsense, affiliate programs, where you purchased your domain names, etc. All that information is the key to your business. If something should happen to you your spouse or significant other will need that information. When you’re done, put the information in a safety deposit box or keep it in a fire resistant safe at the house and let the people that may need that information know where it is kept.

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    Defrag Your Hard Drives with Diskeeper for Windows

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    Protocol joined me to explain why he chooses to use Diskeeper instead of the built in Windows defragging tool.

    Diskeeper is an excellent tool. There is a 30-day free trial available for you to check it out.

    With Diskeeper, it’s faster, has more options, allows you to schedule when it should run, and provides you with reports. Diskeeper 2008 Home edition puts your PC in the driver’s seat, allowing you to enjoy unprecedented performance and reliability while you work, browse and play. Fragmented hard drives drain critical system resources and compromise almost every aspect of daily computer use, leading to longer load times, persistent lags and costly crashes. Diskeeper 2008 Home shifts your system into high gear, ensuring that all your programs are running at peak performance.

    Your computer will run faster with Diskeeper 2008 installed – period. You’ll enjoy using every aspect of your system, from downloading to accessing files to surfing the web with greater ease and efficiency. Leave hang-times, freeze-ups and other fragmentation-based crashes in the dust.

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