At Motech Solutions we believe in giving free tips and advice, a little user education can help keep your systems safer, faster and save you some money in the long run. (This article is aimed at PC users and the majority of tips won’t work for MAC, sorry!)
Before we proceed you should check with your boss or IT people before installing any third party software as not all companies allow it, you may even have some of this software installed and just knowing what it does and how to use it could be useful if your IT support is tied up elsewhere, like MacDonald’s for instance.
Now, with that out of the way let’s get down to our tips for fixing your slow unresponsive machine yourself.
So, you’ve gone into work one rainy Monday morning, complained about the weather to Tim in accounting made yourself your second strong cup of coffee of the day and sat down to get on with work and you realize your PC is taking an age to boot and when it does everything is slow there’s no way on earth you can get on with your work load.
So what do you do? You pick up your phone and give the IT guy a ring. Stop right there, there are actually a couple of things you could try first if you’re feeling up to it to save yourself a bit of money unless you have a contract with your IT people then by all means pick up the phone, give them a call and put your feet up while they work their IT wizardry. But if your IT support is pay as you go, you have no IT support or you are just a home user then read on this article is for you.
1 Turn it off and on again
Yes, yes I know this is a simple one but you would be surprised at the amount of people who don’t actually try even this before calling IT support and I’d say on average in my experience this often fixes 70% of all problems especially when dealing with third party software issues.
2 Malware Removal
Malware is the most common cause of your PC acting strange and/or running slow if a standard reboot fails to fix the issue. To get rid of Malware head over to https://ninite.com/, this website is great for installing multiple applications at a time but also just a quick way to get to any individual programs you need.
You might be thinking, “Hey wait I have antivirus already I don’t need anti malware I thought they did the same thing?” Well you’re right in a way, a good anti-virus shouldn’t let any through but not all anti-viruses are good and even then some malware slips through the net. Also although anti-virus does have malware removal it is more to prevent malware than to remove it whereas third party malware removal provides a handy way to remove any malware that managed to sneak past your anti-virus.
It is also worth a mention that it needs to be a malware remover and not another anti-virus as two anti-viruses will conflict with each other. If you have no anti-virus I recommend ESET if you want to pay or AVG if you want a free one. Stay away from MacAfee and Norton, although they are good security wise they are heavy and clunky and will slow your machine down like a push bike on sand.
Now that the Ninite web page has loaded scroll down to the page where it says pick the apps you want then select Malware Bytes under security.
Now scroll down and click get your Ninite, this will begin a download once complete run the Ninite installer which will install the latest version of Malwarebytes. Make sure you use the free version as it is good enough to get the job done, don’t select the free trial of the full version or you will be made to remove or upgrade in a month.
Now after it has installed, just find Malwarebytes on your PC and run the program. Sit tight this could take a while depending on how much malware is on your machine, might be a good time to grab yourself another coffee and check out facebook on your phone.
After the scan is complete it will show you if you have any nasties. If you do, select remove them and they’re outta’ there! Now reboot your PC and it should be running nice and smooth. If Malwarebytes found nothing we move onto the next step.
3 Temporary files / Reg Cleaner / Start up
I’ve grouped these three together not because they are similar but because the third party software I use to maintain them is the same so it will be nice and easy to do them together. How’s that for value three free tips for the price of one free tip ..
I recommend this step even if your Malware removal has been successful. For this step lets imagine our machine is a garden and our ability to navigate it is our lawn mower. The reason I still recommend this section even with successful Malware removal is because Malware is a little like a mole, even when the mole is gone there are still lots of annoying molehills in your garden just ready to ruin your day … and your lawn mower.
So to get your PC running efficiently again you need to smooth out those molehills and put down some fresh grass. That is effectively what it is like when you run a reg cleaner and to put it in short cleaning down temp files is like clearing any litter away at the same time.
The software I use for this is CC cleaner by Piriform and is free you can download it here: https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download, there are others out there but I personally find this one the best.
Once it’s installed run the program and you should get this option on the side bar:
On the right of the cleaner you can select which programs, browsers, apps and system folders you want to remove temp files from. When you’re happy with those options (usually best to do all of them) just run the cleaner and it will remove any unwanted files taking up unnecessary space and slowing down your machine.
Just below the cleaner is the registry cleaner, it will find any corrupt registry files and fix them automatically, it will also ask you to back up your current registry just in case of any errors and it is safe practice to do so although in all my years of using it I’ve never had anything go wrong or needed the backup file.
The final step is a little like lawn mower maintenance, it won’t necessarily make it run faster but it will make it start up faster spending less time yanking that pull start. Under tools you can select what opens when you turn the machine on, for example do you really need, Skype, outlook, sage, Spotify, iTunes and other applications all starting when you boot your machine? No, you don’t and it will slow down your boot up time if you do, so make sure to keep it to the bare minimum and just open programs as you need them.
As always reboot after each step to kick changes into effect.
4 Removing unwanted extension
So you’ve got rid of the Malware, cleared out the temp files, fixed any corrupt registry files, turned off any unnecessary start up apps and gave it a reboot for good luck. The machine loads up a lot quicker this time, you can even open email you’ve done it! 10 points to Gryffindor!
But now you open your web browser and your home page is some annoying replica of google, it’s slow, it crashes and is just down right acting weird. This is because some Malware is tricky and some Malware is more stubborn than others, but don’t worry the rest of your machine is now clean we just need to sort your browser out.
This step is actually quite simple. Some Malware actually attaches itself to your browser, and no matter how many times you clear your history and temp files, uninstall and reinstall your browser it will still be there.
This is because it has installed itself as an extension on your browser, so all you need to do is go into where your extensions are installed and remove any unwanted ones that shouldn’t be there then set your usual home page and you’re good to go.
I haven’t gone into detail here as there are multiple browsers and the way this is done for each differs slightly and I’m sure google will yield multiple posts on the process for your particular browser, though I recommend using Google chrome above all the others and if you are using IE please uninstall it and install Chrome before the computing gods strike you down.
5 Don’t run so many programs and files at once
This seems like a no brainer, but I once had a customer call me complaining his machine was slow so when I logged into his machine via remote support he must have had over 100 image files open, multiple web pages open, the radio running, itunes open, his emails open, pdfs, word docs and more. It was quicker for me to reboot the machine rather than close them all down one by one. After that the machine was fine, it was literally from having too many apps open.
You see, your machine uses RAM (memory) to run apps and programs and basically everything else. The more RAM you have the more apps you can use at a time, so if your machine has low RAM you should really keep tabs on what you have open.
But even if you have a lot of RAM the more programs and apps you have running, the less you have to play with and it will inevitably begin to slow down. So just close down the ones you aren’t using.
So there you have it, 5 easy tips to save you from calling the guys over at IT. I realize that a lot of these tips are based around Malware, but the fact is that that is most often the cause of slow machines. If these tips didn’t help then try googling specific problems, there is an ocean of knowledge out there just waiting for you.
But if you’re still having trouble and these tips seem a bit much to you feel free to contact us as Motech Solutions and we’ll be happy to help.