Saturday, October 13, 2007

Why Is My Computer Running So Slow! Part 2

In Part 1 of this article we discussed what may be causing your computer to run slowly. In this article we will discuss how you may speed it up. Part 3 will offer more tips and then we will wrap up these articles.

Before I jump in and discuss how to disable startup programs, I have to rant for a moment about seemingly helpful, but overall resource damaging programs.

Since the dawn of internet security scares, and real problems, every anti-virus company seems to want to shove a system security packages down your throat. In fact most of the time you cannot even buy a computer with out Norton Internet Security Suite, Mcafee's Internet Security Suite, Trend Micros, or many others. Most of these programs are a serious resource hog, and then you add on top of them the double, I use this term loosely "protection" added by the Microsoft Firewall and security programs and your computer is going slow out of the gate.

Do not misunderstand me, every user should have a firewall, anti-virus, and spyware cleaner. I just will never endorse Big Business companies using inflated programs that are somewhat costly, to do a job; when you can use a free or affordable program using minimal resources, that does the job better.

For a wonderful free or affordable anti-virus package I recommend using AVG Antivirus. by Grisoft. It uses minimal resources, has timely updates to its virus dictionary, and does an excellent job of cleaning your system. If you own a business for a very affordable price you can buy the business edition.

Another plague of todays world is spy-ware. An in a high tech day and age you need a high-tech solution. Another product by Safer Networking is Spybot Search and Destroy. This product is an excellent free spy-ware cleaner and it is extremely slow on system resources.

In the firewall game field you have two options. A software firewall and a hardware firewall. Hands down I will always recommend a hardware firewall in the form of a router. There are many reasons for this. Software firewalls are buggy and can be manipulated. Hardware firewalls are reliable and do a better job of restricting ports in my opinion. Routers also offer you the double benefit of potentially giving wireless access and offering many other built in services. A router normally allows you to take your single internet connection and hooking up 4 wired computers(standard) and many more wireless computers. Many manufacturers offer these D-link, Linksys, Airlink, Netgear and many others.

Using less resource intensive programs will improve your speed. In Part 3 we will discuss how to disable startup programs, how to uninstall unused programs, and finally discuss how you go about disabling startup services. We will also touch just a little on what services are safe to disable and which ones are not.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why Is My Computer Running So Slow!

I am sure that you have asked yourself this question many times. Many inept technicians may immediately point to memory, or processor speed. Both of these are definitely reasons your computer MAY be running slowly. However there are much more relevant reasons your computer may be running slow. In fact after reading this article and applying some of the techniques I describe, you may bring new life to your computer even an older, slower machine. Below is Part 1 of a three part Blog on what you can do to speed up your computer.

In our present day and age the software business is huge. There is a meaningless competition that many software companies like to use to ensure that their software is always on your mind. It seems like in this day, every software package you have loaded on your computer wants to load when your computer starts. This can cause even a newer computer to run slow.

This creates a complex problem for a consumer. The majority of computer users are not techno-geeks like myself. In order to speed up your machines, normally you might hire a technician and pay a large amount of money to gain the speed you should have had when you bought the machine.

The worst part is that there are genuinely only a handful of startup programs that have to be there. Printer programs are usually picky and have to start when your computer starts. Anti-virus programs would have to start when your computer does. In addition you might add any security related program would need to start when your computer starts.(although I do not recommend most of these) Lastly Adobe writer requires a program that starts when your computer starts.

Since most of you use Windows XP and possibly Vista, I will directly be referring to these operating systems. Both XP and Vista also start "Services" along with your computer. Many are Windows related however software designers also have found a way to add there own "Services " when your computer starts. These "Services" are in addition to your startup programs. What I think absolutely stinks is many software designers add both "Services" and Startup Programs. What this causes after many programs and a short time is a cluster.

Realistically your computer only has so much memory to start with. If 1/2 of it is used upon your computer starting how fast will your machine run?? Most of you will never believe me when I tell you this, in a normal computing environment of an everyday user 512 megabytes of memory is sufficient to run Windows XP. Save for maybe gaming activities, and higher computing functions. However most users I service to clean there computers that are running too slow are pushing over 1 gig of memory and there systems are taxed.

For many tips and tricks to improving your overall computer speed, your internet browsing and your general computer use; Please wait tomorrow for Part 2 of the Why Is My Computer Running So Slow! series.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Windows Vista and HP PhotoSmart Printer Fix

There is a bug in the Windows Vista operating system and its handling of the HP Photosmart Printer load. Basically when you add your HP Photosmart printer, the printer will disappear after a short period of time. This will inevitably cause you to reload your printer, and the process will repeat.

There is a simple HP Service that is loaded in your system at the time the printer is loaded. The name of this service is the

HP CUE Discovery Service

Something in this service does not communicate correctly with Windows Vista.

There is a simple way to solve this issue.
  1. Go to your Start window and in the text box at the bottom of the start menu type services.msc
  2. Windows Vista will broadcast a message asking if you want to run this Management Console, you will want to say yes.
  3. Once your services.msc opens up you will want to find the services starting with the letter H. Look for HP CUE DISCOVERY SERVICE
  4. Right click on this service and choose properties.
  5. A window will be opening and you will see a drop down box labeled startup type. Choose disabled.
  6. Then you will see buttons labeled Start - Stop - Pause - Resume. Choose stop.
  7. Finally click ok and reboot your computer(you do not need to reboot, however it is good measure)
  8. The last step is to reload your Photosmart printer drivers.
This should fix your printer disappearing.

Good luck and Happy Printing.

What to watch out when looking for a Computer Support Company

Choosing a technical support company to maintain your company needs can be a difficult task. It is no doubt to me that plenty of companies will be lining up saying they can meet your needs. However this is not always a good thing.

To many support companies are started by technicians who are very technically inclined, when it comes to their business however they fall short. What this can cause for your company is chaotic and unreliable technical service. Sometimes the job will get done correctly and other times your company is left wanting.

Recently a new breed of computer companies have opened for business. These companies are ran by a qualified sales person, they also are competent at running a business. However outside of an adolescent understanding of computers they hire contractors to troubleshoot your technical service needs. In this scenario, your often billed much more than the technicians themselves are making. This may or may not work out, however you can be sure that this still is not meeting your needs in an accurate way.

Here are some tips when finding a computer service company that will work best for your needs!

  • Research there company name, talk to past customers, find out who performs the work, who manages the project, do they have a good name.
  • Don't be afraid to ask them to justify there costs. Any company who is not comfortable telling you why your paying X amount of dollars an hour is probably taking you for a ride.
  • Ask questions about what they are doing and why. Again make them justify how many hours they are charging you an why.
  • Every state has a Secretary of State Office that lists business's. It will report if they are incorporated, and in good standing.
  • Every State has a Better Business Bureau. They also will collect information about companies.
  • The Chamber of Commerce is also another good resource when finding a good computer support company or obtaining information.
Finding a support company may be a marriage of sorts between your company and theirs. Rather then letting them take you for granted, always educate yourself as much as you can.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Wild Blue Internet Services

Living on a 52 acre farm, I needed high-speed internet access in an area that is normally off the grid. On the referral of my Satellite Television provider Direct TV, they recommended Wild Blue Internet Services.

I will preface all of my complaints by saying, when Wild Blue was working it was working very well. It very rarely let me down and the speed was refreshing. However, that was when it was working.

My first complaint with Wild Blue was the Fair Use Policy. This Fair Use Policy is in place to meter your downloads/uploads. I can actually see this as being needed in a limited bandwith system such as Satellite Broadband. However I was paying 75.99 a month to keep from having these problems. I was supposed to be on a higher tier. However two months in a row I had my service metered to basic dial up type speeds. Finally after training myself that I had to conserve certain activities I was used to, I had two full months of high speed uninterrupted service.

This is when my second complaint started and still has not ended. In July my Satellite modem died. After calling the third rate help desk, I was given an appt for an installer to come and check my equipment. Approximately 1 week later I had an installer tell me the equipment(modem) was on back order and would be here by Monday.

I will not bore you with every detail of what has happened over the last two and a half months. Suffice it to say that I still do not have my Wild Blue service back and have given up. The reason I do not have service is inpet ordering on someones part and defective equipment. As far as I have been told the Modems are still on back order now almost three months later.

Wild Blue employs a very confusing structure in dealing with customers. They have techs on staff that only know how to do a limited amount of troubleshooting. They use a company named DSI to act as a conduit to the Satellite installers. On top of all of this no-one can really tell you what is going on, they all just want to transfer you to someone else.

As a technical professional, I am perplexed and almost ashamed that their are companies at large that offer this poor service to customers. Once I have received proper refund, I will be ordering Hueghes Satellite Broadband internet.