Is your computer slowing down?

November 2nd, 2009

Like many, I get impatient when my computer doesn’t respond quickly. However, there are things you can do to improve your computer’s functionality. Every computer should have a virus protection program installed. If your computer is new, you may still be running the virus protection program that came with your computer. However, if your trial has expired, or you aren’t using anything, then IU students can go to http://iuware.iu.edu to down load free software. Under the Security link on the left, choose, Antivirus: Symantec Antivirus Programs.  Choose the program from there that best suits your needs.

Another thing that interferes with your computer’s optimization is using web sites that heavily rely on Java. You can open your Control Panel, then open the Java setting. Click on the “Settings” button, under Temporary Internet Files. Click on the “Delete Files…” button. Make sure both “Applications and Applets” and “Trace and Log Files” are selected. Hit “OK”.

Many people are unaware that when they visit a web page, everything on that page gets downloaded to their computer’s cache. This includes graphics and text. If you visit a lot of web pages, you could understand how your cache can fill up quickly. To clean this out, go to Internet Options, under Tools in Internet Explorer. Click on the “Delete” button under Browsing History, under the General Tab. Select “Delete Files…” under Temporary Internet Files. In Mozilla Firefox, choose Options, under Tools. Under the Privacy Tab, click on the “Clear Now…” button. Make sure “Cache” is selected, and then hit the “Clear Private Data Now” button.

Under both browsers, you do have the option to delete cookies. Cookies can be good as they can be used to remember settings on web sites you use a lot. For example, I want my cable company’s lineup to come up when I go to the TV Guide web site. So, I have a cookie set. If I clean out all of my cookies, then I need to reset preferences on all of my web sites. However, some cookies are dangerous. They monitor web sites that you have visited. There are also web sites that download adware to your computer. These sites monitor where you visit on the web and show you ads of products they think you will buy. Adware can really slow down your computer and even worse, generate a constant stream of pop-ups. A great program to run that will get rid of Adware is Ad-Aware by Lavasoft.  You can download it for free at http://www.lavasoft.com/.  Another program that I like is Spybot Search and Destroy which can be downloaded free from http://www.safer-networking.org/index2.html.  Both of these will detect unwanted adware and unwanted cookies and leave legitimate cookies alone.

Here’s to safe computer surfing!