November 21, 2005

How to clean up your computer

Has your computer slowed down noticeably, or present you with strange popup windows containing ads? If yes, then you've got problems — possibly spyware, adware, and/or other more sinister programs.

LifeHacker.com has a great writeup of how to scrape this junk off your computer. Amusingly titled How to fix Mom and Dad’s computer, you'll find it fairly readable and mostly easy enough to follow.

Just remember to back up your data first! You might also like to download the free Belarc Advisor program. Belarc Advisor runs a scan through your system, and creates a page detailing what's on your computer, including your programs, registration numbers, etc. It's an HTML page (a web page) which you can view with your browser — Internet Explorer (the big "e" on your desktop), Firefox, Netscape, Opera, etc. Very handy — but we'd suggest printing it out and setting it aside for your records and/or future use. You never know, and it pays to be prepared.

For those of you who aren't quite up to the task, it might be the jargon. It always helps to use search engines to clarify terms and phrases. In Google, you can use definition:word to get a definition. Just keep doing it until you understand.

Remember, those of us who are computer geeks didn't spring from the womb knowledgeable in all things computer (which may not have existed then anyway). We worked at learning. And keep working at it. :-)

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