Ad-Aware, Firefox and Other Tips to Keep Computer Running Smoothly

Cleaning computer ad ware: Some easy tips to show you how to be a computer friendly user. Basically, that means taking responsibility for what crap gets installed on your beloved machine.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Most of this is geared to those who frequent the Internet, and all its glory. Some of this may seem harsh, but please don’t take it that way.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ I understand how frustrating a computer can be when it doesn’t seem to do anything right and I’m trying to save you a trip to anger management, so here it goes.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

Adware Removal Tools

1) If you are being offered something in a pop-up, just say no.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ They paid for someone to create a program that would invade your privacy, monitor what pages you visit, and then show you pop ups based on what you have been looking at. While this may be creative advertising, the problem is, they, are not the only ones, and before long you’ll have 100 or more of these buggers, running on your computerÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ and there is the problem: not only are the pop ups annoying,Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ but you’ve got 100 little programs running in the back-round at the same time. That is why it getsÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½so slow, your machine has to constantly process this information, on top of the work you are intentionally giving it.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ The quick and simple answer: “Just Say NO”.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ don’t click on that pop up at all. Instead, find it’s anchor on the task bar, and right click it,Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ hit close. this should work for 90% of them, some of these guys even manage to hide the anchor. there’s a fix, just bear with me.

2) Go to www.lavasoftusa.com and get the free version of ad-aware, as of me writing this the latest version is 1.06 SE and it works. the best part, it’s free for individuals, not so free for corporate entities, or if you want to benefit from the automated features where it will update and run itself then you gotta pay, but the basic versionÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½is free, forever.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Be careful; a simple misspelling of the page or program name in your search engine, or Internet browser will lead you to a bogus and very malicious version of this program. So just click the link I provide you with at the end of this.

3) Keep your anti-virus up to date. Some of the best ones actually are free. There’s one called AVG from www.grisoft.com,Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ sameÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½rules of freedom as applied to ad-aware.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Another Anti-virus, the one I currently use, is one called Avast! anti-virus from www.avast.com, also free.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Again, you can pay for versions with more features like automation andÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ networkÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½scanning for example, but for many the free versionÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½will do just fine.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ If you have windows service pack 2 (shame on you if you don’t), then the new security center built into windows will help you keep track of your anti-virus, and let you know that they need updating.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½The great thing about these two programs though is that they already keep themselves up to date; so it’s works famously.

4) Keep windows up to date. Microsoft’s own way of trying to keep ahead of theÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½game, by patching up security holes whenever they are poked.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ That new security center feature will keep windows up to date, it works great if you have an always on (broadband)Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½connection.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Simply leave the machine on overnightÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½withÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½widows updateÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½on automatic and it will keep itself up to date, so the only thing you have to worry about is getting your work in on time, or beating your latest solitaire high score.

5)Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½There’s an alternative to Ad-aware, called Spy Sweeper. You can find it at www.webroot.com; these guys make a lot ofÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½really goodÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½programs, but they are not free,Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Spy Sweeper and Window Washer alone can save you a lot of money when it comes to repairs, so they are worth a look.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ If you are interested in window washing, aka, cleaning up you tracks, protecting your privacy, and removing the most stubborn of cookies, thenÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½I recommend Window Washer or it’s free alternative, Crap Cleaner, recently shortened to CCleaner; available atÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ www.ccleaner.comÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ it works, use it.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

6) Download, install, and use Firefox.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Get it at www.Mozilla.org now. It’s an alternative to Internet Explorer, and solves/preventsÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½aÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½lot of these problems all by itself, mostly because it simply is incompatible with 98% of the spy-ware and viruses out there today.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ It can disable those advertisers ability to hide their anchors,Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½affording you full control over thoseÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ad windows. Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½That number is always changing but believe me the creators of Firefox are on top of it. Get it, use it, you’ll see what I mean.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ There’s also an alternative to IE, that still uses the IE core,Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ it’s called Maxthon and it’sÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½available at www.Maxthon.com, also free, but they ask for donations, as do the creators of CCleaner.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½I suggest donating. This leaves the creators of these wonderful programs, free to keep improving them without having to find day jobs. It is these people that are promotingÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½so many of the improvements,Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ by “forcing the hands” of Microsoft and many of the other corporate giants to go back over their work and patch up the vulnerabilities. They ask for little and offer a lot.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ For example,Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½both Maxthon, and Firefox, offer youÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½tabbed browsing, the next generation of Internet Surfing. One window, a tab for each web page, SomethingÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½so wonderfully simple, you’ll wonderÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½how you ever managed before it came along and simplified your life.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Even Microsoft is planning to upgrade their next version of Internet Explorer 7 to a tabbed browsing Interface. However, what I like about these Alternatives, is that they close a lot of the security holes that IE leaves open by default. Get it, use it, you’ll see what i mean, it’s a beautiful thing.

7) Get those icons off yourÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½desktop, the shortcuts (identified by the little curly arrow in the icon)Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½should go into the unused shortcut folder, but get the rest off your desktop, the computer has to work harder to keep them there because the desktop is a very active folder, so it has to read all that stuff over and over again all the time. That’s whyÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½they keep blinking and disappearing every so often.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Organize and drop them into the my document folderÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½instead.

8) Well if you’re still here then there only one last step to keep your computer fairly happy; that’s Scan-disk, then DefragÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½in that order, restart after each one. Scan disk checks for file system and hard drive errors, if you direct it to do so (just check all the boxes and be patient), while defrag, short for defragmentÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½cleans up the mess windows makes every time it accesses a file. Think of it as a clothing drawer. Every time you go in there, you don’t fold and put everything back in the same order, you just kinda stuff it in and clean it later. Well Window’s Defrag, is the cleaning it later part. It puts all the ducks in a row, nice and neat and color coordinated, to improve overall file access efficiency. If you have multiple hard drives,Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ then you must do this for each one. You can only do one at a time, don’t hate me, that’s just the way it works. If you have never done a defrag or scan disk before, this is the where and how.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

Move the mouseÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½to the “My Computer” icon on your desktop and double click it or find in in the Start menu and click it.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Right click onÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½a hard drive icon.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ A context menu will appear. At the bottom of that menu should be “properties”, clickÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½that.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ A new box should appear; within that box find the tab labeled tools, and click that. There you’ll see scan disk, and defrag.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ For most machines running windows XPÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½or widows 2000,Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ scan disk will need exclusive access to the hard drive. It will inform you that it will preform the requested action on the next restart, it says so in the dialog box that pops up, read it carefully, and get used to doing that, this will save you a trip to therapy in the future.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½After that’s done; restart, let scan disk do it’s thing, then retrace those steps and run defrag for the same hard drive. Defrag canÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½run while you work, but I highly recommend finding something else to do while it works it’s magic.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ You doing other things on the computer while it’s trying to defrag, is like someoneÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½sitting on you deskÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½and talking to you while you try to clean and organizeÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½it. Let the programs do their jobs, they are there for a reason.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Now one last thing. Many computers; for the sake of longevity, are programmed to shut off their hard drives if you don’tÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½move the mouse or type anythingÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½for given space of time, usually around 30 minutes. Just like the screen saver, these things are on a timer, if you are using a laptop this is even more likely to be already set up.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ You should disable that feature while it defrags, so the disk doesn’t get turned off while it’s defragging.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Or if you are one of those people who likes to watch the clothes go round and round in the machines at the laundromat, then just sit there and move the mouse for a few seconds every 5 minutes or so.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½In case you’re wondering how bad a hard drive shut down during defragÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½can it be,Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ imagine someone suddenly turning off the lights while you are juggling freshly sharpened blades.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Here’s how to adjust the power options.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Go to your start menu. Within the start menu, find “control panel” click that. In the control panel window, find “power options”. read through the box that pops up and set the hard drive shut down to “never”.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Click apply, then OK, then run defrag.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ For those of you with laptops, the manufacturer of your laptop has most likely included a tweaked version of those power options,Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½you’ll have to find it, most of the time the icon for it will be next to the clock on the task bar. Once you read through it,Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½andÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½figure out the controls, (don’t worry, in most cases, this is abundantly simple)Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½the effects are the same.

Thats it.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Really.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½You’ll see a difference. Try it, enjoy it. Rejoice, you just saved yourself a trip to the rubber room, and a few (hundred)Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½bucks.

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