It’s getting easier to unclog your computer

Remember the feeling of having a brand new computer and having it be faster than lightning? Then remember the frustration a few months later when it plods along slower than molasses?

It’s a tradition that started with my roommate back in college. Every few months, we would reformat our computers, reinstall the OS of the month, reinstall all of our drivers (well, son, back in my day there was very little of this plug-and-play technology!), and reload all two dozen of the most essential applications (including Command & Conquer). Why would we do this? At the time, we felt (psychologically and in truth) that our computers were reborn and running as smooth as ever.

Fast forward to today. As an alternative twist on yesteryear, my friends often complain of their computers being terribly slow, and recall the nostalgic moments of reformatting/reinstalling. They ask, can you do that “thing” for me too? However, today I’ve found that unclogging your computer is getting a whole lot easier.

As an example, my latest request involved an annoying ad ware program on Windows XP that wasn’t recognized through McAfee virus scan. Anytime a new IE session was open, it was hijacked (with an ad about weight loss, online dating, or the like). It loaded other web pages so slowly, you’d rather just go back to reading a book or watching TV.

If this were several years back, I’d spend a lot of nights scouring the interwebs for registry fixes, constantly booting in safe mode, removing virus executables, etc. And most of the time, I was successful. But today, there’s a whole host of software applications that can do all the work for you.

In this case, while I couldn’t access the download for Windows Defender on the infected machine, I downloaded it from another computer onto a USB stick, installed it on the infected machine, and successfully cleaned the infected computer of the ad ware – all without a hitch. The uninstallation of a few unnecessary programs and a service pack upgrade later (XP SP3 is a must!)… and it was as good as new.

I continue to be impressed by the advances of software tools (some of which are open source and/or FREE!). The ease with which end consumers can take advantage is truly remarkable. The hardest part is figuring out which tool to use for which situation.

Posted via Woodland Blog (

1 thought on “It’s getting easier to unclog your computer”

  1. Yeah, I got over that… by using Linux. :)While it’s true I still recommend the reformat these days from time to time, I typically try and find a fix for the specific bug first. There are so many HijackThis logs running around the netterwebs you could swim in them.Command and Conquer… those were the good ole days. Except, GOD I’d lose SO BAD.

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