System Performance & Maintenance

We’ve all lived through spyware, malware and viruses that severely degraded or halted our computers performance.  Sometimes the very software designed to protect our system can add to system sluggishness.

There are many good Anti-Virus and malware software apps out there. From free to inexpensive.  I often come across systems that have two or three apps running which I don’t recommend. They quietly load at startup.  They compete for your systems resources to monitor your system for the same types of activity and files. Sometimes they get entangled over a process or file.

These apps, combined with Windows 7-8-10 enhanced native security protective processes, sometimes can really hamper performance.

Recently, a client recently had 3 apps running, Windows Security Essentials, a freeware AV Program and also an anti malware program. These three apps were taxing their basic computer that was an older upgraded Windows 10 system with a very minimal 4 gigs of ram.

Windows 10 64bit requires 2 gigs ram just to run windows os, When doubled, 4 gigs of ram in a system with apps and devices, the other 2 gigs doesn’t offer much free available ram after all the application helper apps, device drivers, load at startup and run in the background along side the AV and Malware software.

I recommend that systems only have one quality AV program running that monitors the internet and web/network traffic. Its always handy to have a quality malware scanner, but it should not launch and load at startup. It should be disabled or only installed when needed and removed when finished.

Windows versions, 7, 8 and 10 provide adequate rogue process blocking. Its that that annoying “Do you want to allow this application to make changes to your system” message you come across from time to time. Its there for a great reason—to keep your system from being hijacked from a rogue malicious app. Once installed, rogue malware and viruses can really torch systems fast. Anything from encrypting files and forcing you to pay to unlock them just destroying key system level files that render your windows system inoperable.

When you see that message, pause and think about what it is you are doing. Were you actively working with the app mentioned applying an update or were you simply at a website and downloading a file? If you were actively updating an app, then you can say yes to the prompt. Any file you download unless you know its an updater or program file installer, should not launch itself and try to change system files.

If you find your in this group of people who say “when I first bought this, its was fast, now, its really, really slow.” A memory upgrade is a great way speed up system overall performance.

We all see the commercials that guarantee a faster PC if you download and install software and run it. Some do great job scanning and optimizing some key system files,like the registry and purging it of entries and making “other” optimizing adjustments but in the end, these steps are limited in their lasting ability to keep your system optimal.

If its a newer system with 2 or more yrs left of useful life, I always recommend MAXING out the ram in your system.

Maxing out the ram provides more ram memory available for use by apps.  Many people don’t understand what happens when you have a smaller amount of memory installed.   Every app that loads at startup, runs in the background.  Then you start opening apps, email, webpages, documents, they all too, live in memory.  When there is no more memory, windows “manages” memory usage “virtually”.  Windows carves out some predefined amount of your hard drive space to move items in RAM memory to the disk when users switch between applications.  Its known as a memory swap file.

You may may 4 gigs of ram, but if you’ve been scrolling Facebook or Pinterest and have another window open with your online banking and have your email open, running outlook, and maybe a opened PDF of a receipt you just received via email, windows is actively moving the data from these each of these programs from your RAM to this special “swap file”as you moved from app to app.  When you change focus from outlook back to the PDF, behind the scenes, its moving the outlook memory items to the swap file, then moving the PDF memory items back into ram. Each time you move from open app to another open app, or launch a new one, windows is diligently  moving all the ram memory data from your hard drive to the memory sticks, back and forth, back and forth…

That movement activity can really slow down performance when hard drives are slower or have little free space, and when the memory data chunk to be moved about is large, .  In the case of drives with little space left, windows has to find empty “holes” to store the data in and then has to jump around to all these holes where “swap memory” data was placed.  this process can slow down a system quite a bit.

Air flow restricted computer vent , heat sink and CPU fan.

Air flow restricted computer vent , heat sink and CPU fan.

Lastly, a physical cleaning is always recommended. If you see dust accumulation on any vent on your system, you can rest assured the inside looks just the same. CPU fan blades, just like your ceiling fan at home, will accumulate dust on the blades and in the heat sink blades that disperse the heat your CPU generates. Over time, fan slow down, move air less efficiently and air flow in the heat sinks are restricted and even closed off, preventing the fan from drawing the heat off the processor.Left unattended, this dust builds up slows down the cooling processes inside your computers case. It can can cause your hard drive and/or CPU to overheat and destroy your data and even your system board. Air flow is key to heat dissipation. Often times the computer is wedged in a location that doesn’t offer a great airflow to begin with. Under a desk, inside a credenza, or in a corner of a shelf These systems are dust magnets. They should be opened at least yearly and the fans, heat sinks, and vents properly cleaned.

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