Some programs such as Symantec’s Norton can slow down a computer because it scans all files accessed for viruses, this slows down performance, but it does reduce virus outbreaks. Generally you want to limit the number of IT Services St. Louis programs which start at the same time as Windows. Has your computer just suddenly become slower? Could be spyware or a virus, a lot of times viruses or spyware will get onto your computer without notice, and the only warning you have is that it IS running slow. Your hard drive may be fragmented. De-fragmenting your hard drive may help to speed up your computer.

Have enough RAM? If you’re running Windows XP or higher and only have 128MB of RAM then that’s your problem, although Windows XP can run with 64MB of RAM its generally recommended that you run it with at least 256MB of RAM, often times just upgrading from 128 to 256 immediately increases the computer’s speed. Again, if you’re running Windows XP or higher your processor speed is also a factor in overall system performance. Windows XP can run on a 300MHz computer, but its generally recommended to have at least 800MHz to run it properly. Bare in mind that these are single items to check, they can happen at the same time mixing together and creating different slow downs, for example, your computer could have 128MB of RAM and have spyware, so while upgrading your RAM might speed the system up a little bit, unless you remove the spyware too then you’re not going to get the performance you paid for.

The Viral Factor Most viruses aren’t made like they used to be, most viruses these days are designed to be more of a nuisance than destructive. In the old days if a virus got onto your computer you’d almost have no chance of recovery as it would destroy your data and sometimes even make your computer useless. In today’s age the nuisance we speak of is that the virus will get onto your computer, slow it down, then spread itself to other computers and slow them down while taking personal information from your computer and sending it elsewhere. Often times there are worse viruses, some will make irreversible changes in Windows and force you, or us, to do a format and reload, which essentially means that your hard drive is wiped clean and Windows is reinstalled from scratch. This is different than the old viruses because it requires you to destroy your data and restore it, if possible.

Getting a virus is also no longer difficult, all you need to do is merely be connected to the internet, there are computers out there which sent viruses to random or specific IP addresses which, if open to attack, will be infected. You don’t need to visit a website, or check your mail, your computer simply needs to be on connected to the internet. How do you stop this from happening to you? Buy a virus scanner at the same time as when you buy your computer, because after its infected, the nature of most viruses will prevent you from either installing it, or running it properly. I’m sure you remember getting your flu shot, which protects you from various strains of the cold, an anti-virus is much like a flu shot for you computer, it allows it to recognize files as a virus and take action.

The other step is to keep that virus scanner up to date, because just like the flu, viruses change often, even new strains created out of no where, without keep the latest virus definitions on your computer, you wont be protected from the latest viruses. There are different virus scanner on the market, which all do the same thing, we offer McAfee here in our store for $24.95, if you’d like us to install it for you, it would be an additional $15.00 They’ve Got Their Eye On You Welcome to the information age, not only can you get information about companies, family, or friends, but other people can get the very same information, including yours as well. When you visit websites you should often times keep in mind whether or not the site you are visiting is real. There are many website on the internet which may look real, however, they simply want your passwords, usernames, credit card information, or anything they can use to get ahead. Many of these websites will install software on your computer, without your knowledge, which monitor the sites you visit, and often times even the keys you type. Some of the software can be malicious in nature and even open you up to be attacked by viruses, so having a spyware/malware scanner is also a must.

How do you stop this from happening to you? Fortunately there are a few more options for you to choose from in terms removing and preventing spyware. We in the store use Ad-Aware SE Personal Edition which is downloadable for free from http://www.lavasoftusa.com/ the free version allows you to scan your computer and remove software which is recognizes and spyware/malware, so long as you keep your definitions up to date. A virus scanner does not remove spyware, and a spyware scanner does not remove viruses, they work together. When Did You Last Do A Backup? All of the data within your computer is stored on a device known as a hard drive, which is can fail just like any other motorized device on the planet, this is why it is so important to perform regular data backups of your computer.

If your hard drive fails, all data which is stored on it is lost, although it can be retrieved from data recovery specialists, most of these data retrieval centers charge anywhere from one thousand, to several thousand to retrieve the data, the cost of performing regular backups is negligible in relation to a data recovery fee. Essentially you buy a CD or DVD burner and blank CD’s or DVD’s and burn your important data to them, the type of media that you choose depends on the amount of data you’re planning on backing up, a CD holds up to 700MB of data, while a DVD holds up to 4.7GB, and a Dual Layer DVD holds up to 8.5GB, in most cases CD’s will get the job done, but don’t think for a minute that just because its on a CD or a DVD its perfectly safe, if you don’t keep your backups up-to-date then any new information will be lost.

If you’re planning on doing regular backups then it may be worth buying some CD-RWs or DVD-RWs, these are ReWritable media, meaning that you can erase the old backup stored on it, and then store a new one in its place. Other options beyond using CD’s or DVD’s are having more than one hard drive in the machine, and keep the data current on both drives, one method of doing this is to create a mirrored RAID array, this meaning that both drives hold exact duplicates of each other so that in the event of one drive failing, the other can easily takes its place without missing a beat.

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