Slow Computers – Part 2 – Startup Programs
So I have spoken about the just way too little memory problem. Unless you happen to BE a computer repair company and have computer memory laying around, you are probably asking yourself, “But what can I do NOW to speed up my computer?” This probably SHOULD have been the first of the two articles, but that’s the way it goes some days…
One thing that will eat your computer memory up fast is your startup group of programs. These programs are the ones that start whenever you turn on your computer. Many times, you should have a good idea of what is running by viewing your taskbar and your system tray. These places should show you a number of the running programs, but there are a lot that you have no idea are there! And likely you never would – again, unless you happen to deal with computer repairs on a regular basis!
There are programs that allow a user to see everything that is happening at startup on your computer, BUT, for your own safety, I’m not actually going to mention it’s name here. You probably will be able to figure it out from the pic, but let me point out that a number of the tools used by computer repair techs have the ABILITY TO COMPLETELY DESTROY AND RENDER YOUR MACHINE UNUSABLE. Instead of speeding UP your computer, the only speed you will be gathering is towards the phone to call someone to try to straighten out the disaster. Do NOT go willy nilly into tools that play with startup or registry items without knowledge of what you’re doing – or have LOTS of time on your hands to straighten out the results. In the right hands, some tools can provide a miraculous result; in the wrong hands, mmm.. they’ll produce a result, but likely not the desired one. To the right is a screen cap from one of those programs showing about half of all the startup programs/services and a few other autoload type entries on MY computer – and that IS tweaked!
The safest for a beginning or moderate user is the “msconfig” app. Just go to your command bar and type
msconfig and hit the key. This article is NOT about going through and tweaking out your system, but the msconfig utility WILL give you an idea of the things running. Ideally what happens when you get a system cleaning is that the repair tech will go through all of your startup programs and remove the truly unneeded ones. Things like printer programs that go with printers no longer in service, modem programs when none are being used, etc. There are usually a TON of startup items that are neither needed nor desired for the average user. I must take to task some companies for the annoying habit of creating programs that seem to want to take UP half your memory before you even get into the OS decently. Among these are companies: HP printer software (big time), Symantec, and Nero (Burning). These three particularly get my goat when it comes to creating startup items and sucking memory.
You can start off with a smooth running machine, decide to install an HP printer and then experience all grades of annoying hiccups and intrusive behavior. I have never seen a more intrusive group of programs. For some users, all the startup programs MIGHT be acceptable. A user scenario that might benefit: All user does is scan and print pictures all day or fax them somewhere. For the strong majority of users, I really don’t need a program that I use 1% of the time taking up space in my computer 100% of the time. I have a near antique HP LaserJet 5 workhorse. It uses one driver period. NO startup programs to manage – everything under the sun. I just want to print 95% of the time – nice and easy.
Nero Burning is another program that throws a lot of entries in the startup areas. I have now gotten to the point when installing this application that I am very selective when I go through and tell it what to install to save me time later. Nero has a lot of functionality but only a very little that I ever use – burning CDs/DVDs. If you DO prefer the Nero way of doing things, then you won’t want to disable those startup items.
Microsoft Messenger. ‘Nough said. I have only run into maybe 3 people that actually use this, but it seems to give the user no quick way to kill it off – and it VERY annoyingly pops up at every system start. Manually this one can be killed off from the startup by going to HKCU => Software => Microsoft => Windows => Current Version => Run . I’m a registry hacker by nature, so this is the way that I frequently do a quick and dirty removal of it.
These are just a few items that are normally removed during pc service calls with Lizardwebs.