A call from Borepatch came, him of the recent flight south, asking me, the Windows computer support guy, about a great and terrible and all too common problem. For Borepatch has traveled far into the West, visiting his father, and while there has faced the vexation of the Windows slowing down. Myriad are the possibilities, for the system in question is old and encrusted with many applications, yet shackled with all too few of the RAMs and speedy Gigabytes that can drag the Windows along at a pace acceptable.
Long distance we were, and long distance we would remain, yet troubleshooting would occur, and to you my readers, I will offer the things we did, to be studied by the firelight this cold evening, for many they were, ere we stumbled across what seemed to be the proximate cause. I offer them all, some of use, others not. Lest you leap to your system files and attempt them yourself, a warning I offer first to those who would venture beyond the realm of browsers and office applications, for pitfalls await, and the dreaded boot loop, the operating system not found, and even the BSOD are risks where I point.
First I say, nay I cry out, BACK UP YOUR FILES! The cry rings out. For at the worst, in extremis, when naught else will help, a backup of your documents, pictures, music, email, and bookmarks will be a comfort to you. For then, a wiping of bits and bytes, and new Windows written to the empty space, even if done by a wizard, still allows you to return those important things to their rightful places. Warning given, we move on. Each picture may be clicked to view in a size you may more enjoy.
1. Open the My Computer, seeing the harddrives and devices. Then Tools, Folder Options, View, and then cause the checkboxes to match the image as you see it here.
For many of the things that follow will depend on the seeing of the hidden files.
2. From the drives available, it is the one named the “C” that we are most interested in. Using the right-clicking of the mouse, a menu appears. Choosing Properties, this menu appears. It is the Indexing Service we turn off here, a taker of clock cycles.
Affirming this choice, and ignoring any files it does not like, we let it unindex, whatever that might be.
3. We now search drive of “C”, choosing to see all of the hidden things, looking files with the letters “temp” in the naming. Here is the view of the search.
When the files are found, deleting the files in the folders called “temporary internet files” and “temp” under each user in the folder C:\Documents and Settings\NAMEOFUSER\Local Settings\, for these folders fill up with the debris of computing.
4. Looking to the button of Start, then clicking Run, and typing “msconfig”, a menu of many things will appear. The tab of Startup holds the mysteries we will explore next. Look carefully at each one. It is said that all could be unchecked and Windows will still run, but some are useful, needful things and care should be taken. The knowing that msconfig can be revisited, to recheck and start the system again, should some important application fail, is a balm. Internet searching of names can help, for the names may be cryptic and not designed to provide meaning. Turn off, by clearing the check boxes, and then restart the computer. On restart, tell the application not to run at startup, or it will appear like a useless genie at every beginning of Windows.
5. At this point, at the fresh start, try those thing of importance, for too many changes will leave you unable to retreat. If all is working, and still slow, venture on.
6. Search for and download the application Malwarebytes. A fine and useful thing, install it, update it to the latest files and run it. Whatever things it calls evil, cast out of your system, letting the program choose. A permanent addition to your anti-virus Malwarebtes should be, good for the sort of ugly intrusive sneakiness that unrestrained web browsing might bring. Though it may find nothing, it is worthy of a place in your toolbox.
7. Press the keys of power, those known as Ctrl-Alt-Del, and a menu appears. Click Task Manager, and then the tab called Processes. Click the box called CPU two times to reorder all things by the percentage of our system that they are using. This box will sit in front of other things, so open and close those applications afflicted with the Windows slowness and see what processes jump to the top of the usage.
For here, at long last, after much striving and clicking, we found the source of the Windows slowness of the Borepatch system. It was the anti-virus, perhaps too vigorously doing the scanning of things that should have been trusted, causing much time to pass, so that the minutes seemed to drag on and the surfing and clicking of things brought no joy. Changes were made to settings and after testing, some improvement seems to have lightened the burden of calculation that the machine labored under.
The RAM things perhaps could be increased, or the system replaced with one with the many more Hz, but the coin of the realm would have to be proffered to the Clerk of BestBuy, and so, the improvements made will have to be sufficient for now.
Long was my tale, and not in keeping with the usual tenor of the politicking and the memories of the country in days gone by, but come the morrow, we shall return to it. Remember, that advice given is worth that which you pay for it, and you have been given this for free, so cry out not, if damage is done, and backups of stuff important fail, for it is the way of computers, like all things, to fail, and the question of the universe remains: “Where does data go when the only copy is irretrievably deleted?”
640K of memory ought to be enough for anybody.