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One of the big themes in my life right now is scraping off clutter, finding and holding onto the things that really matter, and creating a new and clean space for one's self. We're doing that at my mom's house, as we dispose of her stuff and try to sell it in order to fund her assisted living from now until indefinitely; we're doing that at home as we dispose of a lot of our stuff in order to sell our own house in the spring (we hope).

Today, I find myself trying to do the same, for my computer. This machine, which was on the upper end of graphics and particularly game performance when I bought it a few years ago, has in the past six months become extremely choppy, laggy, and generally hard to work with, so today I'm uninstalling a bunch of old stuff, updating AVG and Malwarebytes, and generally trying to clean the digital house. It doesn't help that AVG is turning into exactly the same pushware/adware crap that once made it better than Norton, but for the moment I don't know of a better antivirus choice.

I suspect that when the time comes that this computer does become unfeasibly creaky, I will try jumping ship to a Mac. I'm loving my little Macbook Air lappy so far, and in an alternate universe I probably just bought the biggest baddest Macbook Pro I could get my hands on and made that my only computer, instead of having one for writing and one for everything else. I have been reluctant to abandon PCs, largely due to wanting backwards compatibility with old games that I've loved in the past, but looking at my actual current habits, well, there's actually nothing I do with this PC that wouldn't work just as well on a Mac, and plenty of things I am doing now that would probably work better on a newer, cleaner machine.

But, that's definitely for the future. Like, after the house is sold future. For the time being, I keep on patching up this machine. Temp file deletion time, ho!

-The Gneech


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 18th, 2013 08:03 pm (UTC)
One nice thing about Macs is that they can run Windows, either natively or through virtualization. So if you have a few apps you're still attached to, you can run them in a virtual machine while you figure out how to wean yourself off of them.

Other than that issue, Macs tend to be a lot more trouble-free than Windows PCs, and they seem to have a longer lifetime before you start to want to replace them, which makes up somewhat for the increased cost. They're worth it.

Disclaimer: Mac user since 2003, so I might be slightly biased. But the machines fulfill my needs quite well!
Dec. 18th, 2013 10:58 pm (UTC)
What's the innards of that old clunker?

Is it a 'general' slowdown?

It may help to wipe it and reinstall Windows and all apps. In fact, that can do a heck of a difference.

Does it have oldfashioned spinning platters of rust for storage?
If t started life running WinXP, check if the SATA controller is set to 'legacy'/IDE, or is set to AHCI.
In AHCI mode, the drive may cache and reorder read-requests to optimize speed, and this may give up to 20% performance increase. (Win7/8 supports this mode directly. WinXP requires a driver to be installed. Not all OEM installs had it included... )

Is the HDD healthy?
On a lot of 'gaming' and home kit, S.M.A.R.T drive diagnostics is disabled because it slows down the boot with a couple of seconds...
Note that normal drive scans (Checkdisk and such) does NOT check the area that the swapfile uses. The only way to really test everything is to use whatever diagnostic tools exist in the BIOS.

Some machines (particularly some DELL Portable models) will drop to a low performance mode if it detects overheating, but will give no warning that this is happening. And it needs to be rebooted to reset this function...

Having a lot of files on the Desktop or in the 'my documents' folder tree isn't supposed to slow PCs down any more, some says...
Yeah, and with sufficient thrust pigs fly just fine!

Yeah, I fix windows boxes... at work...
My main computer at home is my trusty Mac Mini (First Intel generation) that I have 'upgraded just a little bit'...
Went from 512MB to 2GB RAM, swapped the 80GB HDD with a 80GB SSD, replaced the dinky 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo with an Intel Core 2 Duo doing 2.16GHz.
My 'Home folder' is on a 1TB ioMega MiniMax FireWire HDD.
(Always a good idea to spread the load over several drives, over different controllers... )
Now, if I could just do something with the sh!tty graphics card...
Dec. 19th, 2013 11:11 am (UTC)
It's laggy, like something is chewing up the available RAM. I suspect a virus or malware, based on the performance, but I can't rule out some Windows update switching the "suck" toggle to "on" due to my lack of buying a new machine recently.

Chrome and Tweetdeck are big offenders in the slowdown, which makes me suspect memory leaks from them, as well.

The cleanup stuff I did yesterday helped somewhat. :)

Dec. 20th, 2013 08:01 am (UTC)
Yeah, winblows updates tends to flip that switch after a while.

Doing a fresh install often cleans it up a bit, though, as some of the fixes at least has been superceeded by others, or rolled into bigger packages. (All small fixes between a X.0 and the Service Packs will be rolled up into the SP. )

and getting rid of languishing drivers and whatever crud has collected in the registry doesn't hurt, either.

Dec. 19th, 2013 05:06 am (UTC)
Scrap AVG and go over to MS Security Essentials.
Also free, and NO ADS!!!
Dec. 19th, 2013 11:12 am (UTC)
I'll look into that, thanks for the heads-up!

Dec. 20th, 2013 08:03 am (UTC)
I'm almost ashamed to say it, but so far MS Security Essentials actually looks as if it was made by someone who know their job...
Dec. 21st, 2013 09:53 am (UTC)
Found the solution to your computer problems...

Dec. 21st, 2013 12:38 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure this is the best bet:

Dec. 21st, 2013 12:50 pm (UTC)

That's just a quick-fix.
The one I linked to is preventative maintenance, to avoid the need for quick-fixes...
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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