Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Slow Firefox and more reader questions

Today I’m going to answer some reader questions whose answers I think may be interesting and/or applicable to you, in the Q’s and their A’s format.

Q: I have been using Firefox for a while and I like it, but lately it seems to be as slow as IE. Has (my) Firefox been hit by a virus?
A: The short answer is “No”, but I would like to point out a few ‘guidelines’ about malware (malicious programs like viruses) before I discuss Firefox, and state quite clearly that if you at any time suspect that you’ve been infected, you should stop what you’re doing and run a “full” (or “deep”) antivirus scan and then do the same with at least one anti-spyware, and then –because malware can corrupt your anti-malware apps — use an online tool to scan your machine.
Malware hits your machine, not specific programs on your machine (though it may very well use a weakness in a certain program to gain access to your machine). It is absolutely vital in this day and age to have, and keep up-to-date with the latest “definitions”, an antivirus program. Of course I also recommend running a firewall, have at least two anti-spyware tools, keep Windows and your programs updated with the latest patches, and be smart about your Web surfing habits. Malware today is the tool of organized cyber criminals and its purpose is to steal your identity and passwords, and turn your computer into a robot under their control.

Now back to Firefox: Firefox, from Mozilla, has become the world’s most popular “alternative” Web browser, and one of its prime draws (besides security, that is) was it was faster than Internet Explore. As time has elapsed, Mozilla has been patching and updating and releasing new versions of Firefox (the latest is  Unfortunately, the effect of this is that Firefox is no longer the lean, mean, and fast browser that it once was.
The answer to the reader’s question is: no, you’re not hallucinating, and it’s not a virus. Firefox is slow now.

Loyal readers will remember an article I wrote about another alternative browser, Avant, which is what I have been using recently (click here to read the article). Those of you who have become disillusioned with Firefox may want to take a look.
Another very popular alternative browser is Opera, which I have used in the past and can highly recommend. The mobile version of Opera is extremely popular now.
And if you would like another choice, there’s also Maxthon, whose stock is rising.

Q: My mouse is not moving my cursor like it used to, do I need to buy an optical mouse?
A: Like your keyboard, your mouse needs some care and maintenance too. The odds are good that this reader simply has an accumulation of dirt on the rollers inside of the mouse, which sense the direction the trackball is rolling. Clean off the built-up grime, and your mouse will roll like new. (To read my article on keyboard cleaning, click here.)

Turn your mouse upside down, and turn the trackball’s coverplate counter-clockwise about a quarter turn. The cover will come off and release the trackball. You can now look inside your mouse. You will see three rollers — typically two roller bars, and one wheel. You will also see the built-up grime. Simply scrape it off with your fingernail, or a small screwdriver. You could also ‘disolve’ it with a Q-tip and denatured alcohol if you happen to have those things handy.
Once the gunk is off of the rollers, drop the trackball back in and replace the cover. Your mouse — and cursor — will be as good as new.

Today’s free link: What? You want more?! Okay. I’ve told you that you need an antivirus, but your “subscription” has expired — download the top-ranked free antivirus program AVG Antivirus Free Edition.

Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

Share this post :

November 10, 2007 - Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, how to, keyboards and mice, PC, tech, Windows | , , , ,


  1. Well have you tried using a different program? Spyware and malware are nearly impossible to stop and the majority of the programs out there only detect and remove a portion of the threats you might get. I know that these programs can get rather expensive especially since you usually need more than one to get the job done right but my advice is to go out and look for a free antivirus software program. There are plenty out there that run very thorough scans that also include very good preventative tools so that once you get rid of the trash, it keeps it from coming back.


    Comment by Joeseph | November 10, 2007 | Reply

  2. Click the link (in the article) “online tool” to go to my other website– and you will see listed links and ratings of many free (and well-rated) anti-malware tools.
    There’s three pages of them.


    Comment by techpaul | November 10, 2007 | Reply

  3. I found it was the linkscanner that came with the latest version of AVG antivirus. Basically this goes off and follows every link on a page and checks the target page to see if it contains malicious code, so a single Google search returning 10 results was actually loading up 10 pages.

    I turned it off throught Tools->Add Ons

    Find AVG Safe Search

    Click its Disable button as it cannot be uninstalled


    Comment by tstern | June 22, 2008 | Reply

Post your Comment/Question

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: