Tech – for Everyone

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

Get A Faster “Boot up” Time With Startup Delayer

Free utility manages program launch at startup. (More rain here. Yippee.)

Folks, one of my most frequently asked questions is some variation of “How can I make my machine faster?” and/or the (usually) directly related complaint of the machine taking forever to start up in the morning.

People don’t like it when I tell them it’s their fault. (Well, at least half their fault.)

I have written several articles about what to do about slow PC’s (enter “speed up”, or “optimize” in my Search widget). I won’t repeat myself. But if you have come here looking for specific tips for faster startup, PLEASE, first read My Startup folder is a clown car (it will open in a new window/tab) and then read Manage Startup programs in Vista. These articles will teach you the thinking behind, and How To methods for, disabling programs from “auto-launching”, and bogging down your machine.

But perhaps you don’t want to completely disable the program autolaunch. That’s when a program that can set a delayed time to auto-launch is key.

When Windows loads it’s Startup file, it attempts to load every program in there at the same time. Therefore if you have quite a lot of programs starting when Windows starts, each program will try and grab CPU time so that it can load. When each program tries to do this at the same time, (which is what happens at boot up) you soon notice the slow down that occurs, due to your CPU trying to help all the programs to load, and your hard disk accessing multiple files.

What is needed is a little “traffic control”.

Startup Delayer utility presents you with a list of all the programs that start when your system does. To set a delay for any of them, just drag it to the white bar at the bottom of the window. You’ll see a line representing the program; drag it left or right to decrease or increase the delay. Repeat this for other programs you want to postpone.

For example, if you have iTunes installed, you’ll see a startup program called iTunesHelper.exe. Unless you plan to connect your iPod or run iTunes the very moment your PC boots, why not delay this applet for two minutes? Same goes for things like Adobe Reader Quick Launch and Google Updater. Delay those for, say, 4 minutes and 5 minutes, respectively. (Do not mess with programs you don’t recognize. They are probably essential Windows system files, and fiddling can cause crashes and/or weird ‘glitches’.).

Startup Delayer is free, and it is one of the best way I know of to speed up a slow-booting PC. It’s a must-have for anyone who installs a lot of software. (Though, I prefer the tactic of keeping my machines “lean and mean”. I uninstall any program I do not use frequently — Step 1 of computer “optimization”. Go to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features > Uninstall a program, and let the list “populate”.)

Today’s reco’d reading: Where to Shop for Computers, Computer Parts, Accessories, Electronics and Other IT Products…

Facebook scam alert: Please know (and tell your Facebook friends) there is a scam “program” that steals your private data by claiming to tell you visitor statistics..

From Facebook: “Facebook does not provide applications or groups with the technical means to allow people to track profile views or see statistics on how often a particular piece of content has been viewed and by whom. If an application claims to provide this functionality, please report the application by going to the application’s About page and clicking “Report Application” at the bottom of the page, or by clicking “Report” at the bottom of any canvas page within the application.”

Psst. Hey, you. I got some cool sandals for you..


a world filled with geniuses…

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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March 24, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, software, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, Windows 7, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Reader Question: Slow downloads problem

Q: Hello, my normal internet speed is 50kb/s. But Now when I download programs, It’s always very slow from 3kb/s- 9kb/s. How can I fix this problem?

~ Mitchell  slow-internet-connection

A: Mitchell,
I have to assume you really do mean to use a little “b” (“bits”; a “B” is “bytes”) which tells me that you are on a dial-up Internet connection.
I also have to assume you only get this slow down when actually downloading files.

Okay. My answer is two parts.
1) If it is at all possible, get off of dial-up. Dial-up technology was fine for the era when it was used (1985-1998) – teletype, e-mail, and text-only websites. Look to http://www.broadbandreports.com/search to find a ‘high speed’ (aka “Broadband”) provider in your area. Or, maybe, look at satellite. (Frankly, I would not use dial-up, except to send an SOS.) 3kbps, even 3KBps, is ridiculously slow… slow to the point of un-usability.
2) There are two factors which determine speed: your ability to receive, and the server’s ability to send. File servers are (almost) always set to use a low speed.. “low” meaning 300KB’s or so (800 x’s faster than your getting) as well as use a different protocol (FTP). If upgrading your service is simply not doable, for some reason, about the only thing you can do is use a download manager program to break up the file into several parts, and establish multiple ‘requests’ to download those parts simultaneously. (Firefox does this automatically) I have not used a download manager in over a decade, so I am unfamiliar with the current crop, and don’t have any personal recommendation, but CNet Editors give this one, Internet Download Manager, five stars.

by techpaul

Related: This article has some good tips for dial-up users: Browse the Web Faster on a Slow Internet Connection

To see what your bits-per-second are, click here, http://www.speedtest.net, and then click “Begin test”.

Quote of the week:The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

Reading reco: NEW Online Photo Sharing Service that is Drag and Drop Easy

There are numerous ways to post and share photos (or pictures) on the internet; however, the processes  to share your photos can be quite confusing.

If you are looking for an online service that makes photo sharing fast, fun and easy, then take a look at.. (more)”

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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November 30, 2010 Posted by | computers, Internet, performance, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Top Tech Tip #2: Leave Registry Cleaners Alone

A few weeks ago I was asked by a reader what my one piece of advice for a non-techie was (Click here to read). That was a good question. A challenging question. Limiting myself to one answer was what I found so difficult.

So today I am going to offer you, Dear Reader, my “Probably The Second Most Important Piece Of Geek Advice For Non-Techies“.

* Leave Registry “Cleaners” Alone *

What happens is this: older computers get slower, and so the owner enters “slow PC” (or, “my computer is slow”, or sumsuch) into a search engine — where they get sold a computer “optimizer”. What this is – usually – is a “Registry Cleaner”, which promises to “find errors” and fix them.

WOT warnings on "speed up your PC" sites

WOT warnings on "speed up your PC" sites

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Here’s the real deal — there are two cases (IMHO) when you actually need a reliable Registry cleaner:
1) You’re an experimental sort and you uninstall a lot of 3rd-party (non-Microsoft) programs; like.. you try every new program that comes along. (And you forgot to use Revo to uninstall them when you’re done.)

2) You have just completed a manual malware removal.

That doesn’t describe you? Leave the Registry “cleaner” alone!

Now, my regular readers will remember my mentioning this before, but for the rest of you, here’s why you want to avoid messing with the Registry: and this happens a lot actually, it can kill your machine.

What?!

Yup. Read the user forums. The odds of this increase if you have more than one User Account on your system. Ask yourself this: do you know what the Windows Registry is? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_registry)

Even if a “cleaning” does not kill your machine, no one can convince me that any Registry cleaner – over the years – has ever actually sped up their PC. And I am certainly not alone in this opinion.

So what should you do to speed up a machine that has slowed down over time? Well, you already have the tools you need to “optimize” and rejuvenate your PC. Please read Four Vital Tools You Already Have… But Might Not Know About. There you will find the answers! And, guess what? They’re free. (Probably why they’re not advertised, eh?)

… and if you’re the type who is not going to click the link and actually read more, and are just itching to download something, well, the safe and effective CCleaner will do this for you for free. As will the free Glary Utilities, or the free Advanced Windows Care, … and you won’t find user forums filled with complains of wrecked systems, if you should use one of those.
Fair enough?

Related: to learn more about speeding up your computer,see Computing 101*

[note: BEFORE making any changes to the Registry, please read (and follow) this Microsoft article: How to back up and restore the registry in Windows]

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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August 19, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, file system, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, tech, troubleshooting, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Revitalize Your PC With Windows’ Utilities*

my last day of ‘vacation mode’…(sigh).

Computers get slower with age. And as we add programs and updates, sometimes little ‘quirks’ develop. The older our machines get and the more we use them, the worse these things become.

Largely, this is simply due to how our machines read and write the 1’s and 0’s to our hard drives, and various “clutter” that builds up. (But some of it is our fault. We humans are curious creatures and we like to install new programs and try them out, and then we just leave them there, unused…)

Windows gives us four tools – called “utilities” – to help us keep our hard drives clean, happy, and running smoothly (sometimes called “optimized”) which you might be unaware of, (or use often enough) as you have to right-click to find them. (Out of sight, out of mind, right?)

These are:
● Disk Cleanup Tool
● Error Checker
● Tool Defragmenter
● Backup

To get started, click on Start >Computer (or, “My Computer” in XP/older).
Comptr
Now right-click on the drive you want to “optimize” (usually, that will be “Local Disk (C:)”, but each drive [“volume”] will have this. C: is your main one), and a context menu will open — click on “Properties”.

gen tab

A new window will open to display the drive properties, and by default it will open to the “General” tab.

On this tab, we’re interested in the Disk Cleanup button. Disk Cleanup is a safe way to “take out the trash” and remove clutter from your disk.

My super-ultra-deluxe article on the in’s-and-out’s of this tool is here, More than you wanted to know about the Disk Cleanup Tool, but the short version is: click the buttons, answer “yes” and let it do its job. I recommend doing this once a week.

Now we dig down one layer, and this is hard work, so you might want to put on your gardening gloves, click on the next tab over.. the “Tools” tab.

———————————————————————

disk propts

Here you find the other three utilities buttons.

The top button is the Error Checking tool. Running this tool is a good way to eliminate those odd ‘glitches’. What it does is, it examines the physical surface of your hard drive looking for “potholes” and marks those areas as “bad” so that the computer won’t try to put your files there.

It also examines your file allocation table (FAT) and makes sure that all your internal roadsigns are pointing at the right streets. Um.. maybe a card-catalog-at-the-library analogy might work better — it makes sure all the index cards are in the proper order and all the Dewey Decimals are correct.
This tool is for use as a repair, and not a maintenance, so use it as needed and not on a schedule.

Next up is the defragmenter. I remind my readers to run this once a month, and to set an automation schedule for it (Vista and Win 7 already have that) in articles like, When was the last time you “defragged”?
Keeping your disk “defragged” is the best way to keep it running like when it was new. (Be sure to run Disk Cleanup tool before the defrag.)

The last — Backup — isn’t an optimizer or age-fighter, but it is probably the most important feature in Windows. I have written probably 30 different articles on just how important making backup copies of your files, photos, records, etc., is, and why you really, really, really want to do it. See How To Use Windows Backup Tool.

I don’t really know why — for all these years — Microsoft has not put these utilities right under our noses and in plain sight as separate entries under Start >Programs… But now that you know where they are, you can use them and get that PC of yours into a more “like new” performance state. Aka, “optimized”!

Today’s free link: Free Lifetime License for SUPERAntiSpyware Professional – 20 to Give Away

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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July 30, 2009 Posted by | advice, Backups, computers, file system, how to, PC, performance | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Four Vital Tools You Already Have…

But Might Not Know About

Revitalize and Protect Your PC With Windows’ Utilities

Computers get slower with age. And as we add programs and updates, sometimes little ‘quirks’ develop. The older our machines get and the more we use them, the worse these things become.

Largely, this is simply due to how our machines read and write the 1’s and 0’s to our hard drives, and various “clutter” that builds up. (But some of it is our fault. We humans are curious creatures and we like to install new programs and try them out, and then we just leave them there, unused…)

Windows gives us four tools – called “utilities” – to help us keep our hard drives clean, happy, and running smoothly (sometimes called “optimized”) which you might be unaware of, (or use often enough) as you have to right-click to find them. (Out of sight, out of mind, right?)

These are:
● Disk Cleanup Tool
● Error Checker
● Tool Defragmenter
● Backup

To get started, click on Start >Computer (or, “My Computer” in XP/older).
Comptr
Now right-click on the drive you want to “optimize” (usually, that will be “Local Disk (C:)”, but each drive [“volume”] will have this. C: is your main one), and a context menu will open — click on “Properties”.

gen tab

A new window will open to display the drive properties, and by default it will open to the “General” tab.

On this tab, we’re interested in the Disk Cleanup button. Disk Cleanup is a safe way to “take out the trash” and remove clutter from your disk.

My super-ultra-deluxe article on the in’s-and-out’s of this tool is here, More than you wanted to know about the Disk Cleanup Tool, but the short version is: click the buttons, answer “yes” and let it do its job. I recommend doing this once a week.

Now we dig down one layer, and this is hard work, so you might want to put on your gardening gloves, click on the next tab over.. the “Tools” tab.

———————————————————————

disk propts

Here you find the other three utilities buttons.

The top button is the Error Checking tool. Running this tool is a good way to eliminate those odd ‘glitches’. What it does is, it examines the physical surface of your hard drive looking for “potholes” and marks those areas as “bad” so that the computer won’t try to put your files there.

It also examines your file allocation table (FAT) and makes sure that all your internal roadsigns are pointing at the right streets. Um.. maybe a card-catalog-at-the-library analogy might work better — it makes sure all the index cards are in the proper order and all the Dewey Decimals are correct.
This tool is for use as a repair, and not a maintenance, so use it as needed and not on a schedule.

Next up is the defragmenter. I remind my readers to run this once a month, and to set an automation schedule for it (Vista and Win 7 already have that) in articles like, When was the last time you “defragged”?
Keeping your disk “defragged” is the best way to keep it running like when it was new. (Be sure to run Disk Cleanup tool before the defrag.)

The last — Backup — isn’t an optimizer or age-fighter, but it is probably the most important feature in Windows. I have written probably 30 different articles on just how important making backup copies of your files, photos, records, etc., is, and why you really, really, really want to do it. See How To Use Windows Backup Tool.

I don’t really know why — for all these years — Microsoft has not put these utilities right under our noses and in plain sight as separate entries under Start >Programs… But now that you know where they are, you can use them and get that PC of yours into a more “like new” performance state. Aka, “optimized”!

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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May 16, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, file system, how to, PC, performance | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments