5 Computing Mistakes

Everyday I hear from people who are having computer problems. One of the first things I do is have them run an OverDrive scan and send me the results. It’s free and it’s the best diagnostic around. I’ve been doing this for over 10 years and I’ve seen hundreds if not thousands of systems and talked with their owners. After a while you see the same problems and hear the same answers.

I’m going to share the biggest misconceptions and mistakes I see being made by the average user. Sometimes the misconception is causing a frustrating problem and sometimes it’s just something you find along the way.

1)

If one antivirus is good, two must be better. No, no, no, this is the mistake I see most often and it is also a mistake that will slow your system to a crawl It’s fine to use multiple antivirus products to scan your system but do not leave multiples running. After using them uninstall all but one. Simply turning them off or disabling the realtime feature does not always accomplish the goal. Use them and uninstall all but one. This includes malware products. Pick a single product, keep it updated, keep it running and stay with it.

2)

I can’t be infected, I have an antivirus.Your antivirus works from a list of known bad viruses. The number of viruses in the wild is changing constantly. Viruses morph and change literally by the minute.

There is no single antivirus that can provide complete protection. The reason is because the virus must exist before it can be included in the definitions list of your antivirus product. This list changes too rapidly for all products to be up-to-date all the time. It could be days before your product is updated to what was out last week.

What’s the solution? The very latest technology combines a known bad list with a known good list. This known good list is provided by Super Shield, which comes free with PC Matic. We were able to compile this list from all the anonymous tests that were run on PC Pitstop over the years.

I know I’m horn tooting but we are one of the first to use this technology. You control what additional programs are added to the “known good programs” list. If you click on an .exe file (program file) that is not on the list, you will receive a warning that the program is not known. You can allow or disallow as needed. You can also add the program to the list of approved programs for your system. The result is a double whammy. You’ll see Microsoft and others going to this approach next year, but for now, we’re leading the way.

3)

I got an error message. So, You’re going about your business doing daily computer stuff and suddenly WHAMMY!

“I got an error message, what’s wrong with my computer.” I get a laugh every time I hear this. This is not the time to stop. This is the time to look up the error message and see what’s going on. It’s kinda like someone saying, “My car won’t run, why?”. With only a little effort you can find a solution. You just have to remember the error. Windows tells you what the error is, now just look it up. Error 404 File or Directory not found.
If your teenage computer guru down the street is missing, Google it. With today’s browsers and built in search it’s only a matter of typing the error into your browser or Google search. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to define the error and find a fix.

4)

There is no [OK] button, monitor resolution. Not sure how it happens but more often than not I find computers with the wrong resolution set for the monitor. This can cause program windows to not display properly and hide buttons, options and scroll bars. Usually the correct resolution for your monitor will be the largest option given. Here’s how to check: Open Display Settings by clicking the Start button , clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, clicking Personalization, and then clicking Display Settings. You can now move the slider to the correct resolution outlined in your monitor’s manual or choose the largest resoluton showing on the slider.

The second part of this issue has to do with the DPI settings. Do yourself a favor and check this right now to be sure it set to the default 100%. The link I’m including here will give you complete information on making changes but please know that using the default is what you want to do. Going to a larger setting because you are having issues reading text is not the solution. This will only prevent you from seeing OK buttons or seeing the complete message or Window. That’s it.

5)

My new computer is clean and ready to go. No it’s not. Everybody under the sun is trying to make a dollar off of your purchase. You can bet they’ve paid big bucks to get their trial programs loaded onto your system. That brand new system comes with bloat, adware, and advertisements. The very first thing you should do is uninstall all of it. This includes Norton, McAfee, and the goofy picture programs that no one every uses. There is no reason to have all of them starting each time you boot your computer.

The result, if not removed, is that they are wasting your resources and bogging down your system, not to mention the endless reminders to purchase. If you would like to see how many items are starting, simply go to: Start>Run>type “msconfig” without the quotes>StartUp. All of the items listed with check marks are Starting each time you push the power button.

Want to see something interesting? Check your computers running processes. To do this press Ctrl-Alt-Delete all at the same time and then click the processes tab. This will show everything that is currently running on your system and how much memory is being used. Removing items from StartUp will reduce your running processes. I like to keep mine at about 30, the lower, the better.

Remember to uninstall the programs and not just delete the shortcut. To do this go to Start/Control Panel/Programs or Add Remove Programs/ . You can uninstall the programs from here.

I hope this makes your days a little easier. Let me know how it’s going for you.

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48 thoughts on “5 Computing Mistakes

  1. Reading all you smart peoples replies so I thought I’d throw one out there. The past few days I’ve been trying to figure out what the error is whenever I start up my computer it pops up like this: C:ladykay1990localexilidupaya.dll. I do not know how to get rid of it or how to fix it. Can someone help me out? Thanks

  2. I have lots of windows updates listed in my files I don’t know what to do with them. I am afraid to delete them w/o knowing if i should or not. Any suggestions?

    • NO DO NOT ERASE THOSE. You need them as they are updates and are still accessed if Im not mistaken. I would ask others also to make sure this is the case. Better safe than sorry as they are important and have to do with your OS (operating system; for those that dont speak PC)

  3. Users seeing BSOD need to disable automatic restarts (or install BlueScreenView) to actually see the error message information. Also, it’s not always necessary to uninstall pre-loaded software. My new laptop will keep the McAfee Security App with 1-year subscription it came with till that runs out.

  4. in processes I see The same program several times. ex “svchost.exe” user name system,local service,network service then lower down the4 same image name and user names again they all show diff mem usage. how can I tell which processes to end?

  5. I use my computer like my car, get in, expect it to run. Much of the computer language leaves me blank ie; “OS”?? Why don’t all the programs – starting with Microsoft automatically run a complementry systems check for their own programs that we can all log into & run to correct errors or a diagnostic check & fix.

  6. Me, I only have two (2) programs running in my START UP file.

    When I use a program, I’m using only resources (that are available) for those that are running and nothing more. So, when I turn it off. Nothing is running in the background, saving me my resources (Memory, Speed) for the next program, so on and so forth

    Start up (file) is like your living quarters (Apartment, House, …Etc) full of electrical appliances. (Where it appears most are leaving everything turned on (RUNNING) all at once and ALL the time.)

    One: You’re burning money (resources, Memory & BIOS (Speed)) and you don’t have enough for anything else, sooo, what happens… “CRASH” is what happens.

    Two: What to do. (problem solved) Turn off everything you DON’T need to start your windows. And leave them off (UN-checked in start up). Like a light switch. You turn it off if not in use.

    Once you use your program (s) resources, Memory & BIOS, are being used. Once you’re done (finished) with it, you close it(turn it off). And your have your resources back. Like turning off the appliances, you’re not
    using. You’re SAVING your RESOURCES (money) and you have enough for something else. 🙂

    • I believe he meant 30 “processes” running on your system, not 30 programs loading from the Startup menu. People need to educate themselves to proper computer use. They are not toys. Your smartphone and mp3 player are toys. 😉

  7. Very well done….helps a bunch, sent it to a friend, that I always have to go @least 3 times a month to help bail out his system.
    This definitely will help him figure out his own path of judgement in doing things correctly.
    Fred

  8. this has got to be one of the dumbest articles i’ve read in a long time and the only reason i read it was to see what kind of stupidity they’re pushing out in pcpitstops newsletter. first one of those things i’ve ever read also.

    this sounds like the stupid stuff people MIGHT have done back in the windows 95 days.

  9. Hello Bill.

    You can run PC Matic with McAfee but you cannot run our Free RealTime virus protection and McAfee. You can use theirs or you can use ours, but you can’t use both.

    Here are instructions on adding the “Run” command to your start menu.

    Right click on the Start button, and click Properties.
    From the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog, click Customize.
    Scroll down through the list until you shall find Run command. Check the box next to it.
    Click OK.

  10. I like Black Viper’s site for this. It seems to have changed quite a bit since I was last there. Be sure to also check out the navbar on the left side to find your specific OS.

    • Blue screens do not stop a computer from booting. That can sometimes be caused by what causes the blue screen, which can range from a short term driver conflict, bad hard drive, or a screwed up windows installation. If something is wrong with the HD or the windows install then you might not be able to boot back in but for almost all other BSOD’s there should be no problem getting back on in either safe mode or normal mode.

    • Oh, there are these three great little tools that let you google things when a blue screen comes up. Perhaps you’ve heard of them?

      Pen. Paper. Reset Button.

      LMAO. Sorry, couldn’t resist. 😀

  11. @Linda, you have to do more digging. Google search each running process you are not sure about. you will learn a lot about what is running on your computer. Check what programs are running at startup as well! Start>Run>msconfig

    • Usually you can hit the windows key and r
      WIN+R = run
      or
      Right Click the start menu
      go to properties
      go to start menu tab then customise
      about 3/4 way down check box for run command
      click ok
      Now you should have the run command.
      Works in win 7 and should work in others like vista and xp. ( Some minor placement might occur due to restrictions placed by admins)

    • Get rid of Mcaffe first off. Go with eset smart security and you will see a huge difference and get much better protection.

  12. I found the five mistakes that users make to be informative! I’m sure must’ve been difficult narrowing down five things that most users do wrong. Thanks again for putting this together! Well Done!

  13. Useful article, but “average” users should be VERY careful about removing processes and applications, unless you’re sure what they do, or are supposed to do. Some essential ones have odd names, and disabling THEM can totally disable your PC. It’s better to ask a friend who knows something about computers and Windows applications to check it out FOR you.

    • For sure. I just went down through my list for the fun of it. I’d sure be in trouble if I turned some of them off.

      Like that guy who said he had none in his startup list. He must have looked at his startup folder… But this article should be expanded about five times to actually be useful.

  14. Hello Linda.

    You can use the free OverDrive scan that I mentioned. The link is above but here it is again: http://www.pcpitstop.com/betapit/

    When you are finished and on the results page click the Software Tab at the top and then click the Processes Tab. This will show you a color coded breakdown of them and tell you which to remove from startup.

    Glad you enjoyed the article.

  15. Linda Lawyer · Grayson County College

    Thanks for this good information. My problem is this..when I go to Ctrl-Alt_Delete and check running processes…I do not know which ones I can safely remove without messing up something I want to run. You say 30 or lower but I have 99 and I don’t know which ones I can safely remove.

    • @Linda: Linda before you terminate anything in task manager, see what is running in your tray (by the clock) that you can stop or exit from. It sounds like you are loading a ton of programs at startup.That will take care of many of the files you have running. Then use the advice shogun gave with msconfg or download a program like Code Starter to easily manage what is loading when you boot

    • @Linda: Google each of the process names and you should be able to find the ones that should not be shut down and the ones that can be safely disabled.

    • @ Linda –

      My reply above re Black Viper was intended for you. Don’t know how it ended up in the wrong place.

      That site will give you lots of good info about each service.

    • If you right click the start bar then click properties then click start menu tab the click the customize button on the right it should give you a list of thing you can show on the start bar click the button next to the run command and click apply next time you open the start bar run comman will be there this is for vista not sure if its the same on windows 7

    • @Linda.
      I found the best program for disabling startup programs is “ccleaner”. It cleans cookies etc but it also has a startup menu option where you can disable or enable programs at startup.You can read the programs name and disable them one at a time. If problem occurs you can enable the program again.
      Ccleaner is a free downloadable program.

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