General Notes on Solving Computer Problems
Speed Up and Tune Your PC
In my experience, the trouble with computers that are acting much slower than usual, or that have become suddenly or increasingly unstable, is usually (but not always!) the result of one form of attack or another.
Attacks usually take the form of a virus (including worms, trojans, etc.), or of spyware or adware.
I have noticed a shift in the relative numbers of incidences of attacks. At one time, viruses spread by email were the bulk of the problem. Then massive numbers of people got wise to rogue attachments ... and these kinds of attacks became less common. Email attacks were largely replaced by viruses that attacked directly through internet connections ... this was made feasible by the growing popularity of "always on" high speed connections. Again, this kind of attack became less successful as more and more people understood the need for having a firewall protecting their system. The latest form of attack has been the spyware and adware phenomenon, propagated in large part by browser vulnerabilities, misdirection, and the ignorance of the unwary.
While the relative numbers of incidences have changed, each category of attack is still well represented ... you still need to be protected on all fronts.
Tune Your Computer
PC Tune and Update Software
Listed below are a few critical resources that I have found invaluable in my day-to-day battle against these attacks.
Free Antivirus Programs
Online Antivirus Scan
Panda Software offers a free online virus scan (called ActiveScan) that detects and destroys viruses on your PC. This can help even when another antivirus program on your system has been disabled by a virus. If you cannot access the site, but your online connection seems otherwise sound, you may need to Reset Your Hosts File.
They also offer Panda Cloud Antivirus, which uses minimal resources and is always up to date as it runs from their server cloud.
Spybot and Adware Removal and File Properties Tools
Spybot - Search & Destroy
Track and Kill Spyware and BHOs Advanced Tools
Process Explorer ... And More from System Internals
Keep Windows Updated with the Latest Security and Performance
Microsoft Windows Update
Get Rid of Email Spam for Good!