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  1. #1
    I have to fix a Windows machine, help!
    Weird Fish's Avatar
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    I have to fix a Windows machine, help!
    Okay guys. I need help with this.

    My girlfriend's Mom's Windows Vista computer is screwing up, and I've been assigned the task of fixing it.

    Now, please don't just say "Buy a Mac", because I know that's the solution; they can't afford it.

    It's got 900-something MB of RAM, and 178GB free on a 222GB Internal Drive.

    I can't spend any money either.

    Any free ideas on making it run smoother?

    What would you do in my situation?

  2. #2
    I have to fix a Windows machine, help!
    eric's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 04, 2006
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    twin cities, mn, usa
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    8,708
    i'm not sure about vista, but xp had a few ways of turning down the effects to help performance. if you right clicked on "my computer" and went to the advanced tab you could adjust the performance there.

    also find a freeware program called "spybot search and destroy" to find/cleanup internet baddies that a virus scan may miss.

    do a thorough virus scan.

    decrease her color depth from 32 bit to 16 bit in display properties (if you can still do that in vista). she won't notice a difference.

    clean up her temp files. not sure where they are now.
    possibilities:
    (spaces left so smilies would not appear)
    c : \temp
    c : \windows\temp
    c : \documents and settings\[username]\temp
    really any folder that is named temp can be emptied. keep in mind though, not all files will delete as some will always be in use.

    check her startup folder for things like acrobat, winzip quick pick, quicktime, etc and remove them. also check the system tray for items like these that can only be easily stopped from loading on startup here.

    defrag - a newer vista system with that little hard drive used probably won't benefit much from this but it's worth a shot.

    this stuff will help some.

    also, i used to heavily rely on nortons system utilities. if she has something like this, run it.
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  3. #3
    I have to fix a Windows machine, help!
    fleurya's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 18, 2006
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    27" iMac 2.7GHz Core i5, iPhone 4S, 3rd gen iPad
    Well, you would have to be a little more specific on the "screwing up" part. Anyone would need a little more detail to help you. Just form what you mentioned, I can say that the bare minimum for running Vista is 1GB of RAM. I would want 2 to be comfortable.

    If you want any more help, you would need to say what other components it's running, especially the processor, and what exactly the problem is. But honestly, you might be better off going to some Window-related forum for help. This is really for issues related to getting Windows and other OS's to run on Macs
    "Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others"

  4. #4
    I have to fix a Windows machine, help!
    PerryLynch's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 24, 2007
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    235
    Specs:
    17" MacBook Pro 4GB
    Vista does not run well on 1 GB at all. At the very least, you've got to have 2. Other things: go to http://www.betanews.com and get F-Secure's Black Light, and then do the trial download of a good spyware killer like Webroot's Spy Sweeper. For that matter, BUY Spysweeper + AV. It's quite effective.

    Also, set up an admin account, and then drop the permissions on the other user accounts to regular user. That will help prevent crap from being installed easily.

    I would not consider running symantec or McAfee on vista. they slow the system down terribly. Webroot will do the job with much less processor utilization. The temp files are still where another member has listed them, but you also want to kill the prefetch files. One thing, Vista is more unix-like in that user data is now stored in a User directory instead of docs & settings.

    Good luck
    Perry M Lynch, CISSP CISA
    Mac Newbie, Security not-so-newbie

  5. #5
    I have to fix a Windows machine, help!
    eric's Avatar
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    Nov 04, 2006
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    twin cities, mn, usa
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    that vista specific info is good to know.

    i was going to mention prefetch, but wasn't sure if they even existed or were as "expendable" as they have been in older versions...
    Please participate in our Member of the Month polls. Every vote counts! And remember to use the user reputation system!
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  6. #6
    I have to fix a Windows machine, help!
    Weird Fish's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 17, 2007
    Location
    Greenville, SC
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    Specs:
    MacBook Pro 15" Matte 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
    fleurya, when I say screwing up, I mean:

    Programs freezing very often
    Random rebooting
    Incredibly slow programs / everything
    Keyboard working some days, not on others

  7. #7
    I have to fix a Windows machine, help!
    fleurya's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 18, 2006
    Location
    Anytown, USA
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    4,925
    Specs:
    27" iMac 2.7GHz Core i5, iPhone 4S, 3rd gen iPad
    I think a RAM upgrade would help a lot, but some of those issues, like keyboard not working seems troubling. If all the cleaning up others have mentioned and more RAM doesn't help. You might have to go for a format and clean install, and from there teach them some regular maintenance tasks like defrag and deleting old/temp files to keep it running smoothly.

    Probably the best, long-term move to make, if they don't have the money for a Mac, would be to put XP on their computer. They wouldn't have to buy more RAM in that case.
    "Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others"

  8. #8
    I have to fix a Windows machine, help!
    Weird Fish's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 17, 2007
    Location
    Greenville, SC
    Posts
    267
    Specs:
    MacBook Pro 15" Matte 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
    Why did Windows make Vista so power hungry? I don't understand why they would release an operating system that needs that much RAM just to function.

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