Mal. Bad. In the Latin.
Welcome back to the Modern Nerd. I get asked to fix computers a lot. A lot a lot. And what is the first thing I ask? Trick question, it’s "Did you restart it?" The second question I ask is, how does the Internet perform? If the Internet is slow as molasses, then there is probably Malware on your computer. It comes from downloading things without reading their agreements, sites that attach free toolbars or utilities to what you really want to download, or just from sites of shall I say less than reputable publishers.
Computers don’t slow down for no reason. The hardware you have in it is the same speed as it always was. If there are a bunch more processes in it that you aren’t seeing though, it can appear slower. Sometimes it gets to be that you can’t see anything work at all, which is when they call me. It is comparable to cholesterol in people – some don’t know that there is a problem until something stops working and you get a heart attack. Either from the slow Internet or too many donuts; the metaphor works quite well.
Fighting Back: Diet and Exercise for your computer
We’ll stick with the health metaphor for now, because it breaks down the fix into the two things that are necessary as well. Improving your computer’s diet means less sites that are not in your best interests. Downloads are too often laced with spyware to try to grab your personal information, steal vital numbers, or malware that turns your computer into a unknowing hit-maker for a certain site to increase traffic and marketing income. All without you knowing. Scary? Yeah. This stuff happens. Choose your entertainment sites carefully.
The "Exercise" component comes in the form of regular scans of your system for malware, spyware, and viruses. There is a difference between them, which I will try to explain.
Virus protection takes care of vital operating system functions, and makes sure that you are not transmitting your data when you shouldn’t be, but it falls a little short when it comes to the Internet browsers. Malware and spyware infest your browser and do bad things, so unless you have a virus protection total package, that specifically includes malware protection, you need to supplement with a free utility to keep your browser clean.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware: The Modern Nerd Approved
Malwarebytes is a free utility that scans and eliminates malware in your machine. There are paid options as well, which the more features for businesses, but the free option is all you need for home use to keep your computer running at peak efficiency. I use it regularly, and just this weekend brought a computer back from a non-working state with a simple malware removal.
Using this program in conjunction with your normal anti-virus software should keep you going fast indefinitely. Maintenance is an active process though, so scan regularly if you think there might be problems. Thanks for reading as always. You can follow everything from the Computer Fixer on our RSS feed and through Facebook. The Modern Nerd returns once a week with tech tips to help you stay on the cutting edge.
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