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  1. #1
    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Optimising Windows

    Zone Alarm have emailed me offering System Mechanic 6 for $19.95 claiming it can repair accelerate and maintain my PC. Now my PC is doing fine, thank you, but my wife's XP laptop has been getting very sluggish. I have satisfied myself that it is free of viruses, spyware, etc, and is defragmented. I had been contemplating reformatting it and reinstalling everything, but I am a bit reluctant, and I suspect she might be reluctant for me to do that too. Would System Mechanic help? Would Loungers recommend something else instead, paid for or preferably <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> ?

    Ian

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    Re: Optimising Windows

    System Mechanic has a lot of fans here in the Lounge, although I've never used it myself. And to be honest, I'm leery of any software that promises to "accelerate" and "maintain" a computer. Most tools like System Mechanic work better maintaining than accelerating, so they're most useful right after you install Windows. Much like performance tweaks, any gain you get is likely to be minimal. If the laptop is sluggish, I would not expect miracle results from any software that you add to it.

    If performance is a problem, the tried and true method in my experience is to wipe it and start over. Registry bloat contributes a lot to the sluggishness, and there's really no fix for that. AV software also puts a hit on performance (particularly Norton) along with any other things that are memory resident while the computer is being used.

    Sorry to sound like a wet blanket, I just don't want to see you dropping your money on something and expecting too much from it.
    -Mark

  3. #3
    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Re: Optimising Windows

    <hr>Sorry to sound like a wet blanket, I just don't want to see you dropping your money on something and expecting too much from it.<hr>
    Don't apologise for that - that's why I asked.
    <hr>Registry bloat contributes a lot to the sluggishness, and there's really no fix for that.<hr>
    I've used Registry Mechanic on a previous PC - would that be likely to help with registry bloat?

    Ian

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    Re: Optimising Windows

    In what way do you mean sluggish - Booting, normal use, when multiple apps are open, a particular app? Is this a recent occurence or just something that has gradually happend? A little more about the configuration would be helpful.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Optimising Windows

    <hr>I've used Registry Mechanic on a previous PC - would that be likely to help with registry bloat?<hr>
    I can't speak to its efficacy, but I would like to think that it would help at least a little. Because of the complexity of the Windows registry, there is no one tool that is efficient at maintaining it.

    Now that I've gone and said that, there is a <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> tool that you may find does what you need in regards to the registry. As before, not a one of them is perfect, but NTRegOpt has worked well for me in the past. The single biggest problem you'll face with the registry is the massive amount of data it contains, and frequently entries become orphaned or broken causing the performance issues you describe. Even the best registry cleaners (which this is not) must err on the side of caution, lest they render the system unbootable.

    Hope that helps!
    -Mark

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    Re: Optimising Windows

    I agree wholeheartedly with Mark.

    I've seen it far too many times. Over time the registry, system folder, fonts folder, and others get bloated with software that's installed, particularly applications that run in the background (especially anything from Norton/Symantec). In many cases, a full wipe and a fresh install of Windows XP will generally give you the best performance possible on your hardware. Of course, I would also recommend disabling as much "eye candy" as you can stand (animated menus, etc).

    Also, I am very uncomfortable with registry cleaners. I realize that they are widely used and supported, but nevertheless, I'm not a big fan. I just don't trust an application to tinker around in my registry...

    Hope this helps

  7. #7
    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Re: Optimising Windows

    It doesn't boot especially slowly, but for instance can be quite slow opening Outlook, for instance. (The pst file isn't especially large, though.) It doesn't seem to be the result of too many apps open at once. I think it's something that has gradually happened - got a bit slow over time - rather than suddenly.

    IAn

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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Optimising Windows

    Ian,
    I am one of the SM fans here in the Lounge.
    I have used it through a few versions and feel it is a safe way to clean out system junk, both registry and old unused files from past programs.

    If it will help speed up your system is another question. There are so many reasons for slow performance as others have stated. You could START with SM though.

    Try the free trial first before buying?
    BOB
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    Today it is called golf!

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    Re: Optimising Windows

    Some things that make a difference:

    1. Do you have Norton Auntie Virus installed? If so, make sure that AutoProtect is enabled and DISABLE the NAV Office plug-in.

    2. Do you have the Norton Protected Recycle Bin ebabled? If so, disable the critter.

    3. Defrag ALL hard drives.

    4. Check on how the pagefiles are being used, and, if you have two hard drives, put the main page file on a drive other than the one on which the OS lives.
    See http://www.standards.com/index.html?...leUsageMonitor.

  10. #10
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    Re: Optimising Windows

    Outlook opening slowly can be due to its integration with Messenger, depending on the version. If you're using Outlook XP or later, try disabling the integration with Messenger under the options panel, generally under Tools - Options - Other.
    -Mark

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    Re: Optimising Windows

    Please tell us more about the hardware and software configuration. Remember that notebooks almost always have slower processors and disks that desktops. Often they have less RAM. All contribute to a slower machine when booting the PC and loading programs. Software updates (newer versions) over a period of time will tend to slow a system down as newer versions usually place an additional load on a PC.

    Joe
    Joe

  12. #12
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    Re: Optimising Windows

    I have tried System Mechanic and removed it after a couple of weeks. There simply wasn't much that I found useful. And I didn't care for the less-than-intuitive user interface either. I also got rid of everything associated with Norton/Symantec and went with Kaspersky AV Personal. For utilities, I have stuck with the free stuff, e.g., CCleaner, Windows Disk Cleanup, and ERunt which one can safely (98%) use without ever having to worry about something necessary being deleted. My PC runs great even with lots of applications installed.

    As far as Outlook goes, you might try compacting your folders every so often. Right-click on your "Personal Folders" folder, select "Properties for Personal Folders" and then the "Advanced" button. Just click the "Compact Now" item and that's it.

    As with all questions of this type, the answer will invariably be: "Different strokes for different folks"!! <img src=/S/wink.gif border=0 alt=wink width=15 height=15>

    Jeff
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  13. #13
    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Re: Optimising Windows

    No Norton at all - AVG anti-virus, Zone Alarm, Spybot and MS Anti-spyware.

    Only one hard drive, fairly recently defragged.

    Ian

  14. #14
    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Re: Optimising Windows

    Thanks for the suggestion Mark, but it is already disabled.

    Ian

  15. #15
    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Re: Optimising Windows

    <hr>Try the free trial first before buying?<hr>
    Now that's a good idea! <img src=/S/bravo.gif border=0 alt=bravo width=16 height=30>

    It wasn't clear from the iolo.com website that you could get a free trial, but now you have suggested it I have found where to download it, and I may give it a go.

    Ian

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