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Computer Running Extremely Slowly - Norton Anti Virus?

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I use Earthlink as my internet provider and installed Norton Anti-Virus software about 8 months ago - since then, my computer runs like a snail. It takes forever to pull up anything on the internet and my computer often freezes up for no reason. Since I try to work from home at times, it is very frustrating trying to navigate this machine! Do I need a new machine or maybe I have a virus or something? Any help anyone can give would be appreciated!

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Hi lagos 1101 and WELCOME! to Geeks-to-Go.

Yes, unfortunately Norton is well known to do exactly as you have described. I got so fed up I turned my back on nine months of my subscription and started using my own combination of free products to do the job.

When you are ready to uninstall Norton, please use the special 'Removal Tool' from Symantec: http://service1.syma...005033108162039

It is important to get the tool that is specific to the Norton product you have installed.

There are actually free anti-virus applications that out-perform most Norton products. Avira and Avast are both top-rated, with AVG very close.

Whichever you choose, I suggest that you download and Save the installation file for the new program before removing Norton, and then install and update it before returning to the Net with your browser. That way you will not go out unprotected.

In addition to anti-virus, anti-spyware is also necessary. Here we need a full-time client just like anti-virus. AVG Free 8.0 includes this technology, and although some of us are upset about the program's increased resource usage over the 7.5 we knew and loved, on your system it will seem lightning quick compared to Norton.

Other good lightweight, free protection programs include SpywareGuard and SpywareBlaster.

Spybot, Ad-aware, and SuperAntispyware make good backup scan-only utilities for peace of mind.

Since you are a Norton user you may be interested in actually paying for more user-friendly protection. Here Eset's NOD32 is top-rated for antivirus, and for Anti-spyware: AVG AntiSpyware, A-Squared, and Webroot Spysweeper.

After your experience with Norton, I believe that you will be happier with single-purpose applications rather than "Internet Suites." All seem bloated and heavy on system resources.

Beyond removing Norton, there are many things that can be done to improve system performance. For some of my experiences see my Vox post: http://doc1101.vox.com/ The "links" there are not live. Copy and paste the URLs to your browser address bar to view the referenced pages.
(No ads, cookies, spyware, requests for donations, nor anything to buy. Just info.)

Good luck, and let us know if we can be of specific help along the way.
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Thank you for the help! I did uninstall Norton and have installed Avira. I do notice my computer is a little quicker, but not much. When I think about it, I guess it was running slow prior to Norton as well and I thought having Norton would help! Is there anything else that might be an issue with the speed of the computer that I can check?

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Hello largos1101 and welcome to Geeks To Go

What you could try is to delete some unnecessary files, to do this job you can download 1 of 3 tools :) 2 which I have used :)


ATF Cleaner This one I would reccomend for you as it is quick and easy to use and was made by our very own expert Atribune

CCleaner This one is alittle more advanced and as I always say don't go into things if you are unsure what they are :)

If you choose ccleaner please do the following in the installation, before you click install you will see aload of boxes please do not install the yahoo toolbar everything else will be fine


Edited by wizzy2k5, 04 June 2008 - 06:07 PM.

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What you are experiencing is quite common. "Gosh, when this thing was new it was quick.
Now it runs like molasses in January. What's wrong?"

Actually nothing is "wrong." XP is working just like it was designed to. The problem is in the basic design. XP's default settings allow "automatic" installation of background processes and startup programs. It also "saves" tons of logs and 'caches' data against possible future need. On home computers that must store everything on the local hard drive (C:\), this means that things get 'clogged up' and multiple background processes are using processor time and memory, preventing your programs from operating at full speed. What to do?

You could buy a program that just 'fixes' it, but many of them create issues that are difficult to resolve. Besides, you can do it yourself with free utilities, and likely do a better job.

This will take a little of your time, but not too much, and in the process you will learn how to keep your computer working efficiently as you go.

The first step is to "throw out the trash." Getting rid of all the unnecessary data stored on the hard drive will make everything else quicker. After all, if I want to 'straighten up the house,' it just makes sense to take out the garbage first.

Download ATF Cleaner: http://www.atribune....tent/view/19/2/
This is a "stand-alone" application. No install required.
Just Save the file to your Desktop and double click to run.

Before you run ATF click the name of your browser at the top to decide what you want ATF to clean from it. Unless you have important links stored in History or something, this first time it will be best to clear everything. Later go back and reconfigure for regular use.

This first time use the Select All button. (For future use do not check Prefetch. That will only slow things down more. If you remove all cookies all the time, you will need to log in each visit to a site that needs a password. Yahoo, G2G, etc. I do not do that on a regular basis either. I have other ways to manage my cookies.) You won't believe how much stuff ATF cleans out!

Next, it is time to 'straighten up the house.' For a computer, this means running a thorough Defrag. Download JkDefrag: http://www.kessels.com/JkDefrag/ Save the .zip file, right click it and "Extract all.." All you need is jkdefrag.exe. This is also a "stand-alone"
Just double click to run. Ugly as sin and twice as powerful.

Since it has been some time since the computer was defragged, it will take a while for JkDefrag to finish. Please be patient. It will do a great job in much less time than XP's own defrag utility.

In the future, dedicate a little time each week (or month at most) to a defrag. Either use Windows own utility or Jk (or some other product) but don't "mix and match." Defrag utilities differ in the way they go about the job. If I have a gal come in and organize my house and I like it, I keep using her. A different person would do things differently. I might like that too, but it would be hard to keep track of where things are. Ditto for the computer.

OK. The trash is thrown out and the house is 'organized' Now it is time to take an inventory of the house itself (check for needed repairs- "Does the back door close properly? Are there cracks in any of the steps?" --etc.)

For XP, this means running a Checkdisk.
Not hard to do, just takes a little time.
Open "My Computer," and right click Local Disk C:\
Choose Properties, and open the Tools tab.
The top section is called "Error checking."
Please push the button for "Check Now."
Mark both boxes in the next little window, and press Start.

Windows will politely tell you that it cannot do it right now, and ask if it would be OK to do it the next boot. Yes, thank-you, that would be fine.
Now please reboot your computer.

As XP boots it will stop at a blue screen with white writing that details the agonizingly slow progress of Checkdisk. The good news is that the process is automatic, and Windows will boot normally when it is finished, so you don't have to stay and watch if you need better entertainment.
This is also something that should be done a few times a year, and something that often corrects vague "goofyness" in the system.

Next, it is time to make sure that the XP 'house' is fully equipped with all the right appliances.
(Dishwasher, fridge, can opener, stapler, everything.)
In the computer, this means running a Scannow procedure. For this one, you will need an XP CD.

Open the Start menu, and select Run.
In the Run box paste this: sfc /scannow
The space between the 'sfc' and the '/' is essential.
Click OK.

As scannow runs it may find that there are missing system files.
When it does, it will ask you to insert your XP CD. Any XP CD will suffice for this as long as it it the same version as what you have installed.(Home/Pro) You are not installing and will not need a license key. All that Windows will be doing is copying certain essential files from the CD to the proper Windows folders. (Of course, If you have SP2 it is necessary to use a SP2 CD)

XP does not seem overly enthusiastic about this procedure. When it successfully copies a missing file from the CD it asks "Are we done now?
You want a full scan, so press the Retry button as often as it shows up until the whole job is done. When it is done, reboot the computer to allow XP to fully acquire the 'new' stuff.

At this point, you should already begin to notice an improvement, but the biggest gains will be realized when you send the neighbood kids home and stop feeding them out of your refrigerator and pantry. (It is also so much more peaceful around the place...

The "neighboorhood kids" on your computer are the unrequired processes running in the background.
After all this time, I bet you've got a bunch of them.

First you have to know what processes are running. Sure, Taskmanager lists them, but that's about it. For real help with this we need Sysinternals free Process Explorer. Read all about it here: http://www.5starsupp...?showtopic=8275

The other free tool that is very helpful with this is WinPatrol: http://www.winpatrol.com/ Download and install. After the little Scottly dog appears down by the clock (Notification Area) Right click him and select "Display startup info."

This is a list of everything that is set to start automatically with Windows and run continuously in the background. To prevent that, simply left click an entry once to highlight it, and then push the "Disable" button at the lower right. The process/program will no longer auto-start, but will be available from it's own shortcut in All Programs (or the desktop icon) when you need it.
It is also not removed from the list! That makes it easy to "Change your mind." Just go back to the list, left click it once to highlight, and now you'll find an "Enable" button to put it back to auto-start.

What to keep? Hard to say without knowing exactly how you use your computer. I update everything manually, so I turned off all the 'auto-updaters.' You may not want to do that for all of them, especially your 'security' programs, but it is entirely up to you. Scotty will not offer to stop anything that is vital to Windows itself. WinPatrol will even let you stop WinPatrol! Cool!

Here are some good places to check out processes by name:
And Google works quite well.

You will have to decide for yourself exactly which to keep and which to stop.
If you configure Process Explorer with the CPU Time column, work down the list from top to bottom.
That way you're getting rid of the 'kids' that eat the most.

I know that this all seems like a lot of work, and well, it is. But in the process you will gain control over your system and make it work for you.
It also does not have to be done in one day. Proceed at your own pace, and take it a step at a time. It can actually be fun.

The above information, and much more is included in my Vox post: http://doc1101.vox.com/ Have a read there as well. The 'links' there are not live. Copy and paste the URLs to your browser address bar to view the referenced pages.

Good luck with your 'housecleaning.' I will be very interested in your progress. Do post back to let us know how it's going, and once again:
Welcome! to Geeks to Go.
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Thanks to both of you for your replies on this - I am currently at work, but will work on all of these things tonight and see what I can get done. I will definitely keep you posted on my progress! The detail in your e-mail should be very helpful in walking me through it, so hopefully it will go smoothly!

I'll let you know how it goes!!

Thanks! :)
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