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3 Steps Everyone Can Do to Protect Your Computer and Keep It Running Clean and Fast- Free!

Monday, April 25, 2011 by Sean P

Do you sometimes wonder - why is my internet so slow?  Ever think it might be something stealing your internet speed behind the scenes?  It's entirely possible with so much malware, spyware, trojans, spam bots, bot nets, and other sneaky things out there on the internet installing themselves on your computer every chance they get.  Here's what you do to get rid of them and keep your computer clean and fast:

First off - this one should go without saying, so I won't list it as an actual step:
Make sure you've got a password on your WiFi router so your whole neighborhood isn't stealing your internet from you!  Duh!

>>> Click here if you don't know how to set a password on your WiFi router
(or ask any of your nerdy friends, they will do it for you in 10 minutes.)

1) Have a Virus Scanner Up to Date.

This is another no-brainer in 2011.  IF you don't have one, then you probably have viruses.  Get one!  There are some great free virus scanners out there, like AVG, and many others.

Once you have a virus scanner, set it to run nightly or after you leave work daily so that it doesn't slow down your computer scanning while you're working on it.  Open it periodically and update it, or set it to automatically update if there is an option for that, so you don't have to think about it anymore. :)

Get AVG Free Virus Scanner.

2) Have Spyware / Adware / Malware Protection

Many annoying little adware browser toolbars and browser hijackers don't even qualify as "viruses".  These two programs, SpyBot and Malware Bytes are well known for capturing and eliminating these performance draining pests.

When you get SpyBot installed, click the "Immunize" feature that will block thousands of well known spyware sites from connecting.  Update all these programs and scan your whole computer, you will be surprised how many things it will find if it's the first time you've run it (might find over 100 if you're computer has been on the internet a long time without it).

Get SpyBot Search & Destroy (free)

Get Malware Bytes (free) 

 

3) Advanced Users: Look under the hood and remove the crap!

For more advanced users - you should take a look under the hood in windows and see what is starting up every time your computer loads, look at what browser hijacks are in place, and start cutting all that crap out!  You can also look at what is running in the background and lookup what each process is, and some may well known malware or virus type processes.  The best, most straightforward tools I've found to do this is the SysInternals suite for startup and background processes, and HijackThis for browser hijacks and registry BS.  Be careful what you remove, as removing system processes may break windows if they are actually legit files, so use  the tools to google what these files are before you remove them.  If you don't know, you can always post your HijackThis report to help forums where experts will know exactly what to look for.

Get SysInternals Suite (Free)

Get HijackThis (free)

 

Done!  All clean.  :)

Follow these 3 recommendations to protect against viruses, spyware / malware, adware, needless startup programs, needless background programs, and your computer will run faster, smoother, and just SO MUCH BETTER!!!!  Especially your web browsers and overall internet speed...

 

4) Something fishy is still going on...

If you've done all of the above and something fishy is still stealing your internet speed, run a packet sniffer to observe what is going on in your network activity.  It may turn out to be a program you've installed that you don't even realize is hogging your internet connection.  Wireshark is highly recommended (formerly Ethereal) for doing exactly that- sniffing out what's sending/receiving over your network:

Get Wireshark (free)

 

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