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Solutions: Figure out PC's high memory usage

When I sign onto Windows 7, it takes about a minute for my laptop to be Internet ready and five to seven minutes before loading a Web page. I tried AVG, Norton and Malwarebytes. I have warnings that the laptop is using high amounts of memory, but it never tells me what is using these resources. It says I have 3.2 GB of RAM free to use, but I see at times it fluctuates from 10 percent to 90 percent memory being used. What can I try to fix this issue?

If you have both AVG and Norton running as an active antivirus, that is a problem. If that is the case, uninstall one of them. Try loading Internet Explorer in "No add-ons mode" as follows: Click Start, Run and type iexplore.exe-extoff and click OK.

If that does not solve the issue, then the problem is one of your add-ons. Go to Tools, Manage Add-ons and disable all add-ons, then enable one at a time until you find the culprit (stop and start Internet Explorer after each change).

If it's still an issue, we need to find out what is running on your system. A Windows 7 PC running, or even peaking, at 90 percent memory usage is unusual and may be an indication of something very wrong. Go to microsoft.com/security/scanner/en-us and download and run the free Safety Scanner. It's not an active antivirus program, just a one-time scan to see if there is anything getting by your regular antivirus.

I'd also recommend going to tinyurl.com/tbt01 and downloading the Windows Defender Offline. If all scans come up clean, click Start and type Resource, then click on Resource Monitor. Click the Memory tab and then double-click the Working Set column to sort from top down. Check the top users, processes such as dwm and svchost are expected, but right-click some of the others and select "search online" to learn more about what it is and whether it belongs on your system. Next, click Start and type msconfig. Click the Start up tab and check what processes are starting at Windows start time. Check whether any of the heavy hitters you saw in Resource Monitor appear here. If so, you can temporarily disable them by unchecking their box. You have to do some detective work, all PCs will be different, but you should be able to uncover something by going through these steps.

Microsoft keeps encouraging people to basically ditch their MSN, Live and Hotmail email accounts and switch to the new Outlook.com account. The problem I have (and I have already made the transition) is that I cannot make the new account (outlook.com) work with the desktop Outlook email client or any other desktop email client such as Zimbra. I can receive all the messages in Zimbra (and Outlook) from Yahoo, or Gmail, but not from Outlook.com or Hotmail. My Hotmail account has been transitioned from Hotmail to the new Outlook for a while now and I have not had any issues accessing it from my desktop client (Windows Live Mail 2012).

The accounts information should be as follows: POP3 as the server type, the incoming POP3 is pop3.live.com and the Outgoing SMTP is smtp.live.com. Check the appropriate option boxes for "My server requires authentication."

Send questions to personaltech@tampabay.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Figure out PC's high memory usage 05/17/13 [Last modified: Friday, May 17, 2013 8:35pm]

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