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Solutions: Nope, you don't need an 'optimizer'

Do I need an optimizer? My home computer is a Compaq with Windows XP. Things weren't moving very fast, so I got rid of Embarq's F-Secure and downloaded the free AVG 7.5 Grisoft antivirus program. I use Windows Firewall and Internet Options at default levels. My computer is much faster now. However, while surfing for AVG antivirus I came across an optimizer program. Is this something I should have?

The only thing an "optimizer" program will speed up is the depletion of your bank account. Everything you need to run an efficient computer is part of Windows. Assuming that you are properly configured with RAM and your defragmented hard drive has a reasonable amount of free space, the best thing you can do to speed up your computer is to give it less to do. Many systems accumulate "bloatware" — programs that start up with Windows and use resources even though they may not be necessary. See all those icons on the lower right side of your screen? Those are just some of the programs continuously running. Antivirus and antispyware applications always need to be, but just about everything else is optional. Using tools such as Task Manager, MSCONFIG, Windows Defender Software Explorer and various Web sites, you can determine what's running on your system and whether it is needed. Two such sites, www.processid.com and www.processlibrary.com, allow you to look up process names you find on your system using MSCONFIG and/or Windows Defender Software Explorer. You can use either of those tools to disable programs at startup. It takes a little detective work, but the results will be worth it. Also, beware of "Registry Optimizer" programs. They make little if any difference and can really foul up your system.

How do I print my complete contact list in Windows Vista?

From Windows Mail, click on Contacts, right-click on any of your contacts and select Print. In the Print dialog window you will see the option for Print Range. Select "All Contacts" and click Print.

My PC takes a long time to boot, and the Internet is very slow. I'm running Windows XP SP2. When I use Windows Task Manager to check performance, I find CPU utilization at 100 percent, with one of these two processes hogging the CPU:

APDPROXY.EXE

SCANNINGPROCESS.EXE

What are these processes, are they necessary, and if not, how can I get rid of them?

APDPROXY is part of Adobe Photoshop Album and ScanningProcess is part of the ZoneAlarm suite. I know this because of my giant brain? No. I looked them up at www.processlibrary.com. And that is what you need to do with all the processes on your system. If you find that they do not need to start at Windows boot, disable them on the Startup tab in Windows System Configuration Manager (click Start, Run, enter MSCONFIG and click OK). APDPROXY sounds like a candidate to disable at start and ScanningProcess seems to have similar issues for other users. You should check its tech support site. ZoneAlarm is a good product, but there is a good firewall with Windows. Why complicate your PC?

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

Solutions: Nope, you don't need an 'optimizer' 06/08/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 9, 2008 6:07pm]

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