Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Solutions: Tweaks can help keep old computer running

I have a Dell Dimension 2350 with 512 MB of RAM. My Internet is slow and I receive low virtual memory messages. I increased my virtual memory to 500 MB but did not notice any changes. Should I get a program to clean up my over 1,000 registry issues to speed up my computer? If so, which one would you recommend?

512 MB RAM is very bare bones. I know this is an old computer, but you would benefit with an upgrade to 1 GB (the limit on that model if the online specs are correct). I do not recommend any registry cleaner and absolutely stay away from anything you see advertised on TV.

Here are some things you can do: Click Start, Run, type MSCONFIG and click OK. Click the Startup tab. These are the programs that start up automatically when you boot. Many of them are not necessary. Every PC will be different, so you will have to do some digging to find out what these programs are if you don't recognize them. Internet searches on the process name can be helpful. Each process can be prevented from automatically starting by un-checking it.

Some other things: Do a hard disk defrag and a general disk space cleanup. Right-click the C drive, choose Properties, click the Disk Cleanup button. Make sure that the PC's fan is not caked with dust. If it is, a blast from a can of compressed air will fix that.

I am using Windows 7 on a Toshiba laptop. I frequently have to send messages to different people and sometimes I get this message: "Cannot deliver this message as your Default Mail Client is not properly installed." I don't understand this message. I have no problem sending or receiving email.

What is your email client? That is important information. I would look at which program is set as the default email program for your PC, and if it is not set correctly, set it. Click Start, type default and then click the Default Programs link at the top. Click set program access and computer defaults. Select Custom and then click the down arrow to the right. Microsoft Live will show as a choice unless you've already installed your email client program information.

Sometimes when I am trying to get online, I get this message: "You are not currently logged into your computer as an administrator. Please log out and back in as an administrator and then restart the installer." After this message the only way I know to get online is to turn the computer off and unplug the modem for at least 10 seconds. This will usually make it possible for me to go online.

My recommendation would be to run the Microsoft Defender Offline and have it look for and remove any virus/malware. Go to to read about Windows Defender Offline and create your own CD/DVD. Once this is completed, boot from that CD (when your computer reboots, it will ask you to press any key to boot from the CD). This will automatically run the Windows Defender Offline without interference.

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

Solutions: Tweaks can help keep old computer running 07/01/12 [Last modified: Sunday, July 1, 2012 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Warehouse burns on Tampa's east side


    TAMPA — Hillsborough County emergency crews are at the scene of a two-alarm fire at a warehouse near 56th Street and East Hillsborough Avenue.

    Hillsborough County firefighters battle a blaze Thursday night at a warehouse on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  2. 'Dream big' drives Lightning's Conacher brothers

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Two words: Dream big.

    Cory Conacher includes them every time he signs an autograph for a young hockey fan.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cory Conacher (89) on the ice during Lightning training camp in Brandon Friday morning (09/15/17).
  3. Irma roughs up endangered snail kites, birds that help us gauge the Everglades' health


    Hurricane Irma was as rough on some wildlife as it was on the humans. Audubon of Florida reported Thursday that the storm destroyed all 44 nests around Lake Okeechobee built by the endangered Everglades snail kite, a bird considered crucial to the River of Grass ecosystem.

    Hurricane Irma destroyed 44 snail kite nests, capping off a poor mating season for the endangered species, which is seen as an important barometer of the health of the Florida Everglades. Their off-center beaks allow them to probe inside the spiral shells of the native apple snails. But the snails' population has dropped as the Everglades has changed. [MAC STONE | Audubon of Florida]
  4. New center opens in Tampa to help those with missing, damaged limbs


    TAMPA — Justin Lansford, his service dog Gabe by his side, smiled broadly Thursday as he imagined the future of a sprawling, resource center for people who need artificial limbs and those interested in helping them.

    Justin Lansford, 27, lost his left leg above the knee in Afghanistan. He was one of dozens of people attending the opening of the Veterans International Institute of Orthotics & Prosthetics in Tampa on Thursday. [HOWARD ALTMAN   |   Staff]
  5. Still worried about family, Tampa Bay Puerto Ricans ramp up relief effort


    TAMPA — Brenda Irizarry is worried.

    Brenda Irizarry of Tampa, while agonizing over the status of family in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, is helping lead an effort to collect and send supplies to the island. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times