Monday, November 28, 2011

Speed Up Your Older Computer For Free! Kill the Noise -- Make It Quiet Down.

You have an older computer with a single core CPU, and less than 2 GB of RAM and it barely works at all it's so slow, and the fan is running all of the time. What should you do? Well, assuming you are like most people, you have software creep -- over the past few years you've added programs that run all of the time using up your CPU's horsepower and your precious memory. Get rid of that stuff! Uninstall it! But -- know before you make it go -- don't just uninstall stuff if you aren't sure whether you need it!

Recently we ran into just such a situation. A 5 year old system had its fan running full blast, and the CPU was maxed at 100% most of the time according to Task Manager, so that it was pretty much useless. It wouldn't stay connected to the internet, booting it up took forever, and so did loading programs.

So. Using Add or Remove Programs, we uninstalled of the the unneeded AOL software, the VPN and IBM Terminal Emulation Software (now unneeded), the Enterprise Level McAfee software (and replaced it with the much smaller and less burdensome Microsoft Security Essentials), as well as a lot of other useless stuff. We were ruthless. If we didn't need it, it went.

We rebooted the computer and, lo and behold (I always wanted to say that), the CPU usage had dropped to less than 1% most of the time, with small spikes up to 2 or 3% occasionally. Cool! Well, not yet; the fan was still running fast and a bit noisily.

There was a visible build-up of dust at the fan intakes and around the front and back of the machine, so we opened it up, took it outside, and blew all of the dust out of the power supply, intakes, exhaust, and so on, until all of the air pathways were clear.

Buttoned the computer back up, rebooted it, and we heard ... almost nothing. Now it was cool! With the dust gone, the computer didn't have to suck air like a vacuum cleaner just to stay alive.

Mission accomplished. The computer is now usable, runs programs, stays connected to the network, and doesn't make any noise.

Total cost: $0.00. Except for me, of course.

You can do this, too. Probably without me.

If not, well ...


PS To load Task Manager just put your mouse cursor on empty Taskbar space and right mouse click -- the pop-up menu will list Task Manager as an option -- left mouse click on it and it will come up. The Processes Tab will show you which are using the most CPU cycles and the Performance Tab will show how busy your CPU is.

PPS To run Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP, go to the Control Panel and look for it near the top.

Photo Credits:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Recycling For Free -- How to Get Rid of Those Old Computers, Batteries, Monitors, etc.


It's a problem. What do you do with all of that old electronics stuff? Batteries, Computers, Monitors -- the places that will take them charge a serious fee, or you have to ship the stuff someplace. But now, the Kinnelon area, or in fact, anyplace that has a Best Buy nearby has a very convenient alternative. Recycle at Best Buy! It's free for  up to 3 items per day.

We all want to recycle, right? But we also don't want it to cost an arm and a leg.

The DPW Dump won't take a lot of the stuff; other places (Staples) charge 10 bucks per item.

So I went to Best Buy on Rt. 23 today. Dropped off 3 sealed lead acid (SLA) batteries from a UPS that I had renewed with new batteries. No problem. Walked in the door, handed them the box, and walked out. Done. Cost nothing. You can do it any day, except on a major holiday, starting at 9 AM.

Boy, that's great.

Many towns now have computer and tech equipment drop-off locations, but many of those Do Not Accept Batteries, or charge for doing so. Best Buy accepts batteries and does not charge.

I can't tell you how many times I've been asked by people what they should do with their old equipment. Now I know what to tell them.

I'll be going every day for the next 2 weeks to get rid of all of that old stuff I've got hanging around.

You should, too.


Photo Credits: Various, Can --
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