May 17 2007

Slowing Your PC To A Crawl

Ten sure-fire tips to ensure that your machine's functionality is worthless.

BizTech’s crack team of information technology professionals offers 10 guaranteed proven techniques that will enable your desktops to move as if they were powered with Flintstone-era technology instead of dual-cores. If you recognize any of these end-user behaviors, you can share the consequences and help others avoid bringing their machines to a screeching halt.

1 Ignore patch updates.
Who needs a stinking patch? Never patch your computer using Microsoft Corp.’s update utility. None of the latest viruses or other forms of malware ever take advantage of these vulnerabilities anyway. Besides, you’re smart enough to know those patches are part of the Microsoft Evil Conspiracy.
–Dr. Jeff Sheen, senior corporate network engineer for Sogeti

2a Visit gambling sites.
Many gambling Web sites will expect you to — and in some cases trick you into downloading software in order to play. While this software in many cases isn't malicious, some will sit in your system tray even when you aren’t playing and can inundate you with pop-ups and “free offers,” all the while soaking up memory and degrading your system’s overall performance.
– Jason Holbert, Tier II desktop support technician at Harcros Chemicals

2b And don’t forget the porn sites.
Similar to their gaming cousins, lots of porn sites will open all kinds of windows and pop-ups in addition to tricking you into downloading applications. These applications sometimes transmit data regularly to other Web sites. This robs you of computing cycles, and slows performance while increasing security risks.
– Jeff Gross, author of Texxors.com

3 Ignore EULA’s and Privacy Policies (especially on free software).
It’s free, after all, so why bother reading the End-User License Agreement and all that legal stuff? Except that you’ll often find that, along with your “free” program, anywhere from 15 to 20 other files are installed from various adware vendors. There are a few great and truly free programs out there, but typically adware is the difference between the free and paid versions of software.
– Phil Leiter, IT manager at Cumberland Associates LLC

4Download free screensavers, toolbars, browser helpers, unknown cleaners and any software offered from pop-up ads.
Since you’ve decided to ignore the EULA, these are the programs for you. Remember, if it costs nothing, it’s usually worth nothing. Even toolbars bundled from legitimate sources such as Google will rob you of computing cycles.
– Jeff Gross

5Download peer-to-peer file-sharing clients.
Since peer-to-peer relies primarily on the computing power and bandwidth of the active users within the P2P network, it has the potential to consume huge amounts of PC resources in the form of CPU cycles and memory, which, in turn, can tax the average system to the point where it slows to a crawl. So download Limewire and Kazaa onto your work desktop, which can effectively punch a huge hole in your security schema by bypassing your company’s firewall. Misconfigurations can result in wide open TCP/IP ports, a notorious method of introducing malware or spyware into a network. Once infected, one PC can infect other PCs on the network.
 –Douglas Schweitzer, an Internet security specialist and author of several information security books

6Open as many programs as possible for as long as possible.
Computers are capable of doing many millions of things at a time, so running lots of programs that are unnecessary or fun will only add to your own enjoyable day. If you get enough programs running, you will even get built-in breaks during the day while your porn loads. Whatever you do, don’t run defrag or reboot the system. Rebooting will only force you to re-download all of those picture files again, and since it took so long the first time, you’d only lose productivity, right?
–Dave Howe, vice president of systems at Howe Lumber Co.

7Load up your System Tray
Nothing says “Ready to Go!” like 20 little icons standing by in the System Tray. Great examples of these are animated cursors and screen shots. Except that all of those little icons represent programs running in the background and taking away resources before you start your first program. Most of these programs are a part of larger applications — the annoying and often unnecessary part. Get the System Tray under control by running MSCONFIG, click the Startup tab and uncheck the programs you know are not critical. (Unchecking does not delete the program, but prevents it from starting).
– Phil Leiter

8Keep drivers from old printers.
Keeping old print drivers running in the background will slow things down. Many printers have toolbox programs that run and wait for print jobs or monitor the condition of your printer. And you guessed it — it’s using resources. Get rid of them. Even for printers you have, it’s only necessary to run the basic driver without installing tons of other stuff. If you don’t use the printer, remove the driver, the software toolbox and whatever else is associated with it.
– Jeff Gross

9Run lots of Internet video loops.
Everyone loves blooper reels and funny videos. Have them on constantly, so when coworkers come by, you can show them the latest and funniest. Don't worry that there won't be people walking by, because they are sure to be hunting for the IT person since their Internet is running slowly at the moment also.
– Dave Howe

10Keep your PC warm.
Try to place your desk as close as you can to a radiator or baseboard to keep your feet and PC warm. If you have a desk with one of those cut-outs for a PC, be sure to push it as far back as possible to keep the case exhaust air from blowing all over the place. Use the top of the PC, or any space in front of it, to store books and papers and such. In no time your PC will fill with dust and the overheating will bring your system to a screeching halt.
– Phil Leiter


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