Posted date: Sep 12, 2016
by: Jason Padgett
These steps are just general maintenance, and will not cure more severe problems. It is also assumed you have an internet connection, and you know how to install and uninstall programs.
Uninstall unwanted software
First things first, go to the control panel, and then to programs, you are looking for programs which should be uninstalled from the computer: toolbars, media players which you don't use, programs like clean my pc, and any other all-in-one pc fix-it programs. While you are in there search for extra virus protection software, you only ever want one, active, virus protection type of software on your computer at any given time, uninstall any redundant virus protection. Later on we will be installing a virus scanner, but it isn't active, it isn't running all of the time, so it doesn't conflict with whatever anti-virus software you prefer. There are programs you don't want to uninstall, so look for the ones you know you don't want and get rid of them.
Clean up the junk
Get a fresh copy of the free version of ccleaner @ http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner it is a good program for wiping the unwanted files off of your computer. Files you would probably never access, but build up in your computer and slow it down. Run the program, it will tell you that it is going to delete files from your computer, but that is what you are using it for, so click the 'yes' button and let it do its thing. There may be pop ups which say '*** needs to be closed' click 'yes' to close whatever program it is talking about, and it will continue. When it is done, close the program.
Scan for bugs and unwanted programs hiding on your computer
If you don't have it, install the free version of Malwarebytes from https://www.malwarebytes.com/mwb-download/ during the install, make sure sure you uncheck the 'Enable the free trial of the full version' checkbox. If you don't uncheck it, you will get the full version of the software which is an active anti-virus suite, and it will start asking you for money after a couple of weeks. If you are shopping for a anti-virus suite this is a good one and not terribly expensive, but if you already have an anti-virus suite, you don't want to install another. Anyway, get it installed, and then make sure it is updated using the 'update' button on the dashboard page, then go to the settings tab, and then click on 'Detection and protection' in the left-hand menu and make sure the 'Scan for rootkits' box is checked and both of the 'Non-malware protection' drop down boxes say 'Treat detections as malware'. Go back to the dashboard, and when the database has finished updating, hit the scan button. When the scan is done, it will list the bugs it found, hit the 'remove selected' button, let it remove the bugs, and then reboot the computer.
Updates and other considerations
you should also check your browser add-ons, get rid of toolbars for apps you don't specifically need, look for anything else suspicious. You don't need browser add-ons, so if you are not sure about one of them, get rid of it. Check your homepage, it may have been set to a different page with out you knowledge, set it back to what you want, or set it to open with a blank page. Check your search engines, default it to google or bing and delete the others.
If you need an anti-virus suite, there are a few good options. First, get any other anti-virus off of your system, since you will not want more than one running. And then install the anti-virus program you want. In my experience, which doesn't guarantee you will like the same programs, and doesn't guarantee you wont get a virus, but the programs I have had the best luck with are: for a full featured, paid, anti-virus suite, it is hard to beat Kasperski @ http://usa.kaspersky.com/?domain=www.kasperski.com, for a less expensive option, but still works very well (the one I use) is the paid version of malwarebytes @ https://www.malwarebytes.com/, the best free anti-virus suite I have found is Avast @ https://www.avast.com/en-us/index .
And then, monthly, repeat: update / run ccleaner, update / run malwarebytes, check your browser add-ons to see if you picked anything up you don't want, and then check your computer updates.
Following these steps will help to keep your computer working smoothly, but will not fix bigger issues. If your computer is still not doing what it should, or if you don't feel comfortable performing these steps, bring it in to the computer shop for a closer look.
Hope this helps.
Also, I should say that I don't have any business or financial ties to any of the companies listed here, I only suggest them because they have been working for me in the past, and my opinions of them may change in the future.