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Speed Up Your Sluggish Computer

Jeremy from Washington asks:

When I close certain programs, mainly Internet Explorer and Incredimail, the program is still running in the background and eating memory. What’s causing this?

First of all, you’ll want to make sure your computer isn’t affected with some sort of virus. A computer virus is capable of causing programs to run incessantly or to completely ignore any commands you try to give to specific programs. The following steps will help you make sure there aren’t any viruses eating away at your computer’s memory:

Step 1 – Restart the computer

Step 2 – Hold the F8 key down for a few seconds after the computer comes on

Step 3 – Let go of F8 once you hear a beep or see the menu for Advanced Boot Options

Step 4 – Scroll up and down using the arrows to make your selection of Safe Mode with Networking and press the Enter key


Step 5 – Wait for the drivers to load

Step 6 – Once the drivers have fully loaded, the Welcome Screen will appear

Step 7 – Log into the computer with an Administrator’s account and download a program that will help to eliminate any viruses that might be present. free scan [1] available for PC users. It checks for and removes any detected viruses and also gets rid of junk folders that are taking up memory. This scan is an excellent way to get your PC running faster.

There are quite a few free virus detecting programs available, just to get you started. After you find one you like, then you can choose to upgrade later on if you wish. The upgraded versions of many of the free downloads offer more protection, which is recommended if you are on the Internet full-time. Programs that scan your computer each time it is turned on is another great source of protection. These types of programs can quickly kill a virus before it’s able to do any damage to the computer system.

A common problem some people have with Internet Explorer is that it will use more and more memory until it eventually seizes up. When this occurs, even the Task Manager isn’t available for viewing. This complete freeze-up means the computer will have to be forced to shut down. Having to do this regularly allows for tainted programs to have a chance to find their way into the computer’s memory.

The option to download Process Explorer is available for people who can’t seem to get certain tasks to quit running. This will kill the task that isn’t ending when you tell it to. Process Explorer is able to find any DLL-version issues or other problems that might cause a Windows application to not function properly.

If running processes are your problem, an additional method of detecting and controlling them is explained in another Worldstart tip, found here.

Switching to Firefox [2] helps some people who can’t seem to get Internet Explorer to work correctly. As an Internet browser, Internet Explorer doesn’t work well for everyone. You could also check to see if there are any add-ons trying to access a website constantly. This is a likely reason for Internet Explorer continuing to run after you close it.

As for IncrediMail, this application uses so much memory for all that it tries to do that it is known for locking up a computer from time to time. This is likely to happen when other programs are also trying to run. The first step you should take is to make sure you have the newest version of IncrediMail. There are different kinks worked out in each edition, so try starting with the very latest version first.

IncrediMail is a very simple mail program and does not deal well with multiple attachments in emails. This can cause it to freeze up the computer or eat a lot of memory while it is trying to manage the task of downloading an attachment. It might take longer than you would expect it to, so while you are ready to move on, IncrediMail is still working on the first task it was assigned; the attachment. Downloading the newest version fixes many problems that people seem to have with Incredimail, while others find it easier to switch to Gmail, Thunderbird, or Outlook for their mail needs.

Note: Even if you are seldom connected to the Internet, your computer is still at risk. Many find that a unified threat management system including Avira AntiVir, MalwareBytes, and SUPERAntiSpyware provide the best protection. All are free in their basic form and can easily be scheduled to run while your computer is not in use.

If you decide to stick with Explorer, I wish you the best of luck getting it to play nice.

~Cory Buford