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PC System Maintenance
One tool you cannot do without...
pageoneresults




msg:1568033
 2:34 pm on Aug 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Many of you will probably gasp when I tell you that my home PC is a Dell PII 400 with 256MB of RAM. I purchased this beast at the beginning of 1998 at a cost of approximately $6,700.00.

I've had one major issue and that was in 1999 when a virus got through unexpectedly and changed all the dates on my system to 1972. Had to reinstall the OS which was the first and only time that ever happened to me.

In 1999 I purchased a program called Norton SystemWorks. This is a utility that goes beyond the standard Windows utilities for keeping your system in tip-top shape.

I run it at least once a week, it's kind of like a spring cleaning routine for your PC. If it weren't for this program, I think I would have been forced to get a new PC a couple of years ago.

About four months ago, I purchased Norton SystemWorks 2004. Installed it on my home system and went through the normal routines. Wow, after completion, it was almost like I was working on a new PC again. Apparently they made some major changes between the previous version I was using and this new version.

If you are running a PC, no matter what OS and no matter what configuration, Norton SystemWorks is a great maintenance tool to have on board. You'll definitely be pleasantly surprised at what this tool will do for keeping your system mean and lean.

P.S. After installing Norton SystemWorks and running the utilities on various PCs at our corporate offices, we were able to revive many that were destined for the trash bin. Years of abuse by employees who were not performing maintenance or defrag routines. We went through each machine and brought most of them back up to snuff just by using this utility.

P.S.S. Just yesterday, I was asked to clean a PC in our Mac Graphics Department. lol, first run of the utility found 497 Registry errors. And they were wondering why it was crashing regularly. ;)

 

ogletree




msg:1568034
 2:43 pm on Aug 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

People buy new PC's when there pc can't run their applications even with a fresh install. Also I bet you are not running Windows XP. That would not run to well on a system like that. Windows 98 is a virus compared to XP. If all you do is browse the internet, email, word, and excel then your machine is fine. Most people here have no choice but to have a faster machine because of the aps we run. You can buy a PC that blows that one out of the water for under $400. It just seems kind of silly to not upgrade. PC's are disposable nowdays.

coopster




msg:1568035
 2:46 pm on Aug 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

You're right, I did gasp!

Not because you are running a Dell PII 400 with 256MB of RAM though. It's that price! Sure seems high! Must have been the software you had pre-loaded ;)

I still run a couple of DELL OPTIPLEX P166 128 MB RAM w/o issue. Solid machines.

Anyway, back to topic. You seemed so sold on the product, I went and had a quick look. Seems the biggest difference between the standard and PRO versions is that PRO includes Ghost. I've heard plenty of good on that product. Which are you running, or moreso, which do you recommend?

pageoneresults




msg:1568036
 3:02 pm on Aug 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

You can buy a PC that blows that one out of the water for under $400.

It pains me everytime I see an add for those less than $500.00 systems that will blow mine out of the water. ;)

I'm actually going mobile in the next 30 days so a new Sony Vaio A-190 is currently being configured for my use. After the purchase price and adding on everything I need, the tab is just under $4,000.00.

Not because you are running a Dell PII 400 with 256MB of RAM though. It's that price! Sure seems high! Must have been the software you had pre-loaded ;)

I made the mistake of leasing that system back in 1998. After the lease was over the total price paid ended up being just under $6,700.00. Yes, I did have a lot of extras built into the system at time of lease. Oh, don't get me started! You learn from your mistakes. I would never, ever, lease a computer system again.

Which are you running, or moreso, which do you recommend?

I'm running the standard edition. It came pre-bundled with Norton Personal Firewall which I did not need as I run SyGate.

The two utilities that I use are Norton AntiVirus and Norton Utilities. Within the Utilities section is where all the power is, at least for me anyway.

coopster




msg:1568037
 3:25 pm on Aug 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

I run the AV product. Couldn't stand it at first, caused major issues with Windows platforms I managed. However, after Symantec bought IBM's AV technology in 1998 the product has been solid and I wouldn't be without it.

Judging from the accolades earlier I figured you were referring to the Utilities features. Thanks for the heads up and your honest opinion.

Too bad you learn from your mistakes -- I'd be willing to part with one of these P166's for, oh say, $2,000 ;)

ergophobe




msg:1568038
 4:00 pm on Aug 19, 2004 (gmt 0)


It just seems kind of silly to not upgrade. PC's are disposable nowdays.

Actually, it is landfill and pollution issues more than anything that keep me from upgrading. PC manufacture is a dirty industry and I like to make my machines go as long as possible. Now that LCDs are cheap, I ask myself which is better - to keep running the power hog CRT and use up all that electricity, or to buy something new, which uses a lot of energy and creates a lot of pollution in the manufacturing process, not to mention disposal of the old monitor. I don't know whether pageone thinks about those things too or if he's just cheap. For the record, I'm also cheap and an aspiring old curmudgeon (currently lacking only age to earn the title), and that plays into it too.

On the original question, though, I have and use SystemWorks, but don't find it has any revolutionary effect on my computer and I don't find that the disk cleanup and defrag do any better than the utils packaged with Win2K. I bought it because I wanted Ghost, but it's such a pain, I don't actually use it and, once again, find that using the Win2K native backup is just as good. It periodically finds and deletes some unused registry entires, but it is miles from actually cleaning out the accumulated detritus in the registry. I would say for every 100 obsolete keys and values it finds one.

Sorry for such a negative response, but I haven't really seen much value from SystemWorks and wouldn't spend the money again (but then, as we've established, I'm cheap and a youngish curmudgeon).

Tom

encyclo




msg:1568039
 4:32 pm on Aug 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

pageoneresults - my primary, and fastest PC in the house (I work at home) is a 500Mhz Celeron with 128Mb of RAM, running Linux. I'll upgrade one day, but when it ain't broke, don't fix it.

ergophobe is right - the pollution caused by perfectly useable PCs being thrown out is terrible. Unless you're a hardcore gamer, you really don't need the latest kit. My wife runs a 400Mhz Pentium I using Windows XP with no problems at all. OK, they're not the quickest at launching applications, but I'm not throwing them out until the hardware fails or they are unable to run important applications. All I really need for my work is a few browsers, an email app and a text editor.

For maintenance? I'm not a Windows expert, but usually an OS reinstall fixes everything, and if you don't run IE or Outlook Express, use a good firewall and are careful on what you click and download, the reinstallation is infrequent.

pageoneresults




msg:1568040
 4:38 pm on Aug 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

For maintenance? I'm not a Windows expert, but usually an OS reinstall fixes everything.

Eek! That is the last thing I would want to do. With the number of programs I have, updates, upgrades, etc., a reinstall of OS is like the absolute last resort.

I think I've been able to avoid the reinstall issue due to the maintenance routines that I run on my systems on a regular basis.

Also, reinstall is not an option for most. Many PC users are not adept at reinstalling an OS. I wasn't either until that first reinstall in 1999. Wouldn't want to do that again if I didn't have to. ;)

Use a good firewall and are careful on what you click and download.

Absolutely! In addition to that, an active spyware program like Ad-Aware is of benefit.

isitreal




msg:1568041
 11:23 pm on Aug 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've seen Norton system works totally destroy a pc, several times, it removed protected OS drivers etc, I would never use that product for any reason at any time, though it is nice to see someone have better luck with it than the people I've had to fix their pc's had with their versions.

I'm never clear on where people pick up all this extra junk on their pc's, if you ALWAYS do a custom install of software, and always check to make sure you're not installing stuff into the system tray, and never use IE unless absolutely necessary, how do pc's get messed up like that?

Norton antivirus definitely slows boxes down, I'm going to switch to nod32 as soon as my current subscriptions run out I think, it's supposed to be less intrusive overall, yields a cleaner pc.

ergophobe




msg:1568042
 11:42 pm on Aug 19, 2004 (gmt 0)


how do pc's get messed up like that?

1. Installers that don't let you choose where files go
2. Uninstallers that don't delete registry keys effectively
3. Programs that create files and reg keys all over the place at runtime.

I bet this list could go to 100

pageoneresults




msg:1568043
 1:47 am on Aug 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

It periodically finds and deletes some unused registry entires, but it is miles from actually cleaning out the accumulated detritus in the registry. I would say for every 100 obsolete keys and values it finds one.

I do believe this has been addressed in the latest 2004 version. I also run it regularly and see the registry errors that it is correcting. As I mentioned above, it found and corrected 497 registry errors on the PC that I recently brought back to life. ;)

I forgot to mention the One Button Checkup. One click and you can run the most common utility routines, neat little feature.

varya




msg:1568044
 4:32 pm on Aug 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

There are lots of options for recycling/reusing old computer equipment in the US (didn't say where you live).

Office Max is running a special program this summer accepting all kinds of old equipment to recycle.

There are numerous private organizations that accept and refurbish old computer equipment and give it to schools, non-profits and folks without means.

And there's always Freecycle (available worldwide)

isitreal




msg:1568045
 5:49 pm on Aug 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

And once the machines are accepted for recycling, where do they go?

Here's a common destination [usatoday.com].

Dirty work but I guess it's better them than us, no?

ergophobe




msg:1568046
 5:57 pm on Aug 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Pageone,

That's interesting to hear. It's mostly the registry detritus that gets me. No matter what, my Win2K machine will not stream audio, not with any app on the market (Real, QT, Win Media Player). It used to, it will still play audio from the HD but not streaming, and my WinXP machine on the same hub will stream audio, so it's probably something in the registry innards that SystemWorks 2003 will not fix. I have to say that after my experience with SW, I'm loathe to drop the money to "crossgrade". The prospect of spending days reinstalling/resetting all the applications, updates, service packs, mozilla extensions, user settings and so on gives me the willies. So I just live with no streaming audio in the one machine.

Varya,

I don't want to get off on recycling because I could go forever on that, but in answer to your question, I do live in the US and I do recycle or give away, but recycling is not nearly as low-impact as not producing in the first place. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Recycle comes last because it's the least effective.

[edited by: ergophobe at 6:12 pm (utc) on Aug. 20, 2004]

jimbeetle




msg:1568047
 6:10 pm on Aug 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

It just seems kind of silly to not upgrade. PC's are disposable nowdays.

Most of my time sitting in front if this machine is thinking time: planning, researching, writing. Unless Intel or AMD come out with a chip that allows me to put out finished documents at 1,000 words per minute or so, no faster machine is going to improve my productivity over this PIII-600 war horse.

I admit that somewhere in back of my mind I've been kind of thinking of getting a new machine at the end of the year, though really trying to resist the temptation. Now I'm just going to take a walk over to Staples and pick up a copy of Norton Utilities. If it tunes things up as nicely as POR says, I'll hold off on upgrading until it's really worthwhile for me.

SEOMike




msg:1568048
 6:57 pm on Aug 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

PageoneResults-

This software really does work wonders. My father's computer is always coming up with memory leaks and terribly slow response times. It's just the magic black hole that is his basement. I installed this program a while ago and it helped immensely. With regular cleaning, all has been trouble free since!

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