The RDV Group InfoSec Blog

Monday, March 06, 2006

My PC is slow!

I just got an email from a friend who works for a major metropolitan newspaper. Her boss is having PC problems, and asks for a bit of help:

"... My new boss mentioned this morning that his old computer is all clogged up and moving very slowly. So he's going to get a new, updated computer. In the past when he has switched computers, he has just had system support move all his stuff onto the new computer. But this time he is wondering if that will simply clog up and slow down his new computer. Do you have any general advice I could pass along to him? For example, I wondered if he should just put all the old stuff on CD's. Or are there any tricks to get the important documents to switch over without the viruses and spyware?..."

I thought I'd post my response, because I think it has useful info:

" ... Above all, anything he does with the PC needs to be okayed by systems. The company owns the PC and the data on it, and if he does anything I recommend here and the data goes poof, he might be in violation of employee computer-use compliance policies. These policies may seem counter-productive, but they are usually there for a reason.

If, on the other hand (and this is more likely), systems doesn't really care what he does with the PC as long as it doesn't result in more work for them, or they don't have any kind of policy about this, he should think about a couple of things. PCs slow down primarily for just a few reasons:

1) The PC has spyware or viruses intercepting processes and hogging resources;
2) The amount of data stored on the PC is growing, especially large email attachments can do this (video/music);
3) The file allocation links are fragmented throughout the hard drive, slowing performance by making the drive work harder to find all the related pieces of data on the drive.

The solutions to these three is:
1) Virus and spyware removers. Systems must have recommendations to make. You probably have decent email virus scanning and virus protection included in the company's standard PC build. If not, the usual Symantec or McAfee work fine. A good, free spyware remover is Ad-Aware Personal

2) You make a good suggestion to clear off old data. If he has a CDR or CDRW burner he should clear off as much old junk before the move, by burning to the CD then erasing from the PC (empty the trash, too). He needs to be careful, however, to be sure he knows what files he's removing and not Windows systems files or the like.

3) Symantec System Works has a good Disk Optimizer that should be run occasionally (monthly). Microsoft has a defragmenter built-in to the OS also, which isn't very good but is free. Caveat: don't turn off or lose power during the defrag process; you may lose everything.

One important point about #3: if systems is backing up and restoring his old data to a new PC, the disk will be optimized anyway by the nature of the migration, and probably won't need it on the new PC anytime soon.

Another point is that we eventually get used to the newer, faster machine, and if the slow-down isn't dramatic, we're probably just jaded..."

Now I know there's a lot of back and forth about which virus scanner or spyware detector is better. The point is that any of these are better than not having any at all, and corporate systems will most likely have a standard to follow.


Post a Comment

<< Home