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Bob Bain

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Assignment 2 [Jul. 15th, 2005|09:53 pm]
Bob Bain
[Current Mood |exhaustedexhausted]

80% for the Research Essay (second assignment in Financial Statement Analysis). That's less than the 86% for Assignment 1 but it was marked "excellent - very thorough".

This machine is in a dying phase. It started as an ME machine upgraded to XP Home but is now so infested with things that spyware and anti-virus checkers can't detect so I'm using this period of employment and earnings to replace it with a 3.2 GHz HP machine - with lots of USB ports - in addition to the other things I've chosen to purchase.

Waiting for an hour for "My Computer" to open is ridiculous. The software I use most will be placed on the new HP machine and this machine relegated to Linux. It's not the mechanics or the electronics. It's simply dying of worms and trojans. AVG virus checker tells me they are there but there's nothing it can do about it.

Exam results for Financial Statement Analysis should be on-line on Monday. Semester 2 and the final subject of the Master's Degree starts on July 25th. I have to submit 10 assignments split into 3 + 3 + 4 - due end of August, September and October and another research essay but this time on a topic associated with "small enterprise finance".

A new person starts on Monday to replace the Business Analyst I was working alongside. I am told that I am definitely needed at the present time. Another new person will start in September. I think I'm working up to September at least. I have to squeeze study in. I'm told "we're flexible".

From: (Anonymous)
2005-07-16 12:31 am (UTC)


By coincidence my new PC is HP Presario 3.something Pentium 4 HT with seven USB 2 ports.

The only program I know that gets rid of stuff that other progs say they do but don't, is Pest Patrol, from Zone Alarms (I think). It has served me well over a few years now, spotting and getting rid of trojans in particular. This new PC came bundled with Norton Internet Security 2005, which is also very good.

Glad the exams are going well.

Bro Alan
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[User Picture]From: acelightning
2005-07-16 06:10 am (UTC)
there are actually very few things that up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware won't detect. what's slowing your machine down may be at least partly due to the number and variety of programs that have been installed and uninstalled over its lifespan. most things leave registry entries behind, and the registry just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger... and Windows has to load the registry before it can do anything else. if you know how to edit the registry, then you ought to look for everything you know you don't have installed any more, and delete all its associated entries. but i don't have to warn you that editing the registry can really fuck things up if you make any mistakes - make a backup copy of the registry first, in case you have to restore it!

another thing that can make a computer take a long time to start up is the programs that load at startup. an awful lot of programs add themselves to the startup process when you install them, whether they need to be there or not. there are a number of freeware startup-control utilities that will help you eliminate things you don't need running all the time. (stuff running when you're not using it will also degrade your system's overall speed and performance, of course.)

two other things that can slow you down are swapfile bloat and a fragmented drive. first, go into the settings for "Virtual Memory", and tell it not to let Windows control the virtual memory. instead, set the minimum and maximum numbers to the same value - typically 1.5 to 2 times the amount of RAM your machine has installed. then defrag your hard drive(s). if you haven't defragged in a while, this could take a very long time.

to sum up:
  1. download the latest virus updates, then do a thorough anti-virus scan
  2. run Spybot S&D and Ad-Aware (again, download all updates first)
  3. remove from the startup list any programs that don't need to be run at startup
  4. while you're at it, uninstall anything you don't need
  5. edit the registry if you're brave enough, or at least run RegCleaner or something like it
  6. set the swapfile size, as described above
  7. defrag the drive(s)
  8. empty the Recycle Bin, if you haven't already
  9. shut the machine down and leave it off for thirty seconds before rebooting.
these steps ought to give you back at least some of your performance.

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[User Picture]From: bobbain
2005-07-16 07:22 am (UTC)
Thanks Ace,

I do all of these things on a regular basis apart from degragmenting the drive. I have IPV6 (not free) which permits detailed examination of registry entries - including those that run at start-up. I use Tea-Timer to monitor changes to the registry. I along with many others have found that Ad-Aware doesn't work very well on XP. The advice was to use Webroot and I have a two year subscription to that. I run the 2002 edition of Norton's utilities which seemingly hasn't changed very much over the years. (It *always* finds something to correct and this is true for everybody. I read that in a magazine article).

The machine is now in the olde olde category and has been patched and fiddled with so often that while I'm earning money I am splashing out a bit. I now have a PVR (digital box) with hard drive, a DVD hard drive recorder, a new HP computer for downstairs and the one for upstairs (which is the gungy one I am talking about).

I can fiddle with it until the cows come home and I have been doing so for several years and the cows haven't come home yet !! :-)

I'm typing this on my Windows 2000 machine downstairs. This machine has a few minor glitches but isn't "protected" by Microsoft mandatory firewalls for XP and the like and runs very fast indeed. It's a 2.8 MHz machine.

The machines I have and considered active are -

WERR01 - the gungy ME/XP hybrid located upstairs (which is the one we are discussing) Speed 1.4 GHz. (Pentium 4) It's a problem machine I access from the bedroom and is the most utilised machine on my "Werrington" network. It was built for me by Bromley Computers in St. Marys a long time ago now and I've changed both the hardware and the software. He wouldn't recognise it.

WERR02 - An XP machine built by CX computing. I haven't used it very much but it has Quicken Software on it and indeed Microsoft Office 2000 - including Front Page 2000 (in case I decide to learn it) Speed 1.8 GHz - Pentium 4. No bugs, spyware or trojans - but as I hardly turn it on it wouldn't get bugs and trojans. It was intended to be a Linux machine but I changed my mind after purchase and installed XP Home on it. The hard disks groan at start up in cold weather.

WERR02 - Windows 2000 machine - used primarily for study while downstairs. I've done a great deal of my degree studies on this machine. It's an Acer box. I don't fiddle inside it. It has a few minor glitches such as opening Excel twice when I double click on an icon but apart from that it's ok. It's a 2.2 GHz Celeron machine.

WERR04 - This is a new HP machine but it doesn't have a floppy drive which pushed the price down. It's in the same area as the PVR and the digital TV and I intend to use it in conjunction with those. It's a 2.8 MHz Pentium 4 machine.

... and the new WERR01 which is sitting upstairs to replace the machine we are talking about. Installing the software will be done slowly and as needed.

I've also bought a shared network hard drive (160 gig). This is indulgence on my part :-)

And I've added a copier fax machine and printer (HP). This is also networked - ie connected to the ADSL modem/hub. It does stand alone copying and faxing (without a computer) and will print from digital cameras without a computer.

Yes. I've been spending money. I could save it (for my old age) but there appears to be a demand for my services and I have sufficient resources to fall back on (including the welfare system - such as it is in Australia).

Oh.. and a new wireless telephone with answering machine and a new mobile phone. Much of this is good investment as nearly every contract I've obtained has been via mobile/cellular phone. An up to date answering machine is also useful. The one I had dated back to 1984 or so...

As it stands despite spending money I'm pretty much where I was in January financally. I keep tabs on every penny ! (believe me).

I hope things work out as best they can for you. My major concern is the size of my aorta. If you were on Skype we could have a chat. Skype only runs on this machine (the Windows 2000 one).

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: acelightning
2005-07-16 07:56 am (UTC)
this computer is a Pentium II, 300 mHz, running Windows 2000 Professional - when i bought it new, it came from the Gateway factory with Win95 installed. i have never had a virus on it, and very little spyware, all of which was removed as soon as it was detected. (of course, part of this is because i'm smart enough to enable all of the "ask first before installing things" features on my browsers, and i'm smart enough not to click on file-attachments if i don't know what they are, and i don't use Outlook Express - i don't even have it installed on this machine.)

i'm starting to run into performance problems, though, because 300 mHz just isn't good enough any more. none of my media players work properly, and i'm sure it's because of the slow processor, and the fact that i only have 4 MB of video memory. and Skype doesn't work right either - their minimum recommendation is better than what i've got. if and when i ever get money again, i need a new computer. (i'd also like a nice laptop, but that's going to cost quite a bit more.) however, i do not want WinXP, and i wouldn't touch XP Home with a stick. (XP Home and XP Pro are really two different operating systems.) i'll stick with Win2K until something better comes along.

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