Windows PC Tuneup

Basil Irwin

(reliancepc.com)

02/02/10

So, what is a PC tuneup, anyway? A proper and thorough PC tuneup tests the health of your system, optimizes its performance, and fixes any nagging problems. My tuneup procedure has been developed after working on hundreds of PCs during the last 12 years. Below, I've listed what my PC tuneup includes: 

  1. Backup any critical data client hasn’t already backed up.

  2. Evaluate the overall health and capability of the system. Sometimes it’s more economical to preserve the data and re-image the operating system if the system is damaged beyond any reasonable attempt to repair it. Also, sometimes a system is so old and/or needs so many upgrades, it’s more cost-effective to purchase a new computer, transferring data and programs to the new computer from the old one. Good desktop computers, in particular, are quite inexpensive.
  3. Check if hard drive is filled up. Check hard drive S.M.A.R.T. data if it’s suspected that the hard drive might be failing (may also run hard drive surface scan if hard drive is functioning really slowly). If hard drive is failing or is full, clone and replace hard drive. Also, make sure hard drive and/or system files are not compressed; if so, decompress.
  4. Check if adequate RAM is installed and upgrade if necessary.
  5. Check for malicious software (malware) if necessary and remove malware.
  6. Check if latest service packs are installed, and update if necessary. Install any subsequent updates.
  7. In consultation with client, remove unnecessary and/or unused software.
  8. Remove commercial bloatware antivirus/antispyware program(s), and replace with a free, effective, lightweight, unobtrusive and trouble-free antivirus program. Use vendor-special uninstallers to remove any remnants of these bloatware programs.
  9. Disable (but don’t remove) unnecessary startup programs, services, and tasks.
  10. Optimize system look-and-feel and make other productivity optimizations.
  11. Upgrade to IE8 and optimize it, removing/disabling unneeded add-ons and toolbars. Install and/or optimize Firefox (+ add-ons) if desired by client. Install Flash Reader 10 for IE8 and FF.
  12. Install and configure Thunderbird email reader if desired by client.
  13. Install and optimize latest Java and Adobe. Optimize itunes if present.
  14. Optimize settings for: power, mouse, keyboard, network, system, graphics, desktop, icons, error reporting, and restart options.
  15. Disable qttask, mobsync, XP Genuine Notification, and auto-updating of all products except Windows itself.
  16. Clear out various temp and prefetch directories.
  17. Optionally configure dual login strategy, with “limited account” permissions on the every-day login to virtually eliminate the possibility of malware infections.
  18. Fix any remaining nagging problems, and perform any additional work as requested by client.
  19. Have client test all critical applications, network connections, etc.
  20. Defrag hard drive if necessary.
  21. Copy my remote access application onto the desktop so client can optionally initiate  connection to my PC for any post-tuneup tweaking via remote access, as well as any other support if desired.

Please don't hesitate to call or email me for a free consultation regarding system performance improvements (or any other PC issue for that matter). I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at just how fast and annoyance-free I can make your system.

My fee is $40.00/hr for home users and $45.00/hr for businesses. Most tuneups take about 3 hours, though if you have a system that is heavily infected with malicious software or other very difficult issues, it may take additional time to clean the system. I have 12 years experience with PCs and 40 years total computer experience, including bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science. 

Alternatively, be extremely wary of the big box stores "PC repair" departments. Since they have minimal knowledge, they are unable to remove most modern viruses, and thus claim that the system must have the OS freshly reinstalled, though this is completely untrue. They'll often charge an outrageous price for a retail copy of the OS for reinstallation, even though free OEM install disks are available from companies like Dell. They'll also wipe out your data by not copying it before wiping the hard drive, and they won't tell you that before hand. And finally, they won't reinstall the factory drivers after reinstalling the OS, leaving you with a crippled computer. And, believe me, this is a best-case scenario. The worst case I heard was a client who had a big box store lose her laptop. They talked her into accepting a used computer in lieu of the one they lost!

Note that there are a lot of wannabe PC "geeks" posting right now on Craigslist who are advertising inexpensive rates; people who think that they know how to repair PCs because they use one and have tinkered a bit. Look for someone who at least has enough professional commitment to have their own web site and their own business email address, as opposed to someone using a free email address and has no web site. Look for someone with long-standing business clients and business references.

Cheap rates and/or corporate big box store, but remember that you usually get what you pay for! I'm the guy who people bring their computers to after someone else has messed them up, so why not skip that step and bring them to me first! You'll save money in the long run and save a lot of headaches as well. My work is guaranteed and I provide remote access to your computer after I work on it should any questions or issues arise afterwards.

                                            Basil Irwin

                                            basil@reliancepc.com

                                            www.reliancepc.com

                                            303-774-1526