WHAT’S NEW AT PC PITSTOP, JULY 2003
Thanks for using PC Pitstop! Here’s an update on what’s new at our site, plus some helpful tips to help you get the most out of your computer.
IN THIS ISSUE
- Security Alert: What’s Running When You Power Up?
- Updated Disk Health Now Provides Detailed Analysis
- Anti-Spam Tip: Eliminate Annoying Messenger Popups
- Spyware and Adware Gets Court’s Blessing
- Expert Tip: Make Windows Tell You Everything
- PC Pitstop Cures Cancer and Finds Alien Life
- Performance Tip: Max Out Your Disk Speed
SECURITY ALERT: WHAT’S RUNNING WHEN YOU POWER UP?
Windows has a convenient utility that can show you what runs at startup. Click Start | Run and type MSCONFIG. On the Startup tab you’ll see a list of what gets run each time you start the system. Some like SysTray are essential Windows components, but you probably have at least a few unwanted programs that run when you start your computer. Whenever you test your computer at PC Pitstop, you’ll get a color-coded report of what’s running, what it does, and whether you should disable it.
UPDATED DISK HEALTH TEST NOW PROVIDES DETAILED ANALYSIS
Disk fragmentation is a major cause of poor PC performance. Our disk health test now provides even more detail about the condition of your drives, including the number of fragmented files on the drive. This new test has been incorporated into the full tests. We’ll scan your C drive during the full tests, or you can go directly to the disk health page to get the complete results on any drive in your system:
Free Disk Scan
ANTI-SPAM TIP: ELIMINATE ANNOYING MESSENGER POPUPS
Windows XP/2000 has a service called Messenger that can be used to pop up a dialog on your computer. (This is *not* the same as MSN Messenger, the IM program.) Spammers have found this service and are using it to send annoying ads. Home users should not have this service running, but by default they do. To turn the service off, click Start | Programs | Administrative Tools | Services. Find “Messenger” on the list and double-click it. Click the Stop button to stop the service, and set the startup type to Manual. Now you are protected from Messenger spams!
SPYWARE AND ADWARE GETS COURT’S BLESSING
Prepare for more annoying ads and system crashes. A Virginia court has ruled that WhenU.com, makers of annoying adware “applications”, can continue to pop up ads on in front of any site they like. Like Gator, the WhenU applications appear to be helpful software but their primary goal is to barrage you with ads. Worse, they can make your system unstable or slow. Our full tests will scan your system for spyware, adware, and many common viruses, to protect you even if the law won’t!
EXPERT TIP: MAKE WINDOWS TELL YOU EVERYTHING
Windows–especially XP–loves to hide information from you. Fortunately, you can get Windows to cough up the info if you check a few boxes. Click on My Computer to open a folder view, then click Tools | Folder Options and click on the View tab. Under Advanced Settings, check the boxes next to these:
- Display the contents of system folders
- Display the full path in the address bar
- Remember each folder’s view settings
Clear the check on this box:
- Hide extensions for known file types
Now that you can see these files, be careful what you delete!
PC PITSTOP CURES CANCER AND FINDS ALIEN LIFE
Well, not yet, but maybe soon. Many visitors to our forums, known as The Pit, have joined one of the collaborative projects that we are hosting. The Folding@Home project uses your spare CPU time to find proteins that might be useful in the fight against diseases. SETI@Home puts your computing power to work searching for messages in the signals we receive from space. Learn more and join the team by visiting the Collaborative Computing section of our forums!
PERFORMANCE TIP: MAX OUT YOUR DISK SPEED
Looking for even better disk performance? Most PCs can take advantage of tweaked disk drivers from chipset makers. Intel chipset systems can use the Intel Application Accelerator; Via chipsets use the Via Hyperion drivers. Not sure which driver to use on your system? Ask on our forums!
ABOUT PC PITSTOP
PC Pitstop, LLC (http://www.pcpitstop.com) was formed in February 2000, and offers users a unique way to make sure their PCs are running fast, stable and secure–all through a free, Web-based interface.
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