Tag Archives: popular

Fact or Fiction? Busting Common PC Optimization Myths

Guest writer Tibor Schiemann, President and Managing Partner of TuneUp, the developer’s of TuneUp Utilities, shines a light on some commonly held computer tune up myths. Checkout which ones you believed.

image People are often looking for ways to improve their PCs’ performance or speed, but not all of the tips out there really work. In fact, some are outright wrong and can even slow down your system. Let’s go through some of the most popular, enduring myths.

Windows Prefetch folders:

The Prefetch folder memorizes the data a program needs when it starts, so that your system can easily get this data and load the program more quickly. There’s a theory lurking around that deleting this data saves memory. But the truth is, this forces the PC to search for the information it needs every time you want that program to start, causing it to actually slow down.

Some people believe that Windows automatically loads Prefetch information for all of the programs you’ve ever started on your computer into memory, filling your RAM with unused data.

But this isn’t true. You don’t need to delete this folder because, contrary to popular belief, if you don’t run a program, Windows does not access the Prefetch information. And what’s more, Windows only maintains a maximum of 128 entries in the Prefetch folder and automatically cleans itself.

In fact, TuneUp has even tested this. We looked at the boot-up performance, as well as the load times, of the three, most used applications—Outlook 2007, Windows Media Center, and Internet Explorer 8—on a particular PC, before and after cleaning out the Prefetch folder. We actually found a noticeable slowdown after removing the Prefetch contents.

The “Dr. Watson” program:

“Dr. Watson” is a debugging tool for applications. If a program crashes, “Dr. Watson” jumps in, collects data and, if you choose to do so, manually transfers this data to support personnel to diagnose the problem. The data is stored in a file and can be immediately sent to Microsoft. There is a rumor that “Dr. Watson” slows down your computer.

But based on a productivity benchmark we conducted with PCMark Vantage, we found that there weren’t any noticeable differences, regardless of whether “Dr. Watson” was enabled or not. “Dr. Watson” doesn’t affect performance in Windows XP, and it’s not even a factor if you’re using Vista or 7, as it doesn’t even exist in these newer Windows versions.

“Secret” CPU settings:

There’s another myth circulating in the Windows community that a “secret” CPU setting can improve boot-up time. The rumor claims that Windows Vista and Windows 7 only use a single processor core during the boot-up process. Yet almost all of the machines built today have at least two, four, and sometimes even six processor cores. So, it may make sense to think that, by enabling the other cores, you can speed up the boot-up time.

However, TuneUp tried to enable the other cores on three different machines and didn’t find any difference among the PCs’ boot-up times, even when we just used one core. Your best bet is to leave this setting alone. We found out that sometimes modifying this setting may actually cause a user’s machine to crash, and instead advise that you stay as far away from this “tweak” as you can.

People are always looking for ways to optimize their PCs and are sometimes susceptible to schemes that sound good initially, but can actually harm their machines. TuneUp will continue to look into credible ways to enhance PC performance and let you know what works best. To keep up with our tips, check out our blog.

Note: I posted a full review of  TuneUp Utilities 2010 here on Tech Thoughts, in October 2009, in which I said:

TuneUp Utilities 2010 is one of the very few commercial applications that I have, or would recommend. Despite the fact that I’m a huge fan of free software, there are times when only a commercial application will meet all of my needs in one interface.

This program is overwhelmingly inclusive, and provides virtually every tool and applet, that a computer user is ever likely to need.

You can read the full review here. Alternatively, you can download a fully functional 30 day trial version Of TuneUp Utilities here.

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8 Comments

Filed under Computer Maintenance, downloads, Guest Writers, Slow Computer, Software, Software Trial Versions, System Utilities, TuneUp Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Does Using FireFox Make You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

I run a number of website tools that provide the type of information that allows me to make available a better experience for readers of this Blog, than I might otherwise be able to provide.

One of these tools makes available information on which web browser readers of this Blog use while visiting. It’s of no strategic value really; but it does provide some interesting statistics nonetheless. I’ve noticed over the course of the last year, or so, that by far the most popular browser used by readers of this Blog is, wait for it, and yes it’s FireFox.

Take a look at the chart below and you’ll notice that in one two hour period, this week, the browser wars went like this:

Browser Stats updated

(Click pic for larger)

So, 47% of visitors to this Blog use FireFox/Mozilla in one flavor or another. You might think that these are isolated or non representative numbers. In fact, these numbers with reasonable small changes up, or down, characterize the daily Browser activity on this Blog.

It struck me, that given the fact that FireFox currently has approximately 21% of the Browser market, then why are approximately 47% of this Blogs readers choosing FireFox?

Is it because they’re smarter, more technically knowledgeable, more security aware, more net savvy than the average IE user, or more familiar with the services/products that the Internet has to offer?

I think all of the above are more than likely true. Well perhaps not smarter. But it would be hard to argue that they’re not more technically savvy: after all this is a tech Blog.

I’d love to know what drives users to FireFox, so if you have a personal observation, let me know. I’d be glad to hear it.

7 Comments

Filed under Browsers, Firefox, Freeware, Google Chrome, Interconnectivity, Internet Explorer, Internet Safety, Safari, Safe Surfing, Software, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

Are Firefox Users Smarter/More Savvy than IE Users? – An Unscientific Survey

I run a number of website tools that present the type of information that allows me to make available a better experience for readers of this Blog than I might otherwise be able to provide.

One of these tools makes available information on which web browser readers of this Blog use while visiting. It’s of limited value really; but it does provide some interesting statistics nonetheless. I’ve noticed over the course of the last few months that by far the most popular browser used by readers of this Blog is, wait for it, and yes it’s Firefox.

Take a look at the chart below and you’ll notice that in one eight hour period, this week, the browser wars went like this:

  • Firefox 2.0.0.users: 325/500
  • Internet Explorer 7 users: 76/500
  • Internet Explorer 6 users: 68/500
  • Unknown users: 7/500
  • Opera 9.25 users: 5/500
  • Firefox 1.5.0 users: 4/500
  • Opera 9.20 users: 4/500
  • Firefox 3.0b2 users: 3/500
  • Internet Explorer 3.03 users: 2/500
  • Mozilla 5 users: 2/500
  • Firefox 2.0 users: 2/500
  • Firefox 1.5 users: 1/500
  • Opera 9.10 users: 1/500
  • Safari 1.2 users: 1/500

So, 67.4% of visitors to this Blog use Firefox/Mozilla in one flavor or another. You might think that these are isolated or non representative numbers. In fact, these numbers with reasonable small changes up, or down, characterize the daily Browser activity on this Blog.

It struck me, that given the fact that Firefox currently has approximately 17% of the Browser market, then why are approximately 67% of this Blogs readers choosing Firefox?

Is it because they’re  smarter, more technically knowledgeable, more security aware, more net savvy then you average IE user, or more familiar with the services/products that the Internet has to offer?

I think all of the above are more than likely true. Well perhaps not smarter. But it would be hard to argue that they’re not more technically savvy: after all this is a tech Blog and this is what they’re reading.

I’m not happy with unanswered questions, so if someone has a more reasonable explanation please let me know. I’d be glad to hear it.

5 Comments

Filed under Browsers, Firefox, Interconnectivity, Internet Explorer, Living Life, Personal Perspective, Windows Tips and Tools

Get FrostWire Free – P2P File Sharing – No Content Filtering!

FrostWire (newest version: 4.13.5) is free, open source P2P software, for the Gnutella and BitTorrent protocols. To insure broad appeal, FrostWire is a multi platform program running on Windows Vista, XP, 2000, NT, Mac OS X 10.4 or later, Linux, and some flavors of Unix.

This application has been developed by the open source community to avoid the threat of potential legal action faced by LimeWire, from which it has been forked, and to maintain the freedom that P2P users have come to expect (right or wrong), in the sharing of copyrighted material. Some reviewers have compared FrostWire to the old Napster, the controversial file-sharing pioneer.

The project was started in September 2005 by members of the open-source community, after LimeWire’s distributor considered placing blocking code into LimeWire, which it was developing in response to RIAA pressure. It has been reported that if this code was activated it would block users from sharing licensed files.

FrostWire includes all of the free LimeWire version’s functionality as well as a number of the features of LimeWire Pro including multi-threading downloads, and Turbo-Charged connections. An added benefit in using FrostWire; you won’t have to put up with LimeWire’s nag screen or ads.

According to CNET, FrostWire has moved up to the number 7 position with 253,102 downloads last week alone, on their “most popular downloads chart”. Based on these figures, it would be difficult to dispute the continuing popularity of file sharing applications

Fast facts:

· Open-source

· Firewall-to-firewall transfers

· Built-in community chat

· Connects to more sources

· Creative commons license support

· Broadband network connection

· Junk result filters

· Turbo-Charged download speeds

· iTunes integration

· Gnutella support

· BitTorrent support

· Proxy Support

If P2P file sharing is one of your interests, then you’ll find that this program should meet all of your needs.

Download at: Download.com

3 Comments

Filed under Freeware, Interconnectivity, Open Source, Peer to Peer, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools