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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Is Your Computer Slow? Blame It On Bit-Rot

Slow Computer
A few days back I was reading an interesting article by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes on Windows bit-rot. Adrian is a technology journalist and author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology. He also runs a popular blog called The PC Doctor.

In this article he has defined bit-rot, or more specifically software-rot or code-rot, it's implications and various ways to either avoid it or eliminate it altogether. Now let us first look at what exactly is code-rot. Wikipedia defines software-rot as :

Software rot, also known as code rot or software decay, is a type of bit rot. It describes the perceived slow deterioration of software over time that will eventually lead to it becoming faulty, unusable, or otherwise in need of maintenance. This is not a physical phenomenon: the software does not actually decay, but rather suffers from a lack of being updated with respect to the changing environment in which it resides.
Now what has that got to do with us? Well, let me ask you this. Haven't you ever noticed that your computer gets slower with time? It is not as fast as it was when you bought it for the first time. Most of us would NOT notices these changes, the reason being that we get used to our computers so much in the course of time we feel Why this is the speed that was always there! But then, over the year of working in DELL hs taught me that most of the problems that we dealt with was either a direct or an indirect cause of code-rot.

Now let us look into some of the factor which cause code-rot. First of all, loading too many softwares in your computer, in all possibilities, slows it down. I have seen some of the best configurations behave in a very sluggish way because of this. My suggestion would be to keep the number of installed software to it's minimum. Don't install software that you think is not absolutely necessary. What goes on behind the scene is, most of these softwares have a very smart installers but very poor uninstallers. So when you finally do uninstall them, they leave behind pieces of code in your computer.

Secondly, outdated drivers or sometimes incorrect drivers causes the system to slow down a lot. And even while updating new drivers, most of us, we forget to uninstall the old drivers first. This results in a corrupt driver pool which, again, causes the system to slow down. My suggestion is to keep your drivers updated, but before you install a new driver make sure you have uninstalled the old one.

Then comes viruses, spywares and malwares. I don't think I need to discuss the ill effects of these as most of the modern day computer users have suffered these nuances of technology someday or the other. I would suggest a good anti-virus, where the real-time system scanner should always be on. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT click on any files that you have downloaded from the internet directly. Scan it with your anti-virus first. Before you download any software/file from the internet, be sure to check the exact extension for that file. Sometimes viruses have tricky file names like virusfile.zip.exe which is basically an executable component and not a Zip file. Do a manual scan of your computer regularly.

Other than these precautions, you can also do a number of things. Run a CheckDisk once a week, along with which do not forget to defrag your computer. Create a checkpoint in System Restore before and after you install a software. Clear your %Temp% and cache regularly. And the final trick, ever heard of MSConfig? If you did then do ahead and use it to disable all the unused startup items, in case you don't know what MSConfig is then keep tuned in to The Chronicles of R, I would write a separate post on MSConfig and it's uses. Try subscribing to The Chronicles of R so that you don't have to miss on anything. And you don't need to worry about me using FeedBurner, I have already transferred my account to Google. What am I talking about? To know more read this.

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6 Comment:

olive oyl said...

really helpful stuff. what is the best free anti virus available online? i have a dual core processor and 1 gb ram. m really technically challenged so do help :|

Rajtilak Bhattacharjee said...

@Olive Oyl : Well, there's nothing that is the best technically speaking. All of them have their own pros and cons. But I personally prefer AVG for a few reasons. First, it's free, even the updates are free. Secondly, it does not makes your system sluggish even when the resident shield is active. Third, it does not take too much of space and fourth, AVG can catch hold of most of the new viruses as and when they are being released. Hope this answers your question.

The Shmoo said...

Whoa! Thanks for tip about the drivers. Damn! I must have one messed up system right now. AVG is great, never really had a problem with it ever. Looking forward to that post on MSConfig.

Rajtilak Bhattacharjee said...

@The Shmoo : Help is just a click away. Feel free to drop me a line anytime you want, would try to help you as much as I can :)

hartanto said...

Currently, my laptop infected by spyware and somekind like that. so i decide to googling and fing free sypware remover. But guess what, it damn slow. so, i uninstall it. Now, no antivirus and spyware in this laptop

toyota for sale said...

This is just the information I am finding everywhere.Me and my friend were arguing about an issue similar to this! Now I know that I was right.Thanks for the information you post. I just subscribe your blog. This is a nice blog.

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