Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cleaning out with Robo-Bobo

Now a little advice from Robo-Bobo: cleaning and maintaining your computer is the route of all madness. So easily can you delete some essential file. So easily can you completely and utterly ruin your perfectly good machine. That said, I periodically like to clean out my machine of all suspicious files and processes to kill any potential viruses and spyware. Why? Because I can.

But I'll admit I do so with care. The biggest guideline for cleaning with care is whenever you have a file or process (if you don't know what I'm talking about what I say process, press Ctrl - Alt - Del to get your task manager up and running and click on the processes tab. Basically this will show you all the stuff, the good, the bad, the necessary, that is running on your computer) you don't recognize DO NOT IMMEDIATELY DELETE IT!!! Just because you don't recognize it doesn't mean it's not supposed to be there, especially since many software vendors, including old Billy Gates's Microsoft, set up new processes and files in new versions.

So how to handle the cleaning then?

Search the web.

The beauty of the internet is that it can harness all the previous frustrations of computer users around the world. You search the web with just the name of the file and process and you should be able to get someone, somewhere, who was also wondering what that item was, and who probably posted that question on an internet forum or asked an expert or something like that, and then got an answer. (although there are some processes and items that still end up being mysterious)

But sometimes it's nice to avoid slogging through tons of forum results, and luckily there are a number of organized process and file identification databases, which usually have readable and search-friendly reports. My favorite is The Process Library, which gets high marks for presentation and understandability, however I'll admit it's not the most extensive of the databases out there. I've found Neuber Software has perhaps a broader selection of information, however, you're best off going directly to its Window Processes Index, since navigating between its product-centric main-pages is a bit unwieldy.

But sometimes you're going to have to search.

And sometimes you're going to have to call Dell, or HP, or some other company that you notice comes up a lot in the unanswered questions about a process or item and demand they explain what this process does (and be forewarned they will resist telling you and likely will try to get you to purchase their expensive customer-care packages).

But as I said before, cleaning a computer is the way of all madness, doing it with care does not change that fact.

Yet, fear of viruses, malware, spyware, and other unpleasantries, combined with an almost compulsive cheapness, compels some, like a certain robotic koala bear you know, to press onward nonetheless. And to those brave and foolhardy individuals, I have but two words:

Good Hunting.

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