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PC Optimizing by eNetFirst, Inc.

The following describes the steps that need to be taken to keep a Windows XP personal computer running fast and smooth and free of invaders. This procedure can take up to 5 or 6 hours to complete.

OPTION 1 - A PC user with some experience may attempt these procedures on his own, however eNetFirst, Inc. bears no responsibilty for the results.

OPTION 2 - eNetFirst, Inc. will make a service call in the West Georgia area to perform the Optimization Service - call 770-851-9092 or email us for details. Use this submission form to contact us.


After having a pc ruined by malware during our inventory/tax season in 2004, a situation that took me 8 days to resolve and ulimately resulted in a new computer, I decided I would become proactive and learn to better protect my hardware from intrusion by spyware, data miners, trojans, viruses, browser hijackers, and the like. The online world is a great place to be but it has a dark side that will really get you if you are not aware and prepared.

I settled on a multifaceted approach to pc protection, and subsequently I have had no major invasions, no loss of equipment, and for the most part smooth sailing. Constant attention is required on my part to keep programs updated and run periodic scans, but the result is well worth the effort.

The following programs and methods are what I use. Hopefully I have described each sufficiently to get you going. In addition to these, I use no browser add-ons, and stay away from bundled screensavers, weatherbugs, toolbars, etc, which have a propensity for acting as a gateway into your pc for spyware and the like.


The steps to take are listed next, in the order they should be taken.

1. Close, exit, or stop as many running unnecessary programs as possible by right clicking on their icon in lower right taskbar, or using the task manager, which can be accessed by right clicking on the taskbar.

2. Disallow unnecessary programs from starting when the computer boots up.
a. Delete shortcuts from Start>All Programs>Startup Folder
b. In Windows Defender (see below), click Tools>Software Explorer and remove unnecessary ones.
c. Start>Run and type msconfig in the dialogue box and click OK. This will allow temporary disabling of startups to allow work to continue on the computer.

3. Remove all unused and unrecognizeable programs using Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel.

4. Follow special instructions for removing Norton AntiVirus HERE. Remove any other antivirus, or firewall programs such as ZoneAlarm.

5. Download, install, update and scan with AVG.

6. Download, install, update and scan with Spybot Search and Destroy.

7. Download, install, enable protection in Spywareblaster.

8. Download, install, REGISTER, and clean the Windows registry using RegistryRescue.

These programs are all available for free on the internet - except there is a small fee for RegistryRescue.

9. Additionally, Windows should be kept up to date - XP computers need to have Service Pack 3.

More details on the above steps are described below.


Windows XP Updates

Legal copies of Windows XP qualify and will be authorized online to receive security upadtes and other critical updates via internet. These updates can be variously set to be downloaded and installed automatically, to notify you when they are available, or not to bother with them at all. These settings are found by clicking on the start button and then 'my computer'. A window pops up - on the left is a list of system tasks. Select the top one, 'View System Information'.

In the following dialogue box (System Properties), click on the 'Automatic Updates' tab. To be sure your computer has the latest available updates, and to ensure that is is propoerly configured to receive those updates, click on the link near the bottom of this box to the microsoft update website. In the US it will take you to this page, which you can optionally simply go to using Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher.


This process will be slow if you are using a dialup connection. SP3 will probably not be possible to install using dialup.

Follow instructions as they appear on subsequent webpages to verify the authenticity of your operating system, and to intall the software necessary to receive the updates, and then select the 'express' choice for updating unless you want to customize further.

When the list of available updates appears leave them all checked and download and install them.

Finally, in your System Properties box, make a decision based on the information there regarding how you want to receive and or be notified of updates. Automatic, the upper choice, is easiest and recommended.



Some versions of Norton Antivirus and PCCillin have been found to interfere with normal email funtions depending on the ingoing and outgoing servers involved. We have experienced no such problems with AVG antivirus from Grisoft.com.

AVG is easy to use, updates itself automatically if the PC is connected to the internet, scans according to a customizable schedule, and we have found it to actually find and quarantine malware that Norton has missed.

The latest version of the AVG Free software is available HERE as is the AVG FREE User Guide in pdf format.

AVG is not recommended for slower win98 PC's, as I have noted serious boot time increases. You can run it, just expect to wait a bit for the pc to start.


Windows Defender

Windows Defender is Microsoft's own program for finding and preventing harmful software from invading your pc. Once installed it scans and updates automatically and has customizeable features.

Install and use according to its default settings and you will have no problems with Defender. If you like, explore its options and set it to your preferences.

Defender is XP, 2000, not for Windows 98.


Spybot Search and Destroy

This is an aggressive, frequently updated, anti-spyware program. It's FREE (the best four letter word) and is very effective. If you have never used this program, I think you will be surprised the first time you scan with it, what with the number of invaders it usually finds. Download it, install it using all defaults, update it online, update again until it says 'no more updates available. Checkmark the available updates and download them. Get accustomed to doing this - you need to do it twice weekly MANUALLY, unless you purchase the upgrade which will automate the update process.

One step that is easy to overlook - after updating, click on "Immunize' in the left side of the program window. It will switch to another screen. Here is where you will see just how many potential perpetrators this program is deflecting from your pc. To immunize click the green cross at the top of the screen.

Go back to the Search and Destroy page (top button on left side) and run a scan (Check for problems button). The program will check your pc against its freshly updated list of bugs and show you a list of what it finds - simply check all the ones you want gone and click the 'Fix Problems' button. You may want to scan a second time if you find a lot of problems with first scan. Occasionally SS&D will find a RAM resident infection and will ask your permission to run after next reboot; allow this and go ahead and reboot. RAM resident malware loads into active memory and cannot be removed without turning off the PC.

Update twice a week, scan once a month minimum with SS&D. For all Windows operating systems.



This is the easiest little program to use. Simply keep it updated and enable protection that it offers and it will immunize your pc against thousands of spyware threats, never allowing them to enter your system. You do not have to scan with this one, just keep it updated.

Download and install according to the default settings.

You do need to update this program periodically, though I have found it has updates available less frequently than the two programs listed above. Check for updates every couple of weeks. For all Windows operating systems.



This is an excellent program for cleaning the registry of a PC. The free version will identify all the incorrect registry entries, but to remove them the program must be purchased.


SUMMARY Read the included documentation and help files with these programs. Not protecting yuur pc in today's virtual environment can lead to serious system failures and downtime. A little time each week to stay updated can save a lot of offline time later.

Some people, especially with high speed connections, do not notice the performance of their pc being downgraded as spyware uses their bandwidth to 'phone home' information about your pc usage, etc. After removing a bad infestation of malware, these same users can tell a dramatic improvement in pc performance, especially crisp fast loading of webpages. As spyware accumulates in your pc its performance is slowly compromised and is not that noticeable, but then when that performance all comes back at once, it's really obvious, kinda like putting new tires on a car.

With the proper applications and use of the features they offer, you can keep top performance all the time. Good luck flushing the junk out of your pc.