June 24, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Century City Tech Report: Slow Down The Personal Computer ‘Bloat’

By John Agsalud

Special To Century City News

Bloat – referring to out- dated software, settings, malware and viruses, among others – happens to even the most careful and diligent computer users (Thinkstock).
Bloat – referring to out- dated software, settings, malware and viruses, among others – happens to even the most careful and diligent computer users (Thinkstock).

As anyone who’s ever used a personal computer for more than a few months can attest, machines slow down. While some performance problems are unavoidable, one of the biggest issues nowadays is referred to as “bloat.” The good news is that most folks are capable of combating this on their own.

Bloat happens to even the most careful and diligent computer users. It is a general term that includes such issues as outdated software, settings, malware and viruses, among others. These issues come about through the normal use of a Windows-based PC and are generally unavoidable. Even Macs are not immune to bloat.

How, then, can the average Joe address bloat? The good news is that there are several helpful tools that are available for free. The first is a product called CCleaner, which can be downloaded from www.piriform.com. The free version is adequate for most folks, and there is a professional version for $24.95 as well professional plus for $39.95. Start out with the free version to get a feel for the product before looking at a paid version.

On Windows, CCleaner performs a variety of functions that, well, clean your PC. Temporary stuff left behind by software installations or de-installations, old Windows upgrade files, cookies and other files used by your browser all can be easily found and deleted. Not only will you gain disk space, but your computer also will become more efficient.

CCleaner has a version for Macs as well.

Malware and adware also are considered part of bloat. Even the most savvy users will find themselves victim to malware from time to time. Malwarebytes is a free anti-malware program that can be downloaded from www.malwarebytes.org. Like CCleaner, there is also a more functional version available for purchase at $24.95. Malwarebytes has a Mac version as well.

Another effective anti-malware program is ComboFix. Somewhat more difficult to use than Malwarebytes, ComboFix nonetheless often finds malware and/or adware that others do not. ComboFix can be downloaded for free from www.combofix.org; there is no version available for purchase, nor is there a version for Macs.

Lastly, don’t forget about anti-virus software. Windows Defender ships with the Windows operating system at no additional cost. Initially much maligned, it has grown up into a more than adequate anti-virus program.

The big three of free anti-virus programs are AVG (www.avg.com), Avast (www.avast.com) and Avira (www.avira.com). All have more functional versions available for purchase, and all have versions for the Mac. Be careful with these, though, as they often try to trick you into buying upgrades to the free version. When prompted to upgrade, be sure to read the fine print before clicking “yes.”

John Agsalud is Vice President and Chief Technical Analyst of InclusiveTech, a Los Angeles based IT managed service provider, with specialization in systems integration and software development. He can be reached at jagsalud@inclusivetech.net.

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