How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask GeekGal Your Own Question

GeekGal
GeekGal, Software Support Specialist
Category: Software
Satisfied Customers: 907
Experience:  MIS degree and 15+ years Experience in IT
76665483
Type Your Software Question Here...
GeekGal is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a 6 year old computer. We essentially use it as a

Customer Question

I have a 6 year old computer. We essentially use it as a server. We all have laptops so it is rarely used - when it is, it does not do any heavy lifting. bills are paid on it, the occasional word doc and my daughter may play minecraft once in a while. The PC continually locks up. Programs stop responding, including Chrome, Office products etc. Norton is up to date.
It is running windows 7 (originally a Vista machine)
I would like some help cleaning it up so we stop running into this issue - if this is possible. If we can only do so much, should I simply be looking at a new machine? (this desktop will always get a little use - but mostly it is the hub for the house, so not sure I need that much of a machine - but don't want to buy the minimum when it does get used as a pc once in a while)
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Software
Expert:  GeekGal replied 9 months ago.

Hello. My name is*****'m a certified computer professional with 15 years of experience. It would be my pleasure to assist you with this. There is a very good chance that you could have some type of virus, spyware or malware that is causing it to lock up, even if you have a virus program installed. I would be happy to provide you with detailed written instructions for performing a thorough scan and clean-up on your computer, or if you prefer I can offer a secure remote connection and do this for you for at an additional charge. In order to answer your questions about whether or not you should be looking at a new machine, I will need just a bit more information. Can you tell me what type of processor the computer has, how much ram it has, and how much free space on the hard drive? If you need help finding this information, just let me know.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hello Alison. My name is***** processor is an intel quad Q8200 2.33 Gig. with 8 GB of ram. It is currently using 268 GB of 1 TB. I think this is something I can do with your instructions - however, I'd like to start with - how much for you to do this for me? And do I need to stick around while you work? (typical small business owner - hundred things on the go, time vs money = best solution for me!)
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
screen saver locks up as well - took me a minute or so to get it to clear
Expert:  GeekGal replied 9 months ago.

It sounds like your hardware is more than adequate. I would definitely try cleaning it up or reinstalling the operating system if needed. I will offer an Additional Service for you if you'd like for me to login remotely and tak care of it. I will probably need to restart several times ( in safe mode) so would need your login password ***** you are not going to be available to type it in. As long as I have that I can do it without you being chained to your desk.

Expert:  GeekGal replied 9 months ago.

I have attached a pdf file with detailed instructions., If you're able to spend a bit of time on it, I'm sure that you can handle it on your own. You may want to keep a copy of this in case you want to clean up other computers in the future. If this information helps you, please kindly take a moment to rate my service. You can provide a rating by clicking on the stars and then clicking on submit. Please remember, don't rate until you are satisfied. If you need more help, please allow me to continue to work with you or allow me to "opt-out" so that other experts can assist you. Your complete satisfaction is my goal! Thank you!

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Sorry - skipped right over the premium service offer as if it was an ad. I will try running the clean up on my own - always good to know how to do these things. I will then submit your rating or contact you to take over for me if I am not successful. You will know if I am when you see my 5 star rating - and review saying, "Yahoo! it worked!" :) Thank you Alison
Expert:  GeekGal replied 9 months ago.

You are most welcome. I'll keep an eye out for any followup questions that you may have. Have a good afternoon!

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Alison - FYI: Mcafee's stinger is no longer at the link in your file - but it is still available (your link goes to a 404 page)
Jan (I am downloading it - found it through their search)
Expert:  GeekGal replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for letting me know that. I will update my instructions. I have walked customers through the cleanup process so often that I realized it was more efficient to create a document that I can upload, but this is a reminder to me to check the links regularly. Please let me know how the process works out for you.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Will do - I think it's brilliant. Makes me wonder about some of the concrete questions I seem to answer on a daily basis!
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Alison,
I have tried restarting twice and can't get to the (2. In the resulting, full-screen menu , select Troubleshoot>Advanced options>Startup Settings.) - pressed shift the first time - and held it the second time all the way through. I have Windows 7 "Ultimate" if that makes a difference
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Trying with the f8 key held during start up
Expert:  GeekGal replied 9 months ago.

There are a couple of alternate methods that we can try. The method that I provided is usually the easiest, but still, it can be a little tricky to get into safe mode. Please trey pressing F8 repeatedly as the computer is booting. If you successfully get to the advanced boot options screen, please choose to boot to SAFEMODE WITH NETWORKING. If that doesn't work, there is a third method that is a bit more complicated that you can read about here. If you do to choose this method, please remember that you will boot into safe mode until you go in and turn the option back off.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
repeated pressing f8 worked - I am in. now the fun starts
Expert:  GeekGal replied 9 months ago.

Just let me know if you need me :).

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
done. Malwarebytes found 52 items. the others found none. The PC is still pretty sluggish. Chrome is very slow to load - 3+ minutes. searched CNN in google - also very slow. Excel spreadsheet on desktop took over a minute to load - the stopped responding for a moment. after it opened, I closed it and it took a bit to close.
The PC was left to boot up for about 5 minutes and appeared to be done when I returned before doing all this. Should I turn off system restore - or look for anything else first?
Expert:  GeekGal replied 9 months ago.

I would definitely repeat the process with system restore turned off. I woud also recommend that you go to control panel and add/remove programs an look for any programs that may need to be removed, like add-ons for weather, emoticons, etc. Additionally, you should go into Chrome, click on the 3 horizontal bars in the top right and then click on settings and extensions to disable any add-ins that aren't necessary. Defragmenting the hard drive may also help if the drive is heavily fragmented. Hopefully that will help as well.

If it's still sluggish, take a look at the Malwarebytes log and see exactly what was removed. You can then do a google search for info on how to manually remove any that are particularly insidious. Just be very careful not to download any so called system cleaners other than those I have specifically mentioned unless you check their reputation first. There are so many nasty things out there that masquerade as "helpers".

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
can you tell me how to turn off system restore? (and then back on again)?
Expert:  GeekGal replied 9 months ago.

Certainly.

  1. Open System by clicking the Start button , right-clicking Computer, and then clicking Properties.

  2. In the left pane, click System protection. If you're prompted for an administrator password ***** confirmation, type the password ***** provide confirmation.

  3. Under Protection Settings, click the disk, and then click Configure.

  4. Click Turn off system protection, click OK, and then click OK again.

When you want to turn it back on, just repeat the process and choose Turn on system configuration.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
system protection back on before I reboot - or after?
Expert:  GeekGal replied 9 months ago.

After you reboot please.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
great. Thanks - then I'll go through the steps above - add-ons defragging etc
Expert:  GeekGal replied 9 months ago.

You are very welcome. You will be a pro after this and can "tuneup" all of the family compputers :).

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
lol - I'll let you know how it turns out and will close off the file when it's all done. Thank you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
ok - now how do I turn system restore back on? I am in system protection
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I figured it out - it was just that there were two choices and I did not want to choose the wrong one. Helps to read the instructions...
Expert:  GeekGal replied 9 months ago.

Great! I was just about to post them again.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
down to the last step - defragging. Fingers crossed
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
We were 3% fragmented. I started it anyway. It stopped at 1% - I walked away for half an hour or so. When I came back, the screen saver was frozen on. I cleared it but it was "not responding" when I got to the desktop it was still stuck at 1%. I tried to close the program - nothing for a minute or so - then it stopped.
Excel and Chrome open fairly fast - small lag.
Wondering if the PC is simply too old or windows 7? This desktop has never been a real workhorse - no big games or accounting software. The hardest work it's ever done is excel, photoshop (elements) etc. and we do not keep much in the way of photos in this one. Can't think of anything else to tell you.
Maybe it's simply time for a new one?? Unless you have any other ideas?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I'll check in later - off to see my newest nephew (1 day old!) I'll check to see if you have any ideas - or simply think it's time to throw in the towel on this one.
Expert:  GeekGal replied 9 months ago.

Congrats on the new nephew :). It really should be able to handle Windows 7 with ease based on the specs that you provided. There are a couple of other suggestions that I have. It wouldn't hurt to run diagnostics on the hardware, particularly the memory and the hard drive. I would suggest checking the manufacturer website to see if they have diagnostic utilities available for download. If they do not, please let me know and I will recommend something.