I can not count the number of times I have been asked to "speed up computers" However, the fact is, it is not that hard to do yourself. Here is a short description of the programs I use, as well as a brief overview of what spyware and adware is.
If your computer is running slow, and you use the Internet, chances are there is spyware and or adware on your computer. Spyware and Adware are virus-like programs that download themselves when you visit some websites, or install themselves when you run certain programs. They will watch and record what you do on your computer, and will report that data to advertisers. They will also cause popups and other ads to appear on your computer, even if you are not at a website that has popups. They will even download more programs off the Internet and automatically install them. This results in an exponential snowball effect causing your computer to quickly become so bogged down it is nearly useless.
Do not buy a spyware or adware removal program! Most people seem to agree that in this area of computing the free option is also the best option. There are three programs that are all free and combined are a powerful ally against spyware and adware. AdAware and SpyBot are both well-known freeware scanners that together combine to remove nearly all spyware and adware. Usually, what one misses the other will find. Spyware Blaster is like Norton Antivirus or McAfee VirusScan for Adware and Spyware. It keeps the nasty stuff from ever getting on your computer in the first place. It helps disable ActiveX controls on Internet Explorer. ActiveX controls allow Internet Explorer to download and run executable code on your computer without your consent. This is one of the top sources of spyware and adware that is acquired by simply visiting a website. What is nice about Spyware Blaster is that it does not need to be running in the background all the time to do its job, so it will not slow your machine down. I have the versions of these programs available on my website. My downloads are direct, and will not prompt you with a million different pages before downloading. However, I may not always have the latest version, so you may wish to visit the actual website for these programs. I also have links to the official websites for each program.
Download AdAware SE Personal from pcnate Planet
Download Current Version of AdAware Personal from AdAware's Website
Download Spybot 1.3 From pcnate Planet
Download Current Version of Spybot from Spybot's Website
Download Spyware Blaster 3.3 from pcnate Planet
Download Current Version of Spyware Blaster from Spyware Blaster's website.
Your computer may also be running slow do to having a messed up registry, or having to many temp files. There is a free program available which does all this automatically saving you a lot of time consuming work. It is called CCleaner, which stands simply for Crap Cleaner, and I have found it very useful.
Download CCleaner 1.18 from pcnate Planet
Download Current Version of CCleaner from CCleaner's website.
Another thing you can do is to avoid installing Internet Explorer Toolbars. Examples of these are the Yahoo Search Bar, the Google Search Bar, and other similar things. These hog Internet Explorer's resources. If you really like a search engine that much, just make it your homepage, which won't eat your resources. Don't let these toolbar's popup blocking claims sway you. There are other programs available, one of which I discuss below, and besides Windows XP Service Pack 2 includes a simple popup blocker.
You can block website popups, and do so without one of those toolbars mentioned above. Windows Service Pack 2 includes a popup blocker. I still prefer to use this nice little program called Popup Manager, which has protected me long before XP SP2 came out. It only works on Internet Explorer. It is nice because you can choose to allow blocked popups easily if you want. This is not a toolbar; it only puts a tiny green button at the bottom of Internet Explorer.
Download Popup Manager 1.0.2 from pcnate Planet
Download Current Version of Popup Manager from Popup Manager's Website