Removing Unused Programs Will Speed Up Your Computer

If you’re wondering how you can make your computer run a little faster, removing old and unused programs might be the best place to start. It’s simple to do, low risk, free, and doesn’t involve much time.

When you have programs on your computer that you don’t use anymore, they are taking up your hard drive space and they could also be running in the background.

This consumes memory and resources. Removing the programs frees up resources and memory, making the PC run faster.

Before you start removing programs from your computer, make sure that you really don’t need them. Double checking everything before you start will prevent you having to reload something you thought you didn’t need.

You don’t want to remove a critical system program, or some other application, and find yourself in a bind.

Uninstalling programs is easy – but you want to make sure and use the system option in Windows to clear them out.

Deleting the programs directly, instead of using the Add/Remove Programs function, can damage your Windows installation and cause a lot of problems.

Windows XP
If you are running Windows XP, click on start, click on control panel, then click on the Add/Remove Programs icon and wait a brief second for the list to be generated.

If you have a large number of programs installed, it might take a few minutes – just be patient.

Now all that you have to do is to click on the program that you no longer need and select Change/Remove and follow through with the removal process.

Windows Vista
Windows Vista users will click on start, Control Panel and make sure that at the top of the window that you have “Classic View” selected.

Double click on to the Programs and Features button (wait a brief second for your list of programs to come up) and select the programs that you do not need anymore and select Uninstall to remove them from your computer.

Remember: Only remove applications that you’re absolutely certain you don’t need.

After you’ve removed all of the programs that you don’t need, it would be best to restart the computer. After the machine is restarted, you should notice an increase in speed. It probably won’t be dramatic – but it should be a marked and noticeable improvement.

If you’re still not satisfied with the speed of your computer, we offer a System Tune-Up service. We’ll go in an clean out any programs you don’t need, and fine-tune Windows to give you the best performance possible.

For a limited time, the system tune up is priced at just $69. Give our office a call at 734-457-5000 to schedule your appointment. Or, email

Outdated Operating Systems Combined With Daylight Savings Change May Cause Problems

First of all we have to ask… Do you know about the upcoming change to Daylight Saving Time this year?  Most folks we asked said “What change?”

For those of you that don’t know there is a change in the start and end dates for Daylight Saving Time this year.  It will start on Sunday, March 11th, 2007 at 2:00am and will end on Sunday, November 4th, 2007.  So, for 2007, DST starts 3 weeks earlier on the second Sunday of March and ends a week later on the first Sunday of November.  This change was made as an attempt to reduce energy consumption.

So what needs to happen this year to facilitate the change in DST on your computer systems, and what will the impact be?

The change is about five weeks away, so the time to start making plans is now. Most every device in your company that keeps time will be affected. We’ll address what you need to do to your PC’s, servers and other IT equipment.

However, keep in mind that things like VCR’s, DVD’s, and DVR’s may have some problems.  They won’t realize that the time change takes place three weeks earlier so that show that you thought you were recording may not record at all.

Also, PDA’s, fax machines, time clocks, switches, routers, and telephone systems that have programming embedded to change to DST on the first Sunday of April and the last Sunday in October are going to have problems. This is just the tip of the iceberg.  Each company will have to look at the impact that this change will have on you.

According to Microsoft, these are their products that will be affected by the change:

  • Windows Client
  • Windows Server
  • Windows Mobile
  • Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Microsoft Office Outlook
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Microsoft SQL Server Notification Services
  • Microsoft Biztalk Server
  • Microsoft Entourage

Outdated and Legacy Operating Systems/Windows 2000 Server and Professional

The news is not good for those companies who are still running Windows 2000, either server or workstation.  Windows 2000 is going to require a manual process be done to update the timezone database and the registry keys for the current control set.

Manually editing your registry can potentially cause problems, or even cause your computer or server  to stop functioning. It is best to call your technology expert (Tech Experts, perhaps?) to make these changes and updates.

The entire process may take between 15 minutes and a half hour to complete, per machine, so the cost is reasonable compared with updating equipment to a new operating system.

Windows 95/98/ME/NT Server and Workstation

If you’re still using Windows 95, 98, ME, NT 4 server or workstation, it is time to upgrade.  Upgrading may mean buying a new computer.  Sorry about that, but that is the price of progress.  Technology continues to change and we just have to change with it. Don’t fret – you’ve definitely gotten your money’s worth out of your old 95 or 98 system.

Windows XP (SP1)/XP Home Edition (SP1)

Here is the information/clarification on these two items.  Installing service pack 2 appears to be the answer.  Then you fall into the patch available category.  When Microsoft talks about XP SP2 it includes Home and Professional.

Windows XP Pro and Home Edition(SP2)/Windows 2003

There is a patch available on the Microsoft download site and will be in the Update Patch cycle sometime in early March.

Windows Vista

No updates are needed. It is shipping with the new Timezone Database installed.

Microsoft Exchange, Outlook, Biztalk Server, SQL Server or any of the other items listed in the table above would be advised to check the Microsoft article about what the requirements for them will be.

Now for those of you that say… Ok this is it. We get our Tech Experts in to do our updates, and I’m done with it.  Well, maybe not.

Part of the government edict changing DST specifically states that “The Secretary of Energy will report the impact of this change to Congress. Congress retains the right to resume the 2005 Daylight Saving Time schedule once the Department of Energy study is complete.”

So, this is a test year. If they don’t like it they can change it back.  Fortunately, the updates and changes made this year will incorporate an easier mechanism to change back, should Congress decide the change wasn’t effective.

An important note for the Daylight Saving Time changes for this year: A lot of software needs updating, not just operating systems. Anything that uses its own prepackaged Java Virtual Machine needs an update, as well as most software that calculates dates (many will read the system time/date, but use internal code for calculating dates after that).

The best bet is to list out any 3rd party software and double check with the vendors. To make matters worse, not all vendors have released patches for their software yet.

What You Need To Know When Considering Windows Vista Options

It’s official! Windows Vista will hit the shelves in early 2007.

You’ve probably already heard plenty of details about this new version of Windows. As with past Windows releases, the question for small- and medium-size businesses isn’t if they’ll upgrade, it’s when.

Here are some things to think about as you consider your upgrade options.

What You Get with Windows Vista
Windows Vista includes a multitude of new features, and this list isn’t meant to be exhaustive. These are some of the items that should be high on your business’s priority list:

Improved Security: Vista includes Microsoft Defender (antispyware) and Internet Explorer 7 (which includes a phishing filter and antispoofing technology), as well as Microsoft Windows Firewall technology—all essential for maintaining your technology infrastructure.

Improved Software Setup and Maintenance: Vista enables you to create and store “images,” which are system software configurations that can be easily replicated on new PCs. That means the average time to set up a new PC will be reduced, and upgrading software on existing PCs will be a snap. Add those together and you get a reduction in IT costs.

Instant Search: Search is the name of the game for document-heavy companies. This function should make it easier for you and your employees to find files and documents in a data-intensive environment.

Windows Aero: The new graphical user interface is fast and looks very slick.

Here’s a fair warning on Windows Aero: In order to use this feature, you will need to make sure that your computing hardware is “Vista Premium Ready,” as opposed to “Vista Capable.”

The difference between the two will be most striking in the graphical interface: Vista on a Vista Capable machine will look more like Windows 2000, but the hardware requirements for it will be significantly less than for Vista Premium Ready. Chances are that equipment you have purchased in the last two years will be Vista Capable. It’s also likely that very little of your current equipment is going to be Vista Premium Ready unless you’ve already been buying higher-end gear.

Microsoft will offer business-class versions of Vista, giving you the choice of which mode you want to operate in. Be sure to match the hardware, software version, and mode to the features you want in your Vista upgrade.

Different Windows Vista Versions
Microsoft will be marketing multiple versions of Windows Vista: two versions for home use, a business and an enterprise version, and an “ultimate” edition. Most small and medium businesses are likely to opt for the business version. It’s not clear yet whether the business version will come in Vista Capable or Vista Premium Ready packaging. This is important because Vista Capable hardware does not require a DVD drive, but Vista Premium Ready does.
When to Get Windows Vista

Don’t be confused by the fact that Office 2007 is going to be coming out at just about the same time as Vista. The two releases are unrelated: You can upgrade to Office 2007 in your current environment—you don’t need to move to Vista to use the newest version of Office.

Before you take the Vista plunge, think about these three issues:

First, if you’re running an older or unsupported version of Windows, we highly recommend that you think about upgrading as soon as possible.

Second, understand how your current software will operate in a Vista environment. Microsoft has tools available to assist you here, and it’s important to use them to test all your applications and ensure that they can run in Vista before you make your move.

This puts a real premium on not only knowing what applications your business runs on a “authorized” basis, but also what software some of your users may have loaded on their own in order to perform day-to-day tasks. Depending on the nature of your business, this practice may be more common than you think.

Third, and probably most important, you need to understand your hardware environment and your plans for upgrading your hardware infrastructure. We’ve already mentioned the issue regarding DVD drives, but you also need to examine processor speed, memory, hard drive space and graphics cards in light of any plans you have to move to Vista.

Most equipment purchased in the past couple years should be able to support Vista in the Vista Capable mode.

Your Bottom Line
While every small and medium business starts in a different place, here’s our recommendation as to how you approach the Vista-upgrade issue:

Don’t buy Vista the day it becomes available, but don’t wait more than a year to get started.

Time your decision to be in line with any hardware purchasing pattern you’ve already established.

Decide now how important Vista Premium Ready features are to your business, and make any incremental hardware purchase decisions consistent with either these or the Vista Capable requirements.

Analyze some of the new hardware/chip features that provide improved performance and reduce IT costs and match that plan up with whatever conclusion you’ve reached on Vista.

Give yourself a good six months to determine software compatibility with Vista before you begin the migration.

If this sounds confusing or you just plain need help, give us a call. As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, our staff is trained to provide you with the guidance you need to evaluate Windows Vista in your organization.