What Is the Windows Event Viewer, and How Can I Use It?

The Windows Event Viewer shows a log of application and system messages, including errors, information messages, and warnings. It’s a useful tool for troubleshooting all kinds of different Windows problems.

Note that even a properly functioning system will show various warnings and errors in the logs you can comb through with Event Viewer. Scammers even use this fact on occasion to deceive people into believing their system has a problem only the scammer can fix. In one infamous scam, a person claiming to be from Microsoft phones someone up and instructs them to open the Event Viewer. The person is sure to see error messages here, and the scammer will ask for the person’s credit card number to fix them.

As a rule of thumb, assuming your PC is working properly, you can pretty much ignore the errors and warnings that appear in the Event Viewer. That said, it’s worth having a basic working knowledge of the tool, and knowing when it can be useful to you.

Launching the Event Viewer

To launch the Event Viewer, just hit Start, type Event Viewer into the search box, and then click the result.

Events are placed in different categories, each of which is related to a log that Windows keeps on events regarding that category. While there are a lot of categories, the vast amount of troubleshooting you might want to do pertains to three of them:

  • Application: The Application log records events related to Windows system components, such as drivers and built-in interface elements.
  • System: The System log records events related to programs installed on the system.
  • Security: When security logging is enabled (it’s off by default in Windows), this log records events related to security, such as logon attempts and resource access.

Don’t Panic!

You’re sure to see some errors and warnings in Event Viewer, even if your computer is working fine.

The Event Viewer is designed to help system administrators keep tabs on their computers and troubleshoot problems. If there isn’t a problem with your computer, the errors in here are unlikely to be important. For example, you’ll often see errors that indicate a program crashed at a specific time – which may have been weeks ago or that a service failed to start with Windows, but was likely started on a subsequent attempt.

In the image below, for example, you can see that an error was generated when the Steam Client Service failed to start in a timely fashion. However, we’ve had no problems with the Steam client on the test computer, so it’s likely a one-time error that corrected itself on a subsequent launch.

In theory, other applications are also supposed to log events to these logs. However, many applications don’t offer very useful event information.

Uses for the Event Viewer

At this point, you’re probably wondering why you should care about Event Viewer, but it actually can be helpful if you’re troubleshooting a specific problem. For example, if your computer is blue-screening or randomly restarting, Event Viewer may provide more information about the cause. For example, an error event in the System log section may inform you which hardware driver crashed, which can help you pin down a buggy driver or a faulty hardware component. Just look for the error message associated with the time your computer froze or restarted, an error message about a computer freeze will be marked as Critical.

You can also look up specific event IDs online, which can help locate information specific to the error you’re encountering. Just double-click the error in Event Viewer to open its property window and look for the Event ID entry.

There are other cool uses for the Event Viewer, too. For example, Windows keeps track of your computer’s boot time and logs it to an event, so you can use the Event Viewer to find your PC’s exact boot time. If you’re running a server or other computer that should rarely shut down, you can enable shutdown event tracking. Whenever someone shuts down or restarts the computer, they’ll have to provide a reason. You can view each shut down or system restart and its reason in the Event Viewer.

Everything You Need To Know About the Blue Screen of Death

The blue screen of death or BSOD is always an unwelcome sight. BSODs appear when Microsoft Windows encounters a critical error from which it can’t recover, usually the result of low-level software (or drivers) crashing or faulty hardware.

What Causes Blue Screens of Death

Blue screens are generally caused by problems with your computer’s hardware or issues with its hardware driver software. Sometimes, they can be caused by issues with low-level software running in the Windows kernel. Regular apps usually won’t be able to cause blue screens. If an app crashes, it will do so without taking the operating system out with it.

A blue screen occurs when Windows encounters a STOP Error. This critical failure causes Windows to crash and stop working. The only thing Windows can do at that point is restart the PC. This can lead to data loss, as programs don’t have a chance to save their open data.

When a blue screen occurs, Windows automatically creates a minidump file that contains information about the crash and saves it to your disk. You can view information about these minidumps to help identify the cause of the blue screen.

Blue screens also look a bit different, depending on what version of Windows you’re running. In Windows 7 and previous versions, the blue screen looked much like a terminal screen, displaying all manner of information.

In Windows 8 and 10, blue screens are much simpler.

That’s really not as big a deal as it sounds, though. Even in previous versions, blue screens tended to go by fast enough that reading that information was difficult, anyway. And there are easier ways to get all the details you need for troubleshooting.

Specify Whether Windows Restarts When a BSOD Appears

By default, Windows automatically restarts the computer whenever it encounters a blue screen of death.

If you would like more time to see the blue screen details (or just make sure that it’s a blue screen that’s happening), you can disable automatic restarts on BSODs from the Windows Control Panel.

Viewing BSOD Information

NirSoft’s free BlueScreenView application offers an easy way to view blue-screen information you might have missed. It works by displaying information contained in those minidump files that are created during BSODs.

This information is also available in the Windows Event Viewer, where blue screen messages are scattered among application crashes and other system log messages.

Troubleshooting BSODs

In Windows 7, 8, and 10, you can troubleshoot blue-screen information using the Action Center. In Windows 7, head to Control Panel > System and Security. In Windows 8 and 10, head to Control Panel > Security and Maintenance. In the Maintenance section, you’ll be able to check for solutions to existing problems.

Windows 8 and 10 actually perform this troubleshooting step automatically when your PC restarts after a BSOD. However, it may still be worth paying a visit to the Action Center to see if there are more details or additional troubleshooting steps.

If Windows can’t fix the problem on it’s own, your best bet for troubleshooting the problem is to search the web for the solution. Scan the blue screen or the minidump file for the specific error.

You may see a Stop Error number that looks something like 0x00000024, or you may see an error like Driver_IRQL_not_less_or_equal. Either way, a quick search for the exact error will likely yield good results. In fact, Windows 8 and 10 often recommend right on the blue screen that you perform a search for the error.

If you have trouble locating good advice for solving your problem, don’t worry. BSODs can have a variety of root causes. We do have some additional tips that might help you deal with many blue screens:

  • Use System Restore: If your system recently started blue-screening, use System Restore to roll its system software back to a previous state. If this works, you’ll know that it’s likely a software problem.
  • Scan for Malware: Malware that digs deep into Windows and gets its hooks into the Windows kernel at a low level can cause system instability. Scan your computer for malware to ensure buggy malicious software isn’t causing it to crash.
  • Install Updated Drivers: An incorrectly installed or buggy driver can lead to crashes. Download the latest drivers for your computer’s hardware from your computer manufacturer’s website and install them, this may fix BSODs caused by driver problems.
  • Boot Into Safe Mode: If your computer is blue-screening every time you turn it on, try booting into safe mode. In safe mode, Windows loads only the essential drivers. If a driver you’ve installed is causing Windows to blue screen, it shouldn’t do so in safe mode. You can work on fixing the problem from safe mode.
  • Check for Hardware Problems: Blue screens can be caused by faulty hardware in your computer. Try testing your computer’s memory for errors and checking its temperature to ensure that it isn’t overheating. If that fails, you might need to test other hardware components or hire a pro to do it for you.
  • Reinstall Windows: Resetting Windows or performing a clean install is the nuclear option. It will blow away your existing system software, replacing it with a fresh Windows system. If your computer continues to blue screen after this, you likely have a hardware problem.

A computer in proper working state shouldn’t blue-screen at all, but no software or hardware is perfect. Even a properly functioning computer may blue screen on rare occasions for no apparent reason, possibly as the result of rare driver bugs or hardware issues. If your computer is regularly blue-screening, you have a problem. If you encounter a blue screen once every two years, don’t worry about it.

Fix USB Mouse and Keyboard Stop Working Issue in Windows 7

It can be frustrating if neither mouse nor keyboard doesn’t work at the same time. If your USB mouse and keyboard stop working in Windows 7 even in login screen, don’t worry. You can fix the issue with one of the solutions in this article.

Before you try further solutions, ensure the mouse and the keyboard have no problems. If possible, try to use them on another computer. If they are working properly on another computer, it means there are no problems with the mouse and the keyboard, then you can try the solutions below. If not, you might need to replace them with the new ones.

There are six solutions to try to fix the problem. You may not have to try them all. Just work your way down at the top of the list until you find the one that works for you.

Solution 1: Unplug the keyboard and the mouse then plug it back

To fix the issue, you can try to unplug and replug the keyboard and the mouse, then Windows will reinstall the driver automatically, and the keyboard and mouse will reconnect.

Solution 2: Disconnect the power cable for a while

First, shut down your computer. Then disconnect the power cable (if you are using a laptop computer, you can also remove the battery). Then hold the power button down for about 10 seconds. After that, restart your computer and see if the issue resolves. This method has worked for other users who run into this problem like you.

Solution 3: Disable driver signature enforcement

Follow steps below:

  1. Press the Power button to turn on  your computer. Once you power on the computer, keep pressing the F8 key on your keyboard in 1 second intervals (if you computer has already turned on, turn it off then press the Power button to turn it on again);

  1. When the Advanced Boot Options screen displays, use the arrow key to select Disable Driver Signature Enforcement;
  2. Press the Enter key on your keyboard then Windows will restart.

Solution 4: Update the USB driver

If the USB driver is missing or corrupted, this issue can occur. To fix the issue, you can update the USB driver. 

IMPORTANTYou need to use the keyboard or mouse on the problem computer to try this fix. If you can’t use one of them in Windows, restart it in Safe Mode with Networking, then try.

Before updating drivers, uninstall the driver first. Follow steps below:

  1. On your keyboard, press Windows+R  to invoke the run box;
  2. Type devmgmt.msc and press Enter key or click OK;

  1. Expand category Universal Serial Bus controllers and locate device USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller (the name could be different in your case. Just locate a USB device). If you can’t find the usb device under this category, expand category Other devices. You may find the device with a yellow mark there;

  1. On your keyboard, press the Del key (it could be Delete on some keyboards).
  2. Select Delete the driver software for this device and click OK.

After uninstalling the drivers, update the drivers. You can go to your PC manufacturer’s website to download the latest driver.

Solution 5: Disable the Third Party services

The issue can be caused by some of the Third Party services. So disabling the Third Party services may fix the issue. 

IMPORTANTYou need to use the keyboard or mouse on the problem computer to try this fix. If you can’t use one of them in Windows, restart it in Safe Mode with Networking, then try.

  1. On your keyboard, press Win+R  to invoke the run box;
  2. Type msconfig in the run box and click the OK button;

  1. Go to Services tab. Select Hide all Microsoft services then click Disable all;

  1. Press Enter key or click OK;
  2. When you are prompted to restart your computer to apply the changes, click Restart. Then your computer will restart.

If the issue resolves after the computer starts, you can try disabling the third party services one by one to determine which service is causing the issue. 

Solution 6: Enable Legacy USB Support in BIOS

The issue would occur if Legacy USB Support is disabled in BIOS. So enter BIOS and make sure the Legacy USB Support is enabled. The key command to enter BIOS and get to the Legacy USB port depends on the PC brand that you are using. Refer steps below to get to the Legacy USB port. 

  1. Enter BIOS (see How to Enter BIOS in Windows 7);
  2. In BIOS, use the specific key to navigate to Advanced(you can see the meaning of the key command at the bottom of the screen);

  1. Find Legacy USB Support or similar USB option. If it is Disabled, enable it. Exit after saving the changes.

Note if you don’t find Legacy USB Support in BIOS, it is possible that the BIOS does not provide this option and this solution does not work for you. If you are still not sure how to do this, contact the PC manufacturer for further assistance. 

Hope the solutions here helps you fix the mouse and keyboard not working issue in Windows 7.

How to enter BIOS on Windows 10 & Windows 7?

Warning: Please DO NOT make changes to your BIOS settings unless you are well aware of the consequences.

BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System. It is a software that checks the health of your computer’s hardware and allows Windows to start. 

Your PC’s BIOS runs a power-on self-test (POST) every time you turn it on so as to ensure that the machine’s devices are connected and working properly. Your computer will turn on normally if it detects no problems, and your computer will be in control of the operating system that you have. 

In BIOS, you can make some changes such as set a password, manage hardware and change the boot sequence. The instructions below shows you how to get into BIOS settings easily. But again, DO NOT make changes that you are not sure the function of. 

On Windows 7 and previous builds

  1. Start your computer. Pay close attention to the first screen that appears. Look for a notification that tells you which key or combination of keys to press to enter BIOS settings. You may be able to see the notification such as: Press DEL to enter SETUPBIOS settings: Esc | Setup=Del or System configuration: F2.

If you miss this notification the first time, just simply restart your computer again.

Usually, the key to press are likely to be: F1, F2, F3, Esc or Delete. If you are not sure, consult the manufacturer of your computer for the answer.

  1. When you are sure which key or combination of keys to press to enter BIOS, restart your computer again. Press the key to enter the BIOS settings and you will see yourself in the BIOS within a few seconds.

On Windows 10

On Windows 8 and Windows 10, the fast startup feature is adopted, therefore, you cannot press the function key to enter BIOS configuration when booting the system. Here is how you can do it.

  1. Press and hold Shift, then turn off the system. 

  1. Press and hold the function key on your computer that allows you to go into BIOS settings: F1, F2, F3, Esc, or Delete (please consult your PC manufacturer or go through your user manual). Then click the power button.

NoteDO NOT release the function key until you see the BIOS screen display. 

  1. You will find the BIOS configuration. 

How to Enter Safe Mode in Window 7, Vista & XP

If your PC is running Windows 7, Windows Vista & Windows XP, to enter Safe Mode, you can refer steps below:

  1. After you power up your PC (and after it displays its own logo or post screen), but before you see the Windows logo, tap F8 key in 1 second intervals.
  2.  Then the Windows Advanced Boot Options Menu will appear. Use the arrow key to select Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking(if you need internet access, select this mode), then press Enter key to enter the mode you selected.

How to Fix Computer Keeps Restarting?

Turning a new page can be refreshing for anyone. Whether it’s moving to a new house, changing jobs, or even trying a hobby, starting something can bring fresh scenes to your daily living. On the other hand, you’d still want to make sure that you only try new things in moderation. After all, too much of anything is not healthy.

The same is true for your computer. If you think it’s performing slower than usual, you’d want to reboot it to give its system files and programs a fresh start. However, what if your computer automatically restarts without any warning? What should you do if it seems to be stuck in a reboot loop? Well, the first thing you have to do is remain calm and read our guide. In this article, we will teach you how to fix computer keeps restarting.

Reasons why your computer is uncontrollably restarting

There are many reasons behind this problem. It can be a result of various issues, including corrupted drivers, faulty hardware, and malware infection, among others. It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what keeps your computer in a reboot loop. However, many users have reported that the issue occurred after they installed a Windows 10 update. Since this error is quite common, there are also plenty of ways to fix it. With that said, we’ve listed below some solutions that will help you fix reboot loop on Windows 10.

Method 1: Disabling automatic restart

When you want to fix endless reboot loop after Windows 10 update, the first thing you should do is disable the automatic restart feature. This will allow you to temporarily stop the computer from restarting. In this way, you can efficiently try the other methods that will permanently resolve the problem. Here are the steps:

  1. Turn on your computer;
  2. Before the Windows logo shows up, press and hold the F8 key. This should bring up the boot menu;
  3. Select Safe Mode;
  4. Boot your computer through Safe Mode, then press Windows+R;
  5. In the run dialog, type sysdm.cpl then click OK;

  1. Go to the Advanced tab;
  2. Under the Startup and Recovery section, click the Settings button;

  1. You will find the Automatically Restart option in System Failure section. Deselect it if it has been checked. Note that the box beside Write an event to the system log has to be selected. This feature records problems occurring in your system;
  2. Save the changes by clicking OK;

As we’ve mentioned, this can only temporarily fix reboot loop on Windows 10. As such, we recommend that you proceed to the method listed below.

Method 2: Deleting bad registry files

Before you follow our instructions, you have to be completely confident that you can complete the process without making any mistake. Keep in mind that the Windows Registry is a sensitive database. Even misplacing a comma can cause damages to your computer! you can follow the steps below:

  1. Click the Start Menu and type in regedit in the Search field then hit Enter key;
  2. Navigate to this path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList;
  3. Before you make any changes, make sure you create a backup of your registry first. This ensures that you can easily undo any mistakes you might make;

  1. Browse through the ProfileList IDs and watch out for those with ProfileImagePath, if you find any, delete it;
  2. Exit the Registry Editor;
  3. Restart your computer and check if the problem has been fixed.

Method 3: Checking hardware issues

In some cases, a computer may keep on restarting because of faulty hardware. We’ve listed some of the possible hardware issues you must check:

RAMThe problem may come from your Random Access Memory (RAM). Check the RAM and the condition of the slot. Remove the RAM from the slot and carefully clean them both. Insert back the RAM, then check if this fixes the problem.

CPU: Overheating may also get your computer stuck in a reboot loop. As such, you have to check if your CPU is working properly. It would be best to remove the dust from your CPU, ensuring that the fan and its surrounding areas are clean. After this, turn on your computer and check of the issue has been resolved.

External Devices: Unplug all your external devices. After that, turn on your computer and check if it is not in a reboot loop anymore. If your unit is now properly functioning, then there must be something wrong with one of your external devices. You can identify exactly which it is by plugging them back one at a time. Make sure you restart your computer after every device to determine which causes the issue.

Method 4: Scanning for viruses or malware

It is possible that your computer has been infected by a virus or malware – that is why it keeps on restarting. You can run a complete virus scan by using Windows Defender.

Can you suggest other ways to fix this issue?

Feel free to share your ideas by commenting below!

10 Ways to start the Task Manager in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1

Task Manager is a great tool that helps you manage the way programs, processes, and services run. In Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, it has received many improvements, some of which are simply awesome. But, before you go into detail and learn how the Task Manager works, we would like to share with you all the ways in which you can launch this tool. There are more than you would think and some of them will probably surprise you.

1. Use the Ctrl+Shift+Esc keyboard shortcut

The fastest way to launch the Task Manager is to use the keyboard and press the Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys simultaneously.

2. Use the Ctrl+Alt+Del keyboard shortcut, followed by a click or tap

Probably the most popular way of opening the Task Manager is to press Ctrl+Alt+Del on your keyboard. This takes you to the lock screen, where you will find several different shortcuts and then click or tap on Task Manager .

3. Use the hidden Windows+X power user menu, followed by a click or tap

Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 both have a hidden Power User Menu that’s filled with useful shortcuts. One of them is a shortcut to the Task Manager.

Press the Windows+X keys on your keyboard and then click or tap on Task Manager.

Another way is to use the mouse or your finger if you have a device with a touchscreen. Both in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, right-click or press and hold the Start button so that the hidden Power User Menu is displayed.

4. Use the search or talk to Cortana

In Windows 8.1 while on the Start screen, type the word task and wait for the operating system to make the search for the appropriate apps, settings, and files. The first search result will be the Task Manager. Click or tap on it.

In Windows 10, click or tap on Cortana’s search field from the taskbar and then write the word task inside it. After a short while, Windows 10 should begin displaying the search results. The first one should be the Task Manager. Click or tap on it.

If you’d rather, you can also choose to speak to Cortana and simply tell her to open Task Manager. And she’ll do just that.

5. Use the Task Manager shortcut from All Apps

Windows 8.1 has an All apps view on its Start screen, and Windows 10 has an All apps list in its Start Menu. And both of these lists include a shortcut to the Task Manager.

Opening the All apps view in Windows 8.1 is simple: move your mouse or finger to the bottom-left side of the Start screen. An arrow that’s pointing downwards will be displayed.

Click or tap on it to open the All apps view. The Task Manager shortcut is found in the Windows System folder.

In Windows 10, getting to the All apps list is even more simple. Open the Start Menu and click or tap on the All apps shortcut.

Just like in Windows 8.1, you will find the Task Manager shortcut in the Windows System folder.

6. Run the taskmgr.exe executable file

Task Manager can also be launched using its executable – taskmgr.exe.

You will find it inside the C:\ Windows\System32 folder (where C is the drive where Windows is installed) and scroll down to the files that begin with the letter T.

7. Download and use a Desktop shortcut

You can create a shortcut to this tool or you can download the shortcut we have created for you and copy it to your Desktop.

You will find it attached at the end of this article.

8. Use the right click menu from the taskbar’s Notification Area

On your Desktop, look at the notification area from the taskbar (bottom-right), where the time and date are displayed.

Right click or press and hold on that area, to view a contextual menu. While it looks a bit different in Windows 8.1 compared to Windows 10, this menu includes options for customizing the taskbar as well as a shortcut that launches Task Manager, in both operating systems.

9. Run the taskmgr command in Command Line or PowerShell

If you are more of a text-based commands guy or gal, you might prefer using the Command Line or the PowerShell to launch Task Manager. If you do, open the command-line environment you prefer and run the taskmgr command, just like in the screenshot below.

10. Run the taskmgr command in the Run window or in File Explorer

A relatively fast way of launching the Task Manager is to use the Run window. Simultaneously press the Win+R keys on your keyboard and then enter the command taskmgr.

Press Enter or click/tap on OK and Task Manager will open.

A similar method of opening the Task Manager is for you to use the File Explorer’s built-in command running features. Open File Explorer, type the command taskmgr in its address bar and then press the Enter key.

Task Manager will launch in an instant.


The Task Manager is a very powerful tool that allows you to manage different features of the applications, processes, and services running on your computer. Knowing all the ways you can launch it can prove useful in different situations.

Download Link: task_manager.zip

My computer is running slow, what steps can I do to fix it?

Methods mention below are for computers running Microsoft Windows that can help speed up your computer or at least determine why your computer is running slow.


Try to reboot your computer before following any of the steps below.

Background programs

Background program is one of the most common reasons that slow your computer. Remove or disable any terminate and stay resident programs (TSRs), then startup programs that automatically start each time the computer boots.

To see background programs and how much memory and CPU they are using, open Task Manager.

If you your spyware protection, antivirus scanner, or another security utility is in background scan progress, it will decrease the overall performance of your computer. In this case, let the scan to complete, the computer’s performance should improve.

Close System Tray Programs

Many applications tend to run in the system tray, or notification area. These applications often launch at startup and stay running in the background but remain hidden behind the up arrow icon at the bottom-right corner of your screen. Click the up arrow icon near the system tray, right-click any applications you don’t need running in the background, and close them to free up resources.

Reduce Animations

Windows uses quite a few animations, and those animations can make your PC seem a bit slower. For example, Windows can minimize and maximize windows instantly if you disable the associated animations.

To disable animations, press Windows+X or right-click the Start button and select System. Click System info on the right, choose Advanced System Settings on the left of the newly opened window, and then click the Settings button under Performance. Choose Adjust for best performance in the Visual Effects tab to disable all the animations, or select Custom and disable the individual animations you don’t want to see. For example, uncheck Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing to disable the minimize and maximize animations.

Lighten Your Web Browser

There’s a good chance you use your web browser a lot, so your web browser may just be a bit slow. It’s a good idea to use as few browser extensions, or add-ons as possible, those slow down your web browser and cause it to use more memory.

Go into your web browser’s Extensions or Add-ons manager and remove add-ons you don’t need. You should also consider enabling click-to-play plug-ins. Preventing Flash and other content from loading will prevent unimportant Flash content from using CPU time.

Delete temp files

As a computer runs programs, temporary files are stored on the hard drive. Deleting these temp files can help improve computer performance.

First, we suggest using the Windows Disk Cleanup utility to delete temporary files and other files no longer needed on the computer.

Unfortunately, the Disk Cleanup may not delete every file in the temp directory. Therefore, we also suggest deleting temporary files manually. To do this, open the Start Menu and type %temp% in the Search field and then press Enter key. In Windows XP and prior, click the Run option in the Start Menu and enter %temp% in the Run field and then press Enter key, a Temp folder should open. You can delete all files found in this folder and, if any files are in use and cannot be deleted, they can be skipped.

Free hard drive space

Verify that there is at least 200-500MB of free hard drive space. This available space allows the computer to have room for the swap file to increase in size, as well as room for temporary files.

Bad, corrupted or fragmented hard drive

  • Run ScanDiskchkdsk or something equivalent to verify there is nothing physically wrong with the computer’s hard drive.
  • Run Defrag to help ensure that data is arranged in the best possible order.
  • Use other software tools to test the hard drive for any errors by looking at the SMART of the drive.

Scan for viruses

If your computer is infected with one or more viruses, it may run more slowly. If your computer does not have an antivirus program installed, you can run Trend Micro’s free Housecall online utility to scan for viruses on your computer, as well as remove them. It is also recommended that you install an antivirus program for active protection against viruses.

Scan for malware

Today, spyware and other malware is a big cause of many computer problems, including slower performance. Even if an antivirus scanner is installed on the computer, we recommend running a malware scan as well. Use the free version of Malwarebytes to scan your computer for malware.

Uninstall Programs You Don’t Use

Open the Control Panel, find the list of installed programs, and uninstall programs you don’t use and don’t need from your PC. This can help speed your PC up, as those programs might include background processes, autostart entries, system services, context menu entries, and other things that can slow down your PC. It’ll also save room on your hard drive and improve system security. For example, you definitely shouldn’t have Java installed if you’re not using it.

Reset Your PC / Reinstall Windows

Solution to fix Windows problems aside from rebooting your PC, of course – is getting a fresh Windows installation.

On modern versions of Windows (Windows 8, 8.1, and 10), it’s easier to get a fresh Windows installation than ever. You don’t have to get Windows installation media and reinstall Windows. Instead, you can simply use the Reset your PC feature built into Windows to get a new, fresh Windows system. This is similar to reinstalling Windows and will wipe your installed programs and system settings while keeping your files.

Hardware conflicts

Verify that the Device Manager (right-click on This PC or My Compurter icon and select Device Manager) has no conflicts. If any exist, resolve these issues as they could be the cause of your problem.

Update Windows

  • Make sure you have all the latest Windows updates installed.
  • If you are on the Internet when your computer is slow, make sure all browser plugins are up-to-date.

Update your drivers

Make sure you have the latest drivers for your computer hardware, especially the latest video drivers. Having out-of-date drivers can cause an assortment of issues, including slow performance.

Reboot the computer again

After making any of the changes above, be sure to reboot your machine.

Run a registry cleaner

We normally do not recommend registry cleaners. However, if you have followed all of the above steps and your computer is still slow, try running a registry cleaner on the computer.

Memory upgrade

If you have had your computer for more than two years, you may need more memory. Today, we suggest computers have a minimum of 2 GB of memory (RAM) for a 32-bit system and 4 GB for a 64-bit system. By having enough memory for programs to run within memory, your computer will not need to swap information stored in memory to the swap file. If the hard drive light is constantly active, it can be an indication the computer is frequently swapping information between your memory and hard drive.

Hard drive upgrade

One of the biggest bottlenecks of a computer is the hard disk drive. Upgrading from a standard hard drive to a Solid State Drive (SSD) will drastically improve the performance of a computer.

Computer or processor is overheating

Make sure your computer and processor is not overheating. Excessive heat can cause a decrease in computer performance because most operating systems automatically reduce the speed of the processor to help compensate for heat-related issues.

Dust, dirt, and hair can also constrict proper airflow inside your computer, which can cause a computer to overheat. Make sure your computer case is clean, and that the fans are not obstructed.

Increase or upgrade processor speed

Increasing the speed of the processor, or CPU, can help improve your computer’s performance. There are two options for increasing processor speed: overclocking or upgrading.

Overclocking a processor means increasing its speed beyond what it has been designed to stably run. While overclocking can increase the processor speed, the increase is often not very significant, resulting in maybe a 10% or 20% speed increase at most. Furthermore, the processor itself must be capable of being overclocked. You would need to find the specifications for the processor in your computer to determine if it can be overclocked. An overclocked processor will generate more heat, thus requiring a more powerful heat sink and fan to pull the excess heat away from the processor.

A safer alternative to overclocking is upgrading the processor in your computer. You would need to get the specifications for your motherboard to determine what type of newer processor may be used in it. You can then install the new processor in place of the existing processor.

Old computer

If your computer is more than five years old, it will have slower performance than a new one. As more advanced software programs are released, they are optimized to run more efficiently on newer computers. Older computers are not able to run these new programs as well, which can cause them to perform more slowly. Furthermore, new software tends to be more demanding in general, which is another problem for old hardware. We recommend that you consider purchasing a new computer or upgrading your current one.

What’s the Best Antivirus for Windows 10? (Is Windows Defender Good Enough?)

Windows 10 won’t hassle you to install an antivirus like Windows 7 did. Since Windows 8, Windows now includes a built-in free antivirus called Windows Defender. In any case, is it really the best for securing your PC or even sufficiently great?

Windows Defender was originally known as Microsoft Security Essentials back in the Windows 7 days when it was offered as a separate download, but now it’s built right into Windows and it’s enabled by default. Many people have been trained to believe that you should always install a third-party antivirus, but that isn’t the best solution for today’s security problems, like ransomware.

So What’s the Best Antivirus? Please Don’t Make Me Read All This

We definitely recommend you read the entire article so you fully understand why we recommend a combination of Windows Defender and Malwarebytes, but since we know that tons of people will just scroll down and skim, here is our recommendation for how to keep your system secure:

  • Use the Built-in Windows Defender for traditional antivirus – the criminals have moved on from regular viruses to focus on ransomware, zero-day attacks, and even worse malware that traditional antivirus just can’t handle. Windows Defender is built right in, blazing fast, doesn’t annoy you, and does its job cleaning old-school viruses.
  • Use Malwarebytes for Anti-Malware and Anti-Exploit – all of the huge malware outbreaks these days are using zero-day flaws in your browser to install ransomware to take over your PC, and only Malwarebytes provides really excellent protection against this with their unique anti-exploit system. There’s no bloatware and it won’t slow you down.

A One-Two Punch: Antivirus and Anti-Malware

You need antivirus software on your computer, no matter how carefully you browse. Being smart isn’t enough to protect you from threats, and security software can help act as another line of defense.

However, antivirus itself is no longer adequate security on its own. We recommend you use a good antivirus program and a good anti-malware program. Together, they will protect you from most of the biggest threats on the internet today: viruses, spyware, ransomware, and even potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) – among many others.

So which ones should you use, and do you need to pay money for them? Let’s start with the first part of that combo: antivirus.

Is Windows Defender Good Enough?

When you install Windows 10, you’ll have an antivirus program already running. Windows Defender comes built-in to Windows 10, and automatically scans programs you open, downloads new definitions from Windows Update, and provides an interface you can use for in-depth scans. Best of all, it doesn’t slow down your system, and mostly stays out of your way – which we can’t say about most other antivirus programs.

For a short while, Microsoft’s antivirus fell behind the others when it came to comparative antivirus software tests – way behind. It was bad enough that we recommended something else, but it’s since bounced back, and now provides very good protection.

So in short, yes: Windows Defender is good enough (as long as you couple it with a good anti-malware program, as we mentioned above – more on that in a minute).

But Is Windows Defender the Best Antivirus? What About Other Programs?

If you look at that antivirus comparison we linked to above, you’ll notice that Windows Defender, while good, does not get the highest ranks in terms of raw protection scores. So why not use something else?

First, let’s look at those scores. AV-TEST found that it still caught 99.9% of the “widespread and prevalent malware” in December 2018, along with 100% percent of the zero-day attacks. AVG, one of AV-TEST’s top rated antivirus programs, has the exact same scores for December – but slightly higher scores in past months (for some reasons, its overall rating is the same).

Furthermore, security is about more than raw protection scores. Other antivirus programs may occasionally do a bit better in monthly tests, but they also come with a lot of bloat, like browser extensions that actually make you less safe, registry cleaners that are terrible and unnecesary, loads of unsafe junkware, and even the ability to track your browsing habits so they can make money. Furthermore, the way they hook themselves into your browser and operating system often causes more problems than it solves. Something that protects you against viruses but opens you up to other vectors of attack is not good security.

Just look at all the extra garbage Avast tries to install alongside its antivirus.

Windows Defender does not do any of these things – it does one thing well, for free, and without getting in your way. Plus, Windows 10 already includes the various other protections introduced in Windows 10, like the SmartScreen filter that should prevent you from downloading and running malware, whatever antivirus you use. Chrome and Firefox, similarly, include Google’s Safe Browsing, which blocks many malware downloads.

If you hate Windows Defender for some reason and want to use another antivirus, you can use AVG. It has a free version that works fairly well, a pro version with a few extra features, and it provides great protection scores and only has the occasional popup ad (but it does have popup ads, which are annoying). The biggest problem is that you need to be sure to uninstall the browser extension it tries to force on you, which makes it hard to recommend to non-technical people.

Antivirus Isn’t Enough: Use Malwarebytes, Too

Antivirus is important, but these days, it’s more important that you use a good anti-exploit program to protect your web browser and plug-ins, which are the most targeted by attackers. Malwarebytes is the program we recommend here.

Unlike traditional antivirus programs, Malwarebytes is good at finding PUPs and other junkware. As of version 3.0, it also contains an anti-exploit feature, which aims to block common exploits in programs, even if they are zero-day attacks that have never seen before – like those nasty Flash zero-day attacks. It also contains anti-ransomware, to block extortion attacks like CryptoLocker. The latest version of Malwarebytes combines these three tools into one easy-to-use package for $40 per year.

Malwarebytes claims to be able to replace your traditional antivirus entirely, but we disagree with this. It uses completely different strategies for protecting you: antivirus will block or quarantine harmful programs that find their way to your computer, while Malwarebytes attempts to stop harmful software from ever reaching your computer in the first place. Since it doesn’t interfere with traditional antivirus programs, we recommend you run both programs for the best protection.

Note that you can get some of Malwarebytes’ features for free, but with caveats. For example, the free version of Malwarebytes program will only scan for malware and PUPs on-demand, it won’t scan in the background like the premium version does. In addition, it doesn’t contain the anti-exploit or anti-ransomware features of the premium version.

You can only get all three features in the full $40 version of Malwarebytes, which we recommend. But if you’re willing to forego anti-ransomware and always-on malware scanning, the free versions of Malwarebytes and Anti-Exploit are better than nothing, and you should definitely use them.