Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Why Windows is so slow to boot

Have you ever wondered what your computer is doing when it takes sooooo long for Windows to boot? While you're staring at the Windows logo, the system is reporting back to Microsoft, ostensibly so it can check to see what's running on your computer. Now that people have found out this is happening every day, Microsoft is suddenly making changes.

Here's a report from InfoSelect:

Microsoft has changed a major feature found in its Windows Genuine
Advantage (WGA) software, after receiving an onslaught of complaints from
end users. The criticism is in regard to the program's daily check-ins with
the company's servers; now, the tool will dial home in 14-day intervals
instead of after every system boot.

... Click to read the rest of the article (and other InfoSelect recent articles)


Disable unwanted programs in Windows XP

If you haven't read "Computer Ease" yet, here's a reminder about disabling unwanted programs that hog your memory.

They appear when you load new programs, or run something like Quicken or Real Audio. When you close the program they often position themselves to reside in memory, to load faster the next time you need them. To free up, memory clear them out of the StartUp tab of MSConfig:

Click Start / Run and type msconfig

Click the StartupTab and uncheck any you don't need running. By unchecking you're not actually removing them from the computer, just preventing them from waiting around.

Reboot after exiting from MSConfig and the changes will take effect. You will see a message when you reboot stating someone has changed your system configuration. That someone is you - so just clear the message and you're on your way -- with more memory than you had earlier.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Staying productive away from the office

We’re great at tuning out distractions when working at home, but a hotel room or internet café is often not conducive to conducting business. If you tote your laptop along and can’t get a free wireless connection in your hotel, stay organized to make the most of your time as a café-squatter.

While working on the plane or in the hotel, keep a running list of web sites you need to review, emails you want to send once you’re online, and reply quickly to all the new mail you get, so people will know you’re in touch while out of the office.

Use your Outlook or Act calendar to create one giant “to-do” item of all these things so you don’t waste time wandering through files looking for names, numbers and bits of information.

Because you have greater security risks on any public connection, especially wireless, limit your time online to the essentials, and don’t use it checking bank account balances or for buying airline tickets or any credit card transactions.

While traveling on business this week, I’m witnessing the frustration and lost productivity by business people trying to use a Marriott hotel business center. Because Marriott doesn’t offer free wi-fi, dozens of people every hour are wasting time waiting for one of two computers, or plugging their laptops into a potentially unsafe network to read mail, then switching to web mail to send replies. And I’m telling you from experience you can waste 20 minutes and a cappuccino just trying to get onto an available connection, even at a café with free wi-fi.