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Thursday, August 9, 2012

1265. Don't be scammed by TV computer "speed-up" offers

Brian asks: I see ads on TV advertising that they can make my computer run faster. Is this a scam or does it really do anything? Should I look into getting these products?

If it sounds too good to be true it probably is! I have not tried all of these services, but I did try a few just to see. They are not free, even though their ads make it sound like they are. They will download software and test your computer for free, find many "problems" and then if you want them to fix the "problems" it will cost you, usually an annual fee.

There are two simple ways to improve your computer's speed: add more memory to your computer (memory is currently inexpensive, and there's no reason not to have less than 4GB of memory if your computer supports it), also replace your hard drive with a solid-state (SSD) disk drive (this is an all electronic disk instead of one that spins). These are more expensive than the regular disk drives, but are much faster and can be more reliable,

If you're running Windows, you may find that a complete re-install of the operating system can drastically speed up your computer. This generally requires a lot of effort, and some skill (you must back up your data files before performing the installation), so it may be best left to a professional. This operation will give Windows its "new car smell" (just a metaphor) and make it run as smoothly as possible.

In any case, the products you see advertised on TV won't do any of these things, they won't fix your computer in any way, and they'll just waste your money. At best, they'll do nothing; at worst, they'll infect your computer with a benign or malicious virus. Save your money and don't be scammed.

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