View Full Version : computer maintenance queries

George Jung
05-06-2013, 10:56 PM
I've run into 'issues' with my HP laptops (why oh why didn't I listen to Joe?) - the ones my daughters have had 'issues' with, and I've 'inherited'. Good times.

Anyhoo, I've had three hard drives go out in the past year - and have been told HP is famous for this. But my soninlaw tells me I should be running a registry-cleaner software - that not doing so is the primary cause of failures. Is this true?

So - besides antiviral software, what do 'the wiz's here' recommend?

Same for a Mac as a PC? Speak up, and enunciate - I"m old.

05-06-2013, 11:11 PM
Go to cnet and download cCleaner,
Uncheck saved passwords,analyze.
You can highlight what you don't want removed, and you can back it up, just in case.
The problem is, everything you download, (AND DON'T) is always on the hard drive,even after you delete it.
Just the link is gone.
This cleans up MANY issues, and errors.
The Registry repair is priceless, at least on my old pull start compaq 9010's.
BTW, its free on 3 devices.

If your using Norton, go to the uninstall sight, its like an octopus..everywhere. Avast! is lighter. Free or paid.
Good luck. These guys here on the forum saved my HP's by sending me there.
P.S. For a really good toilet flush, use the "Wipe Free Space. Magic. :)

05-06-2013, 11:12 PM
Anyhoo, I've had three hard drives go out in the past year - and have been told HP is famous for this.

Hard drives are pretty much a commodity nowadays, though there is still a valid distinction between consumer-class and enterprise-class. But three hard drives in a year is a bit too much. How did they go? You might have something like an intermittent-failure power supply that's frying them.

But my soninlaw tells me I should be running a registry-cleaner software - that not doing so is the primary cause of failures. Is this true?

No. Hardware failures have nothing to do with registry cleaning. A fscked up registry might cause your Windows to bluescreen, but it's not going to crash your hard drive.

So - besides antiviral software, what do 'the wiz's here' recommend?

Same for a Mac as a PC? Speak up, and enunciate - I"m old.

Which problem exactly do you want to solve? :-) If it's hard drives dying, how did they die -- heads crash? Electronics dead? What happened to them?


George Jung
05-07-2013, 10:00 PM
Three different computers; if I knew how they'd crash, I'd be a few steps closer to headin' em off at the pass!

05-07-2013, 10:04 PM
Good defrag software will keep the HD healthier. It will segregate bad sectors and dramatically cut down on seek time which helps the drive to not work as hard. Diskkeeper is very respected for this.

05-07-2013, 10:17 PM
Kaa has it right. Registry cleaners will not do a thing for the hard drive. In fact, many can totally blow up the registry - so I never touch 'em personally.

One major cause of HD failure in laptops is dirt. Fuzz, lint, dust, you name it. The laptop will pick it up, pack it in around everything & then the computer gets too hot & damage occurs. Youll see slots in the sides/bottom of the computer & feel air going in one & out the other. Put a vacuum on the out side & if you watch carefully you may even see stuff fly out.

HP makes OK servers & commercial stuff. IMO, their consumer computers are junk. There are better brands out there: Dell, Toshiba, Samsung for example. I am currently running an Asus & seems to be good quality. In all fairness, the lifespan of any laptop is figured at 3 years or so. Do people get longer? Sure - but I don't count on it. I realize it seems like a lot of cash, but $750 for 36 months is roughly $20/month - IOW 1/2 or less of what you pay for the internet connection. Switching over from a still running computer to a new one is a whole lot easier too...|:)

05-07-2013, 11:34 PM
I would guess that the power supply may be screwing up...losing three hard drives in a year is odd...I have maybe a dozen hard drives...including the external docked drives...I loose maybe one every year or two.

And don't let the Steve Jobs hypnotized folks make you think that life is merrier on that side of the fence...ain't true...they want you to believe it in order to make themselves feel better for buying over priced and underpowered machines.

05-08-2013, 12:08 AM
3 disks in 3 separate laptops? Were they purchased at the same time?

Back before Compaq and HP merged I bought 5 desktop Compaq's and 4 of them had HD failures within the year. It was a bad batch of disks from Seagate, and we swapped out the 5th one before it failed just in case. This is why you should buy disks from different batches when building putting together a RAID set.

If you do run some sort of defrag and scanning software, keep an eye on the reports because automatic management might hide or mask the symptoms of another impending failure.


05-08-2013, 03:44 AM
Anyhow, I will disagree with some folks here. Any antivirus you get for free is a poor investment... She'll out a modest number of bucks for a good commercial product... With support. Kaspersky is excellent. The latest versions of norton ( unlike early versions) are actually.
I ran the free version of AVG for 8 years on an XP box with no problems. The corporate version of Eset NOD32 that they ran at work replaced the AVG, and found nothing that AVG had missed. I run Microsoft Security Essentials (guess what - its free) on the 64 bit Win7 box i have now, and have have had no nasties in two years. The IT guy at work recommended that, or Avast.
They are free, they are "good commercial products" - AVG and MS both have paid for Enterprise versions, dont know about Avast - and in my experience they are far less intrusive and resource hungry than the Norton octopus. Dont give those guys your credit card number as it is like the Hotel California - you can enter, but you can never ever leave. My Dad had a six month running battle with them to get "unsubscribed", and get the deductions stopped.


05-08-2013, 05:42 AM
Love HP printers... not such a fan of their computers though. Would bag it and get a Toshiba... this thing gets abused, is never cared for and just keeps humming along. It occassionally slows down, but it hasn't blown up on me.. yet HAAAAA Oh and it runs a 3+ year old microsoft essentials as it's only protection. Stupid thing is downloading an update now. Hate that, cause it tires the poor baby out and makes it move crazy slow

05-08-2013, 07:52 AM
I hafta go along with some of the others here, HP computers are junk. I've owned three and our last contract at work was with HP (10,000+ machines over three years). The failure rate is way higher than any other manufacturer that I have experience with (Dell, ASUS, Lenovo, Apple). Performance though is actually better than most, when they work... I think it's a QC issue. Their printers are worth the cost though, very few failures there.

I also have nothing good to say about Symantec (Norton) Antivirus. Very intrusive and a huge resource hog. It's also not, in my opinion, as good as some of it's competition. If you're willing to pay, Nod32 is as good as it gets. I run MS Security Essentials on my personal machines now though, it's free, it's MS so it's integrated better with Windows (it's also, for all intents and purposes invisible) and so far, it's been as good as anything else in protecting my system.

I used to think Apple was good, and I've recommended their products to people who just want a working computer. Unfortunately, I think their QC is beginning to slip a little too. My daughter's 15 month old Macbook Air is having video issues right now and two different people at work have recently asked me about issues they're having with their Macs. For the cost, I expect to never have to touch an Apple device for its 3 year life span. Sadly, that's apparently not the case anymore.

A computer life span is three years, maybe four for a desktop. Anything you get after that should be considered a gift (and yes, I've had machines that lasted 5+, but I sure wouldn't count on it). If anything breaks after three years, you're money ahead to just replace the computer altogether.

05-08-2013, 09:27 AM
I do agree that Norton used to be horrendous.... but I'm using it now on this laptop, because it's a brand new machine, I used it during the 30 day 'free trial', and found it to be overwhelmingly better than the 'old' Norton, which, I agree, was a horrible resource hog. They've improved dramatically.

OK - but why even support them after their years of screwing people? NOD32 is way better & costs a bit less.

They still have false positive issues from over 10 years ago that they refuse to look into & that's inexcusable - as it requires (in my customers' case) that entire folders be exempted from scanning. I had a false positive on NOD32, let them know, & had a fix in 3 days.

05-08-2013, 09:57 AM
My wife is a big professional user of Macs (she manages the local community TV station), and they've NOT been reliable or long-lasting, at all... and the worst of it is that repair, beyond the warranty, is absurdly expensive. If it were not for the need for Final Cut as their primary editing platform, they wouldn't be using Macs at all.

Around here, since Apple messed the bed with Final Cut X, most documentarians and independent filmmakers have been switching to Adobe Premiere.

John of Phoenix
05-08-2013, 10:27 AM
I've fixed more "broken" computers with CCleaner than I can count. http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner I have it set to run every time the computer starts to clean out all kinds of tracking cookies that slow things down and all the other crap that gets deposited over time. The original name was actually CrapCleaner which isn't exactly PC so they abbreviated it. I run the registry cleaner any time I install or remove a program. It gives you the option of saving a copy of the old registry so if anything goes awry the old one can be restored. On the machines that I've "fixed", there have been literally THOUSANDS of erroneous registry entries. After cleaning the registry, the machine boots in half the time and runs much faster. After that, run chdsk to isolate any bad disc sectors then run defrag and it's practically a new machine.

A blown hard drive is another problem altogether and as has been said dust and the resulting heat are the usual culprits in a laptop. Blow it out, vacuum it out, do anything to get it out and do it regularly.

AVG has done everything anyone could ask - low profile, effective and free. What's not to love?

05-08-2013, 10:43 AM
This isn't surprising, either.

I think I mentioned before: if you want a good performing laptop with lots of RAM and HD space, a 17" screen that can do full HD video, etc.... you can buy an Apple Mac Pro for $2200.... or an HP for $379.

Not hard to make the choice. Prejudice and familiarity would be the only reasons to buy the Mac.

And the Mac Pro has not been updated in two years. The graphics card is at least two generations behind.

George Jung
05-09-2013, 07:12 AM
I had forgotten about CCleaner; thanks. And as usual, lots of good advice here (and have you noticed - apparently one of the few threads without rancor!). Yep, bought all three at the same time - after doing considerable research. HP, at that time, was considered a 'top' pick - but the reviews, after the fact, were abysmal. QC, no doubt. The good news (if you want to look at it that way) is - this is the third of three to crap out for me. Two are junk - daughters had them at school, got their use (and abuse). One I had, still is very good, so I may just put a new HD in it. Thinking SSD, but doubt it's worth the $.

I like the ME software/antiviral. AFA cleaning the machines, I'm pretty good about that, but have never actually opened the case to do so.