Ask the Geek

Information Technology can be baffling. It’s a world of 100% logic that often acts in very illogical ways. Do you have a question about computers, smart phones, the internet, or anything in between? Fire away, I’ll do my best to give you a straight, understandable answer. I’ll only post your initials, or you can be 100% anonymous.


Why has my computer gotten slower? B.H.

Your computer is probably running Microsoft Windows. Windows puts all of its settings in one place: the registry. As time goes by, that registry gets bigger. And bigger. And bigger! It takes Windows longer and longer to parse all of the info in there, and it visibly slows your computer. Each install of software adds dozens, maybe hundreds of files to the Windows system folders, and these too have to be traversed by the operating system. So long story short, Windows computers run slower by design with age.

You can help be keeping your software installs to a minimum. Clean out your web browser cache. Dig down and find the setting to adjust your computer for best performance. Windows XP, 7, and 10 all have it. This Microsoft help page can point you to where to go on Windows 10. Microsoft refuses to acknowledge that its previous operating systems exist, so you’ll have to search for help on Windows 7 or XP. For serious help, try a registry cleaner. It can trim the inevitable fat from your own registry and get your computer back to being speedy again.


Why does my wireless network keep dropping out? D.S.

You might have a defective router. I put up with dropped connections for months before I finally sprang for a nice TP Link model, and suddenly my wireless was 100% reliable. You might also have  a defective device. And you just might not have good wireless signal. You can get around that by use of a repeater.


Do I need virus protection with Windows 10? B.M.

Absolutely. Positively. Windows 10 is less fragile than XP and 7, but it’s still vulnerable to infection. Cut your odds by using Chrome or Firefox in lieu of Internet explorer. Edge is still miles behind, but it’s slowly getting better. But by all means, get virus and spyware protection.