Last Updated on October 1, 2010 by Dave Farquhar
Best Bait-n-Switch is offering a service where they’ll remove crapware from a PC for 30 bucks.
You can offer to do the same thing for 30 bucks, but do a better job. Here’s how.Of course, the first thing you do is go into Add/Remove Programs and remove everything in sight, unless it’s something the client actually wants. That’ll take about 20 minutes, tops, and it’s probably the extent of what Best Buy does. That’ll help, but it doesn’t bring back all of the new PC peppiness.
Next, you need to install and run a couple of utilities. Start out with CCleaner to remove any stray registry entries that may linger behind. Hopefully there won’t be too much. Then grab the unbeatable Donn Edwards bundle of JK-Defrag, NTREGOPT, and Pagedefrag.
Run NTREGOPT to remove the slack space from the registry, then run Pagedefrag and reboot. You’ll end up with a defragmented pagefile and a fresh-as-a-new-install registry.
Finally, run JK-Defrag to move all the useless data to the end of the drive, and all the stuff people actually use to the front. It’ll do a much better job than Microsoft’s built-in defragmenter, even on a new system.
The tuneup should take less than an hour, and most of it is time you can just walk away from the system and let it do its thing. You can advertise your service as better than Best Buy’s and compete solely on that, or beat them on price by a few bucks while providing a better and more worthwhile service.
If you’re feeling really industrious, you can even consult the appropriate Black Viper services list and disable unnecessary services to free up a little RAM and CPU time. If you don’t want to do a lot of reading, Computer Browser and Remote Registry are two services that always make sense to disable in home environments. My personal list used to be a lot longer, but Windows’ defaults are a lot more optimal than they were 5-8 years ago. The other stuff I always used to disable is disabled by default now.
And here’s one last piece of valuable advice you can give your clients. Rather than buy the Norton or McAfee antivirus product that’s probably installed on their computer as trialware, delete it and have your client buy NOD32 instead. The price is comparable to the other products, but it consumes a lot less CPU time and memory than the rest. So if you want antivirus protection but also want the computer to stay peppy, that’s the best choice in town.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.
4 thoughts on “Psst… Wanna compete with Best Buy?”
What if you want to go with a free AV solution ? Don’t I remember you suggesting ClamAV recently ? How do you like it vs. NOD32 ?
Clam is fine if you don’t need real-time protection. That works for people like you and me who instinctively mistrust unexpected e-mail attachments and don’t download and install everything in sight. But I don’t trust the average user without real-time protection, which NOD32 does a nice job of providing without dragging system performance back a generation or two (making a Core 2 or Athlon 64 feel like a P3). It’s the only AV program written mostly in assembly language, and it makes a difference.
Ah yes, I installed ClamAV this weekend and I see what you mean. Works for me, but maybe I’ll have to check out NOD32 for the wife’s PC 😉
AVG Free is fine, provided you get the REALLY free version instead of the "free trial of the full version for a month" trap. However, the latest version introduced a lot of new stuff, some of which pulls down performance. You should in any case have a non-ISP email address (yahoo, gmail) if you’re not running your own domain, and given that then you can turn off AVG’s email checking and performance will still be quite good.
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