Question about Gateway MX8711 Notebook
I have several recommendations you should consider:
1: Disable hibernation option. Vista has not perfected this yet. If it freezes when you try to wake it up, this might be the problem.
2: Identify how much RAM she has installed. She "could" not have enough resources to accomplish what she is trying to do. When the computer "runs out of gas" (available resource memory), many times it just dies or freezes up. If she is running 1GB of ram with Vista, make sure you raise the virtual memory to higher than the recommended amount without going overboard. This will use some of the empty space on her hard drive to cache programs running in backgroud without using up her ram. The main difference is hard drives run in milliseconds (1 ms is 1/1,000th of a second) and RAM runs in nano seconds (1 ns is 1/1,000,000 of a second).
3: I put as much RAM into my comuters as possible and I recommend she do the same for her notebook. think of 1GB to 2GB is like going from a 4 cylinder econo car to one with a V-8. RAM is cheap compared to 10 years ago. See what she can afford and it will be money well spent.
4: Make sure you have a good virus-malware-spyware program. Spyware will really slow down a computer and possibly cause it to freeze as well as "could" send personal information to others when she is on line without her knowing it. Malware is becoming rampant expecially from China and Ukraine. These could be trojans or worms and do some really nasty and hateful things like send virus' to everyone in your contact manager or address book. Virus' speak for themselves. You can usually save paying the retail price by purchasing legal software on ebay. If you buy a program 1 version behind the current version being sold, you will get a free upgrade 95% of the time when you register. DO NOT go for the "freebees". They are the last to get the attention of the company and virus-malware definations are critical for protection. Check eBay. You can many times get 3 user software so you can protect your computers as well but remember, that doesn't mean you can stack the uses (1 each for 2008-2009 & 2010.) Your subscription starts when you register and you don't start getting updates until you register.
5: Purchase a good registry maintenance program. As OS's (Operating Systems like Vista) get more "user friendly", they put more and more information into the OS registry to reference. If she is a major downloader and deleter, then the registry can get messed up. PC Tools has a probram called Registry Mechanic which I have found very reliable. at $29 retail, you can probably get it on ebay for $15-$19. If she is a downloader-deleter (even music), she should run this at least every month.
6: Run the Vista Disk Cleanup tool at least every month but once a week is better. A good analogy would be an oil change everytime you do it. This program is part of Vista and can be found at Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools. If she is a procrastinator, when you get to the program in System Tools, right click on it and left click on Send to and left click on Create Shortcut on Desktop. If this is her MO, then be sure when she installs these maintenance programs, you check the box that says "Put shortcut on Desktop". Group them all together so
she doesn't forget. Maybe in the lower right corner of the Desktop.
7th and last: A hard drive gets fragmented everytime you open a program or file. It is "the way of things". Pieces of a single file can be located in as many as 1,000 diffwerent places on your hard drive. This is normal but when the OS opens a file like this, it has to find all 1,000 pieces before it can bring it up as it was last saved. System files also get fragmented over a period of time, especially when you download updates from Microsoft and other software companies. SHE NEEDS TO OCCASSIONALLY DEFRAGMENT HER HARD DRIVE. With Vista, I say again 1 time per month but 1 time per week is better. The new defragmenter in Vista have old-timers like me hoppin' mad. A definate downgrade from previous versions but I am sure there are reasons why they changed it. I RECOMMEND A FREE DOWNLOADABLE DISK DEFRAGGING PROGRAM FROM WWW.AUSLOGICS.COM. It is fast and satisfactory. Vista DF can take hours. Auslogics soes what it needs to in order to keep her hard disk providing files efficiently.
Rebew, today's young people are in a hurry but many times, it takes being without the computer for a week to teach them that 10 minutes per month is a lot better. The maintenance does not have to be done at the same time, just done.
If she does do them all together, I recommend Microsoft Updates > Disk cleanup > Registery Mechanic > Disk Defrag. Tell her if prompted to restart her computr, do it when Vista tells her to and NOT wait until she does all the maintenance.
Any 1 of these recommendations will help her to keep her computer running. "All of them" would be best. Total $ output not including RAM should be $30 - $40 if you get the programs on eBay.
Whew! Time to go to bed. Let me know if I didn't explain anything well and you have additional questions. I will help if I can.
I hope this helps your Granddaughter. Be well and blessings to both of you.
Posted on Jun 06, 2008
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