Helping a friend with his computer

By | July 16, 2011
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Darla tries to help an old friend
Dear TC & EB, I have been helping an elderly man with problems he is having with his computer. He has Windows XP with not much RAM. He purchased the computer from a Computer Shop nearby. Of course he doesn’t have a rescue disk etc. I am going to make a disk for him. He really only wants the computer for email and to read the local paper and play games. A friend came to his house to visit and Bob told him about some problems he was having with his computer so the young man checked his Internet history and found some p/orn sites listed. I know that Bob would never access a p/orn site and the young man said that his email address may have been stolen. I don’t really think that is the problem. Now Bob is afraid to go on the Internet. The one thing he was doing was playing games on Pogo. I am wondering if he may have clicked on something on that site accidently or if there is another way he would end up with p/orn sites in his Internet history. I hope I explained this well enough for you and I know you will have the answer. Thank you for all you do and the great advice. Darla

Our answer
Thanks Darla. First thing – it’s quite possible for innocent people to end up with undesirable files on their computer. An errant click here, a sly redirect there, even clicking on an ad for vitamins might lead an innocent person down the surly path to seeming depravity. And even if, and we’re not saying your friend did, the only thing p/orn site would infect would be the mind. There’s nothing dangerous (computer-wise) about adult sites. So, just because your friend has remnants left over from visits (or not) to unsavory adults sites, doesn’t mean much. It certainly shouldn’t be the first suspect if your friend’s computer isn’t running well.

Download a good junk and garbage remover and clean up all the cookies and temp files. A free program like our Zappit , will clean up the junk safely.

Next we’d recommend that you go to Control Panel/Add or Remove Programs and remove any programs that he doesn’t use or isn’t likely to use. Then use a program like WinPatrol (free version) to manage the number of programs starting with Windows. You can get the free version of WinPatrol at – it’s easy on resources and makes it easy to decide which programs to remove from the startup list. Since your friend does not have a lot of RAM, any programs that start up with Windows that you can remove from the list of programs starting with Windows, the more of his resources you will conserve.

You’ll want to install Microsoft Security Essentials and the free version of Malwarebytes – and scan his computer with MSE first. After that, scan it with Malwarebytes. This will ensure that his computer is free from malware, spyware, adware, Trojans and other malicious files.

Give him a few basic rules to follow: Don’t click on links in email. Don’t open attachments in email unless he is absolutely sure he knows what it is, he knows for sure who sent it, and he was expecting someone to send him an attachment. Explain to him that an email can appear to come from a friend or family member, but it may be forged. Also remind him than banks and other financial institutions do not send emails addressed to “Dear customer” and they don’t send emails asking people to change passwords or account information – these are almost always phishing emails.

It would be a good idea to add some RAM to his computer. It is not very expensive, it’s easy to install, and adding RAM to his computer is the one thing you can do that will make the biggest difference in the speed of his computer.

As far as POGO goes, if he enjoys playing games, that’s fine. Just have him be careful about advertisements which may be displayed while he’s playing. POGO uses ad networks, like we do, and they are not responsible and don’t even know what ads are being displayed on their site. Once in a while a bad advertisement can make it through the networks filters and may lead to a malicious web site or download.

If he uses reasonable care and you help him a long a little, your friend shouldn’t be afraid to go on the Internet. As long as he understands not to click links he’s not sure of, never clicks links in emails without knowing who sent the email, has good security software installed, and follows understands the rules of safety we provided in this answer, he’ll be fine.

Let him know if he has a question, he can call or write you. It’s better to ask first than take a chance doing something he’s not sure of.

6 thoughts on “Helping a friend with his computer

  1. Dawn

    You should mention in your article that you only receive 100 fix errors on the free download. Wow, can’t believe how much it found on my computer. Will have to save up to buy the program!

    1. infoave Post author

      Nothing in our article would give you “100 free fix errors”. We mentioned “Starter” which is free and doesn’t fix errors. We mentioned “MSE” which is free and does not fix errors. We mentioned Malwarebytes (Free) which does not fix errors. We mentioned WinPatrol free version – which does not fix errors. And we mentioned our own program called Zappit which is free and does not fix errors.

      Starter manages startup programs
      MSE is an antivirus/antispyware
      WinPatrol has features to manage startups and to protect you from malicious programs
      Malwarebytes Free scans and removes malicious files
      Zappit is free junk files cleaner

      None of the programs we mentioned in the article limit fixes or fix anything unless you want to consider removing startup programs from a list or removing malware “fixing”.

      You’ve clicked on an advertisement which is not associated with this article. Please be careful where you click.

  2. Gina

    Darla….Don’t forget to suggest to your friend that he should subscribe to Cloudeight’s InfoAve newsletter! I think most of us subscribers would agree that we learned a lot from EB and TC when we first got started in computing–and are still learning something new each week, since the internet is constantly changing and new programs (and malware) come out every day. It’s the perfect newsletter for newbies because they explain everything in terms beginners like your friend can understand.

  3. Patricia McCosker

    I think your newsletters are marvellous..I paid a lifetime subscription some weeks ago and Your Computer Won’t Bite was downloaded somewhere into my system but I cannot find it. Where could it be or could I download it again
    Many thanks

    1. infoave Post author

      Write do cloud8response/at/ and we’ll send you a link.


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