Tuesday, November 29, 2011

HP TouchSmart IQ504 Tune-Up

AffordableComputerGeek.com of Salem MA

Recently a client came in with a fairly new HP TouchSmart IQ504 with Vista 64Bit and 4GB of RAM. Chief complaint was pop-up windows and a general state of “slowness”. Other complaint was an issue with dead & duplicate bookmarks in Firefox. First step was to verify that these issues were not caused by Malware, Virus’s or a Trojan by running the clients own Norton AV program as well as Trends HouseCall  and Malwarebytes.

Next step was to conduct very simple benchmarking test.

Pre-Performance Tuning Bench Mark Tests:

·         6 Minutes 21 Seconds from Cold Boot until Hard Drive activity stopped and Network Connection was available. OVER SIX MINUTES! 
·         21 seconds to load Firefox.
·         30 seconds to load IE.
·         40 seconds for complete shutdown.

As always I backup all music, photo & documents to an external hard drive before going any further. Call me paranoid, but better safe than sorry.

Now we move on to the core of performance tuning to address the client’s complaints.

Performance Tuning:

·         Disable HP Advisor from sending data to HP. Impacts performance and may be a privacy concern.  Data sent is of little to no use to user.
·         Stop the following Services from automatically starting at boot:
·         Apple Mobile Device
·         Bonjour Service
·         HP Health Check Service
·         iPod Service
·         Lavasoft Ad-Aware Service
·         Stop the following Startup Items from starting at boot:
·         HP Health Check Scheduler
·         Microsoft Windows Mobile Device Center
·         Microsoft Security Essentials.
·         HPSmartCenterBoot
·         Skype
·         MobileMe
·         RealPlayer
·         Ad Muncher
·         hpwuSchd Application
·         Adobe Acrobat
·         QuickTime
·         iTunes
·         Backup Firefox Bookmarks. Install CheckPlaces Add-on to Firefox. Run CheckPlaces to eliminate “bad” & duplicate book marks. Find that of 286 bookmarks there were 95 bookmarks that were either not valid web pages any longer and of those 95 there were 65 that mostly led to eBay search pages. All were removed.
·         Remove Microsoft Security Essentials. Should not have two AV products installed & running at same time. Norton360 is installed and running correctly.
·         Clean exterior of case. Use compressed air to blow dust out of cooling vents/

Remove HP “crapware”

§  HP Customer Experience Enhancements. Never used.
§  HP Product Detection. Never used.
§  HP Total Care Advisor. Last used 3/29/09.
§  HP Update. Last used 4/20/10.
§  Shop for HP Supplies. Last used 12/18/09.
§  HP TouchSmart. Last used 8/29/09.
·         Run Disk Cleanup to remove unneeded files and compress old files.
·         File system on hard drive badly defragmented. Run defrag utility.
·         Remove 1000+ invalid registry entries.
Following the above work I again do my simple bench-marking test with what I thought were dramatic results.

Post-Performance Tuning Bench Mark Tests:

·         1 Minutes 27 Seconds from Cold Boot until Hard Drive activity stopped and Network Connection was available. 5 minute improvement!
·         3 seconds to load Firefox. 18 second improvement!
·         2 seconds to load IE. 28 second improvement!
·         30 seconds for complete shutdown. 10 second improvement!
When the client came to pick it up I showed them the pre & post benchmark test results and even just booting the machine up for them was enough proof for them that the machine now worked much better. I then showed them how to open the Control Panel and instructed them on how to run disk clean up and disk defrag. Told them to do that once a month or so and they should be all set for some time to come.

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