Safe Mode With Networking First of all you need to go into 'Safe Mode With Networking' in order to maximise your chances of finding something nasty. To do this restart your PC and keep hitting F8 until your are presented with some options on your screen, then with your keyboard select 'Safe Mode With Networking' and hit the Enter button on your keyboard to select it. The difference between Safe Mode and Safe Mode With Networking is that the latter will still allow you to surf the web while the prior wont. Please note that if you happen to restart your PC by accident during this clean up make sure you go back in Safe Mode With Networking until all of the steps I give have been completed. MSConfig Now when you are in Safe Mode With Networking click on your Windows icon at the bottom of the screen and the select 'Run'. Once the box opens type MSCONFIG into it and click OK. A new System Configuration box should now open up, go onto 'StartUp' and there you will see a list of programs that automatically start running in the background every time you start Windows…I bet your surprised how long it is aren't you. Now because your PC is running slow or is infected we want to reduce the amount of programs that start up automatically because some of them could be Virus's/Spyware or they could just be system hogs. So click on 'Disable All' to begin with and you will see that all of the programs are de-selected to auto start with Windows. Now we want to make sure that your anti-virus program starts with Windows because that is probably the only essential program on there so try to locate it and re-enter the little tick into the box next to it, also if there are others you NEED then you can also turn them back on. Now once you have done that click the 'Apply' button and then click the 'OK' button to finish. It will now ask if you want to restart your PC, select No because we have some other tasks to do. CCleaner Now before we start scanning for Virus's and Spyware we should really delete all of your old temporary Internet files and other unnecessary things. This will have two benefits, firstly it will help speed up your PC a little bit and secondly it will speed up the security scans which we will be doing in a little while because there will be less files for it to look through. So to begin with download the latest version of a program called CCleaner. Now once you have installed it open the program and click the 'Run Cleaner' button, this will now take a minute or so to delete all of your junk files. Once the program has finished close CCleaner down. Malware Bytes So now we begin looking for little gremlins in your PC, namely Malware also known as Spyware and Adware. Download the latest version of a brilliant little program that's saved my bacon many a time called Malware Bytes. Now once you have installed the program its important to update its database to maximise your chances of detecting Malware, you can do this by selecting the 'Update' tab and then clicking 'Check For Updates'. Once your program is up to date then go back onto the 'Scanner' tab and click either 'Perform Quick Scan' or 'Perform Full Scan' depending on how much time you have to spare. Once it has finished scanning you may find that it found some nasties which it would have highlighted in bold red for you. Our next job is to remove them so click the button to permanently remove them. If it prompts you saying "the program needs to restart in order to delete the Malware" select 'OK' to restart, make sure that when your PC does restart you go back into 'Safe Mode With Networking'. Spybot S&D Now its time for our second scan to delete malicious programs. We are going to download the latest version of a program called Spybot Search & Destroy. Now when you are installing Spybot make sure to de-select 'Use system settings protection (Tea Timer)' as this feature is extremely annoying at times and isn't particularly essential for keeping your PC safe. Once you finish the installation you need to once again download the latest updates in order to maximise your chances of having a squeaky clean PC. Now before we start scanning you need to 'Immunize' your system from getting infected in the future, select the 'Immunize' tab on the side and then once it has gathered a list of all the protected and unprotected files you should click the green 'Immunize' button to perform the action. When that is finished it's once again time to scan for malicious programs hiding in your PC, so go onto the 'Search & Destroy' tab on the left hand side and then click the 'Check For Problems' button to begin scanning. Once it has finished finding problems click the 'Fix Selected Problems' button in order to delete them. Anti-Virus So iam sure you have heard on an anti-virus program before, everyone seems to have a different opinion on which is the best but iam going to give you my opinion from repairing maybe 10 PC's every week for the last few years that have both Spyware and Virus infections. First of all I wholeheartedly suggest you DON'T use either McAfee or Norton to protect your system, they use an absurd amount of system resources thus slowing many peoples PC's to a crawl. Also they seem to be extremely slow at receiving updates for new threats that are circulating on the web. Now some of the best anti-virus programs out there are completely free to use. The one I personally suggest is Avast! It is updated extremely fast to new threats and also allows you to do 'boot time scans' if you really have a bad virus infection. Apart from that I also strongly suggest AntiVir because it uses a very small amount of system resources thus helping keep your PC running fast. Like I said before these programs are completely free and never require any payment unless you want the full Internet suite (but I don't recommend you do that anyway). Also an essential rule regarding anti-virus programs is that you should NEVER have more than one installed at any given time, they get in each others way and end up making you even more vulnerable because they wont be able to do their individual jobs properly. De-Fragmentation For a de-fragmentation program there isn't any one that is definitively better than the rest, the one I use and suggest is Defraggler. Defragging your PC sorts all your files into an order which makes it faster for your PC to read thus speeding up your whole experience. Please note that if you have a SSD then you have no need to de-frag your drive. Web Browser First things first,,,DON'T USE INTERNET EXPLORER! Internet Explorer is by far the worst web browser to use because everyone uses it thus when someone is making a virus to exploit a web browser they design it to attack Internet Explorer thus maximizing its chances of getting picked up, in order to stop this happening Microsoft has to put a LOT of security measures in their browser to protect people and this ends up slowing down your Internet experience greatly. In order to have a much faster, safer and all together more pleasant experience while surfing the web I suggest you use either FireFox or Google Chrome. Computer Games Now a lot of people dont seem to understand that your video card has drivers and sometimes newer drivers offer extra frames per second in games for free. So if you haven't updated yours in a while then now maybe a good time to do so. Click on the correct link for either NVIDIA or ATI depending on what graphics card you are currently using and enter in the details which it asks you for, download the drivers it recommends and then follow these simple steps (dont install your new drivers just yet). Right click on 'My Computer' and then select 'Properties', now you should see a box appear this is where you need to select the 'Device Manager'. Once you are into the device manager it will list all the different hardware that is in your PC, click on the little + next to where it says 'Display Adapter' and it should then list your graphics card. Right click on your graphics card and select 'Uninstall'. It will now give you a warning message, click to select the box called 'Delete the driver software for this device' and press 'OK'. Once your PC has finished blinking the screen and generally going crazy it will prompt you to restart the machine, agree to this and restart. Once your PC has loaded back up you may notice that everything looks really big and bloated, don't worry this is natural. Now find your new video driver which you recently downloaded and install it, you are now using the latest drivers for your video card. Cheesecake Now that you have done all of this reward yourself with a fresh slice of Cheesecake!