Quiet weekend comes to a close.

Didn’t get any entries up yesterday as I decided it was time clean some of the junk off of my system so I re-staged it after backing up the stuff I wanted to keep to Anne’s PC. This took up most of my time between when I woke up and when I left to go get Courtney from her Aunt Dawn’s house. While I was out that way I stopped by my sister’s house to drop off the laptop I had fixed up for her so she could get back on and start posting to her blog again. I also took a look at their desktop PC which had suffered some sort of accident and needed to be repaired. Turned out the video card had to be replaced so I drove over with my brother-in-law to the local Best Buy and CompUSA to find a cheap video card to toss in there until they could afford something better. Felt pretty good that I managed to kill two birds with one stone.

Cindy offered to buy us pizza for dinner, but I told her I had hamburger at home that had been thawed in the fridge for the past three days or so that Anne was already worried about me not using so I had best come home and make something with it. That’s when Cindy told me she gets nervous when it goes more than two days in the fridge. It occurred to me then that I didn’t really have any clue how long thawed hamburger can sit safely in a refrigerator before it shouldn’t be consumed, but it seemed odd to me that three or four days would be too long. Milk will go a couple of weeks in the fridge and that’s from a friggin’ cow too, but rather than risk making my daughter and I sick we opted to stop by Arby’s on the way home and have roast beef sandwiches. I still haven’t thrown the hamburger out simply because it was a fairly good amount and it looks perfectly fine and I feel like an idiot for not knowing if it’s safe or not.

By the time I got home I had a pretty serious headache so I took a couple of Excedrin and plopped down into bed until a phone call around 11:30 last night woke me up. I didn’t get up in time to catch the phone, but the message was from Anne out in Iowa. I called her back and we talked for a little while. She was feeling homesick after the wedding which had gone pretty well overall. Her plane should be landing at Detroit Metro this afternoon around 4PM so I’m just puttering around the house until it’s time to leave to go pick her up. I stayed up pretty late last night after the phone call just working on moving my data back over to my PC and loading up some of the essential software I use so I’m still a bit tired this morning.

Did get some good news this weekend. Anne had applied to become an office assistant for our Chiropractor and they called on Friday to let Anne know she had the job if she wanted it. It’ll be part time to start, but will change to full time when the office moves to a new location. Anne’s been looking forward to this as a good start back into working and we could certainly use the extra money it brings in. The icing on the cake is the family will get free Chiro visits seeing as she’s an employee. Anne’s struggle with depression has been a long and tough road, but it’s been worth the fight to get to this point.

10 thoughts on “Quiet weekend comes to a close.

  1. You seem to know quite a bit about computers. Mind if I go off topic here and ask you about computers? Specifically their performances.

    1) Slow Down.
    My laptop seems to have slowed down a bit. In start up time and in general usage. The amount of programs installled and space taken is about the same. So how does one improve the speed short of formatting the hard-drive or reinstalling windows? The amounf of programs I have running is the same, Norton Internet Security and Anti Virus. And I have only about 10 desktop shortcuts.

    2) Registry.
    When I look at the registry, I see some names of programs that I have long deleted. Does that mean that I can safely delete these registry keys? How about those registry where a there is a comment stating that it is not needed as the program that use that is no longer around.

    Thank you.

  2. Yeah, it could be said that I know a thing or two about computers. grin

    Assuming for the moment that your slowdown isn’t because of spyware or malware installed on your system and that you’ve done the standard trifecta of scandisk, disk cleanup, and defrag, then the most obvious possibility would be OS decay.

    You didn’t mention which version of Windows you’re running so it’s hard to say for sure, but the older the version the more this becomes a problem. It’s related to your second question in that OS decay is the general slowdown brought about by, among other things, a bloated registry filled with leftover keys and settings from programs long since removed. If it’s been over two years since your last restage then the likelihood of it being OS decay is greater.

    If you’re pretty familiar with the registry then you could probably delete those entries safely, but I’d be sure to make a backup copy of the registry before taking a machete to it and that’s coming from someone who hacks his registry all the damned time. That would be one way to reduce the bloat and help speed things up a bit, but doing it by hand is a tedious process at best. There are some tools out there that claim to help clean up the registry including stuff in Norton Utilities, but I’ve had mixed results with them. While they’ve never trashed my system they’ve also missed a lot of crap I thought they’d kill. Still, better than doing it by hand.

    Honestly, if it is OS decay then the easiest solution is to do exactly what you don’t want to do: Backup, Wipe out, Reinstall. I tinker with my system so much that I restage at least once a year, if not more, because I’m always adding and removing crap, but I’m an extreme example. Most folks don’t have to engage in it that often unless they have a habit of installing hard-to-rid spyware applications. grin

  3. While not for the faint of heart, it’s worth a thought to backup and restore the registry (which amounts to a defrag and compact operation). Given that the size of the registry hive files is subtracted from available memory right off the bat, a marginal amount of memory combined with registry bloat is not a Good Thing.

  4. In general Les ground beef is good for 4-5 days after thawing. That depends however on (a) how old it was before it was frozen (so if you bought it while it was on sale and then froze it – well bad news it was likely getting near its EOL at that point – ergo the sale)and (b) the mean temperature in your fridge.  The best test is to smell it – bad beef has a distinctive smell.

  5. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone through the ordeal of thawing out meat only to have something else come up and then having to throw out the meat because I didn’t know if it was good or not.  Here’s a pretty cut and dry no nonsense guide Food Safety Guide

    SEB Living – Now there’s a mental image

  6. Hmm, hamburger and the Windows’ registry.  Seems like those two things DO sort of go together somehow.

    When I build a computer and get it all patched and pretty and running the way I want it, I make an image of it onto another hard drive which also contains my data files.  Then if it gets really screwed up, I just restore it from the image (I use Norton Ghost) and update the OS patches and antivirus .dat files, and back in business in about a half hour.  Then I make a new restore image (which includes the latest stuff) and delete the old one.

    Once in a while I back up my data files onto CD (& less often do major backups onto another computer) and as long as nothing goes wrong with my data drive everything is OK. 

    Then when the data drive fails I have lost the rebuild image, and also have to restore my data from backups, and so I say a lot of frightening Dick-Cheney-type words.

    cap: science

  7. Matts fix to all software problems…

    back up files to second computer, reformat, reinstall windows. reinstall programs wanted.. download personal files

  8. Just as you ask, how does one know when to throw out the hamburger, I have to ask how does one know when to delete a particular registry. Some obvious ones are like when I see a program I have uninstalled. But how do I know what others to throw out?

    I got this laptop in August last year. It is using Windows XP. Everything is updated and patched such that if I do a windows update I have nothing to download at all. I do not think there is any spyware. I have adaware, spybot, norton internet security/anti virus, ghostsurf and generally they do not mention any problem after a scan. The only problems are related to Microsoft and them ‘calling home’ for live updates or windows media player unique key.

    I am uncertain about Norton System works. I wanted to buy the 2003 edition last year but the review stated that if I had the previous edition 2002, I should not purchase it. And when the 2004 edition came out, CNET gave it a 6.3 rating and they recommended one by Iolo Technologies instead. So as of this moment my laptop does not have any utilities. Any recommendations?

    Finally, I am not willing to format my laptop. Fear that I will never succeed in getting my computer alive after a format.

  9. That’s a fair question. Some registry keys are difficult to identify because they consist largely of seemingly random numbers and letters. My advice is, if you’re not absolutely sure you know what it is then leave it alone. The whole registry issue is one of my biggest complaints about Windows. It has to be one of the silliest methods I’ve ever seen for managing a system and is itself the cause of a number of issues. Again, this is where the utilities that attempt to clean up your registry for you may come in handy.

    I don’t have much in the way of recommendations for said utilities as I don’t tend to rely on them myself. I have used the one built into Norton SystemWorks because it was there, but the real reason I bought that package was for SpeedDisk (the defragger) and the AntiVirus. Now that I’ve switched to Avast! for my antivirus and Diskeeper Professional for my defragger I’ve not bought the most recent release of SystemWorks. Whenever my registry gets too bloated, like it was recently, I just restage. It’s not that big of a deal for me.

    Not sure why you’re afraid of not getting it back up and running after a restage. Most pre-built PCs these days come with all the CD-ROMs you need to restage your system and re-install the drivers and additional software that was on it when you first pulled it out of the box. I prefer to download the latest drivers rather than install the older ones, but there’s nothing wrong with using the older ones to get it back up and running and then updating them later.

    Still, if you’re not comfortable in your technical level to do a restage then I can understand why you’d want to avoid it. Microsoft used to offer a program called “RegClean” that would tidy up your registry, but they’ve stopped supporting it and it’s no longer available. I don’t think it was ever ported to XP.

    The folks over at DSLReports.com have a few suggestions in their forums for registry cleaners.

    I keep meaning to sit down and write a guide on how to restage your PC. Perhaps I should do that soon.

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