Because many members post about their computer responding slowly, BC is posting a summary checklist of general steps a member can take to resolve this problem, and briefly discussing the three most common causes: malware, uncontrolled applications, and lack of maintenance. Malware Perhaps the greatest contributor to a poorly performing computer is malware. Usually this is associated with downloading an application that contains spyware, by not having browser security settings high enough, by carelessly downloading P2P files, or by failing to install security patches in a timely manner. Step 1. Update the definitions of your anti-virus and run a complete scan of your hard drive in Safe Mode. Resolve any unfixable issues. Note that some viruses require additional steps before they can be removed; usually a websearch will find specific instructions or a special removal tool. If you cannot find a solution, use the BC forums to request help. Step 2. If the sluggishness is sudden, and you have recently downloaded an application, the problem may reside there. Test this by completely removing it. A wise user will generally perform a websearch about the application before downloading it because in most cases, any potential problem with malware or poor performance will have surfaced. Step 3. Adware and Spyware can drastically effect your computer’s performance, and these are all over the Internet. A very recent study indicated that one out of every 20 executable files on Web sites is spyware, and 1 in 25 domains contain at least one piece of spyware waiting for victims. Update the definitions of your anti-spyware applications and scan your hard drives in Safe Mode. Experienced users will regularly run two or three of these applications, because each company has its own criteria for what constitutes spyware and will only search against their own set. (A list of very good, free anti-spyware applications is provided by BC). Again, resolve any open issues before proceeding to the next step. For further reading about Malware and some malware removal applications, use BC’s Tutorial section; most of the applications have very good Help files that explain how they work as well as the unique features of each.