Quick Tips

Speed Up Your PC

Photo courtesy of WTL Photos

A friend of mine recently contacted me about his Windows XP machine being very slow. We had the following conversation over an IM session (the names have been changed).

[12:23] BOB: I am having a bunch of problems with my pc - I click on things and nothing happens - I have to click multiple times and even then there is a delay. is there anything I can do?
[12:33] me: hey
[12:33] me: Did you try uninstalling apps?
[12:33] me: defrag may help as well
[12:39] BOB: I don't know what all that means

I used TeamViewer to remote into the machine and take a look. At first, I thought maybe it had something to do with a virus problem that was recently addressed. Upon looking at the issue, I noticed the machine has not been restarted in several days and the machine was very low on disk space. My first recommendation was to restart the machine, which helped. On top of that, the drive was very fragmented, so I asked him to first uninstall anything he didn't need and move files to another drive to free up disk space.

In troubleshooting computer issues, before you begin anything, always remember to ask yourself "What do you want your computer to do faster?". Defining and writing down the problem and coming up with possible solutions should be the first step. This being a Frugal blog, I always like to mention free or very low cost solutions. Below are some basic things that you can do, for free, to speed up your computer.
  • Make sure you have restarted (reboot) your computer before anything. See my post on how to fix 90% of pc problems for why you should do this first.
  • Make sure you have 10% or more disk space free. You can check this by right clicking on your C Drive and choosing properties. So if you have a 100GB disk, you should have at least 10GB free. Defrag will not run well, or run at all if you are running low on disk space.
  • Free Up Disk space using tools such as WinDirStat to help you figure out where the biggest chunks are.
  • Run Chkdsk - to fix basic disk drive issues
  • Run Defrag - to get rid of fragmentation, or at least to reduce it.
  • Check to See if Anti-virus is scanning your system, often times this will slow down your computer. Its probably a good idea to reschedule the time to when you are away from your pc, but it is still on, such as lunch time.
  • Uninstall Applications - having too many applications installed and especially having them start up when you boot or login to your computer can slow down even the fastest machines.
  • Reinstall your OS - this should be your last resort, since it will require hours if not days of work doing backup and reinstall of your OS and applications.
These are the general things that you could do to speed up your computer. What steps do you take to speed up your computer? Let us know your ideas in the comments. If you like this post, check my Twitter account for more tips and tricks or subscribe to my blog for regular updates (it's FREE). As always, if you need additional help contact me via email.

TeamViewer - Remote Support

In a previous post on Frugal NYC, I mentioned LogMeIn as a great tool for remote support. I have since found numerous other alternatives and today I would like to mention TeamViewer. I have helped some friends remotely by using TeamViewer and it has been a great alternative to LogMeIn.

Both these services are FREE for personal use. The great thing about TeamViewer is the fact that I don't need to install the software. I can run the file and have the other side I'm trying to connect to do the same thing. I only need to exchange the ID and password that is provided via the program once you run it. To give the program a try, you can download it here.

This program has also been recommended via Lifehacker.com You can download the Quick Support Versions - PC Version, Mac version, which is a very simplified interface for only the side that needs your help.

Give this application a try, who knows, it may be indispensable once you try it. I know I will definitely keep it in my must have list. What remote support application do you use? Share your comments with us. If you need additional help contact me via email.

Cannot Empty The Clipboard

Recently I ran across a problem with the windows clipboard. I got an error "cannot empty the clipboard". At first I thought it was because the Office 2007 clipboard, as I have seen similar issues before. So I click on the Office 2007 clipboard task pane, only to find it was empty. So I took a quick break, as one should from time to time. Upon returning to my computer I did a Google search when I got back and found this solution.

To my surprise, the problem had to do with Windows Terminal Services, see my post on how to use Windows Remote Desktop for details on this service for Windows XP. Getting back to the problem at hand. The problem stemmed from the fact that I was using another computer to remote into "my computer" at my desk. The copy / paste problem that occurred, stemmed from this. There are two ways to resolve this, which basically does the same thing.

1. Reboot your "Remote Computer".
2. Stop the "rdpclip.exe" service on Your "Remote Computer"

Option 1: How to reboot your computer remotely.

When you are logged into your computer remotely, you cannot just click Start and then choose Shutdown, you can only log out of the pc. This is actually a safety measure Microsoft put in so ensure you do not reboot or shutdown your remote computer by accident. The easiest way around this, is using the command prompt (Click Start - Run - Type cmd - Click OK), with the "shutdown -r -t 05" command. This particular command gives you 5 seconds before your computer reboots. You can make changes to the 05 option, to make it any number of seconds before you reboot the machine. Make sure you save everything before you do this. Once your computer is back up, you can remote back into your computer using instructions from my Remote Desktop post.

Option 2: Stoping the rdpclip.exe service

The second option, which may be easier if you are familiar with the Task Manager is to end the rdpclip.exe process. A quick warning on ending processes, if you are not sure what you are ending, don't do it. You don't want to end up with a frozen computer because you ended a system critical "process". Getting back to ending the rdpclip.exe process, open up Task Manager, using one of the following ways:
  • Ctrl+Alt+End then Choose Task Manager
  • Ctrl + Shift + Esc
  • Right click on Task Bar and choose Task Manager
Once you have Task Manager on your screen, go to the processes tab (2nd tab) and find "rdpclip.exe". Right click on it and choose End Process.

If you need to be able to Copy and Paste across from your host and guest computers, you can restart rdpclip.exe again by Start - Run - Type rdpclip.exe - Click OK to restore copy/paste functionality.

Was this tip helpful? Have you run across the "cannot empty the clipboard" error before? Did this solution work? Do you have any other ways to resolve this problem? Share your experience in the comments. If you found this helpful or need additional help contact me via email. email

Quick Tip - Adobe Reader Full Screen

How do I get the Full Screen reading feature in Acrobat Reader?

When reading an Adobe pdf file, you may, at times, want to read full screen. There are two ways for you to access this feature, all of which are listed below.
  1. Ctrl + L
  2. Menu: Window Full Screen

How do I leave the Full Screen feature in Acrobat Reader?

To leave full screen mode you can once again use Ctrl + L or just press the Esc key.

Did you like this tip? Do you know of other quick adobe reader tips you would like to share? Share your comments below. If you found this helpful and need additional help contact me via email.