Good to Know
by Cate Eales
Appeared May 21, 2012 on castanet.net
Summer is coming; at least that’s what’s supposed
to happen. And with it comes a flurry of calls every year from people
whose laptops have “shut down for no reason.” This week, learn how to
not be one of those people. And as a bonus, learn how to control what
programs load when Windows starts up.
Keep your laptop cool
Laptops need airflow, or they will get too hot and shut down. If you
look closely at your laptop, you'll probably see vents and air intake
ports. And when I say "closely" I mean you might have to look at the
bottom of the computer. (Please turn it off first!)
If you see intake ports on the underside of your computer, try to
imagine how air is going to flow through the unit if you put it down on
a table. Or a granite kitchen counter. Or a glass patio table. I can't
imagine how, either, and that means it's going to heat up!
There are many fancy and expensive solutions to this problem. "Laptop
cooling pads" come in a range of styles and prices and generally do
the job. But you don't need to spend a lot of money on this.
Do you have a couple of wine corks around? Either synthetic or real cork
will do. Put them on the table (on their sides --- not standing up) and
place the back of the laptop on them so the computer is an inch or so
off the table. Honestly, this will help, and it's an enjoyable DIY
I have customers who use a wine cork sliced in half the long way, a golf
ball cut in half, and a couple of small Post-It Notes pads.
I use a couple of rubber door stops that I got for $1.50 from The Dollar
Store. The rubber keeps the laptop from slipping, and the keyboard is
tilted so it’s a little more comfortable to type on.
Stop programs from starting
up with Windows
Almost every time I visit a new customer I find unnecessary (and, often,
unwanted) programs starting up along with Windows. Most programs simply
do not need to run all the time. They will happily start up when you
click on them. (Exceptions are antivirus programs!) Yet people who write
programs like Skype, and Adobe Reader and almost anything that comes
with a camera seem to think that their program is the most important
thing in the world and has to start up with Windows. Besides being rude,
that makes Windows take longer to boot up.
Autoruns to clear out these startup entries. (If Autoruns is
confusing, you could use the Startup tool in Ccleaner, as explained
But often when I return to a customer, I find all kinds of junk in there
again. Wouldn't it be good if you could choose whether or not to allow a
program to start up with Windows? Good news: you can.
Some anti-spyware programs will warn you about pushy programs like this.
But if yours doesn't and you want the chance to approve or deny any
change to your start up routine, try StartUpMonitor by Mike Lin. Here's
the description from the website:
StartupMonitor is a small utility that runs
transparently (it doesn't even use a tray icon) and notifies you
when any program registers itself to run at system startup. It
prevents annoying programs from registering themselves behind your
The program is free, and you can
download it here. I used it for years on my Windows XP machine.
Although the website says he has not tested it with Vista, we have run
it successfully here on Vista and Windows 7, including 64-bit versions.
Mike Lin's StartupMonitor
Another excellent program, called
here, combines some features of StartUpMonitor and Autoruns, and
adds some more. There are free and paid versions. A comparison chart is
I welcome your comments and
questions. I can also visit your home or office to help you and your
computer get along. Call me at 250-764-7043, email
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
Computer Care Kelowna on
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Laptop cooling pads at BestBuy Canada
Managing Autostart programs with Ccleaner
Mike Lin’s Startup Monitor
WinPatrol version comparison chart:
Computer Care Kelowna
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Cate Eales 2012 – All Rights Reserved