How to Fix Mom's Computer

Scribbling.net takes note of the people that go home for the holidays and become in-house IT experts for their moms.
A few problems reported:

Deleted spyware with Ad-Aware

True story: my mother-in-law heard a Barenaked Ladies song on the radio that she liked, so she Googled "bare naked ladies." There was more porn than music in the search results. She clicked around.
"Suddenly this weird web search bar showed up in my browser," she told me. "And after that, I couldn't use the computer at all. Any time I went to it, the disk drive made lots of noise and the whole computer was so slow, I couldn't get it to do anything."

Switched default web browser to Firefox

Mozilla's Firefox is easier to use and more secure a web browser than Microsoft Internet Explorer, so the next order of business was to switch my mother-in-law to Firefox. I downloaded Firefox, installed it, and imported all of IE's preferences and bookmarks. When Firefox asked if it should be the default web browser, I clicked "Yes." (I want all clicked links from here on out to launch Firefox and not IE.) This browser switch has to be seamless for my mother-in-law, who doesn't and shouldn't have to think about what browser she's using.

Trimmed down startup programs

Windows took a long time to load on the computer because a bunch of software was set to start automatically. To remove these programs from starting with Windows, I went to the Start button, chose "Run" and typed "MSCONFIG" (no quotes.)

I adore Firefox and have installed it on my mom's system as well as getting rid of the horrific amount of spyware and adware she had lurking on her hard drive. Her system went from snail to rabbit in the space of two hours and I was a momentary hero.

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