Posted: 6:16 p.m. Thursday, March 14, 2013
By Bill Husted
For the AJC
Q: My computer sometimes powers off by itself. It usually works fine. However, it does at times make a strange noise – a high pitched whine. Do you know what’s going on? — Jim Allen
A: Actually I do think I know. It sounds to me as if your computer’s power supply is failing. That high pitched whine is a common way a power supply announces that it’s soon going to be toast. While replacing a power supply isn’t difficult for some home users I recommend that you take the PC into a repair shop and have a professional do it for safety reasons.
Q: I’m still using my 7-year-old computer with XP. I was about to replace it when MS said Windows 8 was imminent, so I put that off. Now than 8 is out I’m still waiting, as you recommended, for several months until any bugs in 8 have been noted and fixed.
In the meantime, my computer seems to have gotten slower and slower. Frequently now, when I’m in IE8, IE8 is suddenly “Not Responding.” Often it seems to get back to being OK after I click on ‘Close’. I’m also spending a lot of time clicking on windows that want me to either End Program or Cancel. In addition, just yesterday I got the same “Not Responding” bit with Outlook Express. The computer is pretty slow to respond to changes of programs, and it is also slow to respond to clicks from my wireless mouse. — Brook Evans
A: Brook, I feel your pain. The usual cause of a big slowdown like that - one that comes on quickly and seems major - is spyware and adware. But you are running Spybot and that’s a fine program as far as finding and eliminating spyware. So I’m not sure.
It wouldn’t do any harm to try this program — make sure you download the free version:
(It’s fine to run more than one anti-spyware/adware programs … you do not, however, want to run more than one anti-virus).
Speaking of anti-virus: What are you using for that? I think you know that Spybot doesn’t look for viruses, just adware/spyware. A virus is a possibility although less likely than adware/spyware.
Other than that? I’m not sure … if the slowdown started fairly recently you could try the Windows Restore feature. It will, however, wipe out any changes you’ve made to software. It should not delete any data … however, it’s smart to have a recent back-up anyway …. just in case. And Windows 8 has been out long enough now to give it a try if you wish.