I just got done reading the consumerists story on Best Buy optimization services and I think its crap.
In short, Best Buy is pushing PC optimization by selling display models that are already optimized. DON’T PAY FOR IT. It’s not worth it, and it’s not your fault they don’t have any in stock. If they’re persistent, cause a scene. They don’t want other customers to see a pissed off customer. It makes them look bad. The consumerist listed some things you can do to optimize, but I wanted to share what I do to optimize PCs:
1. Add/Remove Programs – This is usually the first place I stop after I turn on a new PC and go through the mini setup. Uninstall any crap you won’t use. Generally, I uninstall trialware such as Office, antivirus, AOL crap, stupid wifi managers (the one built into windows is great, why reinvent the wheel?), etc. You can also use the PC decrapifier that the consumerist recommends, but I haven’t used it.
2. MSCONFIG – I generally go through and disable some startup items. This will make your PC boot up faster and keep crap from running in the background.
3. Services.msc – I go through here and disable services you don’t use. A common one I disable is the wireless zero config if it’s a desktop. Lots of guides on the net if you need more info on this one.
4. Windows Updates – Might as well get it patched up while its fresh. Don’t use microsoft update for hardware updates. Go to the manufacturer if you want the most current drivers.
5. Install Antivirus and update it. If your antivirus doesn’t do spyware, get something for that too!
6. Install Java and Flash – These are generally necessary. If you don’t, you’ll get a call later about how they can’t watch youtube.
7. CCleaner – I install this application, but I don’t put shortcuts in the start menu or the desktop as a normal user could potentially screw stuff up. Also be careful during the install as they try to bundle in yahoo toolbar. If it’s a clean install, delete everything you can check. If it’s not a new PC, consider unchecking some of the boxes. I also do registry cleaning, but I ALWAYS make sure to back up the registry before making changes.
8. Scheduled tasks – Setup some scheduled tasks to automate some maintainence. Also consider how to backup and protect data. There are plenty of online backup services or you can backup data to a flash drive or external hard drive. I usually defrag monthly or quarterly depending on the system. You can also find instructions on how to automate ccleaner here:
9. Do other setup stuff and put it in production – Install other software and backup and restore data. Grab My Documents, Desktop, Favorites, Signatures, Outlook PSTs and NK2s, TurboTax data etc from the old PC. Also setup printers. The printer usually comes with bundled crap software, so I download the basic driver off of the manufacturers website. If its a corporate PC, join it to the domain. Setup users and permissions. Ask the user their plans for their old PC. If the PC is going to be retired, ask if they need it reformatted/reinstalled. Recommend places where they can recycle it.
These are some things to consider to save you money from Best Buy. If you need help performing any of these tasks, let me know and I’ll charge you less that what Best Buy charges and I’ll do it better, harder, faster, stronger (Daft Punk reference)! Not only that, Best Buy does not always hire certified technicians. The technicians do the service without actually knowing what it does. The sales people are also often misinformed. Ask my wife and my buddy Ryan about our recent trip to the target electronics department. 🙂
Also, I do not recommend going to the geek squad for repair. There have been numerous instances where technicians would copy your data to their flash drive. These have included music, images, porn, passwords, credit card numbers, financial data or anything else you keep on your computer, whether you know it’s there or not.
Feel free to leave comments or feedback. tyler at thecoans dot net