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Out of Our Minds
Saturday, June 26, 2004 11:19 AM
Fixing a Hole
Anita Sharpe on Life

I got home last night about 10:00 and found my computer continuing to ooze memory at a rate of at least 30 megabytes a day. I've noticed some memory erosion for months, but the problem really escalated this past week.

At 10:00 on a Friday night, there was no one to call and nothing to do but try to fix it myself. It took four hours -- most of that was sorting through programs and files trying to diagnose what was most certainly an adware issue. I found a great site that lists all programs -- the good the bad and the ugly -- that might show up on your computer at start-up. In my case, the culprit turned out to be an adware program called belt.exe. Removing that and deleting all my temporary files, where belt.exe was apparently dumping massive amounts of junk, restored an astounding 6 gigabytes of memory to my system.

I never thought I would write such a geeky paragraph as the one above. A year ago I probably couldn't have told the difference between a megabyte and a gigabyte. But figuring out this problem and fixing it myself felt good, sort of like first learning to ride a bike as a kid. It tapped the freedom and self-sufficiency zones of the brain.

I recently met with a wealthy company president who could afford to buy his kids anything or give them any experience the world has to offer. Instead, he was trying to teach them the difference between pleasure and satisfaction, and that the latter is better. Here's to that.


anita - 7/2/2004 7:58:06 PM

Thanks for helping with the terms. As you can see, I aspire to geekdom but still have a ways to go.
Chris Vance - 7/2/2004 6:57:37 PM
Congrats on the geeky post :-)

I feel that I should point out an issue with your terminology. Your computer was not oozing memory, but instead hard drive (or hard disk) space.

Basically, memory refers to the space taken up when programs are running. Hard disk space is the amount of space on your C: drive where you can download files and install programs.

Nevertheless, I'm glad to hear that you were able to fix the problem. Last week, I helped a friend clean up her computer, which was heavily infested with spyware (we couldn't remove all the adware, but at least the computer would boot).

On the satisfaction end, I can understand. Sometimes, getting something working or figured out can be satisfying (although the process might have been frustrating).


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