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I am Jason Spiro, a university student based in Toronto, Canada. This is my webpage, a small collection of tidbits for people with computer problems. If you have any questions, contact me at: jasonspiro@

"I could fry an egg on the sidewalk in the time it takes my computer to start up"

If your computer starts up slowly, instead of shutting down, do this: Save all your work. Then, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard. Click "Start", then "Shut down" or "Turn off computer", then double-click "Stand by" or, preferably, "Hibernate". Let go of the Shift key after you double-click. This puts your computer into a power-saving mode instead of shutting it off. Your computer will usually start up again more quickly from power-saving mode. It is best to shut down your computer the old way a couple of times a week, though.

"I could fry an egg on the sidewalk in the time it takes my computer to start Microsoft Word"

If your computer generally runs slower than it used to, perhaps your computer simply has too many programs installed. Or maybe you are using cutting-edge software, such as video editing tools or newer, more-realistic-looking games, and the "minimum system requirements" listed on the bottom of the box the software came in are too steep (check the requirements against the parts list on your computer's receipt, or you can try to phone your computer manufacturer and ask.)

Or, maybe your computer is infected with "spyware".

Spyware can pop up advertisements on your screen when you are not using the Internet, it can use your computer to send spam to thousands of other people while you work, and more. Spyware is often written quickly and badly, so it can make your computer crash more often or cause other computer problems. Spyware often comes hidden with certain free search toolbars, certain free screensavers and mouse cursor changers, and many "peer-to-peer file-sharing" programs. Be careful what companies you download software from.

Unless you visit every month or two and follow the easy instructions to download the latest critical Windows updates, your computer can be silently infected by spyware if you lack a firewall (firewall software is fine; or, buy a high-speed-Internet router; they generally have firewalls built in) or if you even use Internet Explorer at all. You can scan your computer for spyware yourself or hire someone to do it for you. It is risk-free. It may speed up your computer quite a bit. It is far cheaper and easier than buying a new computer and moving your old files, bookmarks, and address book over.

If your computer is still slow or unstable after you run a spyware scan, phone the technical support person at a local computer store or talk with a knowledgeable person in your employer's or school's IT department. Tell them what the problem is, how long ago you bought your computer, and how much you paid to buy it. Ask them about the pros and cons of reinstalling Windows versus buying a new computer.

Removing spyware from your computer

None of these options will ever damage your computer, although they may temporarily stop "peer-to-peer file-sharing software" like Kazaa from working until you reinstall that software. I advise people not to use that type of software unless they are positive it is spyware-free.

Linux support

I usually answer simple Linux questions for free over e-mail. For Linux or hal91 technical support, e-mail me at jasonspiro@
or ask any of these people who will probably be happy to help:

If none of those options help, try posting a clear, descriptive message with a full listing of the symptoms and the exact wording of all error messages you saw at Linux Help site forums or Computing.Net. Or for live Linux help, try IRC (type your question clearly and politely in the white box at the bottom then press Enter).


I am the author of an online article about hal91, a truly ancient piece of software. Because hal91 has gone without updates for so long, I no longer recommend it. There are many better alternatives. If you still want information on hal91, you can easily find my article by doing a Google search. Here are some Linux-based alternatives that do not require you to reformat your computer:

Links section

Articles for people people entering the computer-troubleshooting field

Articles for computer experts

E-books for computer experts

Interesting journals


I am confident that all the techniques described above are safe to follow, except reinstalling Windows, which carries certain risks as described above. I provide no warranty, expressed or implied, with my tips, and by using the tips, you accept all liability for any problems that occur.

If the idea of reinstalling Windows scares you, burn all your important files to CD first, then hire an expert to teach you how to reinstall, or have them do it for you. If you encounter any problems at all while running a spyware scan, note that such problems cause no harm to your computer. However, feel free to e-mail me and I can try to help.

In addition, if you have any comments or questions, contact me at the address at the top of this page. I enjoy getting feedback on my webpage. --Jason

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