5 Common Misconceptions That Destroy Computers

#2. "I Deleted a Bunch of Stuff, but My Computer Is Still Slow"

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This is one of the most common things I hear from people with computer problems -- especially people who learned how to fix computer problems back in the 1990s and never really updated their bag of computer-fixing tricks. The system starts running slower than normal, or it's taking longer to start up than it used to, so in response, they delete a bunch of photos and music and are just baffled when it doesn't fix the problem. So then they'll uninstall a bunch of programs that they barely use, and their confusion and frustration just escalate. So their next step is to call you up and ask you to wipe it for them and start with a clean hard drive.

Please stop doing that.

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Also, that's not how you do it.

I think this is specifically people who have had computers since Windows 98 or before. Back then, PCs used a series of tricks to use the hard drive to make the system faster by basically treating the hard drive as more RAM. If the hard drive got too full, everything slowed down. So anybody who remembers those days still thinks that cleaning up the hard drive speeds up the computer. Technology, fortunately, has moved on. For my older readers, it's like when you used to have to masturbate your horse to get him going and then hang a severed horse vagina in front of his face in order to get him to sprint. But with modern horse technology, you just have to get on him and punch his neck a few times. In other words, unless you fill it to the point that it physically has no room to store even one more file, your hard drive space does not affect your computer speed in any discernible way.

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What the fuck is wrong with you?

In most of the cases -- and we're talking about a high 80s to low 90s percentage -- the slowness is caused by spyware and malware. And like we talked about earlier, the fix is so simple, anyone can do it. If you're having this problem, go do that right now.

Of course, it could just be that your computer is an old piece of shit. In which case, you could find yourself saying something like ...

#1. "I'll Save Some Money and Just Upgrade My Old Computer"

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I mentioned in another article that your computer getting slower with time doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong with it. Over time, the programs and operating system that you use will require updates, and each of these updates will make those programs bulkier and harder to pull -- like potato chips do to your ass. So even if you haven't changed your personal usage of the machine, it's still going to demand bigger and better components. But here's where things get kind of confusing, and by confusing I mean "enraging to the point of inventing new forms of aggravated assault that not even the police had seen before."

So, first your nephew suggests that you "upgrade the memory," and for a few hundred dollars he agrees to graciously do that for you. But when you get it back, it's no faster than it was before. Did that little fucker just rip you off?

Maybe, but here is where you find out that sometimes upgrading does absolutely nothing. It has to do with what computer-savvy types call bottlenecks in the system. In short, it means the computer is often only as fast as its slowest part. So you can have the Geek Squad upgrade your "RAM" or "video card" or "nanovector money disintegrator" and find out that you're still slow because the old-ass processor is still there (imagine that old and busted processor as the thin end of a funnel -- no matter how much urine you piss into the cone, it can only allow so much to exit at one time).

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You disgusting little bastard.

So, you tell them to upgrade the processor, but they explain that they can't, because the "motherboard" can't handle a larger one. So, you tell them to replace the motherboard, and then they explain that this means your new RAM and video card will no longer work, because they were only compatible with the old motherboard, so you're effectively starting over. Here is where you do the math and realize that the "cheap" upgrade has turned into a Vietnam-style quagmire that's now costing you more than what you'd have paid for an entirely new computer. Moments like these are generally the time where you separate the good friends (the ones who hold your arms down so you'll stop punching yourself in the face) from the bad (the ones who film it and put it on YouTube, using their much more awesome computers).

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Friends, children ... whatever.

Here is where you may break down and buy a brand new computer. It's a good feeling -- you spent a lot of money, sure, but at least you know you've left that old mess behind.

So, you get it home and turn it on, only to realize that something is even more wrong with it. All of the controls are gone -- all of the stuff you used to click on to make it work, even the "shut down" button, are just ... gone. All of the buttons in the upper right of your window -- the "X" and "-" buttons your kids showed you how to use 15 years ago -- have vanished, and in fact so has the window itself. Even the "start" button in the lower left that let you access everything is gone. Unfortunately, you have been infected with a piece of malicious software called Windows 8, and not only did you just unintentionally pay for it, but it will cost you another couple hundred dollars to get your local computer shop to remove it. And here is when you realize that all of this is just an elaborate prank meant to teach you to be satisfied with what you have in life, because you just couldn't leave well enough alone.

John is a columnist right here on Cracked. So suck it. If you'd like for him to tell you to suck it on Twitter or Facebook, click those links.

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