How to properly cleanup your computer, with just a few programs.
1) Check for malware with a quick scan of Hitman Pro (A 2 minute in the cloud scan of all the major locations using four different A/V engines). Uninstall when finished or leave as a permenant second scanner. If you decide to leave it, make sure to go into settings and uncheck it from starting it up.http://www.surfright.nl/en/hitmanpro
If it finds lots of stuff (ignore tracking cookies as they are removed for free), I would suggest you activate the license and use its force breech future. If it finds a rootkit, go to a forum to get proper help. (I suggest bleepingcomputer forums, but there are many others that will help with full on removal, as rootkit removal can make your computer unbootable).
How to use the force breech feature:
Close the program and any other program running, hold down the left Ctrl Key and then double click to open it. Hitman Pro will then close any non-essential programs that are running. This ensures that no malware processes are running.
Download malwarebytes for further cleanup:http://malwarebytes.org/
Also consider switching to another antivirus, as your current one is letting things through. There are multiple ones out there that are free:
AVG ( http://free.avg.com/us-en/download-avg-anti-virus-free)
Panda Cloud (http://www.cloudantivirus.com/en/).
2) Check MSCONFIG for processes not needed.
Start>run>msconfig (For XP and above).
In the startup tab.
The following are examples of things that can be safely disabled, to give quicker boot times:
Adobe Gamma loader, adobe reader speed launch, adobe reader synchronizer, qttask, Microsoft Office quick starter.
3) Disable java quick start service using services.msc.
Double click on Java Quick Starter service.
A dialog box should appear. Click the Stop button.
When the service stops,change the startup type from Automatic to Disabled. Click Apply. Click OK.
I have found the java quick start service frequently causes IE to max out CPU at times.
For the more adventurous out there, you can have a look at blackvipers list of services that are needed and not needed:http://www.blackviper.com/Articles/OS/OSguides.htm
For those who want even more control of their startup programs, check out Microsoft's Autoruns. This is an ADVANCED technique. Don't use this unless your familiar with programs that are starting up. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx
4) Run CCLeaner portable - to clean up some of the temporary files. http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner
5) Check add/remove programs for any toolbars that are not needed.
6) Run the standalone filehippo update checker - to get the latest updates for most of the installed software. Its the second link there labelled "click here"http://www.filehippo.com/updatechecker/
7) Use Auslogics Portable Disk Defrag to defragment the hard drives.http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag/portable/
Inbuilt Windows defragmenter does not reduce number of fragments properly on hard drive. So even if run frequently, will still find thousands of files, all with multiple fragments all over the hard drive, which decreases speed. 8)
Check Windows Updates and that you have the latest updates.