Speed Up My Slow PC

It happens to all of us, one day you realize your computer isn’t running as fast as it was the day you booted it for the first time. Programs that used to fire up in milliseconds, now have you wondering if you can take a potty break before the hour glass stops spinning. Over the years the face of Windows has changed but other things remain the same. The interface is very different, however, the basics of computer tune-ups still apply for the newest versions of Windows. This won’t be a how-to but, rather, a general guide to point one in the couple of directions to improve system performance.


Quick Fixes

The first thing you need to do, is run through our computer quick fix cleanup instructions.  This section will take you through the steps of disabling startup programs, perform disk cleanup, and help you to identify unneeded system tray processes and disable them.  How did you get all these unneeded programs and processes to start up and automatically run on your PC?  Some were installed as trial versions of software, other programs were installed long ago and have never been used since.  Do you suspect spyware or malware has intruded your PC?  We’ll show you how to get rid of them.

Remove Bloatware

If you purchased a computer from a major retailer, more than likely it was delivered with a plethora of bloatware (also known as junkware) installed ‘for your user experience.’ If you have no use for them, uninstall them. Most of them tend to inject themselves in window’s startup and create services that run in the background, robbing you of CPU cycles and RAM.

Nowadays, brand new computers come preloaded with so much useless garbage and gimmicky trial software.  These preloaded programs offer minimal use to you, and the industry, and refers to them as Bloatware.  Bloatware often consists of software from merchants that have a marketing agreement with the computer manufacturers that allows them to have these pieces of software preinstalled on a brand new computer.  Some examples of Bloatware include: limited trial versions of Microsoft Office Software, 60 day trials of antivirus software, pay-as-you-go wireless internet service software, and diagnostic or tutorial software that runs in the background and drains your computer’s precious resources.  Check your computer’s Programs directory and see what icons are on your desktop to find out what you should remove.  Remember, simply deleting the shortcut icon on your desktop does not delete the program itself.  Also, remember that to properly remove a program from your PC, you cannot simply delete a file or folder, which you will need two run what’s called an Uninstall for that particular piece of software.

The conventional way to remove a program once you’ve determined you don’t need it, is to go to your Control Panel, then click on the “add and remove programs” option, select a program from the list and click to uninstall that program.  The Uninstall process will completely remove all program files, short cuts, and most importantly, make the necessary changes to your computer’s registry so that the operating system knows that the program has been completely removed from your PC.  We prefer to Uninstall programs is by using a third party application called CCleaner.  We only recommend a small handful of third party applications that are designed to help clean up and speed up your PC.  CCleaner is one of them.

Most computers today will not suffer from hardware failure, broken components, or become obsolete as quickly as computers did in the past.  The dilemmas people faced day are viruses and now where, and computers that are slow and blocked down.  This article will provide you several free ways to speed up your PC.

A new “uninstaller” program we recently came across is called PC Decrapifier.  Its name says it all – it removes “crap” from your PC.  It is a simple file that you download and run on your PC.  It lets you pick from a known list of BloatWare programs that are installed on your PC which ones you want to remove – you simply place a checkmark next to the items you want uninstalled and let PC Decrapifier do all the work.  The beauty of this is that it uninstalls all of the programs in one shot, saving you time and effort.  Click HERE to visit the PC Decrapifier website and download the program.

Clean Up your Hard Drive

One of the main reasons causing desktop and notebook computers to run slow are the numerous programs and processes automatically running in the background.  This may include programs that automatically start up and load a computer starts up, and processes that are running transparent to you in the system tray.  Both of these things can be serious hogs of your computer’s resources and can bring your computer’s speed down to a crawl.

Uninstalling applications, installing new ones, and even just using the ones that you have can create system clutter that can pile, nickle and dime-ing you out of the performance of yesteryear. CCleaner (official website )  is a tool that will tighten up the registry and dangling DLL files, along with helping you maintain some semblance of privacy on your PC.

The latest version of Windows may appear to be a new operating system (OS) , but it still frags up a hard drive just like an old one. Personal documents, program files, and system files are all subject to becoming fragmented. Windows has a built-in defragmentation program but sometimes even Windows needs a little help keeping it’s business in order.

Clean up your Pagefile

The Pagefile and Registry are held in a locked position when you run your defrag — this means when you run a defrag session, you are not changing the status of your Pagefile or Registry. A tool like Sysinternal’s ‘PageDefrag’ (official website )  can remedy the fragmented state of your pagefile and important registry files. As you remove programs and install new ones parts of your operating system’s innards become less contiguous.

For the rest of your files, you may want to opt for a commercial defrag tool like Norton’s Speed Disk from the Norton Utilities suite of products, O & O Defrag or a freeware utility like Defraggler or Auslogics Disk Defrag. These types of third-party software are often capable of doing a better job than the built-in Windows utility.

As mentioned above, the pagefile is an in-use system file and cannot be moved when a defrag is running. Although this is true, there is a way around this. If you disable the pagefile, followed by a reboot then Windows will delete the pagefile. This gives you an opportunity to defrag your hard drive including the space that the page file was using. After your defrag is complete turn your page file back on, ensuring that your pagefile is using a contiguous chunk of space on your hard drive. When enable your pagefile set it to a specific size, for example, 3GB. If your pagefile is set to automatically adjust its size, then you increase your chances of creating a fragmented page-file.

Another method of manipulating your pagefile to increase system performance is to off-load it to a secondary hard drive. Doing so will free up internal bandwidth the system is using to move data to and from your main hard drive, that is hosting your operating system.

Tune-Up Windows Vista

If you are running Windows Vista operating system on your desktop or laptop PC a, you will likely notice when compared to other operating systems, your PC is running quite a bit slower.  It may take longer to load up, operate more sluggishly, and generally feel like it is underpowered or overworked.  One thing you can do, it is disable Windows Vista Aero .  Aero is a Windows Vista feature that is purely cosmetic.  It merely enhances the look of your windows desktop and folders.  Find out more about how to speed up you Windows Vista computer.

If you have performed all of the above steps, performed our quick fixes to clean up your PC , and find that your computer is still running slow, you may want to consider increasing the amount of RAM on your desktop or laptop PC.

Other Speed Up Tips

There are several other things you can do to speed up your PC.  Other things that slow down your PC are unneeded Windows services running in the background.  Disable Windows services that you don’t need. Here is an excellent guide as to what Windows services can be disabled, as well as, their default settings.  This is more of an advanced step, but anyone who is willing to dedicate a little patience and diligence can greatly improve their operating system boot time and log in time. Reducing the amount of services loaded will have a direct affect on the number of modules loaded in RAM and lowers the rounds of multitasking your CPU must perform to keep those services up and running. This method also improves the security of your system by shrinking your attack surface area.

You have probably noticed the biggest delay when using your desktop or laptop PC is during the boot-up process.  If you previously shut down your computer, your PC has to run through the boot-up cycle before you can begin using your PC.  This boot-up cycle involves running a whole slew of diagnostic checks, initiating all of your startup applications and processes, and simply getting windows running to a point where you can began to use the programs on your PC.  For this very reason, we do not recommend shutting down your computer after every single session (or every single night).  Instead, make use of the special features in your windows operating system that sets your operating system to a Sleep or Hibernate mode. 

If you are using a desktop computer at home, simply walking away from your desk at the end of the night and leaving your computer idle will eventually put it into a dormant sleep mode.  In Sleep mode, you’ve ceased any active processes that you are running on your desktop, however a lot of background processes are still being run.  In Hibernate mode, you cease or shut down just about all running processes, park your hard drive, and  the result is very little is actually running on your computer.  If you are using a desktop computer, the differences between the two modes are subtle and have little or no impact to you.  If you’re using a notebook computer, the differences are more significant.  By setting your laptop computer to Hibernate mode, you will conserve your battery life much more significantly that if you’re in Sleep mode.  If you are a laptop user, we highly recommend setting your computer to Hibernate mode if you are running off battery power and you are not actively using your laptop.  Also, Hibernate mode helps you speed up your PC — when you come out of Hibernate mode and revive your computer, it takes just a fraction of time to warm up the system and began using all of your computer’s functions.  And this will save you a great deal of time in the computer’s boot-up cycle when compared to starting up your computer after a complete shutdown.

Many laptop computers today are equipped with a special media player mode.  This allows you to play DVD movies on your laptop’s screen without actually having to start up and running your windows operating system.  There are significant battery life savings if you do use the media player mode in that your computer is not running your full operating system and all of the resources required.  Instead it is operating just like a portable DVD player.  Moreover, media player mode allows you much quicker access than a full start-up of your computer’s operating system.  Not only use a tremendous battery power, but the media player mode starts up quickly and the controls are responsive and easy to use.

CCleaner is a very useful and user friendly software that allows for even novices to keep a healthy computer. The basic program is very small and free to download. Consider using CCleaner to maximize efficiency and productivity with any personal or family computer. The main cleaner is able to analyze and delete superfluous information. This includes things like temporary internet files, internet histories, cookies and recently visited URLs.

The registry cleaner allows users to scan for missing file extensions for preloaded programs. This can be used to help restore issues where a person may have accidentally deleted necessary files for the computer to run. There is also a feature which displays a Startup list where users can enable or disable various programs that initially start when the computer is first turned on. Another very convenient feature is the system restore that allows for a person to reset the settings to a previous date and time if the computer becomes infected with a virus or malware.

What’s Next?…

Once you have taken care of the Quick Fix PC Clean-up items and the PC Speed-up items, it’s time to move on to finding and eliminating spyware on your PC and a complete and thorough virus scan.  Once you are finished cleaning up your computer and fixing the conflicts and problems, you must take precautions against these problems popping up again in the future. 

If you are beginning to have problems with your computer, you should consider taking the time to set up a good backup plan for your precious files and learn more about how to protect your privacy when you are online.  That’s all for now. The aforementioned tips can make a rookie look like a Tech Wonder. The tools mentioned are ones that I use and recommend to my clients and family. If you have suggestions of worthy alternatives send them in. Thank you for reading.


Thanks to Terrance Turner.

 

>>Continue to our next step: Eliminate Spyware

 

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