Top Ten Tips to Speed Up Your Computer
You probably can recall the first few months after you bought your computer. The system was very responsive, programs started in an instant, and your computer booted up in just a few seconds. After some time, you started to notice that your computer was going downhill. Now, it frequently hangs, takes several minutes to boot up, and programs take some time to load. You may observe your computer starting to slow down.
Such slowdowns are common, but reversible. When your computer becomes sluggish, it does not necessarily mean that it’s too old or that you have to replace it. Even the current high-end computers are susceptible to such slowdowns. These slowdowns can be prevented or reversed easily. Here are the top ten tips to speed up your computer.
1. Defragment Your Hard Drive
This is the number one reason why a computer slows down. As you already know, the hard drive is where both system files and your files are stored. When you start from a clean installation or a brand new computer, files are arranged continuously throughout the hard drive. As you use your computer, you add, create, or download files into it. When you delete, install, or modify files or programs, the continuity of the files is broken down into pieces. When files are broken down into pieces, it takes the computer some time to read and access those files, causing the slowdown. These files may be your documents, operating system files, or your installed software. To fix that, simply defragment your computer. Most systems include defragmenting software, but these are often slow or inefficient. If you want a better solution, there are many third-party applications that defragment faster and even automatically.
(If you don’t have anything good to do with your old and battered hard drive, check out these Random Gadget Hacks for more ideas.)
2. Delete Old or Unnecessary Files
Deleting old or unnecessary files from your computer can also greatly help speed up your computer. Your computer stores temporary files whenever you run or install a program, or surf the Internet. Often, these files are not deleted from your computer. You may also have some files that are outdated, like old school projects and assignments or old files from your work. Removing those files from your computer will greatly help speed up your computer by freeing up some disk space that your computer can use.
(Now getting rid of those old computer files is easier than ever. Click here if you want to know How To Get Rid of Computer Files.)
3. Uninstall Unused Programs
As stated in the previous entry, having enough disk space helps speed up your computer. Your computer probably has several applications installed that you do not use anymore. Uninstalling these applications can free a lot of disk space. Just make sure that you have a backup installation file of the application you will be banishing from your hard drive (either in a CD or DVD), just in case you need it again.
(If you think those unneeded programs are slowing you down, find out How To Get Rid of Unwanted Programs.)
Uninstalling programs using the control panel
4. Update Device Drivers
Device drivers are special software that are made to directly communicate with your computer and the software using it. Every device or peripheral connected to a computer needs a device driver for it to work. Sometimes, the manufacturers of the hardware or the developers of the software release new drivers for the respective devices to fix bugs or improve performance. If your current drivers are outdated, updating them would surely speed up your computer, especially when using resource extensive applications. Video cards, sound cards, modems, and storage devices are just some of the most common devices that may improve system responsiveness when the drivers are updated. These drivers can usually be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website.
Updating device drivers
5. Limit Start-up Applications
Start-up applications are the software programs that automatically start when your computer boots up. This means that the more applications that start, the longer it takes to boot. This does not mean, though, that you have to disable all start-up applications. Antivirus, firewalls, and other system services are just some of the few essential start-up applications that should not be disabled. Programs like P2P clients, Instant messaging clients, media players, and other software that you see in your system tray that you don’t really need are the applications you should prevent from loading. You can change or limit the start-up applications by launching the program itself and changing the settings, or by using the built-in application that lists the start-up programs.
Windows desktop after start-up
6. Upgrade RAM
RAM or Random Access Memory is the high-speed temporary storage in which instructions from the software are stored for later use. Since the RAM is capable of transferring data at very high rates, it is essential in making your system responsive. When you run a software program, instructions, data, and necessary files are loaded into the memory. If there isn’t enough space, it would use the hard drive as a dumping ground for some of the data stored in it that is not currently being used. If you are using system resource-hogging software like image and video editing software, computer games, Internet browsers, media players, and programming suites, you will surely benefit from added RAM. When upgrading, just make sure you buy a compatible type of RAM since there are several types, like SDRAM, RDRAM, DDR1, and DDR2.
7. Scan for Viruses, Spyware, and other Malware
Malware, such as computer viruses, spyware, and Trojans, is also one of the common reasons why computers slow down. These insidious software programs not only destroy or risk your data, but also use up system resources in the process of doing what they are programmed to do. Even if you have antivirus and anti-spyware software installed, some of the malware may still slip through, especially when the protective software is not updated. That is why you must regularly update or change your antivirus and anti-spyware. You may be surprised to find a lot of uninvited guests in your computer that are causing it to slow down to a crawl.
Norton Anti-Virus scan
8. Clean up the Registry
The registry is what the Windows operating system uses to store system settings and options from both the hardware and the software. It is prone to corruption and can also be a cause of slowdowns. There are a lot of third-party software programs on the Internet that fix, clean up, or repair the Windows registry. Most of them are even free.
Registry Clean-Up software
9. Increase Hard Disk Space
If you have removed every unnecessary file and program in your computer and it still says you need some space (even if you’ve tried every tip here), then it’s about time you consider buying a hard drive with a bigger capacity. Hard drives are now not that expensive. A 120-250 gigabyte hard drive costs from $60 to $120, depending on the brand and type. Such capacities should be more than enough for an average computer user to store files and other data.
10. Re-install the Operating System
If all else fails, then this could be your last resort. Reinstalling your operating system does not wipe your files out of the computer. It is different from a clean install, which involves the reformatting of your hard drives. Re-installation of the OS only overwrites or replaces critical system files that may have been damaged or deleted by faulty software or by a virus. If you have tried everything else on this list, then this might be the best solution for your slow computer. A typical re-installation usually takes around 20-40 minutes.
Re-installing Windows OS
Prevention is always better than cure, and will save you time and effort. If you rely on your computer at work or at home, you must invest in good upkeep software that would automatically maintain your computer by defragmenting your files, cleaning up junk files, and preventing the corruption of system files.
(Keeping your PC up to par is a must in these trying times. It’s important that you find out the best Ways To Optimize Your Old PC. )