5 SIMPLE STEPS TO MAKE A COMPUTER FASTER
They say a computer becomes slower and slower over the years – but it’s easy to change that with a few simple steps. One of the most exciting things about a new computer is the speed. It not only boots promptly, but it opens programs smoothly and doesn’t leave you checking your watch.
Of course, overtime a computer does being to slow. It can be very tempting to purchase another computer or call a professional to fix the problem. However, this can all be avoided by following a few free tricks. They’re very simple and easy on your budget.
Before continuing, I want to forewarn you; if you own a Windows XP computer, plan to get a new one soon. XP’s end of life is coming up in April of 2014. It’s already lacking newer security features. Once Microsoft stops releasing security updates, XP will become less and less secure.
Now on to the simple steps to make you computer faster:
1. SPEED UP YOUR START UP
- A slow computer startup has got to be the most common annoyance. Most computers new or used, tend to run slow. After years of use, it can seem like hours. Your computers spends much of that starting programs such as security software, printer software and driver updates, etc. Many of these programs don’t even need to be ran at startup.
- AUTORUNS is a freebie that can help reduce the load. It finds and disables unneeded programs so they don’t slow you down and it won’t stall important startup processes.
- STARTUP DELAYER is a good program if you want more control. you can tell what programs to start when. This prevents fighting over system resources.
- If you have a Windows 7 or 8 computer, you might invest in a solid-state hard drive (SSD). These are much faster than conventional hard drives. It can bring your startup times to well under a minute.
2. CLEAN THE CLUTTER
- Another thing that slows down your computer is a cluttered hard drive. In the past, you had to worry about a full hard drive. Thanks to modern large-capacity drives, filling the space isn’t easy. Still, even coming close can slow down your system. So, if you have less than five gigabytes of free space, it’s time to clean.
- Use a free disk-visualizing program such as WINDIRSTAT to see what applications and files are taking up the most space. Move space-hogging files you need to an external drive and delete the ones you don’t.
- Grab REVO UNINSTALLER to thoroughly remove any programs you don’t use anymore. Zap unused trial software and other unwanted bloatware with PC DECRAPIFIER.
- Even if you have plenty of space, clutter can still slow things down. Plenty of programs create temporary files they have to sort through later. Get rid of temporary files with the free program CCLEANER.
- You might have duplicate music or photo files clogging up your programs. Use a program like CLONESPY or VISIPICS to remove them quickly.
3. PICK UP THE PIECES
- Files on a hard drive aren’t like files in a filing cabinet. On a hard drive, files become fragmented. Bits and pieces of them get scattered around the drive. This increases the time your computer takes to open them. That’s why there are defragmenting programs. These assemble the pieces so they’re easier to find. With Windows Vista, 7 and 8 this isn’t such a big deal anymore. They run the built-in defragmenter automatically on a schedule.
- To check when it runs, go to Start, or go to the Start Screen in Windows 8. In the search bar, type “defrag” (minus quotes). This will either bring up the defragmenter program or a list where you can select it.
- Check when it ran last and when it’s scheduled to run. Usually it’s set for early morning. If your computer isn’t usually on then, change it to a different time. You can also run it manually.
- In Windows XP, you’ll have to run the defragmenter manually. Open My Computer and right-click on your main drive. Then choose Properties.
- Go to the Tools tab and choose Defragment Now, then click Defragment. It will take a while, so sit back and relax.
- One exception to defragging is if you have a solid-state hard drive. These work in a different way and don’t have this problem. In fact, running a defragmenter on an SSD will shorten its life. Windows 7 and 8 will detect an SSD and turn off defragmenting automatically.
4. BOOST YOUR BROWSING
- Your computer runs fast, but loading websites leaves you twiddling your thumbs. What gives? First, make sure you’re getting the Internet speed you paid for. The free service SPEEDTEST will give you the real scoop on your Internet connection. If you suspect the problem is in your wireless network, you can tweak your router’s settings to eliminate hang-ups and bottlenecks. If your wireless signal is weak or your home has dead spots, try putting your router in a central location. Also, move it away from walls and metal objects. It might turn out that it isn’t your connection, but your browser. On Vista or 7, the fix for that could be as simple as upgrading Internet Explorer to version 9 or higher. Do this from Start>>Control Panel>>Windows Update.
- On XP, you won’t have this option. Instead, ditch IE entirely for the newer, more nimble FIREFOX or CHROME. Both of these are fast and secure.
- Getting rid of unneeded browser toolbars, like Babylon, will also speed things up. These often come attached to free software. You can remove these manually in the browser add-on settings, or use a program like TOOLBAR CLEANER.
5. REMOVE PESKY VIRUSES
- Speaking of unwanted programs, viruses can seriously slow down your system. They might be busy recording everything you do, or sending out spam. Combat malware with up-to-date security software. AVG and AVAST! are two good free options. I also recommend MICROSOFT SECUTIRY ESSENTIALS for manual scanning and removal.
- The worst viruses will block you from installing security software. In that case, grab a rescue CD like AVG RESCUE CD. This runs outside your operating system so viruses don’t have a chance.