Five Tips for Speeding up a Slow PC
We have all had the problem that as your PC gets older and you install more and more programs your PC gets slower and slower. So what can you do to speed it up again? Here are five things that you can do:
This goes without saying, it is an essential regular maintenance job, however, I am surprised at how few people regularly do this if you ask them. Do You do this regularly? — Once a month is a good interval. It doesn't matter which which Windows OS you use, make sure you either manually de-fragment or set the machine up to automatically de-fragment at least once a month. When your PC's files get very fragmented, they suffer serious performance issues. The built-in Windows de-fragmenter works just fine, but if you are looking for something a little better, there are many Free and Commercial products available.
- Clean up the hard drive[/SIZE]
Have you ever filled up a hard drive? If this hard drive contains both your OS and your data files, your machine is going to die! This is often a major cause of slow running PC's. You need at least 10-15% free on your hard drive for your PC to work, creating temporary working files. If If you havn't got at least 20% free space, I would recommend you to start a clean up. The built in Windows Disk Clean Up utility quickly clears out all temp files for you, in various categories such as Internet Temporary Files, temporary download files, windows temp directory and more. Access it by right clicking the drive in MyComputer and click Tools > Disk Clean Up. Once you've done that, check your pictures, music and videos, as these are usually quite large files. Delete the ones you no longer need or copy them to an external drive or CD/DVD's. Then check all your document files, delete those no longer needed and back up those you want to archive to another drive or DVD/CD. Once you have sorted those out, you can remove old Restore Points and Shadow copies (from the System Restore Utility) .Then check your installed programs, Do you need them all? There is probably some that you haven't used for years, get rid of them using the Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel. After you have done all this Empty the re-cycle bin, and check your Drive Space again. Right click the drive in MyComputer and click properties.
- Now it's time to clean up the registry
Errors in the registry cause major slowing down of the PC, and can cause it to stop altogether. Modifying the registry is not something the novice or inexperienced user should attempt on their own, as incorrect changes to the registry can prevent your computer from even starting up. Before you make any modifications to the registry, either manually or using a professional tool, ALWAYS backup the registry first, then you can always restore it if something goes wrong. There are many software tools available, some free and some commercial. Most of them will find many errors in your registry, it's not always something you've done, over time removing programs, upgrades and driver changes will leave remnents in the registry that should not be there. Run a registry fix tool and let it fix the errors it finds. Reboot to confirm your PC still works, (Most registry fixes will make a backup of anything they change, so that you can restore them in safe mode if something goes wrong, but that doesn't happen very often if you pick a good tool.) After the re-boot run the registry fix again, as some more errors will be found, that do not become apparent until some of the first ones removed have taken effect. Re-boot again and Run the tool again, repeat the process until no errors are found.
- Remove spyware/malware
If you are using Windows you MUST have an anti-malware program installed or your machine is guaranteed to get infected with spyware, which will gradually make your PC slower and slower, not to mention the potential privacy and security issues. Malwarebytes is good for this, although most anti-virus packages have anti-malware included, they do not always find all of it. Malwarebytes, is good and there are free and commercial versions available. I have found, that this usually finds anything that my anti-virus package misses (I've tried various anti-virus packages and Mawarebytes always finds something that each one of them didn't). Get free program updates regularly and run it at least once a week. You can even trigger it to start at a specific time and day each week using the Windows Scheduled Tasks facility.
- Check the hard drive for errors
After long periods of use the hard drive develops 'Bad Sectors', fragments of files get left behind in the indexes and other information in the file descriptors etc. can become corrupt. To fix it, you’ll need to check the drive for errors. Right click the drive in MyComputer and click Properties > Tools > Check Now > Check the options to Automatically fix file system errors and also to scan and attempt recovery of bad sectors, then click start. If this is your Windows drive, or contains files that windows needs to operate (e.g.Swap file, system files and some drivers), you will be told that Windows needs exclusive access to this drive, so cannot perform the check now, and then asks you if you want to schedule the check when Windows next starts. Click Yes and reboot. The Disk check will start before windows does when you restart. This may take some time as it will check every piece of the drive surface, every file,folder, descriptor table etc. You can also get third party disk checkers, but the built in windows one seems to work just fine.