PC Tune Up
Most people can tell when their cars need a tune-up. Odd noises, sluggish acceleration, and white smoke from the tailpipe are easily recognized signs. Computers also get out of tune and need minor adjustments to perform their best again. Here are some signs that you need a PC tune-up, and how to go about it...
Does Your PC Need a Tune Up?
If your computer seems to be a lot slower than when it was new, it's possible you've picked up a computer virus somewhere along the way. If you don't already have up-to-date anti-virus protection, here is my list of the best Free Anti-Virus Programs.
Annoyingly long boot-up times are a sign that your operating system is having trouble finding and loading all the software components it needs to get started. Some of the driver or system files loaded during startup may be missing or corrupted. Another possibility is that you have too many programs loading at start-up time. Here are things you can do to tune up the boot process:
Make sure you have installed the latest updates and patches for your operating system. For Windows users, that means a trip to the Windows Update website which will scan your system and recommend updates to download and install. You can also set Windows Update to automatically check for, download, and/or install critical updates when you're connected to the Internet.
A hard disk integrity check can find and attempt to fix corrupted files, broken file directories, and bad sectors on a hard drive that are difficult or impossible to read. Windows users can run a disk integrity check by right-clicking on a drive letter on the My Computer window, then selecting Properties > Tools > Check The Drive For Errors. You'll have to restart Windows so the disk check can run before Windows is loaded.
Defragmenting your hard drive once a month or so puts the pieces of files scattered all over your hard disk back together so that they load faster. The "defragment" option is also on the Tools tab of a disk's Properties window.
More PC Tune-Up Tips
The msconfig utility in Windows has a "startup" tab which displays all of the files that are loaded during startup. Just type "msconfig" in the Search box under the Start button to run this utility. Unchecking the box next to an item disables loading of that file during startup. Be careful not to disable essential system files.
Temporary files can clutter up a hard disk and make it take longer to find necessary files. Temporary files are created during the installation of new software; creation of new documents; and many kinds of Internet activity. Run Windows Disk Cleanup utility to see how many unnecessary files you have on your drive and, optionally, delete them. You can find the disk cleanup option by right-clicking the drive icon.
Drive performance is not the only part of a PC tune-up. If applications are crashing suddenly or you get the "blue screen of death" that shuts down your computer, you may have a glitch in your RAM chips. Most often, tuning up RAM is as simple as reseating the RAM chips in their slots; they can jostle loose, especially in a laptop. You can also download and run memory-testing software such as MemTest to see if any of the circuits in your RAM are bad. If that's the case you may need a new RAM chip.
Display calibration is a subtle thing that can get out of tune over time. Things displayed on-screen will be slightly "off" in color and aspect ratio. Make sure you have the latest driver for your monitor, and check the monitor manufacturer's site for a display tune-up or calibration utility.
What's on your PC tune-up list? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 6 Dec 2010
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- PC Tune Up (Posted: 6 Dec 2010)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved