Speed Up My Computer
We have a need for speed when it comes to computing. Whether a computer is brand new or several years old, it's never fast enough. Here are a few tips to make your computer run faster...
Tips For a Faster Computer
Ready to speed up your computer? Let's start with the easy, free methods. A well-groomed hard drive gives the best speed performance when reading or writing data. A hard drive, with its moving parts, is the critical bottleneck that limits computing speed. Over time, a hard drive gets cluttered; slightly damaged; disorganized. Free tools are built into your operating system to keep your hard drive running at peak performance.
Run the Disk Cleanup function on the Tools tab occasionally to remove unneeded temporary files. Temporary files clutter up your hard disk. They are created when programs are installed and when you surf the Web. Programs which automatically save data while you're working, such as word processors, also create temporary files that may linger when they are no longer needed.
Check your hard drive for errors in the file system and bad sectors about once a month. This disk error check takes time and you can't use the computer while it's running, so plan to run a disk check while you have something else to do. To run a disk check in Windows,
- Right-click on a drive in My Computer and select Properties
- Click on the Tools tab and then Error-checking: Check Now.
- Check the box to automatically fix file system errors.
- Optionally, check the box to check for bad sectors and mark them as "do not use". This will more than double the time required to run the complete disk check.
- Click Start. You will probably have to reboot to start running the disk check.
Defrag your hard drive. On the Tools tab you will also see the Defragment option. Data files get fragmented over time, with parts of a file written to different physical areas of the disk. The read/write head must move more than absolutely necessary to read the whole data file; this takes longer and wears out your drive faster. Run the Defragment option at least once a week. You can continue computing while it's running. My article Defrag Your Hard Drive has more details on your options for defragging.
More Tips For a Faster Computer
The Windows registry also gets cluttered and fragmented over time. The registry is a database of tens of thousands of settings that Windows needs to keep track of. When you add, remove, delete, or move programs and data, the registry can fill up with inaccurate or obsolete entries. Run a free registry cleaner such as RegClean whenever you do a major installation or uninstall, and about once a month.
All of these routine maintenance tasks can be run with one click using the free Advanced System Care from Iobit. It also finds and removes spyware and does a lot more to keep your system humming at peak performance.
Run Windows Task Manager to see what programs are running in background. Disable or uninstall background programs that you don't need; they just slow processing down. See my article Windows Task Manager for more help understanding and using Task Mananger. To control which programs automatically start when you boot up, see Startup Programs.
Hardware upgrades can boost performance beyond system maintenance improvements. A faster CPU might be the first thing you think of, but it's actually the least efficient performance boost from a cost/benefit standpoint. Upgrade your CPU when you buy a new machine. To get more bang for the buck from your existing computer, replacing a 5400 rpm hard drive with a 33 per cent faster 7200 rpm drive is an excellent investment. Adding more RAM can help, too. For tips on how to select, buy and install RAM, see Adding Memory.
A computer that "feels" faster is good enough for most people. If you want to know quantitatively how much your computer's performance has improved after making these tweaks, grab a benchmarking program such as Performance Test. It will test the performance of your hard drive, RAM, CPU, and other components before and after changes; compare before and after to each other and to "average" comparable systems; and tell you what's improved and what could still be improved.
Be careful when downloading performance-improvement software from the Web. Some malware is disguised as free performance-enhancing software when in fact it snoops your hard drive for personal information and uploads it to bad guys, or installs hidden software that turns your computer into a robot slave distributing spam. Stick to well-reviewed programs with many satisfied users.
Posted by Bob Rankin on 24 Dec 2009
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Speed Up My Computer (Posted: 24 Dec 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved