Speed Up My Computer

Category: Windows

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,
Faster Computer

  • 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.

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Most recent comments on "Speed Up My Computer"

Posted by:

Joe M
24 Dec 2009

Some other things worth mentioning:

1. disable unnecessary startup items to load windows faster. ccleaner (2 c's) has a nice tool to see what is starting up via registry and start menu entries.

2. disable all unnecessary services. You need to know what you're doing, but it can free up memory and windows load time. Obviously a certain amount of knowledge of system services is needed, but there are some good writeups in the internet.

3. For really old machines, turning off themes and disabling features in the advanced page of the system properties in XP will speed things up as well

4. Get an antivirus/antispyware program that isn't a memory and resource hog like MOST of them out there. I use Vipre and love it.

5. Disable unneeded features in Internet Explorer. NOBODY needs five toolbars.

6. Add a second hard drive and specify that the pagefile use that drive instead of the system drive. An old spare drive that's collecting dust will do. If you're short on space, it can also be used for data, but don't use it for programs.

7 - just a note. Be careful when deleting temp files especially those from downloaded installs. Often times it's impossible to uninstall programs without the source files.

Hope that helps.

Posted by:

Leonard Vinci
25 Dec 2009

Great information...thanks. I will try some of them.

Posted by:

25 Dec 2009

For a geekier approach to see what's running on your PC, Microsoft offers a couple of free tools developed by Sysinternals: Autoruns for startup programs and Process Explorer (kinda like task manager on steroids.) Both utilities are free and can be downlowded and installed from these sites. You'll also get some info on how to make the most of them.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx >autoruns

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx >process explorer

If you don't want to permanently install either utility you can run them from your browser by visiting this site. Just select autoruns.exe and/or procexp.exe.


Posted by:

25 Dec 2009

it's Not Mentioned Here! But Everyone Should Grab the Free Program Revo-uninstaller it's a Great Program with some extra Nifty tools! Also I Dump my all the Items in Prefetch Every Few Days! it's in your Windows Folder! it Doesn't Seem to Hurt Anything! and I Do Notice A Slight improvement of Speed especially When i,m Watching a Movie on Netflix instant Watch!
Joe M Says Disable Some Running Services! it is Very Hard to Learn or Know JUST What Running Services Should Be Disabled? I see them! But I Sure Don't Know Which ones Should Be Disabled!
Please Post a Link For us.to find out i,m on a 64 Bit Vista Quad Thanks!

Posted by:

28 Dec 2009

Dear Bob,
Joe M says to be careful when deleting temporary files especially those from downloaded installs because sometimes it is impossible to uninstall programs without the source files. How do I know the difference? On my computer (Gateway, Windows XP), in disk cleanup, I only have one box to check to delete the temporary files. How do I know if I am deleting something that needs to stay?
Thanks much,

Posted by:

04 Jan 2010

Hi, quite useful tips in speeding up computer.

I also have some tips:

Uninstall some programs that you seldom use.

It is undoubted that they take up too much space without doing any tangible things for computer.

It is better to get rid of them, along with some useless functions such as “Error Reporting” and “Hibernation” which mean nothing for you but occupy the space.

Normally, when computer memory is too low, virtual memory will be created to solve such problem temporarily.

You can set the value of virtual memory by hand. However too large or too small values can do harm to computer. You should set proper value for the maximum and minimum values respectively.

Posted by:

05 Jan 2010

Is there a Performance Test for Ubuntu Linux?

Posted by:

Wayne Feese
07 Jan 2010

Beware! PC Optimizer Pro is trialware not FREE! The add says nothing about trialware.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks for the heads up. Did you try the free trial version? If so, what's your impression of the software?

Posted by:

Robert DiGrazia
07 Jan 2010

Bob, You wrote about Error-checking and automatically fixing file system errors. Is it safe to let some computer program decide what to do with my disk? Sure, if the file system has an error, maybe it's already so bad there's nothing to lose. But I've never trusted computer programs, even (especially) the ones I wrote.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Computer programs are the ONLY things that can affect your disk! It would be quite a task to manually inspect the structure of the file system, and figure out how to fix it.

Posted by:

Robert DiGrazia
07 Jan 2010

Acronis backup runs a couple of services all the time. You can't run the program if the services are not running. I backup every few days, but I have to keep the services running so I don't have to start three or four programs manually every time I wish to backup. It would be nice if vendors knew how to keep their products out of the way.

Posted by:

22 Jan 2010


Posted by:

31 Jan 2010

my pc freezes quite often what to do please ?

Posted by:

09 May 2010

How to get rid of buffering problems when watching a video link. Operating system is Vista.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Things most likely to help are adding RAM, and getting a faster internet connection. If you are on dialup, and even some slower DSL lines, you won't have a good online video experience.

Posted by:

01 Oct 2012

Thank you for the effort of sharing this helpful information to us. Many of us are actually having problems with our slow PC and we need this.Currently I'm using Regcure for optimizing my pc but I want to try out the software you mentioned here: Advanced System Care. I already downloaded it from here. I'll just post another comment if all are fine with this registry cleaner. Also, I'll follow your tips. ;')

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