How many of you out there have called a relative or friend to fix a slow computer? Many I would guess. It just so happens that I’m often that relative or friend that people call, so I’ve written this article to assist my family, friends and anyone else who needs help.
SPEED UP YOUR COMPUTER BY CORRECTING THE REAL ISSUES (1-5 hours)
- The first step is to understand the issue – I won’t make this overly complicated. Computers have memory called RAM. Most programs you have on your computer have background processes that consume RAM – this will slow your system down. To increase speed, remove the unnecessary programs you have installed on your system (Step 2).
- Remove unused programs. Navigate to your control panel (Start Menu > Control Panel), select “Add or Remove Programs”. Next, remove anything that you haven’t used recently or intend on using in the very near future (you should see a ‘last used’ date next to each program in the list). Chances are, if you haven’t used a program in a long time, you probably won’t need it in the near future. If you think you may need the program in the future, make sure you have a disk containing the program files or a way to download the files from the manufacture.
- Remove the ‘FREE’ or ‘TRIAL’ programs installed by the manufacturer. This is easy, just download this product: http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/ (available for Vista and XP, select the software version that pertains to your computer). If you are unsure of what version of Windows you have, reboot your system and you should see the version during the startup process. If you still don’t know, call the person or company you purchased your system from.
- Stop programs from starting during startup. It is common in the software development community to have ’services’ running in the background of your system, which start during the boot process. This can be helpful for developers who want their software to react to your input instantaneously. One example would be spyware software, like Norton or McAfee. This type software is always scanning your system for troublesome or harmful material. To be effective, it needs to be constantly running, however your camera software probably doesn’t need to be, so turn it off.
- Update your startup menu. Within XP navigate to MSCONFIG console (Start > Run > type: msconfig > hit OK > click the ’startup’ tab). This list contains all of the software that starts and runs while your system is on – some are necessary, some are not and some may be harmful. This task takes time to do properly and is worth the investment every couple of months. The list on the startup menu may not make sense, but there is a website dedicated to helping you figure out what all of these items are; http://www.sysinfo.org/startuplist.php (scroll a little and you’ll see the list – or search for a startup item by going here; http://www.sysinfo.org/ and enter the name in the “Startup Information” search box).
In addition to these four recommendations, make sure you have antivirus software running on your computer and make sure do do virus scans often. If anyone has any other recommendations please comment on this post.