How To | Speed Up Your Slow PC


By SpiderGuest

General
7 April 2011

Laptop or PC – whatever you have, one day it is safe to say that it will go slow and that extra bit of time it takes to load could feel like hours.

Let’s face it, staring angrily at a loading screen, is worse than watching paint dry.

But there are plenty of things we can do to speed things up again…

Defrag Your Hard Drive

Why should I defrag my hard drive?

Overtime, Microsoft Windows will slowly fragment your files – this stores parts of each file in random physical locations on your hard drive. As this happens, your files will take longer and longer to access, making it a bit of a headache when you come to editing a document.

The solution to this would be to defragment your hard drive.

Defragmenting a hard drive rearranges the files on your hard drive so that each file is stored in a contiguous collection.

This makes reading and writing files much faster. Once the defragmentation is done, it will keep your hard drive running efficiently and will just help speed up the computer as a whole.

What do I have to use to defragment my hard drive?

You can use third party applications if you wanted but there is really no need for them as Windows XP, Vista and 7 has ‘Disk Defragmenter’ pre-configured within your operating system.

How long will it take?

It all depends on the size of your hard drive and how much is stored on there but it can typically take anywhere between an hour to a couple of hours.

Once the defragmentation process has started, it’s recommended that you just leave the PC and let the magic happen. The process or defragmenting the hard drive uses up a lot of system resources and will slow the computer considerably so if you decide to carry on using your PC whilst the process has been undertaken, do not be alarmed about slow performance.

How often should I do a defrag?

To keep your PC at peak performance, the hard drive should be defragmented on a regular basis –once a month is usually good practice but this doesn’t mean you need to add a schedule into your calendar, Microsoft can remind you in the schedule option within ‘Disc Defragmentation’.

 

Sounds good so far – show me how to do it

1. Close any background applications e.g. Internet Explorer, Word or Outlook

2. To open Disc Defragmenter – Start  > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disc Defragmenter

3. The Disk Defragmenter will now be open. To manage the defragmentation manually, you will need to select which disc or discs you want to have analysed under ‘Current Status’ and then select ‘Analyze Disk’

4. After the Disk Analysis is complete, Windows will indicate if a defrag is recommended. All you need to do is check the fragmentation percentage under ‘Last Run’ and if it’s higher than ‘10”, it would be recommended to run a disk defrag.

All you need to do now is select ‘Defragment Disk’.

5. The defragmentation is now underway so sit back and relax!

6. Once complete, restart the PC and that’s it all done – for a month.

Run Your Anti-Virus

A process which will take anything from under an hour to a few hours dependent upon your hard drive size and how much is stored on there. Your anti-virus should look for anything from Viruses through to Malware; anyone of these can be hidden in different folders or section of your operating system configuration.

Make sure that when you come to running the Anti-Virus scan that you firstly you:

  • Update the database of threats out there,
  • You aren’t running any other high-resource-demanding applications
  • You select ‘full system scan’ and you go for the slowest deepest scanning option (if you are using AVG)

Once the scan is completed, if there is anything present as a threat, make sure that your anti-virus removes all of these threats and then restart your PC.

Download CCleaner

Weighing in a little over 3MB, CCleaner packs a lot of useful features which have had me using it religiously on every one of my PC’s since its original release a few years ago. When you open it for the first time, you’re presented with the default “Cleaner” window, where you have the choice to either “Analyze” or “Run Cleaner” – more options are available for a more in-depth analysis of your PC.

I find this a very handy feature, as you can see what and how much will be deleted before you actually run the cleaner.

The next tab, “Registry” does just what it says on the tin, clearing out your registry and removing unused file extensions. I usually run CCleaner once a month to clean my computer and on average it finds around 1000 registry issues which needs fixing. Don’t worry about destroying your PC though, a backup is made of your registry before permanent changes are made – so you know you are safe!

CCleaner is one of the most essential programs on my system, and it looks like remaining in that position for the foreseeable future. It’s a lightweight computer cleaning software, simple to use and very effective at keeping your machine as good as new.

Within CCleaner, on the main Cleaner screen, make sure that you tick all of the Advanced check-boxes. This will make sure that it does a full in-depth scan of your hard drive clearing any old unused temporary files which your system has made – don’t worry, it won’t touch your documents, pictures or music.

Remove Start-up Applications

Within CCleaner, on the Tools Tab and select the ‘start-up’ section, it will compile all of the programs which currently start-up when your PC is turned on.

What’s so good about this is that any user can use this but you need to make sure which applications you are going to kill from start-up.

Note: Make sure you pay close attention to the Program Name tab and if you see something like C:\Program Files\windowslivemessenger, you know its Windows Live messenger and so on.

If you need any help with this, feel free to tweet at us and we would be happy to help you.

Remove Any Unnecessary Programs Like Trial Games

Generally, when you come to purchasing a PC from a retailer, you will find it is pre-configured with lots and lots of trial software which has absolutely no point of being on your PC.

The best way to combat it – remove it.

Again within CCleaner, If you go to the ‘Tools’ tab and then select ‘Uninstall’, it will then display all of your application logo’s so you know exactly what you are uninstalling.

Trials for games and software is probably best to go first and then just start working your way through your programs logically with what you don’t use – remember, if you have the installation disc and don’t use the program, it can always be re-installed at a later date.

I hope this helps speed up your PC

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