If your PC's performance is getting worse, the scores of programs, antivirus tools and limitless amounts of junk from the Internet may be gradually slowing down your PC over time, to the extent that you've hardly noticed it until now. Whatever the cause, there are ways to help speed up your PC without the need of upgrading your hardware. Before you throw more memory at your PC try the following tips to help you optimise Windows performance.
1. Delete programs you never use
Many PC manufacturers pack their new computers with programs you didn't order and might not want. These often include trial editions and limited edition versions of programs that software companies hope you will try, find useful, and then pay to upgrade to full versions or newer versions.
If you decide you don't want them, keeping the software on your computer might slow it down by using precious memory, disk space, and processing power.
It's a good idea to uninstall all the programs you don't plan to use. This should include both manufacturer installed software and software you installed yourself but no longer want, especially utility programs designed to help manage and tune your computer's hardware and software. Utility programs such as virus scanners, disk cleaners, and backup tools often run automatically at startup, quietly chugging along in the background where you can't see them.
Even if your PC is older, it might contain manufacturer installed programs that you never noticed. It's never too late to remove these and get rid of the clutter.
2. Limit startup programs
Many programs are designed to load automatically when Windows starts. Software manufacturers often set their programs to open in the background, where you can't see them running, so they'll open right away when you click their icons. That's helpful for programs you use a lot, but for programs you rarely or never use, this wastes precious memory and slows down the time it takes Windows to finish loading. Decide for yourself if you want a program to load at startup.
3. Defragment your hard drive
Fragmentation makes your hard disk do extra work that can slow down your computer. Disk Defragmenter rearranges fragmented data so your hard disk can work more efficiently. You can either schedule Disk Defragmenter or defragment your hard disk manually.
4. Hard disk clean up
If you want to reduce the number of unnecessary files on your hard disk to free up disk space and help your computer run faster, use Disk Cleanup. It removes temporary files, empties the Recycle Bin, and removes a variety of system files and other items that you no longer need.
5. Run fewer programs simultaneously
Sometimes changing the way you use your computer can have a big impact on its performance. If you like to keep dozen of programs and browser windows open at once, all while instant messaging, don't be surprised if your PC slows down. Keeping a lot of eâ€‘mail messages open can also use up memory.
6. Turn off visual effects
If Windows is running slowly, you can speed it up by disabling some of its visual effects. It comes down to appearance versus performance. Would you rather have Windows run faster or look good? If your PC is fast enough, you don't have to make this tradeoff, but if your computer is just barely powerful enough for Windows Vista. or 7, it can be useful to scale back on the visual effects.
7. Check for viruses and spyware
If your PC is running slowly, one dreaded possibility is that it might be infected with a virus or spyware. This is not as common as the other problems, but it is something to consider. Before you worry too much, check your PC using antispyware and antivirus programs such as Microsoft's Security Essentials, which is free to use in some cases.
A common symptom of a virus is a much slower than normal computer performance. Other signs include unexpected messages that pop up on your PC, programs that start automatically, or the sound of your hard disk constantly working.
8. Check for updates from the manufacturer and Microsoft
Visit the support website of your computer manufacturer to see if the company has released any updates for your specific model. This can include firmware and driver updates. Another place to find driver updates is Microsoft Windows Updates.
9. Check your computer's speed
If you try these tips and your computer is still too slow, you might need a new PC or some hardware upgrades, such as a new hard disk, faster video card, or more memory. There's no need to guess the speed of your computer, however. Windows provides a way to check and rate your PC's speed with a tool called the Windows Experience Index or Performance Monitor.
10. Add more memory
If a computer running Windows still feels too slow, it's usually because the PC doesn't have enough memory. The most sure-fire way to speed it up is to add more, but ensure you add just more than you need as adding too much won't be of any added benefit. Windows Performance Monitor can help you calculate how much memory is required and indicate if current memory usage is maxing out.
Photo by Keerati