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How to Speed Up Your Computer

Your computer has felt bogged down recently. It takes a few minutes to launch Windows, after your computer has already booted, it takes several more minutes to actually open up the programs that you want to use. Or, maybe your games don’t seem to be running as fast as they did when you first installed them. In this post, I’m going to offer 8 tips that could help speed up your computer. As we get farther into the list I’ll slowly start offering more advanced options for you to use. If are already proficient in the use of computers, you may already know a few of these tactics but you may be pleasantly surprised if you just go through the list.

Uninstalling programs

The first thing that you would want to look into is uninstalling unnecessary software from your computer. If you are on a Windows machine, you can reach the uninstall utility this way.

  1. Open your start menu.
  2. In your search bar, type “Uninstall”.
  3. Click “Uninstall a program” from the list that appears. (Note: You may see other programs labeled “Uninstall” do not click these, you don’t know what program it might uninstall.)
  4. Once the Uninstall utility is open, right-click and select uninstall on all the programs that you want to uninstall. (Note: Please make sure that you know what each program that you are uninstalling does, you don’t want to randomly uninstall a crucial program.)
  5. Done.

Microsoft Uninstaller

Cleanup Your Disk

Another option that you have is to run Window’s Disk Cleanup Utility. When you use a program, it creates temporary files that do not get deleted after you close the program. As you can imagine, this can cause your hard drive space to be slowly eaten away. What the Disk Cleanup Utility does is it locates these temporary files and puts them into one place so that you can delete them if you want to. To get to this utility follow these instructions.

  1. Open your start menu.
  2. Click the “All Programs” menu.
  3. Look for the “Accessories” folder.
  4. Within that folder, find the “System Tools” folder.
  5. Locate the program “Disk Cleanup” and open it.
  6. Follow the instructions from there.
  7. Done.

Windows Disk Cleanup

CCleaner

A third option that you have is to download and install a program called CCleaner. This program is a much more robust version of the Disk Cleanup Utility program that we used earlier. CCleaner doesn’t just clean out unnecessary files, it does many other things as well. However, that is a topic for another blog post. Here is how to use CCleaner.

  1. Go to your preferred web browser and go to this link: https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download
  2. Download the file.
  3. When the download is finished, run the installation program.
  4. Once installed, open the program and click the “Run Cleaner” button on the bottom right. (Note: If you do a deep scan, this process may take several hours depending on the amount of files are on your computer.)

CCleaner can also fix up your computer’s registry, but I don’t recommend that you run that part of the program.

CCleaner

Disk Defragmentation

Yet another way for you to enhance your computer’s performance is by running a disk defragmentation. First, I’ll need to explain what that means. When you delete files of off your computer, they don’t actually get deleted, they just get shredded and put into many different locations on the computer and the computer interprets these areas as empty space that can be overwritten. Compare it to putting a piece of paper through a shredder, there are pieces of the paper scattered around everywhere waiting to be thrown away. But, just like with computer files, they could be put back together very carefully. However, that is yet another topic for a different blog post.

Window’s Disk Defragmenter Utility consolidates all of that empty space essentially freeing up more space on the hard drive. Here is how you can get to the utility.

  1. Open your start menu.
  2. Click the “All Programs” menu.
  3. Look for the “Accessories” folder.
  4. Within that folder, find the “System Tools” folder.
  5. Find and click on “Disk Defragmenter”.
  6. Follow the instructions. (Note: Just like CCleaner, this process could take several hours depending on the amount of files on your computer. Defragmentation is usually best done overnight, or while you are at work.)
  7. Done.

Disk Defragmenter

These first four methods have had to do with opening up space on the hard drive that is because of one reason. Your computer is always creating files, especially when you are surfing the internet, playing games, or writing a blog post. As you can imagine these files take up a lot of space on the hard drive. When the remaining space on a hard drive gets low, it starts to overwrite these files, this takes more time than actually creating a new one; thus, slowing down your computer’s performance.

These next few options that you have free up or create more processor “space”. If this doesn’t make sense to you now, it soon will.

Anti-Virus Software

If none of these earlier options help increase your computer’s performance, you can try installing anti-virus software. There are many companies that create ant-virus utilities; all of them have their pros & cons. For this example, I’m going to use Microsoft’s free anti-virus program called Microsoft Security Essentials, here is how to get it.

  1. Go to this link: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security-essentials-download
  2. Click the “Download now” button.
  3. Once it is done downloading, install the program.
  4. Open the program and click “Scan now”. (Note: If you do a “Deep Scan” it may take several hours depending on how many files you have on your computer.)

Microsoft Security Essentials scans through all the files on your computer looking for ones that it may believe “malicious”. Given the nature of modern computer viruses, you may need to update this program every few days because writers from computer viruses can still get around a scan from any anti-virus software.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Startup Programs

Your computer may be slow when you first turn it on, because you may have some programs set to automatically open when the computer is turned on. You may not even know that some of these programs are turning on at the same time as your computer because most of them run in the background anyway. Follow these steps to find out how to set which of or any of the programs will open when the computer is turned on.

  1. Open your start menu and type “msconfig”.
  2. Hit the ENTER key.
  3. Once the program opens, click the tab labeled “Startup”.
  4. Select or deselect the programs that you want the computer to launch on startup.

System Configuration

Virtual Memory

There is one more way that you can possibly give your computer a speed boost. You can assign more Virtual Memory for your computer’s use. What is Virtual Memory? To put it simply, adding Virtual Memory essentially gives your computer more RAM to use. However, this memory is taken from the hard drive and is not nearly as fast as real RAM. I would recommend this almost as a last resort.

To assign more Virtual Memory follow these instructions:

  1. Open your start menu.
  2. Right-click on “Computer”, then select “Properties”.
  3. On the left pane of the window that just opened, select “Advanced System Settings”.
  4. Under the “Advanced” tab, under “Performance”, click “Settings”.
  5. Under the “Advanced” tab, click the “Change” button.
  6. Set Virtual Memory usage, click “Set”, then click “OK”.
  7. Done.

Virtual Memory

If after trying these things your computer is still slow, you may want to consider upgrading your computer. There are other posts on this site that can explain what computers you may want to buy.

I hope that this post has been helpful to some of you,

Griffin Brautigam, Technical Intern