Has your computer become slower than an old steam engine? If it has, it’s time to take matters into your own hands and speed it up. While there are a number of tools that claim to help in boosting computer speed, the best slow computer fix lies within your operating system. Check out these ten quick tips to speed up your computer and boost its performance.
1. Clear Up Old Programs
Clicking a few buttons on an installation wizard and adding a program to the existing repertoire on your computer is easy. However, every tiny program that is added to the list can play a part in slowing down your computer. Even if you are not actively using them, some of these programs tend to run background processes that can be a huge drain on your machine’s resources. Uninstalling programs that you don’t or rarely use is the first speed fix for your machine, and can be done quite simply from the Control Panel. So get started with “spring cleaning” your computer and watch it go from slow to fast in no time.
2. Partition Your Hard Drive
If your computer runs on just a single drive, it is time to partition it. Your computer’s Control Panel’s “Administrative Tools” provides you with all you need to partition your hard drive. Simply select “Computer Management”, “Storage” and “Disk Management”. Right-click on the single existing drive and choose “Shrink Volume”. You will be prompted to specify the amount of space you would like to shrink the drive by. Once the drive has been shrunk, you will see some unallocated/free space available. Right-click on the free space and create a new partition out of all the space or part of it.
Once you’ve partitioned your hard drive, move files out of your “Desktop” and “Documents” folders. Windows loads all your files in these folders each time it starts up, and this can be a major drain on resources and can increase loading time.
3. Do A Disk Cleanup
A disk cleanup is a rather simple task, but often overlooked. As you use your machine, there are often redundant and temporary files that are backed up. A disk cleanup clears up all these files and improves performance. The Windows disk cleanup utility can be found under “Start” -> “Programs” -> “Accessories” -> “System Tools”. Choose the drive that you wish to clean up, and Windows takes care of the rest of the job for you.
4. Defragment Your Computer
The option to defragment your computer can be found in the same place as the disk cleanup utility. Defragmenting basically implies that you are managing computer space better, thereby improving performance. Over time, as you install and uninstall programs or add and delete files on your machine, there are little pockets of space over which Windows needs to travel before getting to the file or program that you are trying to open. Defragmenting works similar to re-organizing your wardrobe – it organizes existing files and programs, re-maps their indices and frees up pockets of space so that performance is improved. Defragmenting a drive can take quite a long time, but should be done at least once in 3 months to keep your computer running smoothly.
5. Turn Off Start-up Programs
Programs that are set to start up when your computer loads can significantly extend the time your machine takes to start, while causing a lot of processes running in the background. If you don’t need a program to start along with your machine, disable it. Click “Start” -> “Run” and type “msconfig”, without the quotes. You will get a System Configuration window which will give you the option to enable or disable programs at “Startup”. Deselect all unnecessary programs, leaving only your antivirus programs enabled.
6. Adjust Visual Effects
Themes, animations and visual effects sure look great on your computer, but can significantly slow it down, especially if you are running low on RAM and your hardware isn’t really up to the mark. Windows 7 comes bundled with the option to adjust visual effects under “Performance Information and Tools” under the “Start” menu. For older versions of Windows, adjust the graphics settings for optimum performance and this will have a significant impact on speed.
7. Disable Windows Indexing
If you are a frequent user of the “Search” option on your computer, chances are high that Windows has indexed and recorded information related to your searches and your files, and has stored it somewhere. Disabling the indexing service can boost your computer’s speed rather noticeably. Click “Start” -> “Run” and type “services.msc”, without the quotes. Select the “services.msc” link that displays to bring up the “Services” window. Scroll down to the “Windows Search” service and disable it.
8. Set A Static IP For Your Computer
When you start up your computer, quite a lot of time is spent in assigning it a dynamic IP address. Assigning it a static IP address is easier on the network as well as on the machine and can save a lot of your start-up time.
To set a static IP address, go to the “Network and Sharing Center” and choose “Change Adapter Settings”. Right-click on the adapter that you are using, select “Properties” -> “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” -> “Properties”. Select the “Use the following IP address” radio button and enter the static IP that your computer will be using. This has to correspond with your network setup, so be sure to use the right IP address.
9. Get More RAM
Increasing your computer’s RAM is a simple, yet effective slow computer fix! If you use a lot of programs, you need more RAM or your machine will lag. While there is no upper limit on the extent to which you can upgrade your RAM, 4 GB should do just fine for smooth performance.
10. Clear Up Dust
Your computer’s speed issues could be more than just internal, and could also be caused by dust and dirt. Dust can inhibit free airflow and cause your computer to heat up, which in turn reduces its performance. So, get out your cleaning kit and give your machine a thorough cleaning, and you will be surprised at how well your computer works after this.