How to speed up a slow computer

September 20, 2012 by Karl

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This article will show you how to speed up a slow computer (PC, not Mac). It may have been a super fast computer when you first bought it, but over the past years it has been slowing down more and more. The reason for this is all the junk that gets placed on your computer without your consent. I will show you how to clean things up using a few tools that are available for free on the internet. This is the same process that the pros use to speed things up, except the pros will ask you for $150 or more when it is finished.  Many people just get frustrated with their computer and buy a new one when these simple steps can add a few more years to their PC.

Check for Malicious Software

The first thing to be concerned with is malicious software that may be hiding on your computer.  Whether you have the best anti-virus (AV) software protecting your computer or not, you should run one more check.  Over the years I have found that no two AV companies will catch the same problems.  It never hurts to double-check.  Before doing anything else, download and install the free version of Malwarebytes.  This is used by the best geeks in the business to check for problems on their own PC’s.  I run it every few months just as a precaution.  It will work alongside any other AV software you currently have, so there is no need to do anything to that.  Just download it, double-click on the downloaded file, and allow the software to install.  Once installed, run a full scan on your computer.  It may take an hour or so, but it will be well worth it.  It will probably find something that is slowing down your machine, or even causing damage.  One machine that I ran it on had over 200 issues that it corrected for me.  If it finds something, it will probably ask you to re-boot your PC when completed.  Do that before moving on to the next step.  If it finds anything, be sure to run the scan again after your computer has re-booted.  It may find more.  Do this as many times as needed until it gives your computer a clean scan.  If you need to do it more than three times to get a clean result, then it might be time to call a local professional.
Malwarebytes

Remove junk files

Now that your computer is clean from any malicious software, you will want to clean up any junk files that are slowing your computer down.  It is possible to do this by yourself by cleaning each of the areas, one at a time, but it would take hours, and lucky for us there is some free software that will do this job for us.  It is called CCleaner.  Again, you only need to download the free version (I always download it from FileHippo, one of the download options on the screen).  When the file is downloaded, double-click the file to install it on your computer, and click-through any install option screens.  When the installation is complete, start the application, and click the “Analyze” button at the bottom of the page.  After it goes through its search, verify on the left that NONE of the “saved password” items are checked, or you will lose all your saved passwords.  This should be the default setting.  Look at the top to see how much space you are saving on your computer!  Now click “Run Cleaner” at the bottom.  It’s that simple!
CCleaner
Performing these two tasks above will significantly improve the speed of your computer.

Warning

There are a few more things that you can do to speed up your computer, but they are for more advanced users.  Please judge your own abilities and proceed at your own risk.  These instructions are for windows Vista and Windows 7 only.  These same tasks can be completed in Windows XP, but the menu options are different, so they are not covered below.

Remove applications that you no longer use

To do this you will need to go into your Windows control panel and select “Programs and Features”.  Alternatively, you can get there by clicking the windows icon in the lower left corner of your desktop and typing “programs and features” at the prompt.  Once there, look through the list of applications on your computer and decide if you can afford to remove any of them.  If you don’t know what it is, don’t touch it.  If you know you installed it in the past and you no longer need it, then click on it to highlight it, and then click the button on top of the page that says “uninstall”.  Click yes to any of the prompt windows that come up.  After you have removed all the applications that you no longer want, re-boot your computer, and enjoy the faster speed of your machine.

Remove items from your startup configuration

If it takes forever for your machine to boot up, there are a few things you can do, but it will affect your performance later.  Almost every application that you install on your computer places something in the startup (boot-up) configuration to speed up the time that it takes for their application to start later.  In doing this it slows down the boot-up process of your computer.  If you are someone like me who keeps the computer running for the whole week, then this shouldn’t be that big of a concern.  If you are someone who boots up the computer every time you use it, then this slow boot-up could be troubling.

Here’s what you do.  Click on the Windows icon in the lower left of your desktop.  Type in “system configuration” at the prompt and hit enter.  This will open up the System Configuration window.  Make sure you are on the General tab and click on ‘Selective startup’.  Now click on the Startup tab and scroll through the applications that will load on startup.  Un-checking the item will keep it from loading at startup.  Be sure to click the apply button for any changes you make. Now re-boot your computer and see how it goes.  If there are errors or things you don’t like simply repeat these steps to undo what you changed.  Enjoy!

If you like this article, you might also be interested in:

http://frugalberry.com/save-money-on-your-desktop-printer/

 


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