This is quite a vague & general question, but some of the ways you can optimise performance of yor PC are:
1. There are so many programs which think you need to use them all the time, that they put themselves running when they start up. Examples of these are Yahoo Messenger, MSN, Nokia PC Suite, etc, etc. Most of these will have an icon in the system tray (lower right beside the clock) You can right-click on these, and choose exit, but this is only temporary, they will re-appear when you next start up your PC. To completly prevent them from starting up next time remove them from the startup folder on the start menu:
- Reduce the number of startup programs
- Ensure your anti-virus is up to date
- Remove some un-necessary files from your PC
- Defragment your hard drive
You should also remove programs which have placed themselves into the registry to start up.
- Click 'Start' -> 'All Programs' -> 'Startup'
- If there are any items in here you don't need to be running all the time, right-click and select 'Delete' (This only removes the item from the startup menu)
2. Ensure your anti-virus is up to date. Most newer anti-virus softwares do this automatically, but you can force an update by right-clicking the icon in the system tray (lower right beside the clock) and chosing 'update'. If you do not have a working anti-virus software, there are several high-end free ones out there such as Avast and AVG.
- Click 'Start' -> 'Run' (Win+R)
- In the Run dialog box, type 'MSCONFIG' and click 'OK'
- In the 'System Configuration Utility' click the 'Startup' tab
- This will list all the applications which run themselves at startup
- Uncheck the boxes of the applications which you do not want to run at startup (remembaer you can always start them yourself anytime)
- Some of these will be quite obvious as to what they are such as yahoo, googledesktop, winampa, but some may be not so obvious such as jusched, igfxtray. Use a reliable site such as http://www.processlibrary.com/directory/files/igfxtray/ to identify what those processes are.
- Once you're happy, click 'Apply' and then 'Close'
- A dialog box will open asking to restart. You can do this now or later.
- When you do re-start, a dialog box will again pop-up notifying that you are using a selective startup. You can dismiss this, and also tick the 'Do not show this message again'
- If you find that something you were expecting isn't running, repeat the steps above, but tick the process to run at startup.
3. There are several 'stores' of information on your hard drive which are taking up a lot of meaningless space unless you keep on top of them. These are items like the internet cache, the recycle bin contents, temporary files. These can all be cleaned in one fell swoop:
There are also a number of temporary folders on the hard drive wich are normally quite safe to delete the contents of.
- Open 'My Computer'
- Right-click on your hard drive and select 'Properties'
- Beside the pie-chart of the drive, is a button labeled 'Disk Cleanup', click this
- Allow the Disk Cleanup wizard run, and select the items you want to delete from the list (You can select all if you like)
- Click 'OK', confirm the next dialog by selecting 'Yes' and allow the utility to perform the actions selected.
4. While all the other fixes so far have been quick to perform, defragmenting the hard drive may take some time depending on the size of the hard disk - hours, days, or in some cases, weeks.
Over time, old files get deleted from the drive, and new ones are written, often over the data which was deleted, but the space for the file going in may not be large enough, so the drive puts some of the file in the space available, and the rest of the file elsewhere on the disk. This is invisible to the user, but the drive knows where all the bits are, and puts all the bits back together when the file is opened. Think of it as a large filing cabinet which is ordered alphabetically, where all new files going in are just placed at the back, when a file starting with say G is taken out, it gets put back behind all the other files following Z... Over time, the filing cabinet needs to be re-organised. This is what defragmenting the drive is doing... taking all the files which have been broken up, and putting them all back together on the disk. By having fragmented files, the hard drive takes longer to retrieve the files, often having to go back & forth across the drive instead of just reading the file in one go. To defrag the drive:
- C:\Documents and Settings\User Name\Local Settings\Temp
As stated earlier, this can take some time to complete. Some steps you can take to speed up the process is to reduce usage of the drive while the defrag is running:
- Click 'Start' -> 'All Programs' -> 'Accessories' -> 'System Tools' -> 'Disk Defragmenter'
- From the 'Disk Defragmenter' window, choose the drive you wish to check (usually c:) and click the 'Analyze' button, This will let you know if the drive should be defagmented or not.
- You can click the 'View Report' button to see additional information such as free space, fragmentation details of files, etc.
- Click the 'Defragment button to start the defragmentation process.
- Disable your screensaver
- Disconnect from the network, and temporarily disable your anti-virus
- Ensure no programs are running
- Disable the PC from going to sleep (especially on laptops)
- Stop all applications in the system tray
By performing all these processes, you can potentially speed up your PC by up to 50% or more. (Depending on how frequently these steps are run... if ever!!!)
Hope this helps.