Tip & How-To about Computers & Internet
From the first time you turn on your computer after buying it, it slows down over time. You will notice that clicking on a program takes longer than you are used to, you get "wait" icons when doing certain tasks and so on. Following these few steps will help get it back to par.
1. Regularly scan for viruses and spyware. They are the most common culprit to a sluggish system and various errors. There are so many programs out there that claim to do this for you, but I have only found a very few that I trust and that actually do the job. My tool of choice is a program called "MalwareBytes" that can be downloaded from http://www.malwarebytes.org/ for FREE.
The program is simple to use and pretty much self explanatory. Upon the first time running it, it will auto update its definition files so it can catch new infections. After it updates, you want to run a "Full Scan". After about 20-30 minutes, it will generate the results of what it found and you can click what actions you want it to perform on the infections found. Pretty easy and straight forward.
2. Regularly delete unneeded files. The less files on your computer, the less files your computer has to go through to find what it needs to perform tasks...which speeds things up. Examples of unneeded files would be whatever is in your "temp" folder, temporary internet files and files "you have created" (not system files) that you have no use for anymore.
Clearing your temporary internet files can be done through your browser or by manually navigating to where the files are stored and deleting them. The option to have your browser do it for you will be labeled something similar to "clear history", "clear private data" or other similar wording. I can not give any specifics because they are different from browser to browser and even from version of a browser to the next version.
Another way to delete unneeded files is to navigate to "My Computer" and right click on your hard drive (C: Drive). In the pop up menu you want to select "properties". On the "general" tab there will be a button named "Disk Cleanup" next to the pie graph picture of your hard drive space....click it and follow the prompts.
During this step, you also want to "uninstall" any programs you do not use anymore. This can be done through the "add/remove programs" or "programs" in the "Control Panel".
After you are done, empty your "Recycle Bin" aka "trash".
3. Reduce the amount of programs that run when you boot your computer. This greatly effects how long it takes for your computer to start up. An added bonus is that you free up system resources for programs you actually use.
Here is how you do it.
Vista/Win7: The little Windows icon at the bottom left hand of your screen (Start Menu), click it and where you normally would do a search at the bottom of it, type in Msconfig and hit enter.
XP: Bottom left hand side, the Start menu is labeled "Start". Click it and then select "run". When the run box opens, type in Msconfig and hit enter.
Now that you have opened up Msconfig, you are ready to move on to actually using it.
You will see that the program has a few tabs at top, the one you want it called "Startup". You are now greeted with a decently long list of entries with check boxes next to them. A box that is checked means that the program listed starts up when your computer turns on, to make that program not start...you want to uncheck it.
Now you are left wondering, "What programs do I uncheck". In general, it is okay to uncheck every box, but you will lose functionality of various things like keyboard shortcut buttons and things of the like. This is where http://google.com comes in very handy. The program that is listed, plug its name into a Google search to see what it is and does. You do not need programs like instant messengers to auto start or any other non-essential programs. If you have a keyboard that use the shortcut keys on, you will want to let that program start so they work. Here are a few other programs you want to start: Virus scanner, windows defender, security programs, touchpad (laptop), sound card programs, video card programs (example: ATI Catalyst) and other programs for your connected hardware. Some examples of unwanted programs would be: Real player updater, java, quicktime, winamp, dumprep, adobe or any other program you only occasionally use.
After you are done going through the whole list, click "apply" then "OK". You will then have a new prompt asking you if you want to "restart" or "exit without restart"....the changes will not be made until the computer is restarted.
After you restart, once the computer gets to your desktop you will have a pop up telling you that you made changes. There will be a checkbox at the bottom that says "DO not warn me again", click it and hit the OK button. Try your computer out, see if everything works that you want to work. If a certain thing does not work, go back into Msconfig and recheck the box for it and reboot. You are now done with this step.
4. Defrag(ment) your hard drive. Vista and newer do this automatically, XP does not. What this does is it moves around files on your computer so they are easily findable. Your hard drive gets fragmented from normal daily use and files being deleted. Fragmentation causes your hard drive to take longer to find needed files, thus slowing down your PC.
To manually run "defrag" you need to open up "My Computer" and right click on you hard drive then select "properties". You now want to click on the "tools" tab. Once at the tools tab you will see that one of the few options is "Defragmentation"....click it. Be forewarned, this process usually takes a few hours to complete. After it has finished, reboot and you are done.
5. Reinstall Windows every 1-2 years. This will give you that 'new" computer feel once again also. Make sure you back up EVERYTHING you want saved before doing so because a reinstall will erase it all. Common things that are overlooked during this process are files in your "My Documents" folder, bookmarks/favorites, emails and anything else not staring you in the face.
The process to reinstall windows is different from computer to computer, consult your user manual for specific directions. If you do not have a user manual, open up Google.com and type in "How to reinstall windows on
Well here you are all done now, enjoy the renewed speed you just gave to your computer!
Posted by perpetuall... on
Aug 09, 2017 | Time Computers & Internet
Aug 22, 2011 | Computers & Internet
Nov 22, 2010 | Computers & Internet
Jul 10, 2009 | Dell Office Equipment & Supplies
Feb 10, 2008 | Toshiba (MK4004GAH) 40 GB Hard Drive
186 people viewed this tip
Usually answered in minutes!