Is your computer running slower and slower these days? Are you about ready to chuck it out the window? Trying to get anything done on a sluggish system is very frustrating – applications take ages to load, programs may hang, and the system may even freeze or worse, crash! There are many possibilities as to why your computer starts performing like a slug, such as lack of memory, junky Windows Registry, low disk space, a fragmented hard drive, or malware. However, by applying some basic computer maintenance tasks, you can have your computer running smoothly and quickly again.
Add More Computer RAM
This is probably one of the easiest and cheapest upgrades you can make to add a little pep to your computer’s step. Ensure your computer has sufficient computer RAM installed in order to cope with the demands made on it. Modern applications are powerful and require much more memory than may be installed on an older PC. If you’re running Windows XP I recommend at least 1 GB and if you’re running Windows Vista then 2 GB should be installed. To find the largest variety and cheapest price it’s best to shop online. The site I like best is 4allmemory.com. With your permission the site can actually look inside your computer and tell you what kind of memory is required, the number of memory slots, and how much memory is already installed. Another way you can determine the kind of memory your computer needs is to just type in the make and model of your computer and the site will show you what type of module(s) are needed.
Clean The Windows Registry
The Windows Registry is a key component of your operating system that stores all the information relating to applications, hardware, and user preferences. If The Registry becomes bloated with obsolete and/or corrupt data it will cause your system to respond sluggishly as it searches through the redundant information for the data it requires. The Registry should be checked regularly and any unwanted or corrupt data removed. It’s vital to keep this area clean and uncluttered. Unless you are a technician experienced with working in The Registry area it’s best not to do this manually. Instead, purchase a good registry cleaner such as Registry Fix to perform the operation automatically. CAUTION: Always back up your registry data as well as your entire system before making any Registry changes.
Install and Run Anti-virus Software
Anti-virus software is an absolute must if you connect your computer to the internet. Without it, your system is at high risk of becoming infected with viruses and other forms of malware. Viruses can slow your computer applications down, make it painful to try and surf the web, and are extremely difficult to remove once they take hold. The two things I find time after time when someone asks me to look at their computer because the anti-virus program does not seem to be working are 1) the program is not configured to allow updates to come down automatically from the Internet and/or 2) it’s not scheduled to automatically perform a full system scan at least once a day. For one of the best all-around products, I have come across take a look at CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2009 by Computer Associates! In addition to a solid, award-winning anti-virus engine this suite also contains an anti-spyware, personal firewall, anti-spam, and anti-phishing programs, parental controls, and a backup utility. How’s that for well-rounded protection?
Install and Run Anti-spyware Software
Anti-spyware software is a necessity on any computer connected to the internet. When malware infects your system, everything will be slowed down. Some of it can even be dangerous and a security risk. If not removed, spyware can become embedded in The Registry, corrupting information held there and affecting the performance of not just your PC but also the applications used on it. Do yourself a favor and download CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2009. It not only provides protection against spyware but it also includes anti-virus, personal firewall, anti-spam, and anti-phishing programs, parental controls, and a backup utility.
Disable Start-up Programs.
If your computer takes ages to boot up, the most likely cause is the number of applications loading at startup. It’s not necessary for most of these to load at boot as they can be run only when needed. To disable programs from ‘Startup’ click on ‘Start’, click on ‘Run’ and type ‘msconfig’ in the ‘Open’ dialogue box. Click on the ‘Startup’ tab and deselect the programs you wish to prevent from loading at boot-up.
Clean Up The Hard Drive
This is a built-in system tool that removes all unwanted data from your hard drive, such as temporary files, data held in the recycle bin, and the history of web pages visited. Deleting this information will free up space on your hard drive and speed up your computer. The disk cleanup utility can be found by going to Start – All Programs – Accessories – System Tools – Disk Cleanup.
Defragment The Hard Drive
This is another system tool, which will help speed up your computer if it is running slowly. The application moves the data stored on your hard drive around so that all information relating to a particular application is stored together, thus, cutting down on the length of time needed to find the necessary data to run that program. To use this software go to Start – All Programs – Accessories – System Tools – Disk Defragmenter.
A slow-running computer does not necessarily mean it’s time to put it out to pasture. Doing some of the basic computer maintenance tasks listed above on a periodic basis will help keep your computer humming.