Our computer systems can be compared to the cars that we drive, they must be maintained and on a regular basis in order to ensure that they run optimally. Over time, it’s common for our systems to accumulate a considerable number of unneeded/unused files, applications, and tools, these programs may have been picked up from the internet or they may be something you installed many months or even years ago. All of these things over time have a negative effect on the performance of our computers. However, the good thing is that there are a number of things that you can do to restore the health of your system.
How to Improve PC Performance
Here are a number of tips that you should follow in order to enhance the performance of your computer:
Check for Computer Spyware, Viruses and Malware
Malware or Spyware are small malicious programs that are designed to do harm to your system, they are just as capable of causing harm to your system as your standard virus is. These small programs are able to get onto your computer without your knowledge and cause a great deal of damage. The general purpose of your average spyware program is to spy on whatever the computer user does on the system, sending all of the data that it’s logged back to the creator of the spyware, who typically are fraudsters and hackers out to steal the personal information of your average computer users. The information that they are able to obtain, can be anything from credit card details to username and passwords, typically anything of real value to you.
Although malware and spyware can be used interchangeably, malware is somewhat different in that they tend to be a lot more disruptive to your computer. Spyware is typically unable to act on itself, whereas the moment malware gets on your computer, it immediately goes to work. Malware is capable of completely crippling your system, one very familiar malware that people tend to get is the redirect virus, which basically redirects all your search engine traffic to malicious websites, that are usually laced with viruses. Thus, it’s in your best interest to ensure that neither spyware nor malware gets onto your system; this can be done by running a full scan of any antivirus program you have installed on your computer.
Another side effect of spyware is the toll that it’s able to take on the performance of your computer. It’s also capable of prohibiting you from running certain programs, effectively barring you from doing anything constructive on it; this is usually done while it’s destroying the integrity of your operating system. Therefore, you should also run a spyware remover in addition to the antivirus scan, just to ensure your computer is completely cleaned.
Defrag Your Hard Drive
Hard drive maintenance is something that the average user really things about. The vast majority of computer users typically do not take the time to either maintain or clean their hard drives, however when their operating system starts to act up, they ironically get really angry. Defragging a hard drive has become the conventional solution to fixing sluggish or slow systems, so it’s notwithstanding that it’s typically one’s first recommendation. Hard drives become fragmented as a result of all the files being written to it and erased over time; it’s a process that leads to the hard drive slowly deteriorating in performance.
Whenever you install a new program on a hard drive, portions of the hard drive allocated for it. Over time, as you uninstall programs, and put new ones on, free allocated units begin to spring up all over the hard drive. This leads to data being spread across the entire drive, resulting in the hard drive having to do more work in order to access data for specific programs.
This process of defragmentation has a negative effect on the writing speed of the hard drive, but it also has a negative effect on the actual components of the drive, essentially decreasing the drive life. Fragmentation is a process that cannot be avoided; however, newer hard drives are designed to reduce its effects. Using a storage capacity hard drive is one of the most effective ways to avoid having data being spread across the entire drive. If you ensure that at least 30% of the hard drive is made up of free space, then you can be sure that whenever you assign new data to the drive, it will be stored sequentially. Newer hard drives also have much larger buffers, which helps speed up the reading and writing process.
There are a number of different programs that you can use to defrag your hard drive, however, for the sake of simplicity; I recommend you use the built-in Windows Disk Defragmenter, which you can find in System Tools.
Repair Your Registry
If you don’t know what the registry is, it’s basically an area of the computer where all the configuration settings data is stored. However, over time, as you install more and more programs, it can become corrupted. The registry is also prone to containing data that is no longer of any use, like the settings of a program that you have already uninstalled. When you scan and repair the registry, you’re essentially ironing out all of these issues, which all ultimately affect the performance of your computer.
Remove Unnecessary Programs from Startup
If during the boot-up phase, you have a tone of programs loading up at the same time, then you’ll be made to wait a considerable length of time before your system becomes accessible to you. However, the workaround would be to switch off those programs which you feel, quite frankly have no business loading up during boot up. You can do this by running Microsoft Configuration Utility and uncheck the services that you think your computer can do without.
Free Up Hard Drive Space
Today, hard drives are available in considerably large storage capacities, with purchasing a new hard drive for your computer becoming a more cost-effective approach, as each day passes, but despite all of that, your hard drive will still eventually vanish. If you like to surf the internet, visiting the lost of web pages and downloading and installing applications, then a lot of temporary files will be stored in your internet temp folder, and in some cases, it may prove difficult for you to remove them. Having to think about which files you should delete and which ones you should keep, can prove to be quite a strenuous tasks, as a result, I put together a number of methods that you can use to free up hard drive space.
1. Use Windows Disk Cleanup
If you use a Windows-based operating system, then go to My Computer, access the Properties of your hard drive and click on Disk Cleanup. Once the application has loaded up, it will give you a list of all the files that you can delete in order to conserve hard drive space. Just select the file types that you know you do not need, then click on OK, once you’ve done that, the operating system will ask you to confirm your choice.
This is a process that you should carry out for all the hard drives in your computer. Another way to access this tool is from System Tools.
2. Empty Your Recycle Bin
Make sure that you’ve emptied your recycle bin that no files exist in it. After you’ve emptied your recycle bin, it may also be a good idea for you to defragment your hard drive. This can be done by using Windows Disk Defragmenter, found in system tools.
3. Uninstall Unneeded Applications
To do this, you will have to access Add/Remove Programs, which can be found in your control panel. Once you’ve loaded the applet up, simply scroll through the list of applications on your computer, programs such as browser add-ons and toolbars are not really needed, so you can delete them. This activity will not only help you free up hard drive space, but it should also help you increase the performance of your computer.
4. Empty Your Temporary Internet Folder
All the browsers you can use today are built around the same architecture, they all use temporary folders. So the objective is for you to do one or two things, either you can configure the internet browser to automatically erase the contents of the folder on a given day or when it reaches a certain file size. Or you can opt to delete the contents of this folder manually. Ideally, you’d want to set it so it’s done automatically, but assuming you haven’t already done that, you should load up your browser and empty all your browsing data.
5. Remove Unused Windows Components
It’s possible for you to add and remove windows components that you no longer use. This can be done by loading up Add/Remove Programs, which you can find in the control panel. From here, you can opt to remove components such as the Games folder or certain Internet Self Hosting components that you either do not need or have never used. This is a nice little way of freeing up some space and ultimately enhancing the performance of your computer.
Automatic Software Updates
There are tons of applications out there like Microsoft Office that have updates for it released on a regular basis. This also includes updates for your operating system. By installing these updates it will not only increase the security of your computer, but it will also enhance its performance.
Other Products & Methods
Purchase Additional Products
There are also various additional products that you could consider, like adapters and USB hubs, which are capable of speeding up your computer. These kinds of devices are designed to ensure that you get the most out of any external device that you decide to add to your computer, so that’s definitely something that you should consider.
Plug Your Laptop In
If you’re using a laptop computer, then one thing you should be aware of is that when it’s not plugged in, the device uses less power. So one method that you can use to gain a little more speed out of your laptop computer is to plug it into the mains, where possible.
Upgrade Your Memory
If you purchased your computer brand new from the shop, then it’s likely that it will have some free slots for additional memory expansion. Thus, you should consider adding more RAM to it. Adding memory is a sure-fire way of increasing the performance of your system, whether it’s for gaming or running standard applications.
Dust Your System
One thing you’ll want to do is ensure that your computer is regularly cleaned. If too much dust builds up inside your computer, it can have a detrimental effect on the performance of the components. To dust the computer, you can use either a small vacuum cleaner or compressed air.
Check Cable Connections
Sometimes a loose connection can result in degraded system performance. Thus, it’s important that you check all your cable connections to ensure that they are securely in their slots. You may also want to check your internet connection, just to be sure that things are running as they should.
This post is contributed by Uchenna Ani-Okoye
He is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website www.compuchenna.co.uk