eople often ask me "How can I make my computer faster?". These computer maintenance tips will show you affective ways to speed up computer performance. Use this guide to fix a slow running computer, and learn about improving computer speed using PC maintenance software.
Through-out this guide I'll be referring to a piece of software named C Cleaner. Follow the link to get yourself a copy - it's free.
Computer Maintenance Tips: #1 Uninstall Unused Programs
One of the most important steps you can take to speed up your computer is to get rid of programs you don't use. These programs will be taking up storage space and, quite likely, they'll be running invisibly in the background using up precious memory.
There is a lot of rogue software about too, often in the guise of toolbars or games, which monitors how you're using the Internet. Scary stuff! So you definitely need to be in control of what software is installed on your PC.
Hopefully, by now, you'll have installed C Cleaner. Open it up and click:
Browse the list and look for software which you no longer use, or which looks suspicious or unfamiliar. When you find something you want to get rid of, click on it and then click the "Run Uninstaller" button.
Removing programs should never damage your computer, so you can remove as many programs as you like. Just note that if you remove a program you're unfamiliar with, you may discover later that, actually, you should have kept it. So you'll need to re-install it.
Also, be aware that programs created by companies such as Microsoft Corporation and Google, Inc. (see the Publisher column in C Cleaner) are usually worth leaving installed.
Computer Maintenance Tips: #2 Delete Junk Files
Over time, your PC will gather junk. Some of this junk is simply software that's installed on your PC which you don't use. It's important to remove programs like this, as discussed in Step #1. But there are also junk files.
Junk files are residue - the computer equivalent of cholesterol - which is left on your PC as a result of programs being installed/uninstalled and from you using the Internet. They're leftovers and serve no purpose but to clog up your computer.
So if you're asking "How do I clean up my computer?" the answer is to use C Cleaner to easily - and safely - remove all junk files from your PC.
To purge all of this rubbish, open C Cleaner and click:
- Run Cleaner
Removing unused programs from your system (Step #1) will result in junk files being left over. So it's important to run this cleaning step each time you uninstall software.
Computer Maintenance Tips: #3 Clean Up My Computer Registry
By now, the only programs installed on your PC should be those you actually use (Step #1). You should have also deleted junk files from your computer (Step #2). Now it's time to use some free registry repair software to fix slow computer performance further.
Windows' registry is like a look-up index that programs use to function. Much like with junk files, all sorts of rubbish gets left in it, mainly due to poorly written software being installed, and by programs not uninstalling properly.
You don't need to understand what the Windows registry is, what it does, or how it works. You just need to keep it clean if you want your computer to work nicely. Fortunately, this is easy to do if you use C Cleaner.
C Cleaner contains the best registry repair software I've ever used. There's plenty of freeware registry repair programs around but most cause more harm than good. C Cleaner's free registry scan and repair tool is the only one I can whole-heartedly recommend. I've used it on countless PCs over many years and it always works flawlessly.
In C Cleaner, click:
- Scan for issues
- Fix selected issues...
- Fix All Selected Issues
Repeat #2-5 above until C Cleaner eventually reports "No issues were found".
Computer Maintenance Tips: #4 Scan For Viruses & Spyware
Firstly, it's not a good idea to have more than one antivirus program installed on your PC. If you have several anti virus programs installed, your computer will be running far slower than it needs to.
Choose one antivirus program to use, and uninstall the rest. I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials which is free and checks for both viruses and spyware. You can learn more by following these links:
Once you have just one decent piece of security software installed, run a full scan and remove any viruses or malware that's found. Viruses and trojans will slow your PC and compromise your online safety, so it's important to be free of them.
Computer Maintenance Tips: #5 Tweak Your Startup Programs
I bet this is a familiar scenario for you...
Windows appears to have booted up - after all, you can see your desktop wallpaper and the icons - but you can't actually use your PC for another few minutes. If you try to open a program, nothing happens, and the computer seems to slow down even more.
The reason this happens is because, after Windows has booted up, it is automatically instructed to open a host of other programs. So it won't respond very quickly to you trying to open a program, because it's already busy opening other things.
You may now be wondering "Why is Windows opening programs I didn't ask it to open?" And "What are these other programs?!"
In short, software writers often assume (wrongly) that you'll want their software to load every time you switch on your PC. So, each time you install a program, there's a chance that program will open itself silently in the background when your PC starts. This makes it boot slower and run slower.
To stop this madness, open C Cleaner and click:
- Startup, then:
- Examine the list
- Disable rogue entries
You may want to keep some of the items in the list. For example, anything that seems to load your virus protection software. Don't be scared to make changes, you can't cause any damage here. Provided you disable items, as opposed to deleting them, you can always undo changes.
Examine the list and either 1) Disable programs that you don't want opened when Windows starts, or 2) Disable everything and - over time - re-enable anything that you decide should start with Windows.
Computer Maintenance Tips: #6 Disable Windows Indexing
Windows likes to rummage through your hard disk, making lists of what files are on it. The reason it does this, is so that it can provide you quick search results. In other words, if you click Start > Search and look for something, Windows can find it for you very quickly.
That may sound useful. But how often do you actually search for anything in this way?
I recommend that you disable Windows indexing service. This means that your PC runs faster because it no longer devotes time to recording what's on your hard disk. The downside is that if you search for something, that something will take a bit longer to find.
To disable indexing:
- Hold the Windows keyboard key and press "R"
- Type "services.msc" (without quotes) and click OK
- Windows XP users must find and double-click "Indexing Service"
- Windows Vista and Windows 7 users must find and double-click "Windows Search"
- Look for the "Startup type" drop-down and select "Disabled"
- Click OK and restart your PC
Computer Maintenance Tips: #7 Defrag Your Hard Disks
Defragging your hard disk will speed up your PC. To defrag your computer you can either use the built-in Windows tool or use a free defrag tool. My advice is to use Defraggler.
To defrag your computer using Defraggler, open it up and simply click the "Defrag" button.
To find out what defragging is - and to discover the best defrag software - follow this link: Free Defrag Software.
Computer Maintenance Tips: #8 Organise Personal Files & Folders
If you've followed all of the previous steps, your computer should now be leaner, cleaner and faster. So now is a good opportunity to organise your personal files.
Delete old files that are no longer needed. And organise important files into folders.
Your desktop may also need some organising. Fortunately, if you have a messy desktop, there is a brilliant free program that can help organise it for you. Check out Desktop Fences.
Windows 7 desktop, without Fences:
Computer Maintenance Tips: Prevent Future Problems
In most cases, computers become slow and error prone as a result of bad software being installed and/or dangerous files being downloaded from file sharing programs and sites.
One affective method of staying safe is to create two Windows user accounts. One is an administrator account. The other should be set up with limited or standard permissions. The limited account should be the one that is used day-in day-out.
The limited account's benefits include: 1) Software cannot be installed and 2) Dangerous system changes will not be permitted. These are particularly useful restrictions if children use your computer.
If you - as the computer owner - ever want to install a program, simply right-click the installer file and select "Run as administrator...". Enter the administrator's account password and the program will install.
Computer Maintenance Tips: Further Tips to Stay Safe
- Never use file-sharing services, such as Limewire
- Do not install toolbars
- Set up a virtual copy of Windows using VirtualBox and test new software before allowing it to touch your PC
- Install only software which has a solid reputation, such as Microsoft Office. You can also stay safe by using programs listed on our Freeware for Windows page and also those programs supported by Ninite.com
Computer Maintenance Tips: Important Links To Fix a Slow Running Computer
- If your PC is truly exhausted, the best way to fix it is to format the hard disk and reinstall Windows from scratch. It's actually quite an easy process. Learn how to reinstall Windows by following the link.
- If your computer's hardware is very old, it may be struggling to run Windows properly. When Windows XP was released, computers with 512mb of RAM - or less - could run WinXP perfectly. After 10 years of Windows XP updates being released, those same computers are simply no longer quick enough to run Windows XP (or later editions) at all well. In these cases, you should think about adding RAM, or replacing Windows with Linux.
- Part of good computer maintenance is creating regular backups. One of the best things about making computer backups is that, if your PC becomes slow, you can easily restore your PC back to a time when it was working great. Learn about backing up and restoring data here: How to Back Up Data.
I hope these computer maintenance tips help make your computer faster and more efficient.