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We all love to work on a computer which runs faster and respond quickly. If you have a decent hardware configuration, your computer should work fine as the latest operating systems are designed to perform faster operations. However, you may notice your computer turns sluggish after a certain period of time. This can be because of multiple reasons. This article cover step by step instructions on making Windows faster. These steps are applicable for all OS starting from Vista to the latest Win 8.1.
Some tips to make Windows run faster
Remove unwanted software
Over a period of time, you might have installed lot of programs which may not be needed anymore. This include the trialware, shareware softwares and softwares that needs to be paid for getting activated. Presence of too many software can also lead to software compatibility issues and software corruption.
To see the list of installed softwares, go to Control Panel -> Programs and Features. Go through the list. If you programs which is not needed anymore, remove it. If you cannot recognize a program in the list, google to find what that program is all about and remove, if not needed. It is also a good practice to remove toolbars especially if there are more than one. Also, if you have multiple security softwares, remove the ones which is least important. Compatibility issues that may arise from compatibility issues between security softwares are one of the major reason for slowing down computer.
Clean your computer
Once unwanted softwares are removed, it is recommended to clean your computer.
You can do it by opening My Computer, then right click on the drives listed there. Click on Properties -> Click Disk Cleanup. You will be shown different categories and size of unwanted files in each category. Give a check on the categories from where you want to remove files and then click Cleanup System Files.
My recommendation for effectively cleaning computer is to use the free tool Ccleaner. Ccleaner is a light weight software which have been in the market for quite sometime and consistently selected as one of the must have software for any Windows OS. Just install the software, run the cleaner option. It can be used to clean variety of unwanted files like temporary files, temporary internet files, cache, prefetch data etc.
Defragment Hard Disk
When files are fragmented all over hard disk, it takes time for computer to read and process information located in different locations. Defragmenting helps these files in order which helps computer to read information faster. The improved hard disk performance, an improved file system and latest operating systems ability to efficiently store data have reduced the importance of disk defragmentation. However, if your hard disk is full of data and periodically remove and add files, it is better to defragment the drive once or twice a month.
It is easy to defragment. Open My Computer -> Right click on the drive that needs to defragment -> click Properties -> Click Tools -> Click Optimize and Defragment drive -> Select the drive and click Optimize.
This might be a time consuming process. The time to defragment depends on size of files inside hard disk and processing power of computer.
Check this article on, Is it necessary to do a disk fragmentation?
Remove Startup Entries
Startup entries can slow down computer considerably if there are too many of them. Apart from the normal startup entries, they may also contain corrupt entries and entries which trigger malware activities inside computer.
Eventhough, there are couple of methods to remove startup entries, the easiest and safest method is to use free tool Ccleaner. Under the Tools options -> Click Startup. It will display all the startup entries in your computer. You have the option to delete or disable these entries. Note: The only entries that needs to be in startup is your security software and maybe your wireless connection. Everything else can be removed. If you are not sure, if it is safe to remove an entry, then disable it. Restart computer. If disabling the entry caused no problem, then it is safe to delete the entry.
ReadyBoost allows your computer to use flash or USB memory as RAM. If programs in your computer is using up all RAM space, use ReadyBoost to increase the available RAM space.
Here is a link on, How to use ReadyBoost
Use TaskManager to find out slowing down programs
Task Manager is a very helpful tool to find out programs that are slowing down your computer.
Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open task manager. Click on Processes Tab. Click on the sub-heading memory. This allow arranging all processes in ascending and descending order, depending on the amount of RAM consumed by each. Some programs may consume too much RAM if it is corrupted or clogged with too many temp file. If any process seems to be consuming lot of RAM than it should be normally, you need to remove that process. Uninstall or repair the program related to that process.
Clean your computer of any viruses or malware
Presence of Viruses and Malware can significantly slow down computer. Update your security software, do a complete scan and remove the infections. Even though it is not recommended to have more than one security software, it’s a good idea to install another security software to check if there might be any other infections which could not be caught the original software. Once the infection is removed, uninstall the second software.
Registry may contain lot of entries which may not at all needed. This is still a topic in debate, if cleaning registry can actually speed up computer. However it is good to keep your computer clean from unwanted entries.
Ccleaner have a registry cleaner which is effective in removing unwanted registry entries. There are also other free softwares which can do the same. Note: Even though this happens rarely, here is a warning. Changes in registry can change the way a computer works or it can even lead to a system crash. To be on the safer side, take a registry backup before making changes.
Re-install or Repair Windows
Even after following all steps above, it is still possible that your computer might still be slow. When operating system is installed, the OS files are constantly updated, frequently interacting with other softwares and constantly attacked by Viruses and Malware. After a period, some of these OS files becomes corrupted beyond repair. You may notice this only when some of the services or features may stop working.
The solution is doing a repair or clean re-installation. If you don’t want to start from scratch by re-installing everything, then you may go for repair installation. Repair installation will repair all the OS files back to original manufacturer settings. In extreme cases, repair installation may not be able to repair files. Then you may have to resort to clean installation. Since you need to wipe out drive for clean installation, it will remove all hidden files making it safer.
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