How To Speed Up Your Computer When It is Slow

Information Technology Resources

Note: Some of the information in this may be outdated. Editor

The present generation computers are very fast and highly efficient. They perform jobs in a split second which would have taken much longer time only a few years ago. Then every thing about the computer was slow. The internet was slow. The modems were slow.

The operating system was slow and clumsy requiring us to type commands only a few could really understand. Running a computer was almost like managing a space mission. The processors huffed and puffed like demoralized secretaries if we asked them to do a few jobs simultaneously. The hard drives were like the real estate in Manhattan. Getting a computer with a 5 GB hard drive was like having the best car in town. The backup tapes were cumbersome and took hours to copy and transfer files.

Compared to the previous decade, today's computer technology is far superior. Computers of present generation have now many inbuilt efficiencies. Technology has in fact outpaced the demand and the learning curve. It is as if the computer have been fed upon Stephen Covey's eight habits of successful people. They are proactive and highly efficient. They anticipate what we want to know and do. They save energy and work on minimum resources and try to make our computer experience as pleasant and friendly as possible.

It is almost a cliché to say that computers have made our lives easier and fun. We can now reach out to distant parts of the world and extend our communication over the internet with far greater ease. With the click of a button we can buy and sell stock through an online broker or punch in a few lines of harsh words on the yahoo message boards because we are upset by some one's ?*+@#&$~ comments about our most cherished stock. Despite the security threats, the internet scams and the heavily bandaged and botaxed operating system of Microsoft that seems to be expensive only because of the patchwork it demands, we can say proudly that we are witnessing the beginning of a new era of technology in which computers and information systems are going to play a vital role in the advancement of our civilization and in finding new habitats for us in the solar system. May be a hundred years from now people would be buying real estate on Mars or Europa just as we buy now products on the internet from different parts of the world.

However despite all this tall talk, we have to admit that we are often beset with computer glitches, breakdowns and slowdowns. The computer slow downs are especially annoying as they break the rhythm and pace of our work and frustrate our progress in this increasingly fast moving world. Some of the programs especially slow down our computer performance, like the firewall, anti spyware and anti virus programs. These need to run constantly in the background to keep track of the file movements, the executable files, the components the server activities, the incoming and outgoing emails and so on so that no smart brains from a far away continent or a corporate office is trying to infect or intrude your computer or tracking your keyboard movements and browsing habits. These programs eat away the processor capacity and slow down the system. Sometimes the hard drive becomes cluttered with fragments or broken files, the registry becomes corrupted or the internet files and browser cache may interfere with the computer performance. Broadly speaking a computer slow down may be caused by

- hardware problems

- inefficiencies in the processor performance

- lack of adequate RAM

- inefficiencies in the application software

- inefficiencies in the operating system

- lack of maintenance and proper housekeeping

- network and sharing problems

- security issues caused by virus or spy ware activities and

- operational inefficiencies caused by lack of knowledge

Computers are supposed to speed up our productivity…to help us do more in less time. What do you do when your computer is running so slow that it’s keeping you from getting your work done? Before you kick it to the curb, try these easy, do-it-yourself suggestions to help your system run & perform better.

Why do computers get slow in the first place? There are lots of reasons. When you first setup a new system, it’s usually fast and responsive. Applications open quickly, websites load instantly and startup and shut down take no time at all. But after a few months of serious use (installing and removing programs, downloading files from the Internet and general wear & tear) it’s normal for things to slow down a bit. This is where computer maintenance comes in…your disks and your file system need to be maintained for them to continue operating at peak performance.

According to an article from Microsoft.com (see link at the end of this article), there are 4 things you can do to increase the performance of your PC:

1) Free Up Some Disk Space

You can speed things up by deleting the unneeded files from your hard drive. Most recent versions of Windows include a nice utility called “Disk Cleanup” that does just what the name suggests…it cleans up your disks! It will scan your whole drive and return a list of files you can safely delete, which will free up storage space and also make your system more responsive. Temporary Internet files, temp files from documents, downloaded program files, and even items in your recycle bin can all be found and deleted using this tool. I would also recommend uninstalling any programs you no longer need, and any Windows components you don’t use. Once this is done, you can move on to the next step.

2) Speed Up System Access To Your Data

The more you use your hard drive, the more “fragmented” it gets. Simply put, after a while you start getting large gaps on your hard drive. Windows has to work around these gaps, and it does so by putting pieces of your data on various areas of your hard drive. The farther apart the pieces of your data are on the drive, the longer it takes Windows to put them back together again, which results in very slow performance. To fix this problem, you should run the Windows “Disk Defragmenter” regularly. This built-in tool will remove most of the gaps on your hard drive and place all your data in close proximity, which saves the operating system time…and that means a faster computer for you!

3) Find and Repair Any Errors On Your Disks

Sometimes sectors of your hard drive can go bad. There are lots of causes for this issue, but the bottom line is that bad sectors can slow down your hard drive performance and even cause you to lose data. Fortunately, Windows includes a utility to deal with this: it’s called “Check Disk”. When you run Check Disk, it will scan your whole hard drive and find and fix errors, including bad sectors. Once you run this utility and fix any problems it finds, you’re ready for the final step.

4) Deal With Any Spyware Installed On Your Computer

I hate spyware! As a technician, nothing frustrates me more than a system infested with adware, spyware and downloaded Internet junk. Some of this stuff is really hard to remove, and the privacy issues surrounding spyware are also serious concerns. Show me a computer full of spyware and I’ll show you a computer that’s running way slower than it should be. Microsoft has released a free product called “Microsoft Anti-Spyware”, and it works great for not only cleaning up existing spyware, but also for blocking it from getting installed in the first place. If you protect your system from spyware, it will reward you by performing better and lasting longer before requiring expensive repairs.

Once all the spyware is gone and your disks are working optimally, your system should be much faster and more responsive. If you need instructions about how to find and use the various maintenance utilities mentioned here, this article from Microsoft (as mentioned before) will help: Small Business Supoort

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