10 Tips to Speed Up Your PC
Posted by brozovics at July 17th, 2013
Before someone convinces you that you need to reformat your computer, reinstall your operating system, or buy a new computer, try some of these tips and tricks in order to get your PC back up to speed.
1. Disk defrag
Data on a hard drive needs to be defragmented on a fairly regular basis, especially if you are saving a lot of files locally on your machine. In Windows, you can use the disk defragmenter found in your control panel under administrative tools. We also like a free program called Defraggler from Piriform (download here ). You can download and run it to achieve a similar result.
2. Clear browsing history & cache
If you are experiencing lag time, specifically within internet browsers, consider clearing your browsing history, cache and cookies. You can typically find this option from the settings/tools icon in the upper right-hand corner of the browser, or by clicking the Alt key with the browser open to see the full navigation menu.
For braver souls, consider downloading CCleaner from Piriform ( download here ), there are many available options to clear browsing data and white listing sites or cookies. A great article on how to use CCleaner’s more advanced features can be found in a post on HowToGeek.com.
3. Empty your recycle bin
We send things to the recycle bin but so often forget to delete them. Don’t be afraid, delete! If you are worried that you might need something in the bin, then it probably shouldn’t be there in the first place, right?
4. Remove junk
By “junk,” I am referring to the lovely little extras the PC manufacturers automatically install on your computer when you buy it from a store. We used to get piles of software CDs with a new purchase, remember? Now, they just come pre-installed and prompt you upon setup. You may bypass the advertisement or trial offer, but that program is still installed somewhere on your PC. A few manufacturers are definitely worse than others regarding this practice (wink-wink Toshiba), but you should definitely browse your programs and features from your control panel for uninvited goodies. P.S. Deleting the shortcut from your desktop didn’t get rid of it in case you were wondering.
5. Move those large files
If you have large files taking up valuable real estate, move the data to a flash drive or invest in an external hard drive. Not sure what to get? If you have a lot of data look for storage in the gigabyte (GB) or terabyte (TB) range. The price can range from $25 – $200 depending on size. Usually, these space-sucking files are video, music and pictures, things that we would typically be devastated if lost due to a PC meltdown. Think of the time, money and memories lost – move the files somewhere safe, pretty please.
6. Run OS updates
Update, update, update. Windows pushes updates out every Tuesday – yes, every single Tuesday if you were not aware. If you don’t have updates setup to install automatically at 2:30am when you are fast asleep, you are quite possibly missing a lot of performance enhancements and security fixes. Possibly the latter being the most important – security! Run those updates. If you haven’t done it in a while, click ‘run’ and walk away for about 30-60 minutes.
7. Check for other pending updates (Acrobat, Quick Time, Print Drivers, etc.)
I am guilty of this sin. I don’t know how many times I have ignored Adobe and Quick Time updates. Not cool though when I suddenly can’t work with a file I want opened. Don’t forget about all those other programs you have installed. Sometimes, strange behaviors we see in those applications have been fixed in an update but we just haven’t installed it.
8. Run malware scans
There are so many free malware scanners available that there is really no reason not to be doing this. Here is a list of a few we like to use:
9. Run anti-virus scans
Windows Security Essentials doesn’t do a bad job for what it is, but if you have a propensity for getting infected then maybe you should explore some paid alternatives. Because we’re IT geeks and we like things to run fast, we prefer to have an anti-virus program that leaves a small footprint – by that we mean doesn’t pull a lot of CPU power away from your applications running. We like:
Don’t forget to allow these programs to run automatically, perhaps daily overnight. “Set it and forget it!” Ron Popeil might be a genius.
10. Prevent programs from loading at start up
We really like this one. You can’t see what is happening, but you are noticing that every time you restart your computer it seems to be taking longer and longer for it to finish loading your desktop. You are not going crazy; you probably just don’t realize why it is happening. The shortcuts on your desktop, start menu, and task bar all load their programs upon a system start up. If you have a wide variety of shortcuts setup for convenience, you may want to reconsider which programs you use most. You can stop a program from running at system start up on a Windows machine by following Microsoft’s instructions found here.
Post authored by Aimee Hillebrand, Content Strategist
Category: General Technology