So your computer has been running slow lately? Boot up taking longer than you would like? Files taking way too long to open? All of these and some more common problems can be fixed with just a little housekeeping, so to speak. Here are some tips to keep your PC running smooth and fast:
1) Clean your registry : The Windows registry is a database of setting and associations. It’s pretty much one of the most important components in your operating system. The registry does the all-important job of connecting everything together. How does your OS know that clicking a video file should open a certain program? How does it know clicking a shortcut should open a certain file? All this and much more are handled by the registry. Sometimes program installations and uninstallations can cause broken registry links, orphaned file associations and general conflicts. This can lead to errors and unnecessary clutter. Needless to say, always keep your registry clean and free from any conflicts.
2) Defragment your hard drives : You’re clicking on your hard drive partition and it takes a bit too long to access data and display it, wonder why? It’s because of fragmentation. When hard disks are brand new, there are huge blocks of empty space. Any data you wish to keep is saved in smaller parts sequentially. But as time goes by and more data is added or removed, fragments of data are removed and it can cause smaller amounts of free space between occupied data fragments. Now if you try to save data, it uses those smaller fragments and maybe spread it over a few too many smaller fragments, not necessarily in sequence. When the OS tries to access fragmented data, it has to look over a larger space for smaller chunks of data, and so it takes time. The solution? Regularly defragment your drives, especially the ones that see a lot of reading and writing of data. The Windows defragmenter will do just fine.
3) Get rid of unnecessary startup programs : When you start up Windows, some programs are automatically set to start up. Often, these programs serve no immediate purpose. Do you really need a program updater to stay on all the time and start up with Windows? Do you need a PDF reader as soon as you start up Windows? Probably not. Sometimes even useful programs startup a small optional component so that the main program starts up faster when you do choose for it to, so even if you have no plans to use that particular program, there’s still that component running. Isn’t it better you have a generally faster Windows boot instead of a faster program boot? All these startup programs slow down your Windows boot. Remove all unnecessary startup programs and see how much faster you can start using your computer instead of waiting for everything to load.
4) Remove unused programs and use alternatives : Try not to keep multiple programs that serve the same purpose. Do not keep multiple antivirus programs or video players. Keep just one good program that serves the purpose you want. Also try to use some alternatives other than the status quo. For example, for opening PDF files, use Foxit Reader, it’s a free and lightweight PDF reader and editor with all the features you’d need. Look for lighter alternatives, lots of the commonly used programs are simply bloatware. Another good example is K-Lite Codec Pack, install it and view all video files on Windows Media Player itself, you won’t need another video player again.
5. Scan for and remove malware/spyware/viruses : Often, Windows can be slowed down by malicious programs. Install a respected antivirus or internet security suite and keep it updated. Turn on active protection so you’re protected all the time. Also scan your computer regularly for any malicious software. Some good free antivirus programs are Avast! Antivirus and Avira Antivirus.
6) Clean your disks of temporary files : You know how when you start a program setup it takes a while to install because it copies all setup files into your hard drive? After the setup is done, these installation files are still kept on your hard drive and are completely unnecessary. Over a period of time, these files accumulate and take up a lot of space. Make sure to remove all temporary files regularly.
So there you have it, a few simple tips to speed up your computer. Following these regularly can keep your computer healthy and you can avoid crashes and lockups. Most of these functions can be performed by multiple programs, but I recommend a free and useful program called CCleaner, which can be downloaded here. Another great suite is TuneUp Utilities, you can get a trial version from here.
Good luck and happy cleaning!