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Tips to Speed Up a Slow Computer

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My computer has reached that magic 2 year old mark, where it starts to slow down and needs to rebooted very often. How I long for the days that this computer flew! Of course, I have had this problem before with other computers and it is mainly my fault. I don't do simple maintenance on a regular basis. The only time I think of it is when the computer starts to slow down. I think most people put off computer maintenance also. Yesterday, I set out to make this computer speed up and I am happy to say that it worked and it really wasn't that hard to do.

Defrag Your Computer to Speed It Up
Defragging your hard drive is so simple and you will be amazed at how fast your computer will run with it defragged. First, let me explain what fragmented files mean to your computer. When your computer stores a document, it starts to put the document in the first area of free space on your hard drive and then when it runs out of room there, it stores another part of the file on the next space available and so on, until the entire document is stored. One simple Word document may be stored in many different spots. When you access the fragmented document again, it has to go to all the spots on your hard drive, gather the information, put it together and then display it. If you have a lot of fragmented files it takes time for the computer to find the data. I was at 8% fragmentation which was below Windows threshold for a recommendation to defragment but after I ran the program the performance increase was very visible. The reason that I saw such an increase may be that the files that I use regularly may have been one of the few files that were fragmented. It will take a while to run defrag so you might want to leave this task for last (like before bed) and you should free up as much space as possible before defragging, but I list it first because it is so important.

To defrag your hard drive with Windows XP, go to:

  • Start
  • Programs
  • Accessories
  • System Tools
  • Disk Defragmenter
Other Windows operating systems has the disk defragementer tool in a similar location. If you can't find it, go to Windows help and search for "defrag" to find out how to run it.

For best results before defragging, be sure to turn off your screen saver (control panel - display) and stop your computer from entering standby (control panel - display - power options).

Clean Temporary Files To Speed Up Your Computer
Windows loves to write files all the time to your hard drive and until you run out of room on your hard drive or ask it to clean it up, it will leave old temporary files there. Windows XP comes with a handy program that cleans them up. To clean up temporary files on your hard drive with Windows XP, go to:

  • Start
  • Programs
  • Accessories
  • System Tools
  • Disk Cleanup
For other Windows operating systems you may have manually remove temporary files. To find out how, go to Windows help and search for "temporary files".

Clean Your Inbox to Speed Up A Slow Computer
If you are like me, I have my email program loaded and running all the time. I noticed that it is taking a long time to load and I think I figured out why. It is loading over a thousand messages. I cleaned out all the junk email and now it loads quick and my computer seems to run faster. All those messages ready to be showed at any given time seems to be taking up memory - valuable memory used up that causes a computer to run slow.

Remove Spyware to Speed Up A Slow Computer
Are you running a anti-virus software package that includes spyware detection? Not all anti-virus programs packages remove spyware and protect your computer from spyware - a main culprit of a slow computer. To remove spyware, get the free anti-spyware software from Grisoft.

Anti-Virus Software
Has your anti-virus software expired? That is something that should not be ignored and you need to remedy this immediately. If you don't have the money to update your virus subscription, us the free anti-virus software from Grisoft.

Clean Up Your Desktop To Speed Up Your Computer
Do you have a lot of icons sitting on your desktop? These will slow up your computer. Having a clean desktop is important enough that Windows XP now asks you to clean up unused desktop icons. If you have ignored the prompt, you can either clean them up manually by right clicking your mouse on them and selecting delete or you can access the Windows XP program.

  • Start
  • Control Panel
  • Double-click "Display".
  • Click the "Desktop" tab.
  • Click the "Customize Desktop" button at the bottom.
  • Click the "General" tab.
  • Click the "Clean Desktop Now" button at the bottom.

This simple tips should speed up your computer. If you are having more serious problems, it may be time to call in a professional.

More Internet Help

Print Part of a Page Basic Copy and Paste Advanced Copy and Paste Keyboard Shortcuts
Speed Up a Slow Computer File Sizes Explained How to Drag and Drop Files Allow Pop Ups
Acronyms Check Your Email Away From Home How to Determine if it is a Secure Server Find Out Who Owns a Website
Secure Passwords Customize Your Desktop Computer Filing Systems File Extensions, Registered Viewers, Changing File Associations
Secure Your Wireless Access Point Home Computer Security Free File Viewers That Convert Documents Such As DOCX, DOC, ODT Portable Applications for Your Flash Drive
Create Characters That Aren't On Your Keyboard Such As The Copyright Symbol Guide to Outlook Express Protect Yourself from Spyware Auto Complete With Internet Explorer
Change The Size of the Text That View on Your Screen How Much RAM Do You Have? System Requirements How to Change Your Resolution
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