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Published on 12.28.05 by Brent Trahan

Speed Up That PC

Learn how to speed up your slow PC.

Is your computer not running like it used to when you first purchased it? Don’t worry; it happens to the best of us. I get asked all the time “How do I speed up my computer?”

A slow PC is the second most popular reason for people to bring their PC to get fixed. (the firstĀ are viruses and spyware) Below is a list of guides I’ve written that shows you what you can do to speed up your PC. These are the same methods I use to speed up computers on a day-to-day basis.

Why does a computer slow down over time?

You purchase a new computer, bring it home, turn it on and think “Man this thing is fast.” You start installing software, surfing the net, checking e-mail, download games, and before you know it your new computer is running so slow you can’t do anything with it anymore.

Sounds like something that happened to you? Let me explain why that happened and what probably caused it.

When you purchase a new computer it doesn’t have much software on it. There is no spyware or viruses from surfing the net and checking e-mail. That computer is perfectly clean and running at its best.

After using the computer for a while you install new programs and games. Some of those programs and games are set to load when Windows boots up and takes up valuable memory and system time by running in the background.

You also might catch viruses and spyware from surfing the net, checking e-mail, and downloading stuff. Over time those viruses will make changes to Windows that could cause it to become unstable and not perform at its best. Spyware will take up memory and system resources. This is the cause of most people’s computers loosing speed.

Windows handles files in a sloppy manner that can “fragment” your hard drive. Think of fragmenting like a child who leaves her toys out after playing. After a while of being out they get damaged and some of them might get lost. Removing the trash and defragmenting the hard drive will let your computer run faster.

Get rid of the trash

Many people download and install “free” games and other “free” software on their computers. I call them “free” because they are NOT free. You are paying a price for those “free” games and software packages in most cases.

Many times (but not always) when you install “free” software you are paying for it by giving that company information about your computer usage, the ability for them to track your every move, and many other potentially bad things. By doing this they make money which pays for that game or software.

The first thing you need to do if you really want to speed up your computer is get rid of all that “free” software from your computer. Just doing that will make a big difference. Trust me.

Once you get rid of all the software that’s taking up memory and system time your computer will “breath” better which will let it run faster.

Stop unnecessary programs from starting

When you install programs many times they are set to automatically start up in the background when your computer boots up. In most cases you don’t need the software to start when your computer boots up. You can stop unwanted programs from doing this with the msconfig command. Click here to learn how to use the msconfig command.

Remove Viruses

Viruses can cause your computer to slow down or become unstable. Click here to scan your computer for viruses and remove any you find.

Remove Spyware

Spyware is the thing that slows most computers down. Spyware is exactly as it sounds, software that is placed on your computer without you knowing that tracks what you do. Most spyware comes from websites. You don’t know your getting it because it gets installed on your computer without you knowing it.

Why do people put spyware on my computer? The answer to that is MONEY. By tracking where you go and what you do on the internet they can get a feel to what your interests are. They then take that into count when they send you ads. You’re much more likely to click on an ad that is interesting to you.

Spyware usually goes undetected for a while because it usually doesn’t hurt your computer at first. After a while of more and more spyware accumulating on your computer it starts to take its toll and your computer starts slowing down. Your computer starts slowing down because spyware tracks what you do and sends it back to its maker. That takes computing power and internet bandwidth. Once instance of spyware won’t be noticed most times. Hundreds or even thousands will take a heavy toll on your computer.

So how can I stop spyware from making it on my computer? First of all you need to stay away from websites that dish out spyware. Telling a good website from a bad one is very hard. You can get a good idea on which sites are bad because they offer you the world to use their products. They also have very flashy ads that catch the eye.

A better way to stop spyware is to install antispyware software on your computer that protects your computer from spyware. Microsoft has the best and FREE antispyware software called Windows Defender. You can download it here. If you need help installing or using Windows Defender, click here.

I recommend installing Windows Defender and using it on your computer. I’ve tried all the other antispyware software suites out there and this one is the best by far. Make sure Windows Defender is always running, checking for updates on a regular basis, and scanning your computer daily. The best AntiSpyware is no good if it’s not used properly.

Tidy Up Your Hard drive

Windows is very sloppy with your files. You need to periodically tidy up your hard drive by running a disk cleanup and then defragmenting it. I’ve created a tool that will do it all for you. Click here to check it out.

You might also want to check out my Windows XP Automated System Maintenance guide that shows you how to use Windows XP’s Task Manager and a few simple batch files to automate keeping your computer clean and running well.

Keeping your computer fast and general maintenance

Once you’ve finished speeding up your PC you need to do a few things to keep your computer running fast. Think of this like changing the oil in your car. It’s something that has to be done to keep your car running smooth.

The most important thing is to make sure your antivirus and antispyware software is always running, up to date, and scanning your computer on a regular basis. I see computers all the time that have antivirus and antispyware software installed but not running. They always tell me “I don’t know how I got those viruses. I have antivirus software on my computer.”. Many people don’t realize how important it is to keep them updated and running all the time.

Run the msconfig tool about once a month to make sure no unwanted programs are running. Many times a few of them slip by when you update software.

Run a disk cleanup and defragment your hard drive once a month to keep it clean and in order. This makes it easy for your computer to find files which lets it run faster.

That’s about it guys. Hope I was able to help.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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9 Responses to “Speed Up That PC”

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  1. Randy R says:

    For those of you that don’t know Windows Vista will have a tool similar to what is explained in this guide already built in for you told help keep your computer running fast.

  2. Catherine O'L says:

    Excellent site, plain language unlike some ive come acroos. Really has made an enormous difference to my PC. Will definetely be keeping this as a favourite & recommending it others.Well done & keep up the good work. There really are not enough sites like this

  3. Chuck says:

    How do you know which programs to stop in msconfig?

  4. Brent Trahan says:

    That’s totally up to you. If it were me, I would stop all programs other than antivirus and antispyware.

  5. mice says:

    hello!!!thanks for that great idea and it really helped me a lot and yeah you’re right i’ve tried it before and i’ll always do thanks…

  6. Konrad says:

    Thanks a lot! This help my pc run much faster than it did before:D

  7. Konrad says:

    Could you do one for Vista?

  8. MrSpikey says:

    Thanx for the pointers.Much Appreciated

    Just one concern,isn’t registry cleaning helpful in this case?if yes,which one would u recommend?

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