How to improve computer speed is one of the top questions technicians get asked. There are numerous factors that affect your PC’s performance, and there’s a lot you can do to speed things up. Most of these suggestions would fall under the normal computer maintenance category, but some include optimizing settings and improving the hardware of your machine. Any newer computer should certainly be fast enough for most applications. Older computers will likely require some kind of hardware upgrade.
Tips To Improve Computer Speed
PCTechBytes has put together the following list of tips to help you get the most out of your computer:
Reformat and Reinstall Windows
I know many techs believe this is taking the easy way out. Some of them say if you’re skilled enough, you should be able to reach down into the innards of Windows and grab a handful of PC sludge and yank it out, leaving the current installation intact. Sure, that can be done, with great effort and cost to the end-user. Even if the end-users perform this task themselves, it will take much longer with increased chance of problems than it would have been to simply backup and reinstall Windows.
Optimize Start-up Items and Organize Data
For those who do not want to go the route of re-installing Windows there are alternatives that can help speed things up a little. The first thing to do is go into the Control Panel and uninstall any old programs you know you will never use. Programs you do not use might still be loading into memory when you boot the computer. The second thing to do is run a Disk Cleanup. This is found in the System Tools are of your Start menu. Remove items in the Recycle Bin, old Temp files, and anything else you do not need. This will free up a chunk of hard drive space. The next thing to do after that is run Disk Defragmenter. By removing programs and old files and then re-organizing that data, you have optimized the way your computer accesses data on the drive.
Use MSCONFIG To Prevent Programs From Loading
MSCONFIG is a system configuration utility in Windows that helps you configure the way Windows boots. You can get there by going to Start>Run and typing msconfig and hit OK. Look for the Startup tab and scroll through the items and uncheck anything you know does not need to start each time you boot your machine. You can still access these programs, they just won’t load into memory when your PC boots.. Typical programs in this list will be AOL items, Media Player tools, and program updaters. You will need to restart the machine. Once done, see if there are still unnecessary icons down by your computer’s clock. If there are, you can right-click most of these and go though their preferences to find an option to prevent it from starting at boot.
Install More RAM and Update Your Video Card
Some call in RAM, some call it memory. No matter what you call it maxing out your computer’s RAM will be the easiest and cheapest upgrade you can do for your computer. If you’re not sure how much memory your computer can take, visit a site like Crucial.com that has a memory configurator tool to help you figure out how much you already have and how much RAM you can add. You might realize you have to throw away your old memory to buy more. For instance, if your computer has two slots and is capable of 2 GBs of RAM, each of those slots might already be filled with two 512MB sticks, giving you half of the memory your system is capable of using. Tossing those sticks out and buying two 1GB sticks is the only option you have to max it out.
Upgrading your computer’s video card to something more modern can take the processing burden off of your CPU. Check your motherboard and see what it’s capable of using. If you use graphics-intensive tools like Photoshop, or if you’re a gamer, a new video card will be costly but will also speed up your machine. Due to the high cost of video cards, however, you might want to see if you’re satisfied with the RAM upgrade before you make this purchase.
Other Speed Tweaks
Some other things you can try in Windows is turning off screen savers, turn off the Aero Glass effects in Vista and go with a more minimalistic theme. You should also scan your computer for malware and viruses from within Safe Mode and Update Windows so you have the latest security patches. All of these tips will help improve computer speed. But we’re still sticking with our original recommendation of backing up and reinstalling Windows. Just make sure you have all of the disks, certificate keys and complete backups before you proceed.