Fix Slow PC Performance – Top 7 Suggestions

by Rod Dunne on November 19, 2010

in Articles, Performance

Fix Slow PC Performance - Top 7 Suggestions
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By using computer maintenance software and simple repair techniques, it should be possible to fix slow PC performance in the majority of cases, even for old PCs. In this article, we’ll look at some of the most effective ways to fix slow computer speeds without the need to resort to upgrading your hardware.

  1. Run an anti-virus scan
    Begin by checking your hard disk for signs of adware, malware or other types of malicious programs. These can rapidly corrupt the OS programs and registry files leading to exceptions and also cause slow PC speeds if they are running in the background continuously (you might find your computer running slow if there is a malware application or spam e-mail generator residing on your PC).
  2. Check for registry corruption
    The Windows registry file is one of the critical operating system files storing customization and configuration information for all applications and programs. It can develop faults through program changes, installations and removals, as well as from viruses. You can often fix a slow running computer simply by using an online PC repair tool or registry cleaner (e.g. Registry Easy) to automate the process of repairs.
  3. Free up disk space for virtual memory
    The operating system uses the page file stored on your hard disk for virtual memory to process commands for third-party applications as well as OS programs. The more that virtual memory is allowed to expand, the better your PC will perform. You can therefore fix slow laptop or desktop performance simply by keeping 10% of your hard disk empty for the page file to expand.
    Tools: Winclear – Advanced data cleaning utility for clearing free space on PCs and securely wiping internet history.
  4. Defragment the hard disk to improve disk access times
    One of the key bottlenecks to computer performance is the amount of time it takes to read files from the hard disk. In particular, the slow speeds are a factor of the read access times to view fragments of files and cache them in RAM memory. Reducing the amount of fragmentation can fix slow PC performance by reducing the number of disk access calls and also reducing the amount of RAM caching. Use a disk defragmenter every 3 to 4 weeks to help reorder fragments sequentially on the disk.
    Tools: Regtool: Registry repair and disk defragmentation utility in one.
  5. Modify the performance options
    Windows provides its own selection of performance options (Control Panel/System/advanced tab) where you can tweak performance. Try reducing the number of visual effects, modifying the memory prioritization (to foreground/background tasks) and increasing the maximum page file size to help fix slow laptop performance in particular.
  6. Cut back on the number of running applications
    Many people are often surprised when they realize how many background services and applications are running at any one time. Each of these programs is using up valuable RAM and CPU capacity even if they are not visible or in the foreground. You can help fix a slow running computer by using the Services program and Task Manager (processes tab) to identify those programs that are non-security related that can be happily close down or disabled. You might also find your computer running slow if there are simply too many background services running at once so try doing some spring cleaning to start disabling applications you no longer require.
  7. Update programsIn addition to doing the previous step, you can also identify which applications are using up a lot of your RAM/CPU in the Task Manager. Target these programs to check for patch updates (which often include code improvements to fix slow computer issues) and research if there are known performance issues detailed on the manufacturers support website. Running the Windows update service is also advisable to get the latest device drivers for your hardware which usually include DLL improvements.

Upgrading your RAM memory is always touted as the best way to fix slow PC performance. It is always definitely the quickest and most noticeable way of gaining some PC speed, but upgrades should always be done in parallel with doing the above maintenance tasks on a regular monthly or quarterly basis to make sure the performance improvements are retained.

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