How To Fix Slow Computer Performance

by Rod Dunne on September 3, 2010

in Articles, Performance

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It can be aggravating and counter-productive to wait around as a PC boots, processes program commands or accesses websites. This article looks at how to fix slow computer startup and general performance times.

Isolate And Remove Bugs

Viruses, malware, spyware and adware can all slow PC speeds by corrupting registry settings and running as background tasks (e.g. mass emailers).

  • Update, then run, your anti-virus software. This can fix computer errors caused by viruses to system files as well as stop them running in the background. Run daily if you spend a lot of time online. Trojan virus removal will also protect your passwords/data being sent out onto the web.
  • Run a spyware check every few weeks.
  • Activate your anti-virus application’s pop-up blocker. This will stop these nuisances from hogging internet bandwidth.

Cleanse Disk Space And Programs

The more space on the hard disk, the more room for virtual memory (i.e. the paging file) to expand unimpeded. Likewise, streamlining your installed programs reduces the registry size (which in itself can fix slow PC issues) and reduces the chances of shared key issues.

  • Remove documents you no longer want, or can obtain online. This could included videos, torrents, installations programs, etc.
  • Remove programs you no longer use or do duplicate functionality of other programs (e.g. database administration, picture editing, old games).
  • Disable or remove browser add-ons. These cause a lot of slow PC issues when browsing online by constantly downloading information for each page.
  • Purge your local email. Delete old mails you don’t need. Archive the email if necessary and burn several backup copies to disk if you feel you still may need them.

As an additional task, you can improve slow laptop or computer performance by increasing the maximum size permitted for the paging file/virtual memory. This can be modified through Control Panel, system, advanced tab, performance options.

Run Disk Maintenance

One important thing to know about how to fix a slow computer is to realize the importance of your hard disk/hard drive and the part it plays in computer speeds. Anything you can do to optimize disk access times will fix slow PC performance across the entire system.

  • Use the Disk Cleanup application (accessories > system tools) to clear out temporary system files, cookies, etc. Run this as often as you wish (if you are on the web a lot then you’ll be surprised by how much files this program can remove daily).
  • Run a Disk Defragmenter each month. This brings dispersed document fragments on the disk back together so that disk reading heads can rapidly access one sector of data instead of having to look around the disk. This makes for massive savings when you consider the thousands of files and fragments on your computer.
  • Check your hard disk for errors at least every quarter. This can lead to general degradation of computer speeds and data loss so is well worth doing. Open Windows Explorer, right click a drive, choose properties, tools tab to find the disk check utility.

How To Fix Slow Computer Startup Times

You can fix slow PC start times by disabling the applications and services run as Windows boots. If you don’t need the programs then simply remove them. If you wish to hang onto the programs then disable them from initializing at startup via Windows System Configuration tool (Start menu > Run > enter msconfig).

The important thing about knowing how to fix slow computer performance is to realize that this is an ongoing task. You will need to run your maintenance monthly/quarterly to stop your slow PC from dis-improving

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