How To Increase Computer Speed – Top 5 Ways

by Rod Dunne on November 3, 2010

in Articles, Performance

How To Increase Computer Speed – Top 5 Ways
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Understanding how to increase computer speed really comes down to working out how to maximize the CPU/RAM capabilities of your PC. Here, we’ll show how to speed up your computer using regular PC maintenance techniques and software utilities.

Increasing available memory

The starting point for any performance improvements is to assess whether or not you need to upgrade the amount of RAM. The optimum solution is to upgrade the quantity or number of RAM modules on your PC. Current chip prices are quite cheap so this can prove to be quite an economical upgrade to make.

Vista and Windows 7 users can also consider using USB Flash devices that are Readyboost enabled. These can simply be plugged into an available USB port and configured to allocate some of the Flash memory to be used as RAM.

All Windows OS users should also consider increasing the page file size (under performance options) to allocate more virtual memory for use by the operating system to increase computer speed.

Windows registry

The Windows registry file contains configuration settings for all running programs and operating system details. It does however have a tendency of becoming corrupted due to changes made by programs or viruses which can lead to performance issues and application exceptions (e.g. blue screen exceptions).

The easiest solution is to run a registry cleaner or PC maintenance tool such as XP Repair Pro to identify and rectify any corruption to registry keys.

Suggested Tools:

XP Repair Pro Registry & system optimization for Windows 7, Vista & XP.

How to increase computer speed by freeing up disk space

Increasing virtual memory (in the first step) does require that the page file can expand unhindered on the hard drive. However, if your disk drive is getting too full then the page file/virtual memory will be constricted and you will start to notice the OS performing very poorly even for simple applications.

You can speed up your computer by maintaining at least 10% of your disk space free for virtual memory by using the Disk Cleanup utility (to wipe down cached files and cookies), transferring large bulky files to an external hard disk device and removing unused applications.

Suggested Tools:

  • Winclear - Data cleaning utility for clearing free space on PCs and wiping internet history securely.
  • Final Sync – Backup solution that allows you to copy/sync files between multiple pieces of hardware (laptop <-> external drives <-> USB memory sticks).

Running applications and services

I am often able to speed up my computer simply by closing down the number of background services applications that are running. This can often be due to search index utilities or other processing intensive applications.

The prudent approach to take is to open the task manager on the processes tab and identify which applications are using a lot of memory. Any critical programs (e.g. anti-virus program updates) are obviously omitted from analysis and left running. Any programs that can happily be disabled or removed are promptly cleared from the system.

For those applications left active in the task manager, you can still check to see if there are patch updates to these programs which can include performance improvements or check online forums for any recommended performance configuration changes that you can consider. I have also managed to speed up my computer by replacing applications with their competitor’s products as a simple way to get the same task done, but with a better performing application.

Disk read/write performance

It stands to reason that every application on your computer, including operating system programs, are constantly reading and writing information from the hard drive so any improvements to how this process performance will provide performance gains across the board.

The main factor affecting the disk access times is the amount of file fragmentation on your disk. Each document is stored as multiple fragments located around the disk in order to make the best use of any free space. This does however mean that reading one individual file may require several reads commands to the disk. Running the Disk Defragmenter utility every few weeks should help reorder the fragments in sequential manner in order to reduce the number of disk access calls.

Suggested Tools:

  • You could also consider using a software tool like Regtool which can do advanced disk defragmentation as well as (primarily) being a registry cleaner.

The real key to understanding how to increase computer speed is to realize that these tasks will need to be formed on an ongoing basis in order to retain any kind of performance gains that you make.

Related posts
How to speed up my laptop | checklist and utilities.

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