How To Speed Up My Computer: Upgrades, Maintenance And Repairs

by Rod Dunne on August 20, 2010

in Articles, Performance

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After researching how to speed up my computer it became clear that there are three principal ways to getting a faster PC – upgrading the hardware, making effective running repairs as faults arise and keeping up regular scheduled maintenance.

Here, we’ll look at these three ways to increase computer speed.

Upgrades To Hardware/Software

It is widespread knowledge that upgrading the RAM memory in a computer can instantaneously increase computer speed the most.

If you don’t feel comfortable replacing memory in your computer then one option is to use ReadyBoost enabled memory. These simply plug into a USB socket and their flash memory can be allocated to the operating system as RAM. More RAM means faster computer processing of application commands. Note that only Windows 7 supports this type of ReadyBoost USB RAM.

Advanced options:

  • Upgrade the operating system. This will give major gains for those switching from Vista to Windows 7. However, your motherboard may not support Windows 7 in some older PCs.
  • Upgrade to higher specification CPU chips. Again, your motherboard constrains what level of CPU you could upgrade to.
  • Change the disk drive. Having a more modern hard disk with faster disk access times can fix a slow computer.

Running Repairs

When faults develop on your computer you need to nip them in the bud and effectively remedy the issue.

  • Scan for viruses regularly as they can corrupt system files on your computer, run as background tasks (using RAM/CPU) and impact the smooth running of Windows.
  • Updating your operating system files and device drivers helps increase PC performance by ensuring you always have the latest, best performing code on your system. Update via Windows Update service.
  • If specific applications are causing problems then maintain faster computer speeds by (i) updating the application to the latest version/patch (ii) replacing poorly performing programs with applications that can do the same task or (iii) closing down applications/services you don’t need to have running.
  • Scan your registry for faults, especially after several applications have been installed/removed or viruses have been detected. It is best practice to use registry cleaners (such as Registry Easy or XP Repair Pro) for this.

Scheduled Maintenance To Retain Faster Computer Performance

Over time changes to your computer (especially adding programs) eventually begin to slow computer performance. By doing some simple maintenance every month/quarter you can keep these problems at bay.

  • Start by cleaning out some disk space. Use the Add/Remove Programs tool to get rid of any unnecessary applications and Disk Cleanup (under Accessories > System Tools) to automatically clean out temporary/cache files.
  • Now that there is extra disk available to be used as virtual memory you can update the paging file size (System > Advanced > Performance Options). Set the max size to be bigger than the recommended value that is shown. Windows can increase computer speed by using the virtual memory instead of RAM when processing application commands.
  • Finally run the disk defragmenter tool (also under Accessories > System Tools). This reassembles data clusters on the hard disk for programs/documents you use so that calls to read the disk data can access data sequentially on disk sectors in a single call (rather then reading data dispersed around disk sectors).

In looking at how to speed up my computer, it became immediately apparent that hardware upgrades are the most effective way to improving a slow computer. However, it is still worth using the PC maintenance and repair tasks, but their gains will not be as noticeable as hardware upgrades.

Related Posts:
- For Windows XP owner, our post on how to speed up XP covers system specific tools/settings to consider.
- How to fix slow computer speeds.

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