Slow Laptop Performance | Monthly Checklist

by Rod Dunne on February 4, 2011

in Performance

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Slow laptop performance can degrade over time as you install more applications on your system. In this article I’ll show you my monthly checklist used to help improve performance and stop the system from slowing down.

1. Viruses

The starting point in my monthly checklist is to begin with an anti-virus scan. First make sure the latest virus definitions have been downloaded then scan the entire hard drive as well as external USB memory (I do this as USB sticks can easily pick up Trojan viruses when plugged into someone else’s PC).

2. Slow laptop startup times

Next, I focus on Windows XP slow startup performance. As my laptop is quite old (running XP) there are a lot of services and applications installed over the years which gradually start to slow down the boot performance. Windows provides their own utility called the System Configuration tool [start/run/enter msconfig] containing a startup tab of which services and applications are invoked at startup. I de-select the applications I no longer need initialized at boot time via the check boxes.

3. Disk performance

Slow laptop speeds can often be as a result of disk issues/performance. The first thing to check is that you have enough free space on the hard drive left free for Windows to use as virtual memory. It is generally recommended to keep 10% free. This can be easily done by transferring larger files onto an external HDD.

The second element of disk performance is the amount of file fragmentation. This can be improved by running a disk defragmenter [accessories/system tools/disk defragmenter] to help reorder fragments and speed up read access times.

4. RAM optimization

Once the system is up and running, I’ll check how many programs are running in the task manager utility (Windows 7 users could use Resmon). Identify programs that use a lot of RAM memory and either close them down, update them or replace them with a similar tool.

5. Getting updates

The final step is to run Windows update to get all the latest device drivers and patches and check for updates to specific utilities/software I use on a daily basis.

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