Speed Up Windows: RAM, Disk Drives & Internet Connectivity

by Rod Dunne on September 15, 2010

in Articles, Performance

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This article looks at the simple PC repair tasks that can help speed up Windows PC performance by focusing in on improving how (i) RAM memory, (ii) disk drives and (iii) your modem and internet connection are being used.

It can be frustrating to work on a slow PC and waste a lot of your time waiting for programs to start up or complete commands. If you focus in on optimizing the memory, hard drive access times and web connectivity then the majority of performance problems can be solved.

Speed Up Windows RAM Usage

The amount of RAM memory that your PC has is a key determinant of how fast Windows will run. Upgrading the RAM is an immediate option and is recommended if you have less than 1MB of RAM at the moment.

If you are running Windows 7 then you could also use a Ready Boost enabled USB flash drive as an additional memory module.

To make optimum usage of the existing memory you can do the following:

  • Close down running applications you do not require. Use the Task Manager or Resmon utilities to pick out programs using up a lot of RAM. Disable or remove the ones you do not need. This will also speed up Windows shutdown performance as less programs need to be closed off.
  • Speed up Windows boot performance by disabling applications from starting up with Windows. The System Configuration program (Start > Run > type msconfig then hit enter) has a ‘startup’ tab of the programs that are initialized at boot time. Disable the ones you do not require to make Windows startup faster and cause less applications to be running during during normal operations. Note that the System Configuration utility is not solely a startup optimizer utility, but has additional tabs for modifying system settings.
  • For applications you wish to keep on running, you need to ensure they are bug-free and running the latest updates. Run an anti-virus scan and check each for patches/new versions. If you have a lot of programs to check then using an online PC repair tool such as Reimage can take care of updating all your third-party programs, OS programs and check their registry settings are optimized.

Disk Access Utilization & Performance

All programs have to read/write files to the hard drive so improving the disk access rate will speed up Windows PC performance across the board.

Improving disk access times is relatively easy:

  • Run the Disk Cleanup tool (programs > accessories > system tools) to remove temporary files and cached information. Empty the Recycle Bin for even more free space.
  • Run the Disk Defragmenter tool (programs > accessories > system tools) on all of your hard drives to reorder the data fragments on the drive’s memory and optimize how disk heads can read files.

Suggested tools:

  • Winclear – A data cleaning utility for clearing free space on PCs and securely wiping internet history.

Modem Usage And Internet Speeds

It can often be the case that a computer is perceived as being slow only because of the modem/internet connectivity under-performing. Improving bandwidth usage can help speed up Windows PC performance especially if you are online a lot.

Optimizing bandwidth usage can be done as follows:

  • Get the latest modem device driver updates. Use any software that came with the modem to find updates or use the Device Manager (control panel > system > hardware tab) to do this.
  • Reduce the number of browser add-ons that are enabled to reduce how many file downloads get made on each page request.
  • One handy PC speed up tip to try is to use your firewalls permissions setting to block programs on your PC from access to the web. Essential services (e.g. Windows Update) should have access, but many third-party programs should be blocked.
  • Try different browsers. Each one supports HTML & web technologies differently so may work faster on specific sites that you use often.

Once you speed up Windows startup, shutdown and general performance the first time, it is worth noting that these checks need to be run every few months as ongoing PC usage and installing new programs will continue to degrade computer performance.

Related posts:
- You could also consider doing a PC upgrade of the RAM memory and video card is another way to improve performance.
Windows XP speed up tips and tricks.
- How to increase computer speed – Top 5 solutions.

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