Speeding up your Windows computer

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Have you noted that your computer has slowed down? Are you unable to carry out simple tasks on your computer running Windows and suffer frequent episodes of your computer hanging? Do you find your Windows computer slow to retrieve files and open programs? Is your computer slowing down your gameplay graphics? If you have any of the problems, the solution is simple and does not need a rocket scientist to sort out. Actually, there are a few things you can do yourself to sort out the problem.

Windows runs as a typical of on your computer, using the hard disk, RAM and some bit of ROM. The software is usually bulky and has numerous files that need to be in order for the operating system to run smoothly. The biggest contributor to slowing down of Windows computers is the sheer size of memory that is required and the numerous files that need to be executed every time the computer is running.

So, if you note a problem with your computer, what should you do before you call in the technicians or throw it out of the window?

  • A restart. This should be the first thing you think of. Restart your computer. This will clear some files and end programs that may be slowing down your computer. This will also log out other users whose running programs may be slowing you down.
  • Background programs. Check your computer via the notifications area on the taskbar to see which programs are running in the background. An in-depth check is done by going to the Task Manager and looking through the running processes to see individual processes that are being executed in your processor.
  • Junk files. Clear out your Recycle bin of the files you no longer need. If they are in the recycle bin, they are already not needed. You have the option of deleting files without them going into the recycle bin by clicking on the file or folder to be deleted and ten pressing ‘Shift + Delete’. While in the recycle bin folder, you can right click and select ‘Properties’. You will see a checkbox for ‘Don’t move files to the recycle bin. Remove files immediately when deleted’. Do you need an explanation of what checking this box does for you?
  • Temporary files. These are files created by your computer as you run programs. Some are downloads that you open directly and others are recovery backups by some programs. There are also some files that are crucial to the running of programs. You will be able to remove the excess temporary files by affecting a Restart or by having software that can do it for you since the ‘Temp’ folder is a hidden folder.
  • Fragmentation. Schedule your disk defragmenter to do defragmentation tasks for you. It helps the computer by making the files easily accessible in whole instead of being accessed in bits and pieces. In Command Prompt, type in ‘defrag D:’ to defragment local disk D: or other choices as desired.
  • Spyware. Your computer could be having a spy software running in the background. You will need a technician or advanced antispyware programs to help you out here.
  • Heating. Is your computer in a place that is well ventilated? You need to ensure that the air inlets and outlets of your computer are at least 5” from any surface. Cooling is important for your processor to keep up to speed.
  • Dust. Have your computer blown to remove dust particles that could be blocking air ducts for cooling and disrupting the proper flow of air in the computer.
  • More RAM. Consider adding the size of your Random Access Memory bank. This goes hand in hand with increasing your page file size on the hard disk to boost the resources your computer has.
  • Organization. Organize your files so that you have fewer folders. You should also invest in external storage if your hard disks are more that 85% full. Leave the extra 15% for the computer to be able to easily access the files and folders needed.

If these tricks do not work for you, you may consider calling in qualified personnel to give your computer a good looking through. Optionally, maybe it is time you bought yourself a new, better, faster computer with more processing power, disk space and RAM.

The author is a computer systems technician and a network administrator. She works at Essay Jedi as an IT consultant and writes articles for various clients, newsletters and professional magazines.