8 Easy Tips To Speed Up Your Aging PC


By Joe Vanderham, May 24, 2010


By taking a little extra time out of your day, and following these easy steps, you can breathe new life into that aging computer.  With these steps, you won't need to by a new PC or even upgrade.  You can keep your computer running smoothly, whether it is old or new, and it will perform like a champ.


This article guides you through the process of using tools available in Windows XP.  These tools are still available in Windows 7 and Vista but may require somewhat different steps to open them.


1. One of the easiest ways to pick up a little speed on your computer is to reduce how much detail it has to render on the screen.  To do this, go to 'Control Panel' then 'System'.  Next click on the 'Advanced' tab and under "Performance" click 'Settings'.  On the "Visual Effects" tab you will be able to select what Windows renders as you use your PC.  The less you have checked, the quicker your computer will appear.


2. Another quick step in speeding up your PC is to reduce how much is starting up with Windows and running in the background.  Go to 'Start' then 'Run'.  Type in the box, "msconfig", without the quotes.  Then click on the 'Startup' tab.  Uncheck any unnecessary startup items.  Some items, such as MSN Messenger are always starting up.  Be careful when doing this as some of these items are necessary for your computer to operate normally.


3. When your hard drive starts running out of space, it may start slowing down.  The answer may be in your "Control Panel".  Go to 'Start', then 'Control Panel'.  Then open up the 'Add or Remove Programs' applet and remove any programs you haven't used in a while or don't use at all.


4. Another way to find additional hard drive space is to use the "Disk Cleanup" utility built into Windows.  Go to 'My Computer' and right click on your C:\ drive.  Next click on 'Properties' and then on the "General" tab, click on 'Disk Cleanup'.  Select the files you would like to delete and uncheck the boxes of the files you want to keep, and then click 'OK'.


5. Over time, files on your hard drive will become fragmented, making it harder for your computer to open up files quickly.  This is due to pieces of the file being scattered across your drive through regular use.  Defragmentation will put the files back where they belong, in turn, reducing access times.  Go to 'My Computer' and right click on your C:\ drive.  Next click on 'Properties' and then on the "Tools" tab, click on 'Defragment Now'.  Select the drives you would like defragmented.  You should defragment your C:\ drive at least twice a month whether or not the tool says you need to.


6. As you use your PC, your hard drive may develop bad sectors.  These bad sectors can cause program errors, file errors, and even performance problems with your machine.  Use the "Check Disk" utility to find bad sectors and possibly repair them.  Go to 'My Computer' and right click on your C:\ drive.  Next click on 'Properties' and then on the "Tools" tab, click 'Check Now'.  Only select 'Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors'.  Then click 'Start'.  If bad sectors are found, let the program fix them.


7. Make sure your PC is free from virus and spyware.  "Badware" can bring even the top performing computer to a crawl so update your anti-virus and anti-malware protection regularly and schedule regular scans.


8. All those dust bunnies inside your computer case block the airflow that your PC was designed to utilize.  Excessive heat will cause your PC to slow down and it may cause it to eventually stop working.  Go buy yourself a can of air and blow out your computer's fans and boards.  It doesn't take that much work to get one side off your computer's case and it will save you money in the end.  NOTE: You should never dust off any components with a rag or dust cloth as you may damage your computer permanently.



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