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5 Tips For Speeding Up Your Computer Without Spending A Penny

by Sean P. Aune | March 18, 2010March 18, 2010 2:35 pm PDT

The first time you boot up your computer you always go, “Wow, I can’t believe how fast this system is!” … and then a month later its just as slow as the system you replaced.  Many times people will suggest you add more RAM (Random Access Memory) or go totally over the top and suggest you get a faster processor.  Well, before you go whipping out that credit card, why not try your hand at a couple of completely free tricks that just might do the trick?

(Sure, some of them may seem simple to more advanced users, but how many times have you had to do these exact things for a friend that calls you up asking for help?  Now you can just point them here!  And, yes, this is all about Windows systems.)

disk-defrag

Defrag The Hard Drive

As soon as you start adding programs to your computer, your hard drive begins to fragment.  By using the defrag utility on your system, it will sort all of the files into some semblance of order, reducing the amount of time your hard drive must seek for the appropriate files to load a program.

While this is something that should be run every couple of months, you can usually get by with just doing it once a year.  One caveat to this choice, it is time consuming, and you really should be doing nothing else on your system at the time.  It’s a good thing to run if you are going out for a couple of hours or as you go to bed.

Reduce The Number Of Programs That Load When You Start Your System

speedy gonzalesThe vast majority of programs you install are convinced they are the most important thing you have ever installed on your system.  Almost all of them will decide that at least portions of it need to be loaded every time you start your system, and the more that get added, the more time your computer will take to boot.

A lot of programs will offer you an option to remove it from the boot process, but on the off chance it doesn’t, you can look into your startup process in the MSCONFIG utility.  How you access this tool varies by version of Windows (in XP, type in the name in the “Run” prompt, in Windows 7 you just type it in the search box), but once you are in to it, just click on the “Startup” tab.

A lot of what you will see in here will look like Greek to you, but just type the various names you see like “OEM13Mon” into Google, and you will find a result telling you what the program is related to and if you really need it to be running.

Run An Anti-Virus/Malware Cleanup

While you should have some sort of anti-virus stuff running to prevent any thing from installing, but you’d be amazed what can still get in sometimes.  There are free options out there that do a great job like Malware Malbytes, and sometimes it won’t find anything, other times it finds some sort of adware that isn’t exactly vicious, as much as its a resource hog.  Get rid of one of those and you should see a speed up.

Run Disk Cleanup

disk cleanupLike running a defrag, Disk Cleanup will search your system for things like temporary Internet files you no longer need and will help you get them off your system.  This one won’t do a lot to speed up the system usually, but every little bit helps when your system is really sluggish.

Turn Off Disk Indexing

Right click on your C: drive icon, choose “properties” and uncheck the box for “Allow indexing service to index this disk for fast file searching”.  This is something that constantly updates your files to make searching them faster, but how often do you really search your files?

What are some of your favorite free tips for speeding up your computer?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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