Archive for September, 2009
What Makes Windows 7 Speedier
Historically, Microsoft has struggled with the boot up routine for Windows. Despite their many different approaches, Windows has always had an agonizingly slow boot time. In Vista, Microsoft’s sleight-of-hand meant that certain well-used parts of the OS loaded first, giving the impression that the OS was ready to go when it really wasn’t. Dealing with a computer that appeared to be ready yet was as slow as molasses while the remainder of the OS loaded was among Vista users’ top complaints.
Well, Microsoft has taken another crack at the boot routine to see if it can load a functional OS faster. When a PC starts up, the computer hardware needs to run a series of self-tests before it attempts to load the OS. These self-checks take some time and there’s little that Microsoft can do about that. The company has discovered some efficiencies however that translate into actual performance increases for Windows loading.
First, device drivers, which had been loaded serially are now loaded in parallel. That way, one driver that’s slow, corrupted or missing doesn’t hold up the loading of other drivers that are ready to go. The number of services that loads at startup has been reduced, and those that remain are loaded more efficiently.
Cosmetically, Windows 7′s opening animation has been downsized and the familiar Windows boot-up chime will play when it plays. The chime will no longer hold up the boot process while the sound drivers load so the sound can be synchronized with a particular animation.
Windows 7 also has the ability to optimize its startup based upon the specific hardware you have installed. This will limit the number of useless services and drivers that get loaded at startup. In addition, some services will load only when they’re specifically called for, saving time and memory as the computer operates.
Don’t expect too much razzle-dazzle from Windows 7. Instead, expect the performance that Windows Vista should have delivered.
Photo Credit: Phil Brown, via Flickr
You Can Still Squeeze Efficiency Out Of Your PC
You can still find ways to speed up your computer. Doing all of the above things are great. Cumulatively, they’ll have the effect you’re looking for. There are still other things you can do to get better performance out of your computer.
For starters, take a good look at your font collection. If you’re like most people, you don’t look too carefully at your fonts. Applications tend to come with fonts. The more applications you install, the more fonts you collect. Guess what. Fonts take up memory. And guess what else. Fonts load at boot time. If you want to get better performance from your computer and you can afford to cut a few fonts, do so.
If you’re like most users, you normally use a certain, relatively small selection of fonts. This is especially true if you use your computer for business or schoolwork. All of the goofy little fonts you collect over time don’t get used by you and don’t speed up your computer at all.
Keep the fonts that came with the OS – you know, Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana, etc. Keep the symbol fonts and any special fonts you regularly use. Look carefully at the extra fonts that cropped up at some point – those you don’t recognize and aren’t really sure where they came from. Chances are good that you don’t use them. Never have, never will. Remove those you don’t use. You can always put them back on if you need them. You’re probably also developing a great collection of foreign language fonts. If you don’t speak the language, get rid of those, too.
To remove a font, go to Start > Run. Enter %windir%\fonts in the run box. Select the fonts you want to remove. You can remove multiple fonts by holding down the CTRL key while selecting the fonts to be removed. Choose Delete from the File menu and click Yes when you’re prompted to confirm the removal.
If you’re feeling squeamish about removing the font, you can simply move it out of the Windows/Fonts directory. That will enable the font itself to remain on your computer, but it won’t load when the computer boots up.
Photo Credit: clared23, via Flickr
.If you’re using a Windows-based PC, you may have heard horror stories about the Windows Registry. So what exactly is the proper care and feeding of the registry? In a perfect world, you needn’t do anything and your computer will work just fine. In reality, however, the registry grows substantially over time and gets filled with unnecessary, abandoned and contradictory programming instructions that slow your computer down, sometimes to the point that nothing works.
Registry Cleaner Can Help
Using a registry cleaner can help keep your registry free of abandoned programming code, confusing instructions that will slow down your system, and damaged programming fragments that can accumulate and cause computer problems. Generally, computers don’t slow down overnight. A computer can take months of registry abuse and slow down so gradually you almost don’t notice it.
Your operating system will dutifully slog through the mounds of useless registry entries, leftover bits of programming instructions that should have been “uninstalled” and weren’t, abandoned keys, an ever-growing stack of replacement keys, viral fragments that were inserted into the registry and that got missed by anti-viral software.
The computer has to examine each line in the registry and without proper maintenance, a registry can mushroom into millions of lines of code. If your computer is older, this challenge can be too much and slow performance is the inevitable result.
So how do you clean up a registry? Good question. Cleaning up the registry isn’t for the faint-of-heart. Editing the registry is the only way to get information into or out of the registry, which is actually a database. Changes are immediate; there is no “undo” when it comes to editing the registry. If you know what you’re doing – or even what you’re looking at – you can edit the registry using a tool called RegEdit. The trick is that you really need to know what you’re doing and you can’t make typographical errors.
If this doesn’t sound like fun to you – it’s not – a better solution is to use a registry cleaner like RegCure to find and fix the errors that creep into your registry over time. RegCure is a leading registry cleaner; millions of copies have been downloaded and users trust RegCure to find the useless, corrupted and abandoned code in their registries and clean it up. In addition, RegCure backs up the registry before making any changes to it. This means you can always go back to what you had before RegCure made any changes. Once you use RegCure, however, you won’t want to go back to the slow performance, unexplained crashes and freezing you get when your registry is filled with so much useless material.
Try RegCure and see for yourself what a difference a clean registry can make.
Photo Credit: Tom Arthur, via Flickr
Speeding Up A Slow Computer
People pass along their old computers to relatives, friends, and schools, passing along all of the problems that go along with it. So how do you speed up a slow computer? Even older computers can run tolerably fast if you clean them up and get to the source of the problems.
To clean up an old computer, you might start by taking an inventory of what the computer has in terms of processor, memory and graphics. Knowing what you’re starting out with is half of the battle. Make sure that the old computer can run OS you intend to install. If it can’t, back down to an older version of the OS. Make sure you have enough memory installed to run both the operating systems and the programs you plan to use. If you don’t have sufficient memory installed, perform an upgrade if you are able to. Finally, check the graphics adapter that’s installed in the computer. If you’re working with an under-powered adapter, upgrading this card can produce significant improvements. (Remember – whatever the graphics adapter isn’t doing, the CPU must do, so the less you ask the CPU to do, the faster it will run.)
Scan the computer for viruses and malware. Get rid of whatever you find. Run a registry cleaner like RegCure to tidy up the registry. Once your computer is clean and the registry is cleaned, if you’ve still got a slow computer, consider doing a clean OS installation on the computer.
If you go this route, patch everything to bring the OS up to the most current revision level and make sure you have the correct drivers for whatever hardware you’re running. Keep your startup items minimal. Each startup item takes a little bit of memory away from your other applications. If your computer is underprovisioned when it comes to memory, adding a lot of auto-run items at startup won’t help you out.
Next, load only the applications you really need. If you plan to use the computer only for browsing the Web (a plum assignment for an old computer, by the way), you don’t need much in the Applications department. Just install your favorite Web browser(s), along with the utility programs and plug-ins and leave it at that. In the case of a speed-challenged computer, less really is more.
Photo Credit: NetDiva, via Flickr
Put A Lid On Pop-up Ads
Computers are used for a variety of tasks, but one of the most popular uses is browsing the Web. Each window the Web browser opens takes up a little bit of display memory and a bit of the computer’s processor. Occasionally, users may visit a site that is deliberately designed to slow your exit from the site. A common way to force a user to hang around is by subjecting the user to a barrage of pop-up advertisements. Dozens (and sometimes even more than that) of windows may open seemingly at once. Other times, your browser will accumulate a few ads here, a few ads there and a few ads somewhere else.
Technically, there are two kinds of these pop-up windows: pop-up windows, which open on top of the active browser window, and pop-under ads, which open underneath an active window. The pop-up ads are easy to discover because they prevent you from doing what you were planning to, at least until you close them or reactivate the correct browser window. Pop-under ads usually lay around on the desktop, waiting patiently for you to close all your other active windows.
Either way, you can accumulate a significant number of pop-up ads. Sometimes, these ads stream music, audio or video, which make them even bigger resource hogs than they already are.
If you find that your browsing is regularly being disrupted by pop-up or pop-under ads, there are two simple solutions that will stop the pop-ups and pop-unders, and prevent your resources from being diverted without your consent. First, consider using a browser with a built-in pop-up blocker. Firefox, for example has a setting you can enable that will prevent windows from being opened arbitrarily when you visit a Web site. You can configure the browser to allow certain sites to spawn pop-up windows. This can be helpful for banking sites and other similar sites that provide desirable services via a pop-up window.
The second solution is to employ a stand-alone pop-up blocker. Pop-up blockers (regardless of where you get them) can be useful because they can help you avoid accidentally clicking on ads that may take you to malware sites or other potentially harmful sites.
You may not recover a substantial amount of speed from your computer by enabling a pop-up blocker, but you can make your Web browsing experiences safer and more pleasant.
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