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Archive for December, 2009

Keeping Things Tidy Eliminates Slow Computer Performance

Keeping Things Tidy Eliminates Slow Computer Performance

Keeping Things Tidy Eliminates Slow Computer Performance

If you’re looking for ways to eliminate slow computer performance, take a look at these suggestions. While these may not provide a tremendous performance boost for your computer, every little bit helps when you’re trying to squeeze the most out of your computer.

Neat Equals Speed

Sometimes computer users have problems finding files, so they like to load up their desktops with files, aliases, shortcuts and folders. This is a performance killer. You can find your files just as easily by creating a default folder in the file system for saving new files and file downloads. Windows automatically saves files to your Downloads folder if the file’s coming off the Internet, or to your Documents file if you’re creating something locally on your computer.

You can always use these files for your default arrangement and move them to specific locations within the file system. Your desktop doesn’t operate the same way that other file spaces do, so saving or storing files to the desktop long-term requires your computer to use additional memory on top of what it’s already devoted to the file system. When you save files to the desktop you are, in essence, creating two separate file systems and the Desktop happens to be a very expensive file system in terms of memory. In short, put your files where they belong. The file system is perfectly adapted to handle files. If you insist upon using your desktop to save files to, move the files to a proper space within the file structure before you shut down. At least that way, your next computer session won’t be hampered by files scattered across your desktop!

Along with keeping things neat, try defragmenting your hard disk periodically. When you write and delete files, your hard disk gets fragmented. That is, parts of files get scattered around the disk and your computer has to keep track of where all the parts are. Reassembling the file so it can be read and used takes time and slows down computer performance. By periodically defragmenting your hard disk, you bring the parts of scattered files together and make it easier for your computer to find the files you want. In making things easier to find, you also speed up your computer. If you write a lot of files to the hard disk, you’ll want to defragment more often. If you only write a limited number of files to the disk or write mostly temporary files (as you might if you’re mostly surfing the Internet), you can defragment a little less often.

Photo Credit: Jesus Corrius, via Flickr

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Slow Computer Performance: Graphics and Networking

Slow Computer Performance: Graphics and Networking

Slow Computer Performance: Graphics and Networking

I’ve said it before but there are many different causes for slow computer performance. If you use your computer for graphics-intensive activities like playing computer games, or network-intensive activities like surfing the Internet, your computer may take a noticeable hit on performance.

Graphics Can Slow Even The Fastest Computers

Graphics processing is notoriously hard on processors. All modern video cards have their own graphics processors and memory to help ease the burden on the central processing unit. These graphics processors also make modern game-play possible. The great 3-D graphics you see on today’s computer games wouldn’t be possible without a good graphics processor. Often, game you purchase in the store or online will have specific graphics requirements. Games won’t work without them or won’t work well enough to make game-play fun.

If your graphics processor is stretched to the limits, you may find that your computer performance is suffering as a result. This may be especially true if your computer is older and you’re trying to play the latest multi-player games on it. You may also notice extreme delays when you’re connected to a game server somewhere on the Internet.

Check your graphics card’s capabilities carefully and make sure you’re not asking the graphics processor to do more than it’s able to. If your graphics processor is good, see if you can upgrade the graphics memory. Make sure you have the right kind of memory installed in your graphics processor. Without the right kind of card or the right kind of memory, your performance is likely to be less than optimal.

You’ll also want to make sure that your computer’s network connection is solid. A bad network interface card can cause trouble, not just for you but also for other devices on the network. If your computer is at home and you connect to the network through a high-speed network service provider, consult with your provider to help you determine whether your network card is working properly. Your provider may show you how to conduct speed tests to verify that it can download and upload information properly.

The provider may also want you to verify the operation of any firewalls you may be running. Firewalls can block or slow traffic and cause a very slow performance response on your computer. On some Windows computers, a firewall is automatically enabled. I don’t recommend disabling the firewall but I do recommend learning how firewalls work and how you can safely permit desired traffic to pass through the firewall unimpeded.

Photo Credit: Alan_D, via Flickr

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Keep Your Registry Clean To Maximize Computer Performance

Keep Your Registry Clean To Maximize Computer Performance

Keep Your Registry Clean To Maximize Computer Performance

In my last post, I gave a few tips to maximize computer performance. The major point I was trying to make is that even seemingly innocuous things like programs that automatically load when you start the computer can impact your computer performance.

Clean Registry Means Fast Computer
If you’re sure that you’re not losing memory to programs that you don’t need, here are a few more tips that may speed up your computer.

Keeping your registry clean can go a long way toward improving the speed and performance of your computer. The registry is a database that stored over a few different files. Each time you change the configuration of your computer, add new software, add a piece of hardware or make other changes to your computer’s operating environment, entries get made in your computer’s registry.

In a perfect world, when you make changes, upgrades, and uninstall applications, the computer would remove irrelevant registry entries when it replaces them. Well, guess what? The world’s not perfect and a lot of stuff that gets written into the registry never manages to make its way back out when it’s no longer needed. Your registry gets clogged up with a lot of useless information that the computer dutifully reads each time it boots up.

The computer eventually slows down, in part because the registry code may be instructing the computer to find something, or wait for a response from an application or device that’s no longer even installed on or attached to your computer. It may only take the computer a short while to figure out that it should go on without a response, but if you do that 15 or 20 times in a row, that can add up to a real delay.

What’s the solution? Use a registry cleaner like RegCure to examine your computer’s registry for abandoned code and remove it cleanly and safely. Your computer will receive an immediate performance boost. Better still, RegCure makes a backup of your computer’s registry so that in the unlikely event you’re not happy with the results, you can instantly return your computer to the state it was in before you cleaned the registry.

RegCure is a safe way to make changes to your registry, too! Windows comes with a registry editing tool, but the registry may be comprised of millions of lines of code and unless you know what you’re doing, or where to look, you could create some real havoc! Millions of users have trusted RegCure to keep their registries tidy and it remains one of the top registry cleaners on the market.

Photo Credit: Ana Patricia Almeida, via Flickr

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Speed Up Your Computer For 2010

Speed Up Your Computer For 2010

Speed Up Your Computer For 2010

If you’re looking for ways to speed up your computer in the hope of avoiding either a replacement or an expensive upgrade, read on. In this post, I’ll cover a few ways to clean up your existing computer and get you ready for a faster New Year!

Out With The Old

Before you throw out your computer or trade it in for a faster model, try a few of these tips to see if you can speed up your computer. Keep in mind that computer slowness can be caused by many things and there is no one “sure cure” for all computer speed issues.

The first thing you should verify is that your computer isn’t slow because it’s infected with a virus or other malware that’s robbing your processor of valuable productive work. If you don’t have anti-virus software loaded on your computer, load a program and scan your computer immediately. Clean up any viruses or malware you find. Be aware that many “utility” programs that masquerade as one thing are actually malware or spyware that will slow your computer down. In addition, these nasty programs can forward information about your browsing habits to third-parties, or install software on your computer that will allow someone else to access your computer.

Also, don’t assume that because your computer came with anti-virus software that it’s working. Verify that your computer software is up-to-date and functional, and configured to run an anti-virus scan periodically. The more time you spend on the Internet, the more often you should scan your computer.

If your checks out as clean, start removing auto-loading programs. Often, when you install a new software package, it will ask you if you want to start the program when the computer boots. If you want to preserve your computer performance, the best answer to this question is “No.” Each program that “auto-starts” will take a bit of your computer memory away. After several auto-loading programs are started, your computer may not have enough memory to run the operating system efficiently.

In addition to clearing out the auto-loading programs, take a good hard look at what’s installed on your taskbar. Each taskbar icon also requires a little bit of memory. If you don’t need programs on the task bar, eliminate them. You can still start your programs manually when you need them.

In my next post, I’ll have a few more tips for keeping your computer running smoothly.

Photo Credit: Jurvetson, via Flickr

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More Tips To Help Speed Up Your Computer

More Tips To Help Speed Up Your Computer

More Tips To Help Speed Up Your Computer

In my last post, I discussed three suggestions that Microsoft makes to help speed up your computer. The Redmond giant isn’t without other tips, and I will discuss a few more of these today. It’s important to keep in mind that there are about as many reasons for computer slowness as there are computers on the market today! Although these tips offer good advice, they may not solve all of your performance issues.

Don’t Discount Spyware As A Speed Bump

Spyware is annoying, no doubt about it. It’s also a performance killer. That’s why it’s important to make sure your computer stays free of it. Spyware is a specific type of malware that can be particularly dangerous to the uninformed user. Spyware robs computers of their ability to perform by diverting the computer’s processor power. Whether the spyware is running something locally or connecting to the Internet, you can bet that spyware will slow your computer down.

Spyware can be viral, but in most cases, it represents software that users may load on their computer voluntarily. Screen savers and other little “utility” programs that appear to do one thing may actually co-opt your computer into reporting private information to a third party, or participating in activities designed to disrupt your ability to use your computer, or someone else’s ability to use theirs.

Just like anti-virus programs, anti-spyware programs exist and can help keep your computer free of malware. Many anti-virus programs combine anti-spyware measures. Some anti-spyware programs can also identify malware before you install it on your computer.

Spyware can leave a mess behind, even when it’s been removed or disabled. Often, these programs write information into the registry of the computer, where it remains after the malware has been removed. This becomes important because the computer’s performance slows down as the registry begins to fill up with useless information and code that has been abandoned. Keeping the registry clean can be a way to recapture computer performance.

Spyware, viruses and other malware can be tricky to deal with. Removal requires a competent anti-virus/anti-spyware program that is up-to-date. Many users assume that because their computer came with an anti-virus program they’re protected. In reality, most anti-virus programs are sold on a subscription basis, so if you haven’t been paying to use the program, it’s a good bet that the program isn’t working as well as you think. In fact, it may not be working at all!

Photo Credit: StageFrog2, via Flickr

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