Archive for November, 2010
Simple Maintenance Can Make The Difference
Do the basics first. Chances are good that you have the tools on hand to do the simple maintenance your computer requires and in at least a few of these cases, the tools you need are built into the operating system.
The first step to speeding up your computer is to ensure that you have no spyware, adware, malware, viruses or Trojans running on your computer. A good antivirus removal tool will find the worst problems, but sometimes, adware and other malware fly under the radar. You’ll want to make sure you use up-to-date malware and virus scanners to detect the latest infections. If you don’t have anti-virus software installed on your computer, or you haven’t updated your A/V definitions in awhile, make sure your removal tools are in good shape before you start.
Once you’re sure your computer is free of viruses, malware, adware, spyware and Trojans, look at routine disk maintenance procedures like removing old files and defragmenting your hard drive. This two-step combination can free up space on your hard disk, making it easier for your applications to run. It also helps you make the most of your defragmentation tool.
You can throw out files manually by simply dragging them to the Recycle Bin and then actually emptying the bin. You’d be surprised by how many people never take the step of emptying the bin. Unfortunately, that’s the only step that will get you any additional space on your hard disk! You can also use the Disk Cleanup tool to eliminate temporary files and other file types that tend to hang around. Don’t forget to tell your Internet browser to get rid of temporary files. Clear your cache periodically and limit the size of the cache, too.
After you’ve thrown away these files and performed these clean up measures, defragment your hard disk. You can defrag anytime, but if you defragment before you get rid of your old and unneeded files, you’ll just end up running your defragger again. Instead, throw away (or move/store/archive) your old files first, then follow up with a good defragmenting. Defragging a badly fragmented disk can take several hours, so this is a good task to set up and run overnight.
After you’ve moved, dusted, re-arranged, cleaned and cleaned some more, run a reliable registry cleaner like Registry Booster to keep your registry in tip-top shape.
Photo Credit: osde8info, via Flickr
Start With The Basics
When you’re attempting to discover what’s causing your slow computer, start with the basics. If you’re dealing with a slow computer that’s been running for several days (or longer), one of your first moves should be to reboot. Sometimes computer programs don’t correctly release memory that they’ve reserved, or some process goes off on its own. This can produce a gradual slowdown. Rebooting is an easy way to get rid of this problem.
If you’ve just started the computer and the computer responds slowly for awhile, this might actually be normal behavior. Microsoft has designed the operating system to load the components you use most frequently first. Other components get loaded after the system presents itself as being “ready” to be used. An initial slow response may be nothing more than the computer loading the remainder of the operating system, and appearing sluggish while doing that.
If you’ve just started the computer, take a look at the programs that are loading or that loaded immediately upon bootup. Chances are good that at least some of these programs don’t need to be loaded into memory at startup. Use a plain Desktop theme. (In other words, turn off Aero.) Use the Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del) to identify the applications and processes that are running and shut them down. Reconfigure the computer to leave these apps alone until they’re needed; then, start the applications manually. Toolbars are a good example of programs that get loaded automatically and take up a lot of memory. Toolbars are often associated with adware or spyware – another good reason to get rid of them.
Speaking of adware and spyware, scan your computer regularly and clean up anything you find. Toolbars, mentioned above, often fly under the radar of anti-malware programs. You may have to locate these annoyers by looking at the plug-ins that load when you open a Web browser or email client. Disable these bad boys, then remove them using the Add/Remove Programs tool.
Use a registry cleaner like RegCure to eliminate any leftovers or orphans that may be hanging around in your registry. By keeping your registry cleaner, you can eliminate waiting time at start-up or when you launch an application. You may also find that registry cleaners can resolve some of your mysterious crashing problems.
Photo Credit: CarbonNYC, via Flickr
Technology Makes All The Difference
My television set is 15 years old. It still works fine but probably within the next five years, it will need to be replaced. When I bought the TV, I didn’t think about how long it would last; I just knew it would last a long time. Since I bought my now hopelessly outdated TV, we’ve seen the rise of cable, IPTV, HD, 3D TV, Smart TVs, and flat panel displays. If the TV died today, I would have to choose among LCD, LED-LCD and plasma sets. Old analog TV technology isn’t even made anymore. My TV is a true dinosaur.
No one in his (or her) right mind would buy a computer and expect it to still be in service in 15 years. Unlike televisions, computers just aren’t used like that. The average life expectancy of a computer in a corporate setting is about four years. Some computers are retired earlier than that – every three years. Lately, due to the tough economy – some corporations are moving to a five-year replacement cycle.
Unlike TV technology, computer technology changes a lot faster. Newer, more innovative technologies enable computer chips to run faster and do more while sitting in smaller packages and consuming less energy. This, in turn, means that a computer that’s about the size of a bread plate can do 200 times more than the ten-year-older model that took up an entire tabletop.
It also means that subtle decreases in performance are magnified significantly and are noticeable instantly. It doesn’t take much to slow down a computer, but finding the cause of the degraded performance isn’t quite as easy.
Certain obvious things cause delays. Anti-virus and anti-malware software cause delays, mostly for good reasons! Large applications, little available RAM and poor software design cause delays. Routine maintenance can combat a lot of the performance degradations we see today. Regular file system maintenance can make a big difference in performance, as can regular registry maintenance. Using a registry cleaner like RegCure can help keep your computer’s registry free of old, unnecessary entries that can cause a computer to slow down. Download a copy of RegCure and see for yourself what a difference routine registry maintenance can make.
Photo Credit: brownpau, via Flickr
Increasing VM Space Can Speed Up Computer
You can run into memory problems in a few ways. First, if you don’t have enough RAM installed, your computer will be forced to rely on virtual memory to run most of your applications. Applications were designed to be run from RAM, so when the computer constantly pages back to disk, applications can seem to take forever to respond.
If you’re running the latest, greatest version of the operating system on the minimum recommended memory, then chances are more than good that you don’t have enough RAM installed. The ultimate solution here is to add more RAM. If your computer is older, you may have design limitations that restrict the maximum amount of memory your computer can address. There’s no point in installing more RAM than your computer can manage, but maxing out your RAM will definitely give your computer a lift in performance. If you can’t max out your RAM, try upping the amount of virtual memory available to the computer.
If you’re running a lot of applications at one time, you’ll notice a performance hit. The more applications you want to run simultaneously, the more RAM your computer will need. When the computer runs out of available RAM, applications will be swapped in and out of RAM when they’re being used. Close down the applications you don’t need and make sure your apps are not configured to auto-load at startup. This is a favorite trick of utilities and little single-purpose applications and toolbars. Cut these memory hogs off and you’ll get a faster computer.
Some programs that aren’t written very well create what’s called a “memory leak.” This often happens to applications that are open for long periods of time, like mail clients, games and Web browsers. A memory leak can gradually absorb available RAM. The offending program’s not actually using the RAM it’s amassing, but it’s not giving it up either! Eventually, the system runs out of memory and the application (or the system) crashes. Periodic restarts will clear out existing memory leaks, but they won’t prevent the leak from occurring again.
For consistent slow computer performance, try a registry cleaner like RegCure. This utility will clear out old, abandoned code in the registry and will help keep your computer running smoothly.
Photo Credit: Jeff Wilcox, via Flickr
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