Archive for January, 2011
When Maintenance Isn’t Enough
Nothing can take the place of regular maintenance. If you perform these basic tasks on your computer regularly, you’ll get good, reliable performance. If you regularly maintain your computer, and you’ve maximized your RAM, your hard disk is not approaching 75% of its capacity and you’re still experiencing slow computer performance, your next best bet is to use a registry cleaner to address problems that routine maintenance won’t touch.
On a PC, programs are supposed to have an uninstaller that works. The uninstaller is supposed to remove all traces of the program when you use it. Sometimes, uninstallers work well and other times, they leave behind useless information and instructions written into the registry. Your computer has to read and interpret this information each time it boots, and often while you’re using the computer, whether the offending program is still installed or not.
Over time, this abandoned code accumulates in the registry, increasing the likelihood that something will go wrong. For example, information in the registry may cause a computer to wait for a response from a long-removed program. Since the program isn’t capable of responding, the computer must “time-out” on the request. In other words, it sits there patiently waiting for a response that will never come.
Keeping your registry clean and free from this kind of “debris” can really improve the performance of your computer. Registry errors can indeed rob your computer of the performance it had when it was new. Using a registry cleaner like RegistryBooster can help identify troublesome code left behind in the computer registry. Removing this unnecessary registry data can improve the performance of your computer significantly and help you get more out of your computer system.
In addition, RegistryBooster can detect and repair or remove registry errors that may cause your operating system to become unstable and crash. When you run Registry Booster, you’ll get a complete diagnostic report that shows you exactly where potential problems exist in your registry.
To speed up a slow computer, try RegistryBooster. You’ve got nothing to lose but slow computer performance.
Photo Credit: Jude Doyland, via Flickr
Memory Is Power
To a point, adding more memory will give you a bigger, better performance boost than just about anything else you can do. Computers require a lot of memory, and depending upon what you do with your computer, more memory may be just the thing to speed up your slow computer.
Modern versions of the Windows operating system need a lot of available RAM just to perform their basic tasks. Today’s applications also take up a lot of memory. If you don’t have enough memory installed, the computer will engage in this complicated ballet of process-swapping, which inevitably results in poor computer performance. Maximizing the amount of memory your computer has will give a boost in performance, especially if your computer is memory-starved.
The big disadvantage of adding more memory is that doing so costs money. If you use your computer for work or gaming, you may find that the added expenditure will increase your productivity or your ability to enjoy your gaming time. For a relatively small investment, you can get a very noticeable performance boost.
If you’re willing to spend even more money, you can get another big performance boost by updating your graphics adapter. This is especially true if you use your computer for complicated tasks like video playback, image editing, or graphics-intensive tasks like gaming.
Modern video cards have their own processors and memory (often you can add more memory here, too), and will provide a significant performance lift to your computer. The graphics adapter takes over the processing tasks that your CPU may otherwise need to do, freeing it to work on other processes.
Making these upgrades in combination with clearing out your hard disk, fixing disk errors, defragmenting your hard disk and keeping your registry clean will enable your computer to deliver the user experience it was designed to give. Never underestimate the value of routine maintenance, but when you’ve established a solid maintenance routine and you still don’t get the performance you’re looking for, upgrading your memory and/or graphics capabilities are most likely to produce the performance improvements you’re looking for.
Photo Credit: PaulScott56, via Flickr
Do Your Routine Maintenance Before Defragging Your Disk
If you’re following my advice, you’re checking for disk errors weekly and whenever you experience an OS or application crash, and you’re cleaning up temporary files also on a weekly basis. If you’re getting close to 75% occupancy on your boot drive, you’re making plans to get the dead wood off of your main drive by storing it either on a secondary drive or on a CD/DVD or some other storage format.
When you move files around like that, you make “holes” in your disk. That could be a problem if you don’t keep your data tidy. Your disk is one of the slowest elements of your computer. It operates most efficiently when all of the data on the drive are clustered together. By storing your data in close proximity on the hard disk, you reduce the need for the read/write head on the disk to move around to read all parts of the file.
To keep your data clustered together, you need to use another built-in tool called Disk Defragmenter. Disk Defragmenter relocates data and condenses it on the hard disk so the read/write heads can move efficiently around the disk. This will save time and space on your hard disk.
To run Disk Defragmenter, right click on the target disk and select Properties > Tools. Find Disk Defragmenter and run it. This is a task you’ll want to do monthly if you use your computer a lot and at the very least quarterly. In fact, if you go a full quarter without having defragmented your hard disk you’ll notice a major improvement in performance once you’ve completed this important maintenance task. The less fragmented your disk is, the more smoothly it will run. Your computer will also run faster because it won’t have to reposition the read/write heads on your disk as frequently.
Warning: defragmenting a disk – especially a badly fragmented one – can take a lot of time. Defragging is virtually never a fast process, so this is one maintenance task you’ll want to do overnight, or when you’ll be away from your computer for several hours.
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After Disk Check, Try Disk Cleanup
So you’ve checked your disk for errors and have resolved to do this weekly and when a crash occurs. Good! Your next step will be to run Disk Cleanup. Disk Cleanup is a tool that comes with your operating system and will help keep your file system free of temporary files.
Temp files build up over time, and are created when your Web browser visits new Web sites, you install an application, or an application you use needs “scratch space” to write temporary files. Applications might clean up their own temp files and might not, so getting rid of these sand-baggers is a good idea. Keeping your temp files to a minimum will make more space available for your OS, if nothing else.
To run Disk Cleanup, right-click on the drive you want to clean up and select properties. Disk Cleanup will be located on the General tab. Click Disk Cleanup and the OS will do the rest. Plan to do this once each week and you’ll get some good performance results.
As a side note, the Properties pane will show you how much of your disk is full. Generally, the more full your disk is, the more trouble you’re likely to have. This is especially true if the disk you’re cleaning up is your main boot disk. If more than 75% of your disk is used, consider taking more drastic steps to free up disk space.
In this case, “drastic” means throwing away files you no longer need. Image and graphics files are good candidates for the Recycle Bin. Applications you don’t use or no longer need are also prime targets. If you prefer not to toss your data, consider moving it to “nearline” storage or writing it off to CD or DVD. You can store a lot of data (and organize it too) by taking it off the disk and archiving it. You’ll still have reasonably quick, secure access to your data when you want it, but it won’t be taking up hard disk space on your main drive.
You might also consider paring down foreign language support (and its associated fonts) if you’re looking to improve performance. Often, this support is loaded in as part of the standard installation. If you don’t use it, however, why waste space on keeping it around?
Photo Credit: jurvetson, via Flickr
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