Archive for April, 2011
Don’t Jump To Conclusions And Don’t Make Hasty Decisions
Some people become so frustrated with a slow computer that they convince themselves the real solution involves reloading Windows or something even more drastic – reformatting the hard drive. If you’re at the point of reloading or reformatting, my only piece of advice to you would be: “Stop!”
There are a few occasions on which reformatting the hard disk is appropriate. Likewise, there are select circumstances under which an OS reload is the choice course of action. These aren’t common remedies, so don’t reach for your system disks if you haven’t tried a whole lot of other potential remedies first.
Slow is slow, and slow is frustrating. There’s no doubt about that. Reloading or reformatting may solve your problems, but it’s time-consuming and you’re unlikely to be happy with the results. Instead, a little troubleshooting is in order. You may find the source of your slow computer, and fix it without having to resort to the “final solution.”
First, find out what’s running on your computer. Your computer could potentially be loaded with toolbars, applications, utilities and other silent-running processes that load your computer’s available memory down. To see what’s cooking, open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del. Check the active processes and shut down the applications. (These will be processes that have the .exe extension.) Don’t kill Explorer.exe or other Windows components. See if your computer responds faster.
If so, the problem is likely that an application is hogging your available RAM, or simply that you have too many applications loading at startup. Use the Control Panel to manage your Startup Items. Disable the auto-start for any application you don’t need all the time. Instead, start your applications manually. Use the Add/Remove programs tool (Program Management) to uninstall applications you don’t want or need.
If your computer still doesn’t perform well, find out how much RAM is installed in your computer. Compare your installed RAM to both the recommended minimum for the operating system, and the maximum possible RAM you can have in your computer. If you’re on the low side, consider performing a memory upgrade. This is a good move, especially if you use a lot of large applications.
In my next post, I’ll cover some more basic troubleshooting steps for diagnosing a slow computer.
Photo Credit: LoopZilla, via Flickr
So Many Problems, So Little Time
In reality, most slow computer complaints aren’t rooted in viral infections. Some viral infections don’t have any noticeable impact on the computer’s overall performance, meaning that a computer can be seriously compromised and not give any outward indications of performance problems. Rootkits are famous for this.
If you want to sneak into someone’s computer and you don’t want them to find out about it, you’d better not do anything or load anything that could potentially tip off the victim that a problem is afoot. By being careful about not taking up too many computer resources, you can have much better access and for a much longer time than you would if you loaded some big, slow resource hog onto the computer, right?
Viruses can indeed slow a computer down, but they’re not the only cause of a slow computer, and they’re often not even the most likely suspect! Computers slow down for a number of reasons – the likeliest being a lack of memory. A computer can do a lot when it has the right amount of memory. If its memory is consumed either by the operating system or by a number of applications that are running simultaneously, or even by a single application that is doing some heavy computation, the computer will definitely slow down.
Beyond memory, other simple problems can cause real performance headaches. Lack of disk space, client-server operations across a network, bad network hardware, runaway processes and similar snags can slow a computer down to a crawl.
Corruptions and abandoned code in the computer registry can also cause a performance hit. Making sure the computer registry is clean and highly functional will do a lot to restore performance on any Windows PC. I recommend SpeedUpMyPC 2011 to handle all of my registry cleaning.
The bottom line is this: if you suspect a viral infection, run a virus scan and clean up anything you find. Make sure your virus definitions are up-to-date and act immediately if you think your computer has been compromised, but don’t automatically assume that your computer performance problems are related to a viral infection. There’s a very good chance that slow computer performance is related to a less dire, easier-to-fix and easy-to-prevent problem!
Photo Credit: CoachDanny, via Flickr
Start With The Basics And Move On From There
One good tip that few people think about when they’re trying to deal with a slow computer is rebooting. Rebooting the computer is one of the easiest things to do, and it will help you determine whether you have a real problem or are just being affected by a transient performance issue. Rebooting the computer will reset your computer’s RAM and video memory, and will clear out some temporary files, kill all processes and give you a fresh start.
Before you reach for the power button, remember to restart the computer normally. Just hitting the power button or unplugging the computer can cause damage to the file system. Windows computers have gotten better at recognizing and fixing file system damage, so being careless about how you shut down and restart can actually increase the amount of time you’ll have to wait to get back to work.
This approach is particularly important if you don’t usually turn off your computer. If you’ve restarted your computer, and it’s still slow, then you’re probably looking at a more significant problem. The next question is where to look for trouble.
If you’re working with a fresh reboot, check the Task Manager to see what’s running immediately after you’ve rebooted your computer. To access the Task Manager, press Ctrl+Alt+Del. Once the Task Manager is open, you can look at the processes that are running. Note any applications that are running. They’re files that end with .exe. Don’t get too excited about .exe files you don’t recognize; some of them are parts of the operating system that are required.
Look for applications whose names you recognize. If these applications are running and you didn’t start them, it means that you’ve configured these applications to start automatically. Don’t worry if you don’t remember doing this. A lot of installation routines are set up to configure the application to start automatically. You can go into your startup configuration and deselect the applications you don’t need to auto-start. That will save you a certain amount of memory and improve your computer’s overall performance.
Remove any toolbars that may have been loaded onto your computer or into your browsers. Toolbars are notorious avenues for spyware, malware and slow computer performance. If your computer is slow, try removing the toolbars you’ve installed.
You may also want to look for plug-ins and other little applets in your browser or on your computer that generate pop-up ads. If your browser blocks pop-up windows, you can activate this option, but it doesn’t stop the adware from taking up computer resources. Get rid of the adware. You’ll improve your computer performance and give yourself a better operating environment.
Photo Credit: Doc Groove, via Flickr
Many Things Can Cause A Slow Computer
For the half of respondents who thought that a reboot or A/V software would fix the problem – they’re right only if the slow computer problem was a runaway process or a virus. Both of these things can cause slow computer performance, but they’re not the leading causes of chronic slow performance.
Chronically slow computers can be caused by a number of conditions. The number one cause of a slow computer is the lack of available RAM in a computer. If you purchased your computer with the minimum complement of RAM and you want to run the latest operating system and applications, you’re probably going to be disappointed with your computer performance. So, if you want to speed up your computer, just install more RAM, right?
Just like runaway processes and viral infections, a lack of RAM can slow computer performance. Adding RAM will speed up your slow computer if you don’t have enough RAM installed for what you’re doing. If your computer has enough RAM installed, adding more won’t help much.
The key to solving slow computer problems isn’t doing one or two or even three things. It’s knowing what’s causing the performance problem in the first place. One known performance killer is excessive, unnecessary registry entries. Computers that have been in service for awhile tend to accumulate a lot of unnecessary code in their registry files. The computer has to read through all of the registry information, whether it’s relevant or not. Keeping your computer registry files free of this unwanted and unnecessary information will help keep your computer running smoothly.
Using RegCure is a great way to ensure that your computer registry gets clean and stays clean, eliminating performance problems that may crop up over time. RegCure has been downloaded millions of times by users all over the world who can attest to its ability to keep their computers running smoothly. Download RegCure today and see what a difference it can make when it comes to resolving slow computer performance.
Photo Credit: warrenski, via Flickr
Registry Cleaner Can Help
When you perform routine maintenance, defragment your disk, keep your file system in order, fix file system errors, update your system and your hardware drivers, and you still have problems with a slow computer, it’s time to consider a registry cleaner.
Registry cleaners help keep your computer’s registry database free from unnecessary and unhelpful program code. Every time you install a program on your computer, or make a change in the configuration you make changes to the registry file. The registry accumulates these changes over a long period of time. A well-used registry can easily grow to more than a million lines of information.
The registry means a lot to the operating system. The OS checks the configuration information in the registry religiously to ensure that your applications operate the way you expect them to, maintain the settings that you’ve selected and open and close properly, among other things.
Registry files in a computer are just like other files in that they can get damaged. Because the registry also accumulates information, it grows in size, too. Applications are supposed to maintain the registry. They’re also supposed to remove entries they made that are no longer needed. Uninstallers are also supposed to help with the cleanup. In theory, this will keep the registry from growing too large or becoming filled with unimportant or unnecessary information.
That doesn’t always happen, though. What does happen is that the registry grows in size and accumulates information. Over time, the registry gets very large. The computer has to analyze all of that information, even if it is no longer needed. Uninstallers don’t always remove all of their program’s additions to the registry. Applications and their updates don’t always mop up the old or unneeded entries. As a result, the registry becomes large and hard to work with. It slows the computer down.
A registry cleaner is a program that removes all of the unnecessary information from the registry and allows the computer to operate more efficiently. I recommend RegCure as a registry cleaner. It’s easy to install, easy to use and it makes registry maintenance a snap. RegCure creates backups of the registry file so you can revert to an older registry version if you don’t like the changes RegCure has made.
You can try out RegCure and see for yourself what a difference it can make in your slow computer.
Photo Credit: Robert S. Donovan, via Flickr
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