A Used Computer Is Often A Slow Computer
Paul Watson, PC Technician Friday, September 18th 2009
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