Posts Tagged ‘faster computer’
Space: The Final Frontier
I’ve already suggested that you get rid of files on your hard disk, because having files that exceed about 80% of a hard disk’s capacity is asking for performance trouble. Getting rid of files is always good, unless of course you get rid of something you really need!
Keeping your file system trimmed to include only what’s necessary is a good way to ensure that your operating system has enough space to do what it needs (and wants) to do. Having said that, here’s my tip.
If you have a lot of files, or are approaching the magical 80% marker and can’t get rid of any more files, get an external hard disk. You can use it to do one of two things, either of which will get you better performance from your computer.
First, move files off of your hard disk and onto the secondary storage drive. If you can’t do that for some reason, consider instead moving your Virtual Memory file and/or swap files to your secondary drive. Ideally, these files are on the primary hard drive, and the primary hard drive has enough available space to devote to this necessary function. If you simply don’t have room on your primary drive and can’t move enough material off of your primary to make your OS happy, then you should move your Virtual Memory file to the disk that has the greatest amount of available space.
If that happens to be your secondary hard disk, understand that you may lose some performance in doing so, especially if your secondary hard disk is external and is connected through a USB or serial port. Getting to those disks will take a comparatively long period of time, but the Virtual Memory function will work better on the computer.
If neither of those suggestions appeal to you, the real solution would be to get a larger primary hard disk for the computer. Upgrading your primary disk will improve the performance of your computer without requiring you to sacrifice the performance of your OS or your applications.
Photo Credit: blakespot, via Flickr
Is The Problem Temporary?
The first step in finding a fix for your slow computer is to figure out whether your problem is temporary or chronic. Temporary problems that can slow down computers include processes that have gone wild or gotten stuck, transient instabilities in the operating system, memory allocation problems, and overload.
All of these problems are the “quick-fix” types, which can be cured with a reboot. Sometimes, rebooting isn’t even necessary to kick your computer back into high gear. This is true when processes get stuck or when you’re simply asking your computer to do more than it can handle.
There are a few ways to find and root out process problems. The Task Manager, which you can access using Ctrl+Alt+Del, will help you view processes that are currently running, those that are stuck and those that are consuming a significant amount of memory.
What’s “significant?” Sustained memory or processor consumption in the range of 80%-90% is definitely a suspicious sign of trouble. Processes can briefly consume a lot of CPU cycles or available memory, especially if they’re doing something heavy-duty, but if the processor or memory usage remains high, try shutting down the offending application. If the application won’t cooperate, that’s a good indication that something’s gone wrong. You can use the End Task function in the Task Manager to shut the errant process off. If your computer operation returns to normal, you’re probably going to notice an improvement in your computer performance.
While you’re looking at your processes, take a look at what’s running. If you notice that you have a lot of applications running that you’re not using, close them and see if that helps your computer performance. Each application takes up a certain amount of RAM. If you open too many applications, or your applications take up too much memory, your computer can slow down noticeably as it tries to accommodate all of your applications.
If you have applications running that you didn’t specifically start, chances are good that you have your computer configured to start your applications automatically. This also can chew up a lot of your RAM.
Next week, I’ll have more suggestions on what you can do to speed up a slow computer.
Photo Credit: denharsh, via Flickr
What Goes Into Determining Useful Life?
Its user primarily determines the useful life of a computer. Although it sounds a bit simplistic, what you can do with the computer is a better marker of the computer’s lifespan than the number of days it’s been in service. If the computer doesn’t meet your needs, it can be “obsolete” right out of the box. On the other hand, if you can still do whatever you need, a seven-year-old computer can still be “useful.”
One indication people focus on is the speed of the computer. An old computer is a slow computer, right? Not really. Old computers can be very responsive and brand new computers can be so bogged down that they can’t get out of their own way. “Slow” and “age” don’t always coincide. While it’s true that older computers have older processors, and older computers have less memory, they also have built-in memory management that’s designed to work with smaller amounts of RAM. If the programs you use haven’t changed remarkably, or your needs for computing have stayed the same, you can still get a lot of use out of the computer.
One key to avoiding a slow computer is a clean registry. The Windows registry has changed significantly over time, but one thing has remained the same. Useless, old and abandoned information stored in the registry can cause computer problems, and it can certainly make for one slow computer.
Today, you need more than just a simple registry cleaner. That’s why I use SpeedUpMyPC 2011. This program is a whole toolkit of utilities that will help keep your computer running right and avoid annoying “slow computer” problems. Best of all, it can scan your computer for serious problems that need your attention in just two minutes.
Two minutes of maintenance time can save you hours of frustrating computer use by ensuring that your computer performs as it should day in and day out. Don’t put up with a slow computer (no matter how new or old it is). Instead use SpeedUpMyPC 2011 to make sure your computer works the way it was designed to each time you turn it on.
Simple Steps Don’t Always Solve The Problem
When asked what users do to resolve slow performance, 60% of respondents said that they run their anti-virus checkers; 56% said they compress their files; and 54% said they reboot the computer. The survey also showed that users tend to replace their computers about every four years.
The survey results show that many people don’t know how to deal effectively with a slow computer, primarily because they don’t understand the causes of slow computer performance. Viruses and disk space issues can cause slow performance, and even though these remedies are the ones most users turn to first, they’re not necessarily most likely to solve the user’s problems.
Instead, slow computer performance can be caused by a number of things that A/V software, reallocating file space and rebooting simply won’t solve. One of the best things you can consider from a hardware perspective is adding more memory to your computer. If your computer doesn’t have a full complement of physical memory, upping the available RAM will work wonders for performance issues. A close second is improving your graphics handling. This is especially true if you play a lot of graphics-intensive games on your computer, or use your computer to do a lot of high-end drawings or layouts.
On the software side, if you’ve got ample disk storage space – and in this case “ample” is more than 20%-25% total free disk space available – and you’ve defragmented your hard disk and cleaned up your disk errors – the best thing to consider is a registry cleaner.
The registry gets easily filled with a lot of useless entries. These entries are essentially abandoned by old hardware, removable hardware, old software, temporary files and updated software. These leftover bits of code clog up the registry, but your computer has to spend time analyzing these entries to determine whether or not they’re relevant. By reducing the size of the registry, your computer can operate more efficiently, which translates into faster computer performance.
SpeedUpMyPC 2011 is built for today’s computers. It makes registry maintenance a snap, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how efficient your PC – even an old desktop – can be.
Photo Credit: ell brown, via Flickr
Active File Checking Isn’t The Only Slow Spot
The anti-virus software runs all the time. For some reason, people think that the activity of the A/V software is limited to the scans they set up. Realistically, the A/V software loads at startup, before anything else loads. When it loads, it reserves a section of memory for itself. That memory is no longer available to the rest of the programs on the computer, including the operating system. As time goes on, more programs are installed and some may be configured to run at startup. Each of these items – just like the A/V software – take a chunk of the available memory and reserve it for themselves. Ultimately, a large portion of the computer’s operating memory is reserved before the user even opens his or her first application.
Depending upon the A/V product you choose, the software could be doing active scanning, or it may just scan when new information is added to the computer from an outside source. It also interferes with each download to verify that the document or application is free from known viruses and other malware. These interruptions can take a while to complete.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a major proponent of anti-virus software. I never recommend disabling it or limiting what it does. Its job is to protect the computer, and if a user disables it because it appears to be slowing the computer down, a whole new list of problems can crop up. In this case, users may need to accept that certain necessary functions must take place and cannot (or should not) be interfered with. In the long run, having to clean up a virus infection will take a lot longer than sitting through whatever delay an A/V software package will cause.
If you really dislike the delay your A/V package generates, consider switching products, but don’t disable it, remove it or turn it off. Unless, of course, you like removing viruses and malware.
Photo Credit: Cyanocorax, via Flickr