Your personal computer will slow down in due course of time. Ageing hardware and outdated software would definitely impair efficiency and performance. An extremely old computer needs to be upgraded or completely replaced. If you have a relatively new computer, not with the latest specs but one that should function well for a few more years, then you should try and improve the efficiency of the system. There are many ways to improve the speed of your personal computer, assuming that you use Windows. Before we talk about the various computer tips to keep it fast, let us quickly understand the basics of why it slows down in the first place.
Common Issues Impairing the Speed of your PC
Any computing system will slow down if you are running demanding operations. If you are trying to extract a performance that the system is incapable of or is its maximum potential, then you will have a slow running personal computer. Limited or failing hardware and corrupt or malfunctioning software are two most common causes of a slow computer. At times, everything is fine except the computer has been running for a long time and hence it is slowing down. Just reboot the system. There may be limited space available on your hard drive. Delete some files and make space so the system can breathe easy. Do not run too many programs in the background and this includes excessive number of tabs open on your internet browser. Virus, malware or spyware infected systems will run slow.
You may be using an older version of Windows. There may not be sufficient memory for the system to function optimally, especially when you run applications that are demanding. You may have more startup programs than what the system can manage efficiently. You may have plenty of add-ons, many of which are unnecessary. There could be rogue programs, registry issues, problems with the antivirus if it is too overbearing in its approach, the system could have an overheating issue and there can be environmental factors too. An extremely dusty room or a damp setting will cause problems. Whether you have a new or an old computer, here are some tips that can help you to keep it fast.
Simple Maintenance Steps for Optimum Efficiency and Performance
Consider defragging the system. You should anyway defrag the hard disk in your computer from time to time. If the system is slow, do it now and you can use the tool preloaded in Windows to do this. You may also use a third party program. If you are using Windows XP, then you must defrag the registry as well.
Delete unused files from the hard drive. This includes temporary files that you would not use, hibernation files and the stuff in the recycle bin. Every hard drive has a brink and this is not its full capacity.
You should consider using a program to delay the startup of various applications that are designed to start running whenever the machine boots. Startup Delayer is one such free program you may use. This would allow the system to boot or reboot efficiently without letting the applications start immediately or simultaneously. A better option is to simply disable some of the startup programs that you do not need immediately.
There are many default settings in Windows that are inevitably adversaries of efficiency and performance. Windows simplifies some system operations with these default settings but at the cost of speed of the system. You should disable settings such as Windows Search indexing service. Disable visual effects in Performance Options when you are not gaming and not browsing fancy websites. Disable all hardware that you are not using right now. Update BIOS while you are at it.
You should keep your registry clean. Windows was infamous for registry problems. This was way back in the late nineties and even throughout the first decade. It has evolved since then and the registry does not have as many vulnerabilities. However, the registry is still not perfect. There would be broken shortcuts, invalid paths and references, missing files and other issues that must be taken care of. Just get rid of these to make your system cleaner and lighter.
You have to be proactive, active and reactive to viruses, spywares, adwares and malwares. Any of these can affect the efficiency of your system, to an extent where your operating system would go kaput. Formatting or reinstalling the operating system may seem to be an option but only when all other measures have failed. Just as viruses and other threats have evolved and become more potent, their counter solutions have also become more effective in recent times. Just make sure you use some reliable software to protect you from all threats. Run timely scans. Use offline scans as well.
Always get rid of all software that you do not need. Every application you install, however light and innocuous, will demand some resources. Your system has limited resources in the hardware department and hence you cannot have unlimited resources in the software department. Get rid of junk software and your computer will respond with much better speed.
There are many applications of Microsoft that Windows comes preloaded with. You may install some more Microsoft applications. There are many other applications you may want to use. Microsoft Windows was always a more compatible operating system, especially compared to its rival, but that also made it vulnerable. It is difficult to know the implications of all kinds of software, pertaining to speed or efficiency and performance. Try and keep a tab on the software you use that is not developed by Microsoft.
Disable user account control, choose appropriate mouse settings for faster browsing and supporting functions, optimize the system settings using free programs, delete unused and downloaded files that are no longer relevant, cleanse browsing history, cookies and temporary files in your system, limit the fonts that must be loaded during boot or reboot, disable system restore, avoid saving files in the partition where you have the operating system installed, close all background programs or apps, close all tabs on the browser you are not using, check the internet connection and its speed as that may cause a slowdown and switch from wireless internet to wired if the system is struggling with the signal from the router.
Perform routine cleaning and maintenance. Unless you are downloading unnecessary software and files or someone else is doing it without your knowledge, there is no surprise in regards to large chunks of space being used or unwanted applications wreaking havoc. However, since you are likely to be connected to the internet most of the time, there will be some debris. Websites keep making changes of their own and they keep tracking everything from cookies to your internet protocol address. Getting rid of junk and fixing temporary glitches pertaining to random access memory, graphics processor and central processing unit would do you a world of good. Optimize disk space, fix vulnerabilities and keep a check on overheating.
Physical Intervention to Increase the Speed of your Computer
While all of the aforementioned steps will involve a physical response to set the virtual actions in motion, you do not really have to break your back to get any of those tasks done. The entire cleaning and maintenance of your computer cannot be confined to the software or accessing the hardware settings from within the system. You have to physically attend to the wellbeing of your hardware. You must keep the desktop clean, not just the surface but all the components hooked onto the motherboard. The various hardware pieces are not vulnerable to dust. You will find some harmless dust accumulating on all your hardware. Do not presume that is the reason for the slowing down of your personal computer. The components are fully capable of dealing with some dust. The problem is moisture and if there is any problem with cooling.
You should observe if the fan inside the switched mode power supply is making substantial noise while operating. It would make some subtle sound in normal circumstances. If the machine is getting overheated or if there is a cooling problem then the fan would become noisy. The other fans, if there are some, would also operate rather noisily. These may seem to be hardware issues but the problem could be as simple as blocked vents. Too much dust inside the cabinet can lead to ineffective cooling and ventilation. A simple cleanup of the various components and ensuring the vents do not get blocked in any way would suffice. Lack of cooling or ventilation will cause the system to slow down.
There are times when the random access memory strip gets clogged with carbon. Moisture is the enabler here. You would need to get rid of any dampness and the carbon buildup from the strip. Uninstall the ram card and rub the strip with an eraser. This should get rid of the carbon and the dampness. Your system would be noticeably faster after this cleanup. It is also possible for the heat-sink to operate inefficiently. This may happen due to accumulated dust. Just cleanse the heat-sink with a soft brush and you would notice a substantial difference. The heat-sink must operate optimally for the system to be efficient and the hardware components to be relatively cooler. This is a more common problem than you would think.
When should you Update & Upgrade?
Update and upgrade are two distinctively different things when it comes to software and hardware for computers. You must always consider updates as and when they are available, provided you are not being too demanding for the specs of the system you currently have. Upgrade is only worthwhile when you know the old system is failing and there is no way you can improve the performance but for replacing an outdated feature with a latest one. There are different kinds of updates and upgrades available for software and hardware. You must wisely choose either or both.
It is always necessary to update the hardware drivers. State of the art computers do not have this problem. Many hardware drivers get updated automatically when the operating system installs the new fixes and step-ups. Some computers do not perform this automatically, even if the updates have been available for months and in some cases years. You should check if the drivers are all updated. You should never use an outdated driver, especially if it is already faulty. Updating drivers for various types of hardware should have no bearing on the specs or the system as a whole. This exercise will almost always speed up your system but the difference may not be noticeable if there are some other serious lags.
Updating software should be considered in the right context. There can be many types of software on your system. Only a few of them may be completely compatible with the specs if they are upgraded. Others may still do fine. Whether or not you should upgrade any software depends on the specification requisites of the new version. If there is a mismatch or if you think the system would be stretched to its maximum potential to deliver the power, efficiency or performance needed just for that software, then it is better to hold on till you upgrade the hardware. It is futile to risk the efficiency of the whole system for only one software application, unless it is for your work. In such a scenario, you may want to get rid of software you do not need.
Consider upgrading hardware if the components are now obsolete. In the world of computers, hardware components become obsolete sooner than you would like. New hardware is not always backward compatible. For instance, hard drives or memories are not always compatible with motherboards made five years back. You may have to consider a complete overhaul in some cases. If none of the computer tips to keep it fast discussed in this guide are effective in your case, upgrading hardware is perhaps the only solution.