4 Steps for a Faster Computer that Cost Nothing
It’s a common source of irritation to most of us that, after a time, our computer inevitably begins to slow down. The more settings you change and programs you install, the more problems you’ll develop. Most of these problems are minor, but eventually they end up making a significant impact on performance to the point that using your computer can start to feel like a drag. The following tips will help boost your computer’s performance without having to spend any money on upgrades.
Optimize your PC
Few of us take the important extra steps required to maintain our hard disks and get rid of unused files, defragment them or get rid of any errors. Windows, however, comes with some useful tools that you should run every month or two.
First, there’s the Disk Clean-up utility for getting rid of temporary files and other junk content on your computer to free up disk space. Additionally, there’s the Disk Defragmenter for rearranging the way that data is physically stored on the disk in order to boost performance and access times. There’s also a Disk Error Checking utility that helps improve performance. These three features are all accessible from “My Computer” by right-clicking on the disk icon and clicking “Properties.”
A lot of programs like to configure themselves upon installation to start up automatically every time you log into Windows. This will cause unnecessary delays upon start-up, particularly when it’s a program you only use occasionally. After a while, you’ll find that it takes much longer than it should to reach a workable desktop while many programs load that you hardly ever use. You can prevent these programs from automatically starting up by using the “msconfig” utility for Windows 7 or earlier, or the “Advanced Task Manager” for Windows 8.
Keep Windows drivers up-to-date
New updates are released for Windows every week to address things like bugs and security flaws, and many of them can have a positive impact on your computer’s performance. The same is true of hardware device drivers, particularly in the case of graphics card drivers which are regularly updated to provide improved support and performance for the latest video games and other 3D applications. In short, a computer that’s kept up-to-date will run smoother and faster overall.
Clean the fans and heat sinks
This may come as a surprise, but physically cleaning the inside of your computer can, in some cases, make a big difference when it comes to performance. This is particularly true of laptops which, over time, get clogged with dust to the point that hardware components have to throttle back their speed to avoid overheating. Dust is an insulator, and an excessive build-up can, in the worst case scenario, even cause a short circuit. Keep your computer clean by blowing away dust from heat sinks, fans and circuit boards every few months.