Slow computer? Are you tired of your cursor turning into the spinning blue circle that never stops? Does your computer take minutes on end to open basic files and programs? Though the most effective way to revive an old and slow PC is to upgrade the hardware, there are plenty of other option that can breathe life and speed back into an old workstation. Here are some free, do-it-yourself ways to kick-start your computer, right now!
Boot Up Program Reduction
If your PC is taking too long to boot up, the culprit may lie in the number of programs that your machine is trying to open when it restarts. What does that mean? As you add applications and software over the life of your computer, some of the programs automatically configure themselves to open when Windows starts, slowing down the boot-speed significantly. To fix this problem, we need to remove unnecessary programs so that your PC can focus on opening only what it needs as it turns on. Here’s how: First, on your keyboard, press the Windows Key and “R” at the same time. This will open a text box, called a “run window,” in which you should type “msconfig.” Press enter, and a System Configuration window will open. We want to focus on Startup, so click on that tab at the top of the window. If you are running Windows 7, you will see the list of Startup Applications on this tab, if you’re using Windows 8 or 10, click the “Open in Task Manager” link on the tab to see the same information. We are looking for items that are not necessary to start up right away, and we are going to disable these items from starting up by selecting an application from the list and clicking “disable.” This list can be long, but be cautious about what you disable — look for add-on applications such as a Google toolbar, iTunes, Quicktime, and Adobe. Do not disable critical applications, such as your antivirus, Microsoft programs, or anything having to do with your PC’s hardware. If you are unsure of what is and is not safe to disable, give our PC experts a call and let us help! Once you complete this process, you should note a marked decrease in the amount of time between when you turn your PC on, and when you can begin using your programs. This process has the added benefit of cutting down the total number of programs running on your workstation at a given time. Fewer processes equals more system resources, and more system resources equals greater system speed and efficiency.
Checking for Viruses
Another way to greatly improve your computer’s speed is to rid your system of any malware and/or viruses. Obviously, you do not want malicious software on your PC, so taking a little time every week to manually scan for these items can not only maintain your computer’s safety, but also greatly improve performance. My personal choice for removing these harmful programs and files is a program called Malwarebytes. This program is free for personal use. There is a Pro version that enables real-time scanning, which is helpful, but for our purposes, the free version works extremely well and is also very easy to use. Simply go to Malwarebytes.org, click on Download in the middle of the page, and then click Download Free Version. After it has finished downloading, install and open the program (take advantage of the Pro version 7-day free trial if you would like), then click Scan. If you are not comfortable downloading and installing programs, or if a virus or malware is your main problem, don’t worry! Just give our professional and trusted PC technicians a call, and we will handle the system cleaning process for you. Once it has finished scanning your system, it will show any threats that it may have found, and will automatically quarantine/delete these items after clicking remove. This program is very thorough, and can really make a huge difference with how healthy, smoothly, and quickly your computer runs.
Getting Rid of Old Files
Lastly, consider the number of old files, programs and documents that probably are still sitting around on your PC. Years of accumulation impacts speed, so consider going through and removing things you no longer need or use. The less “clutter” your hard drive has to sift through, the more efficient it will be. A good location to start looking for unused files would be in your Downloads folder, since it is the default location for your browser to download files into. Open the downloads folder, and carefully sift through it. Delete old documents (our techs can back them up for you first, if you’re unsure if you’re ready to lose it forever), pictures, videos, etc. Next, you’ll need to uninstall programs that you don’t use any longer. To do this, go to your Control Panel, click on “Programs and Features,” then select and uninstall what you don’t need. Lastly, but the step that will have the most impact, is to cleanup your hard drive’s temporary files. These will take up the most amount of space, without you even knowing they are there. The easiest way to clean these up is with a program called CCleaner by a company called Piriform. As with Malwarebytes, this program has a free version for personal use, which is more than enough for what we need it for. First go to Piriform.com, click on Free Download, and download the free version. Pay attention during the installation as to not “agree” to any other “offers.” Once it has finished installing, chose Run Cleaner in the Cleaner tab on the left. Be sure to double check what you have selected to be “cleaned” – consider telling it not to clean up anything with your passwords, etc. in it. Removing all of these files and programs from your computer will help your PC’s hard drive run much more efficiently and quickly, meaning a faster system for you!
Even completing one of these procedures will be sure to speed up your computer, but, if you accomplished all three, your Windows experience will no longer be filled with frustrating, long wait-times instead you will see fast running programs, smooth file navigation, and quickly found cat videos. Whether you do decide to upgrade the hardware on your computer, or if you need any help with the processes detailed above, our technicians at Wilson Computer are here to help. On the phone, in store, or at your home or office, helping you with your devices is what we do!