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Simple Steps To Speed Up Your Slow Computer

Aug 17, 2007
Over time it is inevitable that your computer begins to show a decrease in performance due to internet surfing, program downloads, etc. There are some simple steps you can take to bring your computer back up to speed.

Clean Out Your Temporary Internet Files and Cookies

As you surf the internet your computer is constantly saving images and website urls to folders on your hard drive for the purpose of optimizing your surfing experience, but as these folders become larger in size you will notice a drop in performance. It is a good idea to clean out these folders on a regular basis.

To clean out your temporary internet files and cookies go to:

- Start / Control Panel
- Click on the 'Internet Options' icon
- click the 'Delete Cookies' button and then click 'ok'
- Now click on the 'Delete Files' button. Put a check mark in the 'delete all offline content' box and click 'ok'
- You can also clear your history if you want.

Defrag Your Hard Drive

When your computer saves a file to your hard drive, it stores it on the first area of free space that is available. If there is not enough room to store the whole file then your computer will move to the next area of available free space and continue saving your document. This process continues until the entire file is saved. So one simple file may be spread out over many different areas of your hard drive. When it comes time to access this fragmented file your computer must go to all the areas of the hard drive where it resides, put them all together and finally display your document. If your hard drive contains a lot of fragmented files your computer's performance can suffer greatly due to the time spent finding and piecing your files together. When you defrag your hard drive all your file segments are put back together otherwise known as 'made contiguous'. This makes accessing the file alot faster, thus improving performance.

To Defrag your Hard Drive go to:

Start / All Programs / Accessories / System Tools / Disk Defragmenter

Now click on the 'Defragment' button and let the program do it's work. Often times the defrag process can take several hours so it is a good idea to do this at a time when you don't need your computer.

The Microsoft System Configuration Utility (MSCONFIG

MSCONFIG is a program built into windows that is designed to help you troubleshoot problems. It also keeps a list of all current programs installed on your computer. What most people don't realize is that when you install a program it is usually setup, by default, to always run in the background even when not in use. So imagine the load put on your computer when you have 20, 50, or even 100 programs always running in the background. MSCONFIG allows us to control what programs are started when your computer boots.

To Open MSCONFIG click on:

- Start / Run
- Type 'msconfig' in the box and click 'ok'
- Now click on the 'Startup' Tab

All of the programs in this list that have a checkmark are those that are started when you boot-up your computer. With Windows XP any program that is essential for windows to run properly is automatically started and will not appear in this list. So you could uncheck all boxes and Windows should still startup with no problem, but we will not do that. Instead there are a few programs that we will want to leave checked such as your anti virus program and firewall, if you have one. So go through the list and uncheck any programs that are not always in use such as microsoft office, for example, and leave any programs like your anti-virus checked. Keep in mind that by unchecking these programs you are not removing them from your computer but simply stopping them from running in the background and consuming resources.

Run Some Spyware Programs

I would say that almost every computer with an internet connection has at least a few spyware or adware programs on it in some form, so running a good spyware program to remove these is a always a good idea to increase your system performance. My two personal favorites are Spybot and Adaware. I find these work well together in that they find and renove most spy/adware threats. Download and run both of these programs.
About the Author
C Henry is a computer support writer for Computer Tech Support , a troubleshooter and HOW TO guide for experienced and beginner computer techs.
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