Summary: Slow speed and sluggish responsiveness is a common complaint for Windows PC users. However, there is no need to spend money straight away on an upgrade. Here are five easy and quick ways to give your computer a new lease of life, without having to reach for your wallet.
Despite ever-increasing hardware speeds, poor everyday performance of a desktop or laptop is a common annoyance. With use a Windows PC can become sluggish to operate, less responsive and slower to boot up. However, this doesn’t mean that it is time to take out your wallet and upgrade. Here are five quick, easy and free tips to speed up your Windows PC.
1. Uninstall unused programs: Over time the average user tends to accumulate programs that he or she doesn’t want or need. These programs might still have services or processes running in the background, and at the least will be unnecessarily taking up disk space. You should always uninstall programs that you don’t use. A list of all installed programs and the option to uninstall them can be found in the Control Panel, under Programs and Features.
2. Stop programs starting with Windows: Some programs start automatically with Windows when you log on, which isn’t always required and which can use up memory. You can stop them from starting automatically by going onto the Start menu and deleting their shortcuts from the folder called ‘Startup’. This will not uninstall the programs. Any additional programs can be removed in the System Configuration tool. To open the System Configuration tool, press the Windows key + R, type ‘msconfig’, and press ‘OK’. Choose the ‘Startup’ tab and untick any programs which you wish to stop from starting automatically. Press ‘Apply’ then ‘OK’ to save your changes, which will come into effect next time you restart. To revert any of these changes, go into the System Configuration tool again.
3. Remove unnecessary files: Freeing up disk space can help your PC work more efficiently. Delete any files you no longer need. A common culprit for unwanted files is your downloads folder. The Windows Disk Cleanup tool will also free up disk space by deleting temporary files. To use it, press the Windows key + R, type ‘cleanmgr.exe’ and press ‘OK’. Then choose the disk you want to clean up, and tick whichever temporary files you want to delete.
4. Turn off Windows Sidebar in Vista and Windows 7: the Gadgets are fun and can be quite useful, but having them running constantly can use up memory and processor power. To turn off Windows Sidebar in Vista, right click in empty space between two Gadgets, click ‘Properties’ and then untick the box labelled ‘Load Sidebar when Windows Starts’. To it off in Windows 7, right click the desktop, click ‘View’ and untick ‘Show desktop gadgets’.
5. Turn off graphics effects: the graphics effects in Windows can slow down some PCs. To turn them off in Vista or Windows 7, open the Start menu and right click ‘Computer’, then click on ‘Properties’. In the window that comes up click ‘Advanced System Settings’, click the ‘Advanced’ tab and then click the ‘Settings…’ button in the ‘Performance’ box. You can untick some of the effects in the box, or just choose ‘Adjust for best performance’, then click ‘OK’.
With these quick tricks you should notice some improvement to the responsiveness of your Windows PC. Also, you should remember to use anti-virus software and only install programs that you trust, as viruses can cause your computer to slow down (alongside other problems).
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