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How to Optimize Your PC

Over time, computers slow down considerably. After several months of frequent use, you may notice that your computer is not performing up to the level that it did when you took it out of the box. Less experienced users often attribute this to the age of the machine. In reality, under normal circumstances, a computer that is five years old should still perform up to the same level as it did when you bought it. Of course, it will be slower compared to the more current models, but you may be surprised at how much of a boost a few tweaks and optimizations can give. Best of all, optimizing your computer does not have to cost anything.

Ideally, you should be able to avoid having to spend long periods of time optimizing your computer's performance. Most performance-related problems can be avoided simply by maintaining your computer properly. Maintaining a computer involves running regular error checks and defragmenting the hard drives. Programs which you no longer use should also be properly uninstalled. This includes many programs which often come preinstalled on a new computer, including adware and other annoying and cumbersome programs that provide little or no extra functionality to the computer. The following provides some tips on how to get your computer running up to scratch again.

1 - Run Maintenance Tasks
The first thing to do is to run the various maintenance tasks that should, under normal circumstances, be carried out at least a couple of times per month. Checking your hard disk for errors as well as defragmenting the data on it are straightforward tasks, and they can make a considerable difference. To run these maintenance procedures, open up 'My Computer' and right click on your system drive (normally C:) and go to 'properties'. On the general tab, you should find a button entitled 'Disk Cleanup'. Running this will remove much of the unused data on your disk such as temporary files and the contents of the recycle bin. On the 'tools' tab, you should find options for error checking and defragmenting. Use both of these. For checking errors, you may need to restart the computer. Defragmentation can take some time, so you may want to leave the computer on overnight. Alternatively, you can use a free third party disk defragmenter such as Auslogics' solution. This is considerably faster and also provides progress indicators and detailed information, unlike the defragmenter built into Windows Vista and above.

2 - Remove Unwanted Programs
New computers often come with a great deal of preinstalled software, some of which does nothing but bog down the system. Over time, you will likely install new programs, some of which you may stop using but forget to uninstall. When installing new programs, extra features or additional programs are often installed as well. To get rid of unwanted programs, simply click the start menu and go to the control panel. Under the section entitled 'Programs' select 'uninstall a program'. A list of all of the installed programs will pop up. Go through the list carefully and remove any program that you know you don't have any use for. Be careful not to uninstall anything important - if you are unsure about a particular application, leave it alone or use the Internet to find out what the application is for.

3 - Remove Unwanted Startup Programs
New computers are infamous for having a great deal of useless software preinstalled on them. In many cases, these programs are set to start up automatically when you log into Windows. Many programs that you are likely to install run on startup by default. Many instant messaging applications and torrent applications do this for example. This greatly decreases the overall performance of any computer. It also slows down the login process considerably. If, for example, you have Skype, Windows Live Messenger, uTorrent and all of the components of your antivirus software starting up when you log in, the startup process will slow down drastically.
Solving this problem is simple. Simply enter the start menu and type in 'msconfig' into the search box at the bottom. Open up the program and click the startup tab. If you notice that there are many programs selected, then that will likely be a major contributor to the poor performance of your system. Deselect everything that you don't need. Even programs which you use regularly should not necessarily be set to launch on login. In fact, it is best not to have any non-essential software starting automatically on login.

4 - Reinstall Windows
There comes a point when, to get your computer running up to scratch again, you will need to reinstall Windows. Over time, system files may become corrupted and various problems will develop on your computer. These problems by themselves are often minor but together, they can have a major impact on system performance. Sometimes, the only practical way (and the quickest way) of overcoming such problems, is to start from scratch. You can either reinstall your own copy of Windows, or you can use the recovery disk which came with your computer. The former is ideal for more experienced users. Before reinstalling Windows, be aware that you will delete all of your files. Be sure to back everything up before proceeding.


Microsoft Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries. Speed improvements vary based on your system configuration. ErrorTeck is not endorsed or affiliated with either Microsoft or the third party applications it supports.