Windows 7 - 8 Steps to Improving Performance
Whether you've just purchased a new computer or you're trying to get more performance out of an older one, most of us want to get the most out of our computers. While Windows 7 has introduced considerably better performance over its predecessor, there are still plenty more steps that you can take to optimize your computer. Consider these steps to breathe new life into your PC.
1 – Uninstall Bloatware
New computers often come with a whole load of software which you'll never use. From trial versions of programs with annoying nag-screens to OEM-provided utilities that often add nothing of value to your computer, running software that you don't need only bogs down your computer.
Get started by uninstalling any programs that you don't use any more. You can find a list of installed programs by opening your start menu, clicking "Control Panel" and clicking "Uninstall a program" under the "Programs" section.
2 – Get Your Computer Up to Date
Microsoft frequently releases updates for Windows 7. These updates address security and reliability flaws while others improve performance. If you haven't done so already, start Windows Update from the "All Programs" section of the start menu and get all of the available updates installed.
You should also keep your drivers up to date. Always make sure you have the latest drivers for any hardware that requires them. This includes motherboard, sound card and graphics card drivers among others. Newer drivers often include a whole collection of performance and reliability tweaks.
3 – Run Disk Utilities
You should get into the habit of regularly running Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter. Disk Cleanup is a utility for deleting unused data from your computer such as temporary Internet files and other junk files which clutter up your hard drive. Disk Defragmenter is a utility for optimizing your hard disk by rearranging its contents contiguously in a more organized manner. You can find both utilities in the System Tools folder in the start menu.
4 – Add More Memory
Memory is cheaper than ever these days, so unless you're on a very tight budget, there's no need to skimp on memory. With more memory, you can run more programs and enjoy a considerable performance boost overall.
If you're running the 32-bit version, Windows 7 will run with as little as one gigabyte of memory, but this is not enough for anything but the most basic tasks. Most users will find four gigabytes optimal, although casual users should find that two gigabytes is adequate. 2 gigabytes is the minimum amount of memory required to run Windows 7 64-bit.
5 – Stop Programs from Starting Automatically at Logon
Having multiple programs starting up automatically when you log on to Windows will greatly decrease startup speed as well as the overall performance of your computer.
You can find a list of programs set to start up automatically by typing "msconfig" into the start menu search box and pressing Enter. Click on the "Startup" tab and deselect any programs that you don't want to start automatically when you log in.
6 – Disable Windows 7 Visual Effects
This is really only necessary if you are using a much older computer which is not particularly suitable for running Windows 7. In such cases, disabling unnecessary visual effects will enhance performance without affecting the usability of your computer.
Using the Windows 7 Basic theme will mean that you'll have more available memory to work with. To change the theme, right-click on your desktop, click "Personalize" and choose "Windows 7 Basic" or "Windows 7 Classic" from the themes section.
7 – Use ReadyBoost
ReadyBoost is a feature which uses USB flash drives or memory cards for improving performance. ReadyBoost can provide a considerable performance boost to computers which don't have much memory.
To use the feature, plug in an empty USB flash drive and click "Speed up my system" and follow the on-screen prompts.
8 – Scan Your Computer for Viruses and Spyware
Malware such as viruses and spyware are a major security risk and some of them can have devastating effects aside from just slowing down your computer. You should always ensure that your computer is clear of such malicious software. Running a virus scanner regularly will automatically remove any malware that it detects, provided that you keep your security software up to date.