So, your PC was shiny when you bought it for the first time but has got slower with time. No matter how fast it was then, after installing dozens of applications, it isn’t working as it is expected. You haven’t noticed it at first, till one day when an application suddenly stops running or something like that happens.
You tried to install some anti-spyware programs or some cleaning applications, but it turned out even slower. This isn’t your fault, or your PC’s either. It’s just how the PC works. You need to optimize your PC occasionally to ensure it’s better performance.
There are lots of different methods for optimization in Windows. Here are some of them.
This is the first thing that you can try to speed up your PC. For Windows 7 just open the Control Panel and go toFind and fix problems under System and Security. Then click on Check for performance issues under System and Security and follow the steps as asked to. In Windows 8 and above, go to Find and fix problems under System and Security in Control Panel and click on Run maintenance tasks under System and Security and follow the steps mentioned.
Although the steps are very simple, this isn’t always the best method for optimization. Most of the advanced users often ignore this method and follow other methods that are mentioned next in this article. If you don’t know your PC and are not acquainted with what happened to it, you should start from here.
Delete Unused Programs
Have you ever used all the applications that came with the PC when you bought it? No? Neither did us. So, why keep all of them and eat up PC’s resources? Keeping those programs might slow down your PC by using disk space, memory and processing power.
It is a good idea to remove the programs that you don’t use anymore, may it be pre-installed programs or the applications installed by you at any point of time. The utility programs are often the culprit behind your PC’s slowing down. Utility programs like virus scanners, PC tuners, disk cleaners, backup applications often start during startup and run in the background, clogging up precious memory and processor performance. There may be a lot of such applications that you may have installed and forgot with time and you have no idea that they are running in the background. It’s time to remove them all. Just go to Uninstall a program option under Programs in the Control Panel and choose what to uninstall.
Disable Startup Programs
Many applications start to run in the background from the time when you turn on your computer. Some application vendors set their programs to get added automatically to the startup list without your awareness, where they open and run in background from startup while you don’t notice them. When you click on their icons, they open up right away. This is helpful for the applications you use regularly but is not at all useful for the programs you use rarely. They tend to occupy the memory space resulting in the less availability of free memory.
You can see the list of startup programs in Windows 7 by going to the Start menu and searching for msconfig. Then, click on the msconfig that appears in the result and go to the Startup tab. All the startup programs are listed there with the startup enabled programs marked with a check. Remove the check marks from the programs that you don’t want to start automatically during startup and click on Ok. Click on Restart when prompted to, to restart your PC for the changes to take effect.
For Windows 8 and above, the startup option is shifted to the Task Manager. To open the Task Manager, right-click on the taskbar and click on Task Manager or you can press Ctrl + Alt + Del on your keyboard and select Task Manager from the screen that just appeared. Now, go to the Startup tab (you may need to click the more details option below to get the rest of the tabs). There you can find all the startup programs, which may be startup enabled or disabled, mentioned in the Status tab. To disable an application, right-click on the application and select Disable, or click on the Disable button at the bottom after selecting the program that you want to disable.
End Running Processes
Sometimes, you may notice that your PC is still running slow, even after you have disabled most of the unwanted startup programs or just running a single program. There are a lot of programs that run in the background even after you have thought you’ve already closed them. To end such programs go to the Processes tab in the Task Manager, right-click the process you want to terminate and click on End Process. You can also select the process and click on the End Process button below. This will terminate any running processes and free up used memory and processor resources.
But be aware of the fact that all the system processes are also shown in the Processes tab along with the user generated processes. Terminating any system process may lead to the malfunctioning of your PC. You must not terminate any process unless you are sure of what it does. Check the internet about the process before terminating it, if you aren’t sure. It’s not like that your PC will turn into a scrap and you have to throw it away. You can restart your PC if anything bad happens and it will fix everything. Similarly, if you have any unsaved data in any of the terminated applications, it will be lost permanently. So, think before you terminate.
Clean Up Your Disk Drives
After weeks of usage, your disk drives get filled with junk files and cache. Most of the programs create temporary files while working and doesn’t delete them. These files get clogged in the hard disk leaving no enough room for useful files to be added in the future. But no worries, you can clean them easily.
Go to Start menu in Windows 7 and search for Disk Cleanup and open it. Select the drive you want to clean up and click on Ok. It is recommended to clean up all the drives for better optimization. You can safely delete any files and folders with the name Temp. They are the temporary files generated by running programs.
Try to keep the drive in which the Windows is installed (generally the C drive) as clean as possible. Keep all the user files and documents in other drives instead of the native Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos folder, and especially in the Desktop. Ideally, there shouldn’t be any user files on the desktop. Whatever you keep on the desktop is stored on the OS drive (where the Operating System is installed). Any files present on the desktop are loaded during startup, thus adding extra load on startup, slowing it down unnecessarily. Emptying the Recycle Bin occasionally is also a good habit.
Defragment Hard Disk
Fragmentation makes your drives slower by creating holes within data’s in the hard disk. A periodical defragmentation is good for your PC’s performance. To run defragmentation, go to Start menu and search for Disk Defragmenter, then open it. Select the disk you want to defragment and click on Analyze disk. This will check if the disk requires defragmentation. Now, if the disk needs a defragmentation, click on Defragment disk (Optimized for Windows 8 and above).
It is good to run a defragmentation if the fragmentation is above 5%. Defragmentation is scheduled to run automatically on a schedule, but you can still run it manually if you feel so. Note that only disks with NTFS, FAT or FAT32 formats can be defragmented using the Disk Defragmenter.
Turn Off or Reduce Visual Effects
If your PC is running slowly, you can always turn off a few visual effects to boost up the performance. Visual effects consume some memory and CPU resource while running. It would be smart to turn them off when required, as it is better to have a faster computer than a prettier one while working. Advanced users, generally have them turned off all the time, whether working or not.
To turn off visual effects, right click on Computer(This PC for Windows 8 and above) and choose Properties. Click on the Advanced system settings on the left. A window will pop up with the Advanced tab selected. On clicking on the Settings button under Performance column, another window pops up, where you can see all the visual effects, some are checked and some are not. Uncheck the effects you want to disable and click on the Ok buttons for every open window to save the changes made and you’re done.
Sometimes, the solution to a few problems is just a driver update or an application update. Software vendors realize their bugs and remove them in updated versions, thus solving the problem you were facing. If you face any such problems, check with the software website.
Windows generally checks for and installs its updates periodically. This may again use a lot of bandwidth and internet data. You may turn Windows Update off if you want. To turn it off, open the Control Panel and go to System and Security. Then click on Turn automatic updating on or off under Windows Update. Select Never check for updates (not recommended) and click on Ok. Although Windows doesn’t recommend it, there won’t be a problem in turning it off.
Not only programs, many services run continuously in the background for a long time. An occasional restart gives them a rest and starts them afresh.A lot of processes tend to, gradually, eat up more and more memory with time until restarted. Restart can even solve some mysterious problems which were making you sweat. So, whenever you face any problem, just give a restart and see if it is solved, before going to any other steps.
Check For Viruses And Spywares
Viruses are sometimes the reason your PC begins to behave awkwardly. A virus or a spyware may come through a USB drive, through a CD or DVD, or the internet when you tried to download a song or a movie. It comes silently but leaves you restless. It works in different ways. Sometimes, it gets attached to an executable file or a user file, and sometimes it replicates itself and downloads other viruses and spyware that either sends your confidential data’s to a server or renders the computer useless. Any of the above activities is harmful to your PC and so, they are needed to be removed. Generally, every version of Windows comes with Windows Defender, which scans and removes any virus and spyware that it can find. For better results, the virus and spyware definitions must be updated regularly.
Upgrade Hardware If All These Steps Fail
If all these steps fail to increase your PC speed then I’m sorry to say, you need to upgrade your hardware. A RAM upgrade sometimes does the trick, but if it isn’t enough you may even need to upgrade your processor and graphics. But let’s not go that far right now. An extra RAM solves the problem most of the time.
These steps will surely increase your PC performance notably. If you are too lazy to follow these steps, you can always use a PC tuning software. The best in the market right now is AVG PC TuneUp, which was previously known as TuneUp Utilities. It can perform all the tasks mentioned above and can also disable unused programs, restore deleted files and much more. It doesn’t have an antivirus program though, which is provided by AVG separately. Overall, if you can’t do it, AVG PC TuneUp will do it for you.