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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

How to Speed Up a Slow Windows Computer

Here are some tips to help you optimize Windows for faster performance.

Do not run multiple antivirus programs

Make sure that no more than one antivirus program is running on your PC. An antivirus's resident protection takes a lot of resources. So, having more than one antivirus program would bring about a significant reduction in your computer's speed

Check your hard drive for errors

Over time, as you use your computer, chances are that some errors might creep in your hard disk which negatively affect your computer's performance. The best way to solve this issue is by using the inbuilt Disk Check utility available in all versions of Windows. To use it, execute chkdsk /r in the Command Prompt. Remember to open the Command Prompt as an administrator. It might prompt you to restart your computer. Execute Y to restart your PC. The chkdsk/ r command scans your computer's hard drive for errors and recovers readable data. Depending upon the size of your hard disk, this step might take some time. This step might increase your computer's performance phenomenally if there are a lot of errors on your hard drive.

Make sure you have enough free space

System speed is not only dependant upon CPU and RAM. If your hard drive is above 95% full, you will notice that your system hasn't been running at the fastest speed. This happens because Windows require empty space for swap files to increase in size and also as space for temporary files. It is imperative that the more cluttered and filled a hard drive is, the more difficult it is to read. To solve this issue, delete unnecessary data or move it to external storage devices.

Repair protected Windows system files

As you use your computer, it is possible that one or more system files get damaged or get corrupted which might effect your system's performance in a negative way. Thus, it is important to check that all your system files are original and behaving as they should. The best way to check your operating system's files is through the System File Checker. To run the System File Checker, open Command Prompt as an Administrator and execute sfc /scannow. This command will check all your system files and if it finds that some of them are modified or corrupt, it will replace them with the original. This step can take anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes but is one that you should perform especially if your system has ever been infected by a virus.

Disable unnecessary visual effects

Speed up slow computer
The visual effects that make your computer look beautiful also slow it down considerably. So, if you want to get the best performance out of your computer, you should disable all these visual effects. To disable these visual effects:-
1) Press Windows Key+R to launch the Run dialog box.
2) Execute sysdm.cpl.
3) Go to the Advanced tab in the following Window and click on Settings in the Performance section.
4) Then encircle Adjust for best performance. If you want to use visual styles and themes, check it (located at the very end of the list).
5) Click on Apply to apply the changes.

Disabling these visual effects could lead to a considerable improvement in your system's performance especially if you are on Windows 7 or Windows Vista and using the Aero interface without a graphic card.

Update Windows and make sure that you are using the latest drivers for your hardware

Having all the updates ensures that your computer is running the best possible version of your operating system and your hardware is being utilized by the best possible code. Also, an updated operating system makes you more secure against future intrusions by performance reducing malware.

Delete Temporary Files

Temporary files are stored in your computer as Windows operates. They are files that contain your recently accessed files list, log files, your internet history, form history, cookies and temporary internet files. Over time, the number of these files increases and cleaning them becomes important. You can use CCleaner (mentioned above) to clean them or the inbuilt Windows Disk Cleanup utility by executing cleanmgr.exe in the Rundialog box. You can also schedule a disk cleanup to ensure that it happens automatically.

Disable Windows Search Indexing Service

Fast computerThe Windows search indexing service scans all the files and folders on your system and stores information about them in a database to make searches faster. Naturally, this results in consumption of resources. If you don't use Windows Search often or are willing to trade faster searches for a faster computer (as you should), disable the indexing service. To disable it, execute services.msc in the Run dialog box. In the work area on the right side, locate Windows Searchservice and double click on it. In the following Properties dialog box, select Disabled from the Startup type dropdown and click OK. Restart your computer. Your searches will be slow but your computer will be faster than ever.

Check Device Manager to look for hardware conflicts

Open Device Manager to see that all the connected hardware are functioning properly. If you find a hardware conflict, take the necessary steps to resolve it. If the conflict cannot be resolved, disconnect the problematic hardware until you find a solution.

Change to High Performance power scheme

If you are running your computer on a battery and notice that it is running slow, change the power scheme to high performance to increase system speed. Keep in mind that it will increase the amount of power consumed by your computer. To change the power scheme, open Power Options from the Control Panel. You can directly search for Power Options in Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 from the Start Screen/Menu.

Check if your computer is overheating

If your computer is overheating, then it is possible that it is causing your computer to run slowly. This is because most modern processors slow down when the computer is overheated to allow the computer to cool down. 

To prevent your computer from overheating, make sure that the cooling fan works properly and that there is no dust clogging the air vents as it will prevent air flow which will result in poor cooling. Clean your computer's case with a light brush and place it somewhere where it can be effectively cooled by air. If you use a laptop, a cooling pad might be of help.

Defragment your hard drive

When Windows stores a file on your hard drive, it does not look for a single place to store your file as a whole. Instead, it stores the fragments of the file randomly, i.e storing them at whatever empty space it can find the quickest. Due to this, the fragments of a single file can be scattered all across a hard disk. A hard drive that has many files distributed like this is called as fragmented. Naturally, this results in slower file access times because Windows needs to find all these pieces and put them together (something like a jigsaw puzzle) before the file can be accessed.
Defragment harddrive to increase PC speed

This is what defragmentation corrects. When you defragment a hard drive, the scattered pieces of a file are put together and stored on the hard disk in continuous cells (assuming a hard disk to be made up of a large number of cells with each cell representing a particular storage space).

To defragment your hard drive, you can use the in-built Windows Disk Defragmenter utility. It can be searched on the Start Screen/ Menu in Windows 10, 8 & 8.1 and is located at Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools in older versions of Windows.

Use ReadyBoost to increase the speed of your Windows computer

If you are running a computer that does not have enough RAM, using a flash drive with the ReadyBoost technique can and will give you significant improvement in speed. As with ReadyBoost, your flash drive becomes a cache that stores files that you might immediately require giving you faster access times than if those files had been stored on a hard disk. 

Keep in mind that ReadyBoost depends upon the condition of your flash drive and was intended to increase the speed of devices which were short on RAM. If you already have a sufficient amount of RAM, chances are that you might see very little to no improvement in speed by using it. 

Reinstall Windows

This is one of the more drastic methods and should only be used if all the methods mentioned above fail to bring any significant increase in your computer's speed.
Speed up Computer

If you haven't reinstalled Windows in a really long time, it is possible that because of constant use, the system has got bogged down with useless clutter in a way that no amount of tweaking will fix its condition. Then, reinstalling Windows is the only option.

Reinstalling Windows brings about a definite increase in speed but gives you a new PC without all your software and customization. Modifying it according to your needs will take a lot of time though but that is something you must sacrifice for a faster PC.

If you use Windows 10, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, you can refresh your PC without affecting your installed apps and settings. To refresh your Windows 8 PC, open Update and Recovery by going to Change PC Settings from the Settings button that appears when you move your mouse pointer to the right side of your screen. Windows 10 users can directly search "Refresh" from the Start menu. Under it, click Recovery. Then under Refresh your PC without affecting files, click Get Started.

If all else fails, get more RAM

RAM or the Random Access Memory contains all files of the currently running programs that are immediately required by the computer. Accessing files from the RAM is much faster than doing the same from a hard disk. This means that more the RAM you have, more the programs you can run without compromising on speed. RAM upgrades do not cost much and are one of the best ways to speed up a slow computer.

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