PC Tune-Up

Does your computer seem slower than when you first got it?¬† Are you frustrated with how to restore your computer’s performance?¬† Some words of advice may just be the solution.¬† Here are some of the best tips on how to restore your computer’s performance.

Here is a six step outline that should guide you through the process:

Step 1:  Backup First

Back up your computer before you run any system tools or do any troubleshooting. This is not just an over-cautious warning. Some of the steps recommend in this process to restore your computer’s performance can cause pre-existing but hidden problems to surface, which may keep your computer from starting. Microsoft Windows operating systems such as XP and Vista includes a Backup, a tool that helps you protect your data.

Step 2:  Clear Out Forgotten Programs

The first step in tuning up your computer’s performance is to remove any unnecessary programs. If you are like me, you install new programs all the time. Sometimes you‚Äôre thrilled with the new program and continue to use it. Other times, it doesn’t do what you had hoped, and the program sits on your computer consuming resources and hurting performance.

Step 3: Free Up Wasted Space

Removing unused programs is a great way to free up disk space, which will speed up your computer. Another way to find wasted disk space is to use the Disk Cleanup tool.

Step 4: Defragment Your Computer

I hate newspaper articles that start on the front page but continue somewhere in the middle of the newspaper. I could get through the article much faster if it was printed on consecutive pages like a magazine article. Files on your computer can either be fragmented like a newspaper, or unfragmented like a magazine. Over time, more and more files become fragmented. When a file is fragmented, it takes longer for the computer to read it because it has to skip to different sections of the hard disk‚ÄĒjust like it takes me a few seconds to find a page in the middle of a newspaper.

Step 5: Disconnect Unused Network Connections

If you’ve ever had a network with more than one computer, you probably found it useful to share files between the computers by mapping a network drive.¬† Network drives allow one computer to read and write files to another computer’s hard disk as if it were directly connected. I use network drives all the time, and for me, they were the most significant source of slowness. The problem with network drives is that Windows XP, for example, will attempt to connect to the network drives when Windows starts. If the remote computers don’t respond immediately, Windows will wait patiently. Additionally, some programs will attempt to connect to the network drives when you browse for files and folders. If you’ve ever tried to open a file and had to wait several seconds (or minutes!), it’s probably because the program was trying to establish a network connection‚ÄĒeven if the file you are opening is on your local computer. I am not as patient as Windows, and I’d rather not wait for unused network connections to respond.

Step 6: Remove Auto Start Programs

The next step in restoring your computer’s performance is to identify any unnecessary programs that start automatically. Often, programs configure themselves to run in the background so that they appear to start quickly when needed. Some of these programs show an icon on your taskbar to let you know that they’re running, while others are completely hidden. These auto start programs probably won’t noticeably slow down your computer as it starts up, but they will steal away trace amounts of memory and processing time as your computer runs.

Contact CCS Onsite today and discover other ways to tune-up your computer.

Source: article by Tony Northrup, Windows XP Expert Zone Community Columnist, http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/expert/northrup_restoreperf.mspx

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