This month our resident guru Adam Brown continues with simple instructions on how to get more performance from your PC


1. Check if you may have a virus slowing your PC

A common reason for a PC running too slowly is that a virus has made its way on your hard drive and started duplicating itself like mad or using up valuable system resources and memory, severely slowing down your computer.

Scan for spyware or virus using your favorite virus scanner, or use AVG free antivirus software or a good online solution like MacAfee Freescan – see  www.mcafee.com/freescan

2. Disable unused network ports or other controllers

Do you have any unused network connections that you could disable, or even any other PCI slot devices that you could remove totally if not in regular use?

3. Run Scandisk

Try running scandisk to check for system file errors or bad sectors that could be repaired.

Right click on C drive –> Click Properties –> Click Tools –> Click Check Now –> Check both boxes and click Start

A scan will be scheduled for the next time you start your computer.  Beware – it can take a long time so it might be a good idea to leave it running overnight rather than get annoyed when you need to start your computer in a hurry!  Use a UPS if your power supply is unreliable.

4. Operating System needs updating

Sometimes an operating system can have certain bugs or need patches and updates in order for it run correctly.  It’s also important to get security updates to avoid getting viruses that slow down your computer. It’s best to manually update otherwise you can waste time getting a lot of unnecessary software which is what we try and avoid. 🙂

5. Do not show Hidden Files

Sometimes showing hidden files is useful but it also means your GUI has to load up all these random hidden files, most of which are temporary ones and this can slow down your PC.

In any windows folder Click Tools –> Click Folder Options –> Click View –> Click Do not show hidden files and folders –>Click OK

6. Check what processes and programs are running

Hit Ctrl Alt Delete (all at the same time) to start the task manager, then click processes to see which application is using most of your system resources.  Closing something using a lot of resources before running a software application can help speed it up.

Highlight the appropriate process –> Click End Process

Beware of closing any old process: look up the name on Google first to find out what it is. You can also identify primitive viruses this way so keep an eye out for things that look strange. Lots of normal programs do have strangely named processes though.

7. Slow PC in games?

You can also play around with video card settings to get the best smoothest game play while sacrificing some graphics quality.

Right click your desktop –> Click Properties –> Click Settings –> Click Advanced –> Click on your graphics card control panel and follow on-screen instructions


If none of these solutions have improved your PC performance, come back next month for advice on hardware solutions!

5 Responses to Tech notes: how to speed up your computer (2)

  1. Would you advise people to go to Start Menu > Run > “msconfig” and then Services and Startup tabs? Or is that liable to end in tears?

    This is where I find a lot of free software dumping things that run on startup (like cameras, iTunes, scanners).
    It's all those little things that run in the tray in the bottom right corner ————————-(down here)———————————————V.
    Again, check the list with Google, but uncheck those you don't need to run, or run on startup and you should see your computer take less time to fire up.

    Most of these 'process' either monitor things (like plugging in you camera – which windows will do anyway) or speed up the programme starting up (so you can choose – faster machine startup, or slower application start).

    Tony.

  2. Hi there Tony,

    The Services and Startup section of msconfig isn't that dangerous. So you should be fine.

    On the subject of Software PC speed up tips, vie stumbled on a program called Soluto. This software analyses your PC startup routine and produces a report telling you what you can delete/remove. In fact, it will even do it for you! I would recommend giving it a go. Get it from http://soluto.com.

  3. I like that soluto a lot. It will be a great thing to suggest to our Home Assignees.

    Can you add it into you main post so people can see it.

    Tony.

  4. Tony Waghorn

    I'm sold on Soluto, it doesn't fix everything, but a simple 80-90% solve is better than a really geeky hard 95% one.

  5. SYZYGYsupport

    Great hear Tony! 🙂

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