Tech Notes is a series of updates by Syzygy’s resident technical expert Adam Brown, which we hope will be of use to all those struggling to get the best out of their computers, gadgets and phone.  The first one is on speeding up your computer:

Photo by Ayhan YILDIZ from FreeImages

One of the most asked questions is how to speed up your computer or how to fix a slow PC, and we all want to get the maximum speeds possible with our hardware and software configurations.  There are many causes for your PC running slow and these can include software and hardware issues. Some of the most common reasons are:

– You have the High Performance Options set on Windows, which uses a lot of memory, but it’s not worth it just to look good

– You’re running out of disk space

– Your computer needs a serious clean up and perhaps a fresh installation


Software methods for speeding up your Computer:

1) Remove Auto Startup Programs – Have a look at your start menu and see which programs have been set to start up on boot up. This can dramatically slow down the loading of your operating system and can be very frustrating when you just want to jump on your computer and get something done quickly. Avoid programs that ask for automatic startup and sign-in. This is the main reason for PC slow start.

Click on Start –> All Programs –> Startup

Then delete anything in this folder that you don’t use or recognise.  There is a more ‘geeky’ way to do this, but I will cover that at a later date!


2) Clean up Disk Space – Try freeing up some room on your hard-drive; a hard drive that’s full of files will not run at maximum speeds. Try doing a disk cleanup to remove any unneeded files or unused desktop icons, temporary Internet files and things like that.

Click on Start –> All Programs –> Accessories –> System Tools –> Click on Disk Cleanup


3) Defragment your Hard drive – It’s a good idea to defragment your hard drive every 3-6 months or so, to make sure all your files are nicely ordered and that each hard drive sector is behaving as it should. Files can get out of hand sometimes and this helps to keep them under control. Defragmentation is also designed to help speed up access of hard drive files.

Click on Start –> All Programs –> Accessories –> System Tools –>Click on Disk Defragmenter


4) Change Performance Options on Windows – This can make a lot of difference, now with these new operating systems so caught up on looking sleek and smooth they sometimes seriously neglect performance. For example even XP and Vista can run slow on some machines with full graphics and everything setup. To modify your windows graphics and set it to a lower level follow these steps:

Right click on My Computer –> Click Properties –> Click Advanced–> under Performance Click Settings

Here you can manually select what you want windows to look like or click “adjust for best performance”.  It’s amazing how well this can fix a slow PC.

5) Increase Physical / Virtual Memory – You can also choose to increase your virtual/physical memory, this memory is simply spare space on your hard drive windows uses just as it would use spare memory/RAM.

Right click on My Computer –> Click Properties –> Click Advanced–> Click Advanced tab –>Under Virtual Memory click Change

Here you can select a custom size and then hit set, otherwise you can just use system-managed size.

Next month: more advanced solutions for dealing with slow PCs

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