The following is a collection listing 20 of the most effective ways to show you exactly how to speed up your computer. These steps work with all Windows editions, including Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8, however some may not work in Windows XP. Some of these steps may also work with other operating systems.
1. Remove Startup Programs
If you’d like to learn how to speed up your computer during the startup process, eliminating unnecessary startup services can reduce the startup time significantly. You can use the keyboard short-cut ‘Windows key + R‘ or search for “Run” in the start menu and then type in “msconfig” and click OK. Click on the ‘Startup‘ tab and proceed to deselect programs or services you don’t need starting up with your PC. Make sure to not disable any program or service that may be required to boot with your computer.
2. Uninstall Unnecessary Programs
Launch the ‘My Computer‘ window and click on “Uninstall or change a program” or “Add and/or remove programs“. Browse through this list and remove any programs you don’t need especially if they take up a considerable amount of hard disk space. If you’re wondering how to speed up your computer and your hard drive is low on memory, you’ll need to free up at least 10GB for your system to run at its optimal speed.
3. Optimize Performance Options
Windows 7 Users: Search the Windows start menu for “appearance and performance options” and click on “Adjust the appearance and performance options of Windows”. Check the box next to “Adjust for best performance” and click OK.
Windows Vista Users: Open the Start Menu and launch the Control Panel. While in “Control Panel Home” click on “System and Maintenance”, and click on “Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows” in the left sidebar.
Windows XP Users: Launch the Start Menu and click on “Run…” or use the keyboard shortcut (Windows key + R). Type in “sysdm.cpl”, click OK, select the “Advanced” tab at the top and then under “Performance” click on “Settings…” on the right.
Check the box next to “Adjust for best performance” and click OK. You can also customize the options in the list to anything that best fits your setup.
4. Use Windows “ReadyBoost”
If you’re using Windows 7 or Vista you can use removable media such as SD memory cards or USB flash drives to add ‘virtual memory’ to your computer. Just pop in the removable media and select “ReadyBoost” from the AutoPlay window that will pop up.
5. Upgrade RAM Memory
You can add or replace RAM in your computer to give it a significant performance boost. Different Windows editions and computer manufacturers set varying RAM limits, so make sure you are aware of this before tinkering with the RAM.
6. Re-install or Upgrade Windows
When things get too cluttered after having your PC for a while, reinstalling or even better, upgrading your Windows edition may be the best thing you can do to bring your PC back to life. Just get a Windows installation disc, pop in the disc and follow through the installation. To find out if your computer setup and hardware can fully support Windows 7 you can download and run the Windows 7 Advisor Tool.
7. Remove Malware & Viruses
If you suspect your computer is infected with a virus or other type of malware, the only way to remove it is with antivirus/security software. If possible, set your virus program of choice to run a virus scan automatically. If you don’t yet have a security program for your computer, you can choose from the many free antivirus programs including Microsoft Security Essentials and Avast! free Antivirus. If you have an active internet connection, an Internet security program will provide your computer with added protection from malicious online threats. The next time you wonder how to speed up your computer, the first thing you should always do is run a full system scan using your security software to make sure all malware is removed.
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8. Optimization & Maintenance Software
Although there’s a lot you can do without software to speed up your computer, using optimization software such as Uniblue SpeedUpMyPC, CCleaner or Auslogics BoostSpeed is a great way to give your PC an extra layer of support and to maximize performance.
9. Regularly Update Windows
Consistently keeping Windows up to date will ensure your computer has the very latest and greatest performance and security features. Search for “Windows Update” in the Start Menu and hit Enter or navigate to it in the Control Panel.
10. Defrag the Hard Drive
Hard disk drives store data all over the place, literally. This is called “fragmentation”, which is why defragmenting your hard disk drive once in a while will help your computer load files stored on the hard drive much faster.
11. Adjust Power Options
You can set the power plan to “High Performance” to emit the highest speed performance possible, but also the highest energy consumption possible. If you’re using a laptop the power plan will most likely switched to “Power Savor” or “balanced” which will compromise performance. Simply search the start menu for “Power options”, hit Enter and click on “Create a power plan” on the left.
12. Change What the Power Button Does
Does that power button on your computer do what you’d like it to? Now you have full control over what the power button or closing the lid does on your computer or laptop, by choosing your preference.
13. Update Drivers
Everything on your computer needs a driver to run, which may occasionally become outdated. To quickly see if you have the latest drivers installed, you can use software such as Uniblue DriverScanner to notify you and update drivers automatically. Alternatively, you can search your computer manufacturers website for the latest drivers for your specific computer model. Some, but not all new driver updates will automatically appear in the Windows Update download window, but may require your input before installing as drivers may fall under the “optional” category.
14. Fix Registry Errors
To scan and fix registry errors, many software options are available. I use CCleaner because it’s fast, free, effective and can fix registry errors as well as clear out the junk on your computer.
15. Scan for System/Disc Errors
Here’s how to run the System File Checker Tool within Windows:
1. Open the Start Menu.
2. Type in “Run” and hit Enter.
3. Type in “SFC /SCANNOW” and hit Enter.
Here’s how to run the Disk Error-checking Tool:
1. Open “My Computer”.
2. Right-click on the (C:) drive (where Windows is installed on), and click on “Properties”.
3. Click on the “Tools” tab at the top, and then click the “Check Now…” button in the Error-checking box. The Error-checking tool will now on restart.
16. Disable UAC (User Account Control)
When a UAC message pops up your desktop background will dim which can take a lot of time on some computers. To disable UAC, simply search for it in the start menu.
17. Change the Mouse Cursor Speed
The mouse is the default device that you use to navigate through your computer, and if the mouse cursor speed is slowing you down, it’s definitely time to change the speed. To change the mouse pointer speed, search the start menu for “mouse” or find the mouse settings in the control panel. Click on the “Pointer Options” tab and drag the slider left or right to adjust the mouse pointer speed.
18. Speed Up your Internet Connection
Although this is a post on how to speed up your computer, almost every computer has an Internet connection just like the one you’re using right now, and there’s nothing worse then a slow Internet connection.
Here are some of the most effective steps you can take to speed up your Internet connection:
19. The System Restore Utility
As an extra troubleshooting step after you’ve already tried everything you’ve learned on how to speed up your computer, you can try to reset your system back to earlier point in time. To show available restore points, search the start menu or the control panel for “system restore” and hit Enter. Follow through this wizard to restore your computer to an earlier time.
20. Get a solid state drive (SSD)
Solid state drives are much faster compared to standard hard disk drives as they store data in one easy to access place and files never become fragmented. All solid state drives are the size of a standard laptop drive, allowing easy access into either a laptop or desktop computer.