Monday, June 6, 2011

Slow Computer Tips

Most of us have at some point been frustrated with our computer's performance: occasional lockups while we're in the middle of an important task, reboots without any advance warning or just overall slowness that hinders productivity. Contrary to popular belief that you have to necessarily upgrade your computer to get better performance, there are several tips you can follow to extend the life of your current computer and improve its efficiency and speed.

Defragment Hard Drives Regularly
With our ever-increasing appetite for storing data (pictures, movies, music, games etc.), hard drives can become increasingly fragmented over time. Hard drive fragmentation occurs when operating systems split large files across various locations on a hard drive. Over time, the drive becomes increasingly fragmented, making file accesses slower. Windows has a disk defragmenter tool incorporated in the operating system. (Mac OS does not have a defragmenter utility; however, there are several third-party defragmenting utilities that can be used to defragment Mac hard drives.) Running the tool periodically will help defragment your computer's hard drive, keep files organized on the hard drive in an efficient manner and boost your computer's speed. Disk defragmentation is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to improve the performance of your computer.

Install Antivirus Software
A computer virus infection can severely cripple your computer. In addition to compromising the security of your computer, viruses greatly reduce your computer's overall performance by running malicious spyware programs in the background. Spyware programs consume precious CPU resources and hinder execution of your applications. Consider installing antivirus software on your computer to improve performance. A good antivirus software program will prevent new viruses from being downloaded on your computer. It will also scan your computer for existing viruses and take remedial action to remove them. Maintaining a virus-free computer goes a long way towards ensuring that your computer is performing at its highest potential.

Clean up Hard Drives
Several temporary Internet files are downloaded to the hard drive as part of the Internet browsing process. Over time, these files can take up a significant amount of disk space. Additionally, you might have old personal files that you are not using anymore. Use a disk cleanup utility to identify and remove such files. It will significantly improve the hard drive's efficiency and speed up your computer.

Remove Unused Programs
Programs and applications that haven't been used in a long time are another source of hard drive clutter. Consider uninstalling rarely used applications to free hard drive space and improve your computer's speed. Microsoft Windows gives a useful indicator of application usage by providing a list of currently installed applications and their frequency of usage. Use this list to identify and remove infrequently used applications. Windows users can access the "Add or Remove Programs" utility by going to "Control Panel" and clicking on "Add or Remove Programs." (Mac OS users can uninstall applications by dragging applications to the "Trash" folder.)

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