PC Tips and Tricks

How to speed up a slowing PC

SlowPCSteps to improve poor PC performance.Assuming you have security software if not download Microsoft Essentials now (it’s free) install and run a full system scan. 

Security software won’t pick up all the nasty’s so think about installing Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (it’s free). Install and run the application but be warned this software is through and depending upon how much data you have this can take a considerable time to complete. I usually run this software overnight. 

If the software reports no viruses or malware the chances are you haven’t got a nasty on your computer. If you still think you have read my article How to remove virus your PC security software says you don’t have?

The next step is to read Solution to sluggish PC. You could run Microsoft Msconfig to edit what programmes run in the background. Some of these background programmes you’re running you’re probably not using so you can turn them off at start up. You can still use these programmes they just won’t automatically start without you activating them. However you need some technical knowledge to use Msconfig.

Free up disk space

Next run Disk Clean-up (XP, Vista, Windows 7) read blog article Speed up your PC .
The Disk Cleanup tool helps you to free up space on your hard disk to improve the performance of your computer. The tool identifies files that you can safely delete and then enables you to choose whether you want to delete some or all of the identified files.
Use Disk Cleanup to:

    • Remove temporary Internet files.
    • Delete downloaded program files, such as Microsoft ActiveX controls and Java applets.
    • Empty the Recycle Bin.
    • Remove Windows temporary files, such as error reports.
    • Delete optional Windows components that you don’t use.
    • Delete installed programs that you no longer use.
    • Remove unused restore points and shadow copies from System Restore.
      Tip: Typically, temporary Internet files take the most amount of space because the browser caches each page you visit for faster access later.

Speed up access to data

Run Disk Defrag read my ebook pages 14-15 (XP, Vista, Windows 7).
Disk fragmentation slows the overall performance of your system. When files are fragmented, the computer must search the hard disk as a file is opened (to piece it back together). The response time can be significantly longer.
Disk Defragmenter (sometimes shortened to Defrag by users) is a Windows utility that consolidates fragmented files and folders on your computer’s hard disk so that each occupies a single space on the disk. With your files stored neatly end to end, without fragmentation, reading and writing to the disk speeds up.
With the best will in the world you should automate Disk Defrag read blog article How to automate Disk Defragmenter why – your likely to be busy doing more important things. You should automate Disk Clean-up as well. Ideally schedule these tools to run once a week.

Detect and repair disk errors

In addition to running Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter to optimize the performance of your computer, you can check the integrity of the files stored on your hard disk by running the Error Checking utility.
As you use your hard drive, it can develop bad sectors. Bad sectors slow down hard disk performance and sometimes make data writing (such as file saving) difficult or even impossible. The Error Checking utility scans the hard drive for bad sectors and scans for file system errors to see whether certain files or folders are misplaced.
If you use your computer daily, you should run this utility once a week to help prevent data loss.

Run the Error Checking utility:
    1. Close all open files.
    2. Click Start, and then click Computer.
    3. In the Computer window (My Computer in Windows XP), right-click the hard disk you want to search for bad sectors, and then click Properties.
    4. In the Properties dialog box, click the Tools tab.
    5. Click the Check Now button.
    6. In the Check Disk dialog box (called Error-checking in Windows 7), select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check box, and then click Start.

Check Disk Local Disk dialog box, with the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check box selected                                                                                                                                    

  • If bad sectors are found, choose to fix them.
    Tip: Only select the “Automatically fix file system errors” check box if you think that your disk contains bad sectors.


If you tried the above and your PC remains sluggish what options do you have?    

  • Rebuild your PC
  • Purchase a new PC

Not sure what option is right for you? Is your PC four years old (or older)? If it is, you’re probably better off buying a new PC. A system rebuild is a significant undertaking so this choice shouldn’t be your first option. Having stated this all PC’s at some point during their working life will need a system rebuild. Read my article Why rebuild a PC?  

Of course you can rebuild the PC for yourself however should you not wish to do so you can instruct someone else to do the work for you. Your decision will depend upon how important your time and data is to you. Assuming your time and data is of some importance to you then you should employ an experienced and qualified Microsoft certified engineer.