Most of the computer newbies think that to keep a computer clean and fast requires a geek’s talent. However, with a little knowledge of simple tools and techniques you can instantly improve the performance of your computer. Here I am going to share some of the simplest methods that I use to keep my PC neat and fast.
I have Windows XP installed in my PC, so this tutorial is oriented to Windows XP users. However, you can use these advices for any other operating systems as well like Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
1. Deletion of Unnecessary Files and Programs
Too many programs and very little free space in your hard drives also make your computer slow. First of all go to Control Pannel -> Add or Remove Programs. Recognize those programs and uninstall them from your computer. Get rid of extra screensavers and icon packs that you have installed.
You should also try to keep sufficient free space in every drive. Particularly, the drive on which the operating system is installed should have sufficiently free memory. I recommend to keep 30% free memory in each drive.
There is also a small utility in Windows to cleanup space. Click Start button and go to All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Cleanup.
2. Removing Unnecessary Programs and Updaters from Startup
One of the most annoying things are the unnecessary programs that start themselves as soon as you start your computer. You should disable them from startup. For this click Start button and in the Run command enter msconfig to open System Configuration Utility. Go to Startup tab and uncheck unnecessary programs. Most of the programs listed there (except Antivirus and System Drivers) can be safely disabled from startup.
Usually program-updaters automatically start themselves when PC is started. Most of these are useless because most of the time updates are not available. You should manually check for updates once in a month or so, rather than updating automatically. Disable auto-updaters from startup. Only Antivirus program should be set to update automatically at startup.
You’ll need to restart your computer for changes to take effect.
3. Disabling Unnecessary Services
There are certain services which start automatically with start of your PC. You should disable some of them to make your computer fast. To disable click Start button and in the Run command enter services.msc to open Services Utility. To disable any of the listed service, double click on the service and in the Startup type choose Disabled and then hit OK.
I like to disable Adobe Updater Service, Adobe LM Service, Smart Card, Messenger.
4. Disabling Unnecessary Updater Programs and Toolbars
You should uninstall and get rid of updater programs. They significantly eat up your browsing speed. If you can’t uninstall the updater program without uninstalling the main software then you should disable the updater at least. Most of the browser toolbars are unnecessary, get rid of them and make your browser look compact.
5. Keeping Registry Clean and Compact
Whenever you uninstall a program, it is often that the registry entries of the program are not deleted. So, the number of registry entries rise with time hence making your PC slow. While manually deleting registry enteries, is not something that I recommend, because deleting wrong entries can ruin up your PC.
However, there are some safe programs to delete obsolete registry entries and junk temporary files. One such free program is CCleaner developed by Piriform.
Download Page : CCleaner Download
6. Regular Scan of Computer with an Antivirus
Use a good Antivirus program and keep it updated. Scan the whole computer for viruses and malware once a while. I scan my whole PC at least once in a month. PC scanning takes a couple of hours that depends upon the hard disk size and amount of memory used. It is an extensive task and slows down other programs, so I prefer night time to scan. While scanning there is a setting in almost all Antivirus programs to shut down the PC automatically after scan. You can use this setting if you are feeling sleepy.
Regularly check your Antivirus Quarantine or Virus Vault to see if it has caught viruses. Delete them permanently from the Quarantine.
7. Delete Prefetch Files
Prefetch Files are meant to speed up the startup of those programs which you use often. However, most of the time, those programs also get into prefetch list which you have uninstalled or which you use no more. You can safely delete all items from the prefetch list.
For this click Start button and in the Run command enter prefetch to open Windows Prefetch Folder. Delete all the entries. You should do this every month.
8. Setting PC for Best Performance
Most of the people like beautiful buttons and effects like animation, fading, transparency etc. Me too. But, They come at a price of relatively slower performance. Personally talking, when it comes to computer performance I am very greedy. I don’t give effects any value as long as my computer remains fast. So, I set my computer for best performance and not for best appearance.
To set your computer for best performance, click Start button, right click on My Computer and choose Properties. Under Advanced tab click Settings under Performance. Then choose Adjust for best performance. Wait for a few seconds for the changes to take effect.
9. Regular Defragmentation of Hard Disk Drives
Defragmentation is the process of rearrangement of files in your hard disk for the best performance. You should defragment all of your drives once at least in a month for the best performance.
To open Disk Defragmenter Utility in Windows, click Start button and go to All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter. Defragment all the drives one by one. It takes time ranging from minutes to hours depending upon the size and contents of the drives.
10. Keeping Your PC Dust Free
Here is a mechanical advice that most of the PC owners overlook. Keeping your computer dust free improves life and performance of the PC. No matter how smart your PC is, it is going to catch dust as the charged components inside attract dust particles.
Use a soft brush and hand pump to clean up and blow dust from components and fans including the fan on SMPS. Don’t disturb and unplug the cluster of wires inside. You have to just remove the dust. Never use vacuum cleaner to suck up dust from the computer. Vacuum cleaner generates lots of charged air around it which can permanently damage delicate PC components and cercuits.
That’s all that I can suggest now for newbies. Did the techniques described above helped your PC? Let me know in the comments section. Happy computing.