A Slow Windows Computer & How To Speed It Up Free

A slow Windows computer typically starts as applications are installed and used. Whether using word processing, spreadsheets, internet, games or anything else, hard drives fill with temporary files that do not always get removed when no longer needed. Speed it up free by using disk defrag, registry defrag and cleaning system junk and hidden errors in Windows registry using safe effective tools.

Read on to learn of ways to help keep your slow Windows PC running fast and smooth with little or no money…

A Slow Windows Computer & How To Speed It Up Free

Stop all unused applications to speed up a slow Windows pc:

The Taskbar is on the bottom edge of the screen (unless relocated by the user). In the right side of the TaskBar appears a group of small icons, collectively named as the “system tray”. Each of these icons represent a program that has been at least partially started or is running “in the background”. Regardless of state, each causes a reduction of available memory and processing power, or resources. Closing, exiting or canceling any unused icon returns those resources to the system, and becomes available for use by the application(s) started specifically by the user. Go to your task manager and click on the Process tab. End all process that you can.

  • A utility called Process Explorer (procexp.exe) can be used to list all programs running on your Windows system. It is more comprehensive than the Task Manager, and hovering your mouse pointer over any program name will tell you what it is about.
  • A utility is built into Windows that can enable/disable taskbar programs and processes from automatically loading with Windows. To access it, go to Start > Run > type in “MSCONFIG” and click OK. If you do not know what a process does, search its name. Do not disable processes if you are unsure, as some processes are necessary for your computer to function normally.
  • A useful program called “Game Booster” by the people who wrote the Advanced SystemCare V3 software will temporarily disable unnecessary background processes and boost performance on your computer when you are actively using only one program; such as a game program or video editing software. When you are finished, you can resume “normal mode” and all the background processes will be reloaded.

Slow Windows Computer – How To Speed It Up Free

Turn off unneeded Desktop Features that try to make things look better to speed up a slow Windows pc:

The fancy rounded window corners, the way the menus fade in and out, and the 3-D button styles on modern Desktops can overwhelm older machines. To turn off these appearance only enhancements:

  • Windows XP – right-click on My Computer, and choose the Properties option, then choose the Advanced tab, and click the Settings button under the Performance section. In the Performance Options dialogue that comes up, go to the Visual Effects tab, and choose “Adjust for best performance”. You can also try the “Custom” option, and turn on and off individual settings to see which ones will work without slowing your machine down.
  • Vista – Click the Start button, then Control Panel, then choose System and Maintenance, then Performance Information and Tools. Click Adjust visual effects. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. Click the Visual Effects tab, and choose “Adjust for best performance”. You can also try the “Custom” option, and turn on and off individual settings to see which ones will work without slowing your machine down.
  • Windows 7 – Click the Start button, then Control Panel, and then System and Security. When you see System, click on it and then Advanced system settings. From here you can make sure you’re on the Advanced tab and click on Settings under Performance. Here, you can also choose Adjust for best performance or choose Custom if you’d like to compromise between fancy visuals and performance. On a side note, this menu can be accessed much quicker by right-clicking on Computer, from either the Desktop or Start menu, selecting Properties, and then Advanced system settings.

Slow Windows Computer – How To Speed It Up Free

Do a shut down/reboot also known as a cold reboot to help speed it up free:

Some programs do not release memory properly when they close. Even doing a warm restart will not release some of the drivers and other core programs in memory. The computer has to be completely shut down and then restarted. The Windows system is designed to hold on to those programs for a period of time. Shutting down the system for 30 seconds will cause the chips to “forget” the settings, and they will start anew when you restart the system. This will fix a special programming error known as a “memory leak”, and is as simple as rebooting the machine when it starts getting sluggish.

Slow Windows Computer – How To Speed It Up Free

Empty the Recycle Bin to speed up a slow Windows pc:

A “full” Recycle Bin icon indicates there are files waiting to be deleted. Simply deleting files from the disk doesn’t really delete them at all, rather they are moved to a temporary holding area on the hard drive for easy restoration. This area is called the Recycle Bin and is usually displayed on the Desktop.

Review the contents before emptying. Once emptied, the space on the hard drive that the data occupied is made available for reuse and the restoration of files emptied from the recycle bin becomes extremely difficult. Note that this will only speed up your computer if the hard drive is nearly full.

Slow Windows Computer – How To Speed It Up Free

Uninstall all applications that are no longer needed to speed up a slow Windows pc:

When applications and games are installed to a Windows PC, some files are written in the Windows directory structure and dozens (or more) changes are made to the Windows Registry file. Most of these changes are not readily apparent to the user, so proper removal requires uninstalling the application through the Control Panel’s “Add or Remove Program” or “Programs and Features” icon.

  • If the program is not listed in the Control Panel use the “uninstall” command provided by the application.
  • Simply deleting the entire application directory is not the same as uninstalling, as all the files written to the Windows directory and changes to the Windows Registry file will remain and may be reloaded when the system is rebooted.
  • Make sure that you do not uninstall any programs that are required by others. e.g. iTunes® will not work if Quicktime® is uninstalled, and many programs rely on other Microsoft programs.

Slow Windows Computer – How To Speed It Up Free

Run “Error Checking” on all hard drives to speed up a slow Windows pc:

Right-click a drive icon in “My Computer” and select “Properties” followed by “Tools”. Choose “Error Checking” to let the utility scan the drive for damaged files that can contribute to slow drive access speeds. This process may take several minutes or more to complete.

This “Check Disk” options window is presented after clicking “Error Checking”.

Slow Windows Computer – How To Speed It Up Free

Run “Defragment” on all hard drives to speed up a slow Windows pc:

Right-click a drive icon in “My Computer” and select “Properties” followed by “Tools”. Choose “Defragment” to let the utility clean up fragmented files and consolidate free space on the drive. This should be done at least once per week, or more often if the PC is used heavily. Some versions of Windows allow for the scheduling of this utility, and in those cases could be set to run automatically without ever having to manually run again. This process may take anywhere from several minutes to an hour or more to complete depending on size of the drive(s) and amount of unused capacity or free space. Consider starting the defragment process so that it will run over night or prior to logging off. After completion the speed of hard drive read and write times may improve significantly. There are also stand-alone defragmenting programs available from other developers available for download that may or may not charge a fee for use.

This is the “Disk Defragmenter” scheduling and options window.

Slow Windows Computer – How To Speed It Up Free

Install anti-virus software and keep it current to speed up a slow Windows pc:

Anti-virus (AV) software is an absolute must. There are many from which to choose at the software store, but there are free AV solutions that do a very good job, too. All include regular “virus definition” file updates that allow the AV program to detect and protect from the latest viruses being released. Note that while installing antivirus software can actually slow Windows down on your computer, depending on which one you choose. However, most AV programs do not slow a Windows system down as much as malware does.

Slow Windows Computer – How To Speed It Up Free

Relocate the Swapfile or Virtual Memory file to speed up a slow Windows pc:

These files (depending on Windows version installed) are hidden and are usually located on the Windows drive (usually “C:”) If there is a second physical hard drive in the system, consider moving to the secondary drive. Ideally, these files work best when located on the fastest and largest (in terms of free space) drive in the system. The procedure for changing the location varies by version of Windows, and is not detailed here at this time as it is fairly advanced.

Slow Windows Computer - How To Speed It Up Free

This is the Virtual Memory options page for an x86 Windows XP Pro system with only one hard disk. Usually “System managed size” is set, but this one is “Custom”. There should be at least one disk with a Virtual Memory file.


Slow Windows Computer – How To Speed It Up Free

Find and Delete Temporary Files to speed it up – a slow Windows pc:

Temporary Files are used for supporting some applications for a limited period of time and left unused for later.

Go to “C:Documents and Settings<username>Local SettingsTemp” (Windows XP), “C:Users<username>AppDataLocalTemp” (Windows Vista), or “%TEMP%” (any version of Windows) and delete all the files from this folder. If there is a problem deleting one or more files, skip those files and remove the rest. This will free a lot of space on the drive. The Temporary Internet Files directory can also be emptied.

Slow Windows Computer – How To Speed It Up Free

Be realistic to speed it up – slow Windows pc:

The “high-end” computer purchased as new 5 years ago may run the latest version of Windows, but that doesn’t mean that it will do it very well. Technology marches on and it seems there is a game of “one-up-man-ship” played between software developers and hardware designers. Regardless, eventually new software will require new hardware or vice-versa. It seems that the amount of frustration you can endure best determines how long you will run your current setup.

Slow Windows Computer – How To Speed It Up Free

Set your computer’s energy settings to High Performance to speed up a slow Windows pc:

This is especially true in Laptops and Netbooks where the processor speed is altered in accordance to energy settings (and if you are running on battery power)

Slow Windows Computer – How To Speed It Up Free

Add more memory to speed up a slow Windows pc:

While not free, adding memory is a very effective way of boosting performance if your system has less than 1GB. Increasing the amount of memory installed reduces the need for the computer to write to and read from the hard drive. Check the motherboard or system documentation to determine size, type, speed and permissible configurations of memory before purchasing and installing additional memory.

Systems with lower amounts of memory (256 MB to 1 GB) installed receive the greatest boost when increased to 2 GB or more (as this represents a 100-400% increase in system memory). Systems that have 2 GB or more installed receive a less noticeable boost when upgraded.

Be aware that some of these steps are specific to a given version of Window; not all are cross-compatible.

Slow Windows Computer – How To Speed It Up Free

Consider re-installing Windows to speed up a slow Windows pc:

It may be easier to format the hard drive and re-install Windows on the computer. Be sure to back up important data first and have all program installation disks ready for re-installation. Be aware that the format process will delete all files on the disk. This means that you will need to reinstall all software and restore all documents from a backup.

If running utilities mentioned in this article gives you an “Access Denied”, “You don’t have rights to run this”, or the program will not run, you probably have a malware infection. Symptoms other than these are frequent fake and phony, but realistic-appearing, anti-virus warnings that your system is infected, or your web browser sending you to pornographic websites or search sites you have not configured it to send you to.

Slow Windows Computer – How To Speed It Up Free

Warnings

  • Download files from trustworthy sources. The developer’s page is best; P2P, newsgroups and anonymous file hosting sites are more likely to be infected with a virus.
  • Shut down your computer and disconnect all the cables from it prior to opening the case. This eliminates the chances of electrocution or damage to system components.
  • Discharge any static electricity. Touch an electrically grounded source (a heating or plumbing pipe or the metal case of an electrical device powered by a grounded 3 prong cord connected to a grounded receptacle) prior to touching components inside the PC case. Static electricity can pass through hands and could cause delicate electronics inside the PC case to fail.
  • Beware of using MSConfig Using MSConfig as anything but a troubleshooting tool is considered dangerous by many in the IT field to long-term computer stability. Autoruns will allow you to do the same thing and much more including permanently removing unneeded/unwanted entries. Since it can do more, it can be just as or more dangerous than using MSConfig. If you’re unsure of something do your research and don’t remove it until you know for sure you don’t need it. You can always uncheck it and come back later.
  • Do not use registry cleaners Registry cleaners are dangerous. They may seem legitimate, but after a while of usage, they can fragment your registry. Leave them alone, If you feel that it must be cleaned up, use a safe and effective Registry Cleaner that has been tried and tested by someone who knows what they’re doing, make a backup and defragment afterwards.

Click here to download a safe and effective registry and hard disk cleaner to boost your pc performance and fix errors. Plus learn how to defrag your registry correctly and boost overall speed, stability and security using the best tried and tested free tools available.

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