Outdo Yourself: Tips for Better Windows Performance

Over time, any operating system will experience some deterioration in performance. As you add and delete programs, the computer ages, and other factors, things just slow down. But there are some ways to recoup some of the zip you experienced when Windows 7 and your computer were brand new. Here are some tips to do just that:

Check Out Windows Performance Troubleshooter

The developers planned ahead and empowered users from the beginning with a tool to get performance back on track. The Performance Troubleshooter allows you to find and eliminate the problems that are slowing Windows down. You can get to the Performance Troubleshooter by clicking the Start button and selecting Control Panel. When the search box comes up, type in “troubleshooter”. Then click on Troubleshooting. Locate “System and Security” and select the option “Check for Performance Issues”.

Get Rid of the Programs You Don’t Use

It’s easy to download more programs than you think you need, and firmware manufacturers don’t help matters much by stuffing their products with bloatware. You can get rid of the useless programs pretty easily. Click on Start and then select Control Panel. Choose Programs and then select Programs and Features. Choose a program you don’t want anymore and select it. Then click Uninstall. (You can also repair programs here that you’re having problems with.) You can only uninstall one program at a time, but going through and eliminating the ones you don’t use can seriously boost your system’s performance.

Don’t Allow Unnecessary Programs to Start Up with Windows

Much of the time, when you download or install new software, it inserts itself into the task bar and starts up automatically whenever Windows starts. The problem is, most of these are unnecessary upon boot, and having lots of programs running can deteriorate the performance of both your machine and the Windows operating system. To find out what programs begin running upon startup, click on the Show Hidden Icons button, which is located on the right side of the task bar. Stop the programs you don’t want running upon Windows startup by opening AutoRuns for Windows and unchecking the box beside the name of the program you don’t want to start up with Windows.

Keep Your Hard Disk Defragged

As you install and uninstall programs, create and delete files, and other normal activities, the hard disk becomes fragmented. This just means that the information isn’t stored in the most efficient manner. It’s a lot like your closet: when you organize it, you put all of the sweaters together, all of the slacks together, etc.

Over time, things get put back out of order, and soon the entire closet is disorganized. The disk defragmenter puts everything back in the most efficient order, making it faster for Windows to get what it needs, thereby improving performance. To defrag your hard drive, click Start and type Disk Defragmenter. Under “Current Status”, choose the disk you want to defrag (which will generally be the C drive). If you like, you can determine whether or not it needs defragging first by clicking “Analyze disk”. Anytime the Analyzer finds a fragmentation of 10 percent or greater, the disk needs to be defragged. Click on “Defragment Disk”. This process can take either just a few minutes up to  a number of hours, so it’s best to do this when you don’t need the computer for anything for awhile.

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