Is Your Computer Slow?

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PC Working at a Snail's Pace?

 

It’s a common complaint. You sit and stare at the computer screen and feel your blood pressure rising as you wait. And wait. And wait some more. In today’s world of instant gratification, when everything is needed yesterday, a slow computer is the last thing you want.

 

Don’t Panic!

Before you rush out and buy the latest incredible deal that is guaranteed to run at lightning pace, take a few moments to think about your other options. Is there anything you can do to speed up your current computer without spending a fortune?

The speed of a computer is usually governed by three categories – software, hardware and virus infection. Let’s take a look at these in turn.

Software

The more software you load on your computer, the harder the computer has to work to control everything. Many programs load themselves to start automatically when you start your computer and run in the background, taking up valuable resources.

Sometimes, you may be loading sample or demo programs on your computer and then forgetting to remove them. Each time you install a program, entries are added to the Windows registry files. The more entries, the more work the computer has to do.

Do you really need all the bells and whistles in the latest version of your word processing program? Applications are becoming more and more bloated with extras that you may never use. Keep it simple!

It’s probably time for a clean up! Check your start programs and remove those that you don’t need to be running all the time. Get rid of programs that you will never use again. Finally, buy and run a good Windows registry-checking program to remove references to those removed programs.

Hardware

The latest programs and versions of operating systems need ever increasing amounts of memory to run effectively. Depending on your computer model, you can normally add extra memory to help performance.

As you keep loading programs, or work with more and more documents and files, the information on your computer hard disk can become scattered. This means your computer takes longer to find and access files. A quick solution is to defragment your hard disk, using the Windows built in system tool.

How often do you vacuum your computer? Not so silly as it sounds. Dust can accumulate around the fan outlets, causing your computer to run hot, reducing performance levels. While you’re at it, make sure that the fan is actually working – you can usually hear this without pulling the computer apart.

Viruses

The more you wander around the Internet, the more likely you are to pick up virus or spyware infections that at best can slow down your computer, or at worst make it unusable.

Buy and install a good antivirus and anti-spyware program and keep it up to date – it’s worth the money.

Other Options

Sometimes the only option really is to treat yourself to a new computer. Again, think it over before you rush out to the shops. What will you use your new computer for? Are you into computer games, do you spend most time browsing the Internet or do you work with presentations and spreadsheets?

Your activities will help you determine the best choice. One simple way to determine your new computer requirements is to look at the requirements listed for the software you intend to use. Virtually all software will detail the memory needed and disk space required to install it, so you can get a good idea of what you’ll need by checking out the software you’ll be using.

A general rule of thumb is the more the better, particularly with memory hungry operating systems such as Windows Vista. Go for as much memory you can afford, the fastest processor and the largest hard disk. If you are into games with heavy graphical requirements, then the minimum memory you will need is 1 GB, but go for at least 2 GB. However, remember that if you are running a 32-bit version of the operating system, memory above 4 GB will not be used.

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