Not only do they take up space, unused programs slow your computer down by running behind the scenes. They can corrupt your registry and system files, and waste system resources. We also recommend deleting all the unused programs that came with the computer from the manufacturer and remove all expired trial programs. Only uninstall a program if you're familiar with it.
To uninstall a program:
1. Open Programs and Features by clicking the Start button. Click Control Panel, then select Programs, and then select Programs and Features.
(NOTE: For Windows XP, go to the Control Panel, and click "Add or remove Programs".)
2. Select the program, and then click Uninstall.
Startup programs and services can really slow down your system. Most people have no idea that they have these programs running in the background, draining their resources. Removing the programs from the startup or services list will not uninstall the program. It will only stop it from running in the background at all times. The only programs you should have running in the background constantly are the built-in windows services and the programs that should be kept running at all times.
Some examples of programs you should keep are the Microsoft Services, Anti-Virus Software, some hardware drivers (such as some Wifi adapters) and Skype (That way you wont miss a call because skype will always be running). Confused? Don't worry! Once, you disable a startup program or service, you can always enable it back.
To disable a particular startup program or service:
1. Open Msconfig by clicking Start then type msconfig into the search box. (NOTE: For windows XP to get the search box, click start and then click run)
2. Make sure the tab "Services" is selected at the top and check the box "Hide All Microsoft Services"
3. Uncheck the boxes next to the name of the service you would like to disable.
4. Now select the "Startup"tap located at the top.
5. Go through the list of startup programs and uncheck any programs that you'd like to disable. If you aren't familiar with certain programs in the list, you can disable it for now, and always enable it again later.
6. Click "Apply", and then click "OK" to exit.
You will then be prompted to restart the computer. Restart to have the changes take place.
Defragmentation is important for keeping your harddrive fast and happy. If you are using Vista or Win 7, defragmentation is set to run on a schedule (once a week) as default. Make sure it is still turned on by going to the Security Center in the Control Panel You can also manually defragment your drive. It is recommended to defrag at least once a week. For Windows XP, you MUST manually defrag your drive.
To defrag your hardrive:
1. Click the Start button, and then click "Accessories"and then, "System Tools"and then select "Disk Defragmentor."
2. To see if the hardrive needs defragmentation, you can select the drive you want to check, and then click "Analyze".
3. To defrag, select the drive you'd like to defragment, and then click "Defragment"
Running Windows Updates can fix problems, help secure your system, and remove malicious software. There are several ways to check and install new updates.
To check for updates:
1. Open Internet Explorer, and goto the website http://update.microsoft.com Follow the instructions to check and install the updates.
The Performance Troubleshooter can diagnose issues that are slowing you down.
To start the Performance Troubleshooter:
1. Click the Start button, and then click the control panel. In the search box type "troubleshooter", and then click "Troubleshooting". Under System and Security, click "Check for performance issues".
Deleting all the temp files and junk files helps free up space, and can help get rid of some harmful files. To erase the majority of the temp files, use the Windows "Disk Cleanup" utility.
To use the "Disk Cleanup" utility:
1. Click the Start button, then click "Accessories" and then click "System Tools", finally, click "Disk Cleanup".
The free application "CCleaner", is much better than "Disk Cleanup" at cleaning your harddrive. It's also loaded with useful tools, and we highly recommend it. The program is easy to use and should be pretty straightforward.
It's important to keep your antivirus up to date, and do regular scans for threats. Make sure your antivirus software is functioning properly and getting it's updates by going to the Security Center in the control panel, and then look for any errors related to your antivirus software.
It's important to keep in mind that AntiVirus software is usually only around 60% effective at stopping and removing viruses at best. It's always good to get multiple opinions from different antivirus/antispyware programs. Keep in mind that you should never have two antivirus programs running at once. This can cause false positives and other problems. We recommend you have one antivirus program installed that has protection, and then install other antivirus / antispyware programs that scan and remove viruses but do not provide real-time protection.
For free antivirus software, we strongly suggest you use either "Avast", or "Microsoft Security Essentials". If you don't mind spending a little money, "Kaspersky" is the best at preventing and removing viruses. To perform extra scans we strongly recommend the free version of "Malware Bytes". It is safe to run "Malware Bytes" with your antivirus software because it is only a scan and removal tool, and does provide real-time protection. Also, the University Of Oregon has been known to hand out free copies of expensive Norton and McAfee antivirus software.
Check out our guide, What is the Best Free Antivirus Program?"
Disabling Visual Effects can dramatically improve performance. It will take away some of the fancy visual effect features, but most people hardly notice them anyway. NOTE: Disabling Visual Effects will not effect the quality of gaming or video.
1. Open "Performance Information and Tools" by clicking the "Start" button, and then select "Control Panel". In the search box, type "Performance Information and Tools", and then, select "Performance Information and Tools".
2. Select "Adjust visual effects".
Select the Visual Effects tab, and click "Adjust for best performance", and then click OK.
For instructions to disable visual effects in Windows XP, goto Team Turorials Guide
Upgrading to a newer and faster solid state hard drive is one of the best things you can do to speed up your computer. This can vastly increase performance and speed up load times. Just remember you will need to reinstall windows on the new hard drive and will need to add your files from the old drive.Upgrade Memory
Upgrading the RAM on your computer will drastically improve speed and performance. Contact us for more information on getting the right type of RAM and instructions on installation.Enable ReadyBoost (Windows Vista and Win7 only) ReadyBoost is a really nifty feature that lets you turn a removal media, such as a USB flash drive (the little storage drives) into psuedo-RAM. This can greatly improve performance. Keep in mind that getting real RAM is always the best option.
Having too many programs running at once, can really slow down your PC. Restarting your computer will help keep your system running smooth. Be careful not to run too many programs at once which can really slow you down.Restore to Factory Default Mode or Reinstall Windows
If all else fails, the best way to get your computer to run like new, is to wipe it clean and start over again. Most PC's these days have a system restore feature that will allow you to set the computer back to it's factory state.
WARNING: Backup your files before proceeding! Also, you will loose all your programs, so make sure you have the original discs for any programs that you've paid for.
Don't forget to backup your favorites / bookmarks. If you use an e-mail application that stores your contacts and old e-mails make sure you also export and save everything.
First, you need to find out if your computer has a factory reset option, Almost all new PC's come equipped with this feature. This is the reason, discs aren't including with your computer anymore. All the software is loaded on a safe partition of the harddrive.
Once you have backed up all your files, turn off your computer and turn it back on. When it first boots up, look for an option for system restore, or recovery. To enter the system restore feature, it usually involves tapping the "F11" key right when the computer first turns on. The command differs from computer to computer. If you don't see a message that tells you the proper key or key combination to get into the system restore, then try searching Google for your model number and "Factory reset" or "Factory Default". Example: "Dell Dimension 2400 factory reset". You should then be able to easily find the right key combination.
What if your computer doesn't have a factory reset option? Then you will need to reinstall windows with a windows disc. Since your computer doesn't have a factory reset option, it should have come with a disc. Some manufacturers will send two disc, the operating system disc (most important), and the drivers disc. If you have a regular windows disc, this will work as well. You will need to have the proper drivers for your computer! Drivers are the programs needed to make your computer hardware components work. Almost always, you'll be able to download the needed drivers from the manufacturer's website, but this will not work if you have a custom PC.
If you have a custom PC, then you should backup your drivers using one of the many drivers applications available. (Driver Genius) is a popular option. To reinstall windows using the disc, put the disc in your computer, and restart the computer,. If you're lucky, the computer will ask you to "press any key to boot to the cd...". If it doesn't boot, look for a message that gives the proper command to enter the Boot Menu. (Usually F1 or ESC). The alternative method is to go into the BIOS and change the boot order to have the CD or DVD drive as the first boot device. To enter the BIOS, you should see a message with the proper key to press when you first boot up the PC. (Usually F12, F11, F1, or ESC)
Once you have backed up all your files, boot to the disc, and make sure to select the option to delete the current partition, have it formatted (wiped clean), and reinstall windows.
Having trouble? Eugene Computer Geeks can help get your system running like new. Our service for backing up your computer and reinstalling windows with the proper drivers, usually costs $40 or less. Call us at 541-357-7222 for a free quote.Switch to Linux
Linux is a free Operating System and is an excellent alternative to Windows. Linux is more stable, faster, and is completely free from viruses and spyware. All the programs for Linux are free and open source. Linux is now much easier to use and now days works with most devices and hardware. The other benefit to Linux, is you can run it entirely off a CD/DVD or USB, without installing. This is a great way to try Linux out on your system without having to commit.
You can install Linux side by side with Windows, so that when you first turn on your computer, it will give you a menu allowing to choose which Operating System you'd like to boot to. We highly recommend trying Linux and seeing if its the right option for you. You'll never have to worry about viruses or malware, and Linux has a much better reputation for stability and security. Try Ubuntu Linux, which is a great free distribution of Linux.Switch to a Apple/Mac Computer
Although they are significantly more expensive, Apple computers have a great reputation for running smoothly, and getting Viruses or Malware is almost unheard of. They are also built nicely, and usually last longer then PC's.