Sunday, June 20, 2010

Easy Steps to Improve Your PC's Performance

Unless your computer is fresh out of the box, it's probably not running as fast as it used to. Our PCs fill up with all sorts of good stuff -- documents, music, videos, programs, games, downloads -- and bad stuff like viruses and spyware, too. Over time they can get bogged down.

A little periodic maintenance & in a tight economy here’s some few simple steps to help keep your PC running like new, instead of buying a new one. 

Computers with Windows XP and newer operating systems come with several simple utilities to check, clean and de-clutter your hard drive. Doing so will free it up to access your programs and files more quickly.

  • Disk Check identifies and removes hard disk errors caused by crashes or power failures.

Frequency: Every few months to make sure the drive itself is functioning properly.  

Click on My Computer
Right click on C drive
Choose “Properties”
Select the Tools Tab
Click the "Check Now" button under "Error Checking"
Check all the boxes
Click Start

  • Disk Cleanup removes temporary files and unnecessary detritus from your hard drive, freeing up space.

For example, when browsing the Internet your computer collects thousands of temporary files to help Web sites load more quickly. But over time these files create clutter, so it's a good idea to clean them out.

Frequency: Once a Month
Click on My Computer
Right click on your C drive
Choose “Properties”
Select Disk Cleanup

  • The Disk Defragmenter improves hard drive performance and speed by piecing together parts of files that have been broken apart.
 As you use your computer, files are constantly added, changed and removed. Over time, these files and folders are broken into chunks of data, so when you want to access the file your hard disk has to work harder and look in more places to find all of its contents. This is known as fragmentation.

The more full your hard drive becomes, the more likely it is your files will be fragmented. The Defragmenter pieces those chunks of data back together, so your hard drive can load them more quickly. 

Frequecy: Once a month-- and it's best to run when you're finished using the computer for the day, as it can often take over an hour to complete. 
Click on My Computer
Right click on your C drive
Select Properties
Choose the Tools tab
Click "Defragment Now" button under "Defragmentation"

Windows XP and higher can automatically check to see if it needs to be updated. Microsoft often supplies patches, updates and security fixes for Windows (as well as Office and other Microsoft programs) that should always be installed to keep your PC up-to-date.

The beauty of Automatic Updates is that it checks with Microsoft on its own and lets you know when you need to do something. So just make sure that Automatic Updates are on: 

Click Start, and then click Control Panel
Click Automatic Updates
Choose Automatic (recommended)

Though it sounds counterintuitive, dropping an unwanted file in the Recycle Bin doesn't actually remove it from your hard drive. To prevent accidental deletion, a file can remain in the Recycle Bin and continue to take up space. Periodically emptying the Recycle Bin helps free space for the files you want to keep. 

By the way, if running all these individual fixes doesn't sound like your cup of tea, there is software available that can optimize your computer in a few simple steps -- cleaning our your hard drive, speeding startup and shutdown, and repairing errors.
Check Out:

PerfectSpeed & System Mechanic

Finally, perhaps the most common causes of computer sluggishness are viruses and spyware. You may already have computer security software installed on your computer, but with so many new threats created every day, it must have updated definition files to be of any use. 

You can still check out the McAfee Total Protection 2010!



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