Tips and Tricks on how to make your computer run faster

Emancipate yourself from Mental slavery
None but ourselves can Free our minds

Excerpt from the Song Redemption Song from the Album Exodus by Bob Marley

It’s Tuesday August 6th 2013. Happy Independence Day dear reader when you read this!

Your snail of a computer is your best friend that you use to do most of your typing. But sometimes, you do wish she was a little faster aside from using keyboard shortcuts How to use Windows Shortcuts to be a more proficient Writer. Heck, maybe even play a few games, especially on Jamaica’s Emancipation day, the day of this article being written, August 6th 2013.

But how do you speed up your computer and Emancipate yourself from slow downloads and the just-can-only-type-in-Microsoft-Word performance? Worse, with the hot weather in the Summer months, you may notice it’s clocking a bit slower due to the stifling heat.

Merdes alores, ma Cherie! There’s a plethora of methods to do this, all of which can be grouped into two (2) broad categories and apply equally to PC (Personal Computers) and Laptops:

  • Software Methods
  • Hardware methods

Software Methods – The Quick the Dead and the Ugly Background Apps

Software methods involve determining what programs are running in the background and basically killing that process, freeing up more precious Memory in your computer. This is normally done by using Windows Task Manager, which you can access by holding Ctrl-Shift-Esc. It gives you a basic idea of what programs are running under the Processes Tab which you can kill by selecting it and pressing End Process.

Killing unnecessary Start Menu programs that start up at boot (they usually appear in the lower right hand corner of your Taskbar can also be done by any one of the programs in your list. Alternately you can always do this:

  1. Go to Start
  2. Type msconfig to bring up the Microsoft System Configuration
  3. Go to Services or Startup
  4. Uncheck those programs you suspect are startup programs
  5. Restart your computer

However, it may be a difficulty knowing what to kill and worse, you end up killing the Desktop or shutting down your computer. To find out what’s running in the background that may be an unnecessary process, the following Free Windows Task Manager Applications  are recommended as being best for the job:

Software Methods – Death of Junk Files and Defragmenting Registry

You can also clean the Registry manually by doing Regedit from cmd at Start Menu (if you can’t find that then you need an IT professional’s help and a Bible!) and deleting Registry Entries for dead applications that you no longer use, as these slow down your computer. This is in essence, defragmenting your Registry, which is a repository that keeps track of all installed programs on your computer, hence its name.

Unfortunately this method is very messy and worse, you may PERMANENTLY brick your PC, forcing you to do a Recovery and Reinstallation of the Operating System (OS) and is usually labled “experts only” in my book.

Best to do is to use CCleaner software as described in Kelroy’s article CCleaner – Keep your Computer Optimized and Sparkling and clean both the unwanted junk files and then cleanse the Registry of its junk, defragmenting it in the process. Make sure you backup the Registry first before you install and run CCleaner!

Deleting unwanted files or folders that you don’t use as well as uninstalling programs you don’t use or worse, were installed by Third Party Programs also improves the speed of your computer. A Boot scan using Antivirus software is a great idea. So too is scanning your computer for Malware using the following tools I recommend personally in my article How to use Scotia VISA Debit Card Online as I use them on my Laptop:

Software Methods – De-Fragments of de Jade Dragon

Defragmentation is basically the same as for the Registry above, except it’s aimed at the Files on the Harddrive. Like cleaning your room, Defragmentation helps your computer to move faster as the files are now properly organized both in terms of their physical location on the hard-drive.

It also reorganizes the FAT (File Allocation Tables) that tracks where your files are located.

Ditto too for a SSD (Solid State Hard-drive) and Thumb Drives as well; Defragmentation does them a world of good. Defragmentation is best done after cleaning the Junk files and Registry, as really, you don’t want to be reorganizing the Garbage too.

The best programs for Defragmentation are as listed below:

Hardware Methods – Processor, RAM and HardDrive

Yes you guessed it! Upgrade ‘em all at once and get a serious power boost. Unlike Software Methods, Hardware Methods will cost you and in some cases may not even be possible, depending on the type of motherboard you have. To this end, a quick aide to determine all these things is to use the CPU-Z Software to give you a report on your PC’s hardware as per my article How to use CPU-Z to Identify Processors.

If it’s overheating and you live in a dusty environment, chances are you’ll need to open her up and clean her out with some compressed air. Worse, you may have to upgrade or add some new fans to the chassis to provide better cooling. Laptops may require opening up to clean the Impeller fans or in some cases getting a Cooling Pad to keep the Laptop cool so that its speed will improve. Software Methods are beginning to look cheaper by the minute!

Even better (or more expensive!) if you really want to go overboard and go Pro Gaming PC on me, you may want to upgrade to a new system altogether. This involves getting a new Motherboard, Memory and a Water Cooler along with the 5GHz 8-Core FX9800 Processor from AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) as described in AMD unveils 5GHz and 4.7Ghz 8-Core Processor at E3 2013 in Apple’s Mac Pro Dogfight for Top Gun in High End Multi-Core PC Gaming.

Conclusion – It’s so hard to say goodbye but Upgrading’s fun

That last part was really an obituary for your old computer. Face facts, gentle reader: if you’re into your tech Gear (like giving it a name, duh-uh), you must realize that these gadgets give, with best treatment, at least three (3) years of useful life. This I recently discovered when my 4GB Kingston Thumb Drive labeled “STARFIRE” gave up the ghost…..and all my files with it.

Best of all, the best gear is always online and it’s cheaper to buy it online and ship to Jamaica. So save up your pennies and shopping online for all that you want as it’s cheaper than buying it out here, so long as you can tolerate waiting three to four (3 or 4) weeks on Standard Shipping to deliver your loot.

So don’t feel too bad if your ole’ Lappy can’t go any faster. Just dry your tears and sell her on Ebay or locally in the Newspaper …..or bury her in a pine Box if you’re the sentimental type. There’s a new gadget online with your name on it waiting to be your new pet with a Need for Speed.

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.