A year has passed, and your “brand new” computer isn’t running all that great anymore. It seems to take much longer to do anything, especially start up. Well fortunately for you, there are a couple ways to restore that fresh-from-the-box speed that you desire. These tips focus on improving start-up speed, but they also will help general system speed.
1. Scan for viruses and spyware. If your computer had a sudden dramatic drop in speed, your problem may be spyware or a virus. I suggest you download Ad-aware, Spybot S&D, (and AVG if you don’t already have antivirus) to scan for bad stuff. Update each program and run a full scan.
2. Keep your drivers up to date. Old hardware drivers can sometimes be inefficient, so it is always a good idea to keep your drivers up to date.
3. Disable Unwanted Start-up Processes. Go Start > Run, type msconfig and hit enter. This will bring up the System Configuration Utility. Go to the start-up tab, and you will see all the programs that load when you start-up your computer. Do not disable any processes that you don’t understand. However you will probably recognize many that you don’t need at start-up, such as CD-burning software, or MSN messenger, or a P2P client. You can safely uncheck these to stop them from booting next time you start up your computer.
4. Disable Hardware you don’t use. Using the Device Manager (Right-click on My Computer, click Properties, and go to the Hardware tab) you can disable any hardware on your computer that you do not use. Each piece of hardware requires time to load it’s drivers. Disabling stuff you don’t regularly use such as firewire ports, PCI ports, and bluetooth could save you a couple seconds each time you start your computer. Don’t worry, you can always re-enable them any time you like!
5. Uninstall software that you don’t use. While it is true that installed software usually doesn’t affect computer performance if you don’t run them, some programs install things called “Services” which are similar to processes and run at start-up. You shouldn’t fool around disabling services, because usually you need most of them. The best way to ensure you don’t have any useless services clogging up your system is to uninstall any software you don’t need anymore.
6. Change the boot order in the BIOS. In most cases, your computer checks the CD drive, then the USB ports for bootable media before booting your hard drive. This detection can take multiple seconds depending on your hardware. If you own your computer and have access to the BIOS, you can change the order to boot from your hard drive immediately, thereby saving a couple seconds. If you ever need to revert, you can always change it back.
7. Disable Recent Documents. Every time your computer starts, Windows draws on a list of your most recently opened documents. Not only is this a potential privacy concern, but it can slow down your computer a small bit. You can easily disable this feature by right-clicking on your task bar > properties > Start Menu > Customize > Advanced.
8. Remove Extra fonts. You can save a significant amount of loading time by removing windows fonts that you don’t use. Fonts such as webdings and other fonts that you never use can be removed to save loading time. A good program to use is Font Frenzy, which removes all third-party fonts other than the default windows fonts.
9. Defragmenter your HD often. If you do heavy activity involving movies, pictures, and downloads, your computer will fragment more quickly. You should run a disk defragmenter at minimum once per month. This lowers the stress on your hard drive, thereby making it less likely to crash.
10. Hibernate instead of shutting down. If you have a laptop you can put it into hibernation, which is a state that uses no energy, but is quicker to restore from than starting up from scratch.