The speed of every computer running a Microsoft Windows operating system will decrease over time. Sluggish performance can sometimes be unnoticeable, but you can rest assured that at some point you’ll start seeing a major difference in your computer’s performance. This decline in terms of performance can be caused by many things – malware, leftover files, unwanted applications, errors in your registry, etc.
Taking care of these problems is relatively easy, because there are hundreds of tutorials, tips, guides & applications that can be used to take care of some of the major reasons for poor computer performance. In our tutorial we’ve gathered the best tips to increase computer speed and performance, so it is safe to say that this is the most complete guide to speed up your computer. Let’s start!
Uninstall Applications You Don’t Need
Computers come pre-loaded with a bunch of software that you probably don’t use. Apart from this, you’ll also get many third-party applications by installing different programs. Leaving these applications running will definitely slow down your computer at some point, so we strongly recommend removing them.
In order to see what applications you have installed, you need to open the Windows Control Panel and go to Programs and Features. There you’ll see a list of all Windows features, programs and applications you have installed on your computer. Uninstall the once you don’t need, but be careful not to uninstall something you need!
Control Which Applications Run on Startup
This is a bit more advanced, but it can significantly improve the boot time and overall performance of your computer. By default, Windows runs many applications on startup, but thankfully there is a quick way to disable automatic startup of the programs you don’t need.
In order to disable or enable automatic startup of specific program you’ll need to click on the Start button in the bottom left corner, and then type msconfig & run the tool from the list. This will open the System Configuration interface. Click on the Startup tab and you’ll see a list of applications that are automatically started every time you boot your computer. Remove the ticks from the boxes before the name of the program in order to stop it from automatically starting when Windows boots. Make sure that you don’t disable any important drivers for your mouse, keyboard, touchpad, printer, web camera, etc. Disable programs you don’t use, programs you don’t need all the time, and software that doesn’t look legitimate – we are talking about speed-up utilities that you aren’t using, etc.
Use the Disk Cleanup Utility
This won’t have a huge effect on performance, but it will still help your computer a lot. The built-in Disk Cleanup utility that Windows uses will scan your hard drive for leftover files, temporary files, log files, hotfix installers and other unnecessary objects that take up your valuable space. In order to launch the application you’ll need to click on the Start button and type Disk Cleanup. Launch the tool, select the partition you want to clean and click Ok. Usually, computers that haven’t been cleaned for a while have at least 2-3GB of unnecessary files.
Use Third-Party Cleanup Tools
There are many great applications that you can use to increase your computer’s performance, free disk space & fix various errors. Keep in mind that there is a lot of fake software as well, so you should only trust programs coming from reliable publishers. Some great applications for optimizing your computer’s performance are CCleaner, Ashampoo WinOptimizer 10, Partition Magic Free, SlimCleaner 4 & TuneUp Utilities 2013. Some of them are free, others are paid. The best free tool is undisputedly CCleaner – thanks to it you can clean up your registry, fix registry errors, cleanup disk space,& properly uninstall applications.
Use the Action Center Troubleshooter
The Action Center was one of the interesting innovations in Windows 7. The Action Center reports if you have any major problems with your computer, and also offers you a quick way to fix them. In order to take a look at the problems reported by the Action Center you need to click on Start and start typing Action Center. Then launch the tool, navigate to the Maintenance tab and click on Check for Solutions for every problem you see.
Scan & Remove Malware
This is usually the #1 reason for slow computers. Malware is usually malicious software that either runs in the background or gives you false advertisements or alerts whose goal is usually to make you buy something. You’ve probably seen such software – out of the nothing you see a “Speed-up Tool” that reports for numerous problems with your computer and asks you to pay $60 in order to fix them. Never pay! These alerts are fake and their only goal is to scare you & make you buy their product. Removing these applications is easy, you’ll just need to get a good anti-malware software suite such as Norton 360, BitDefender, AntiVirus Plus, Malwarebytes Anti-malware or Webroot SecureAnywhere.
Increase Your RAM
This is a last resort – upgrading your computer’s hardware. One of the main reasons for a slow PC is usually less RAM than you actually need. Adding more RAM isn’t very expensive, and you can get a 4GB stick for as less as $60. Of course, you may not need to upgrade your RAM, so carefully check whether the amount you have at the moment meets your needs. Check out the task manager and see how many memory your computer uses while in idle mode, and while running some of your heavier applications. If, for example, you have 4GB of RAM and your computer is using 3GB in idle, then you might want to consider buying another stick of RAM memory.
Buy a bigger, faster & better hard drive
Hard drives aren’t cheap, especially when talking about the modern SSD drives. However, they can significantly improve the overall performance of your computer. Installing your operating on an SSD will reduce boot time to just a few seconds, and all applications installed on the SSD will load several times faster than before.
Upgrade Your Operating System
Using the newest version of your operating system is strongly recommended for optimal performance. Upgrade to Windows 8 if you want to take advantage of the newest features offered by Microsoft’s operating system. Its developers have implemented numerous fixes and optimizations whose goal is to improve the overall performance of you system compared to Windows 7.
Defragment Your Hard Drive
Hard disks store data in several chunks of space that sometimes get mixed together. This means that your computer needs more time to access each piece of data and that can result in a significant performance drop. Defragmenting your hard drive basically organizes the chunks on your hard drive and thus makes it easier for your computer to access the data it needs. Windows 7 has a great built-in hard disk defragger, but they are plenty of third-party tools that you can use for this purpose. For the Windows 7 tool just open the Start menu and type defrag. Launch the Disk Defragmenter utility and select the partitions that you want to defragment. Select Defragment Disk and wait for the process to finish, keep in mind that this may take up to a few hours.
Download & Use Microsoft Fix it
Microsoft Fix It is a small and helpful tool developed by Microsoft. It works by quickly scanning your system for common Windows 7 issues and provides you with optimization tips, as well as cleaning up your computer and solving various maintenance problems.
Consider Changing Your Browser
Still using Internet Explorer? Microsoft’s internet browser has gone a long way over the past couple of years, but it still worse than many of the popular browsers available for free. If you’d like to experience a real performance boost when it comes to browsing the web, then we strongly advise you to download & install Google Chrome. It is safer, faster, lighter, and very customizable.
Adjust Windows 7 for Extra Performance
You can disable many Windows 7 visual effects In order to get a maximum performance boost at a cost of some decline in the appearance department. Right click on My Computer, go to System Properties and select the Advanced System Settings link. Pick the Performance tab and select Adjust for Best Performance.
Clean Your Desktop
Reduce the number of files and folders in order to enjoy a clutter-free workspace, as well as to gain a small performance boost. This won’t do miracles, but it still better to see a clean & well-organized desktop instead of a messy place that makes it difficult to find the files you need.
Scan Windows for Errors
Microsoft has implemented a small & neat utility called System File Checker. It inspects the most important files on your computer for errors and other issues. If you have too many corrupted files, then your system may experience a significant drop in performance, but thanks to the System File Checker you’ll be able to solve these issues and optimize the performance of Microsoft Windows.
Reinstall Windows & All Programs
If you are still not satisfied with the speed of your system, then it may be time to go for more drastic measures. Reinstalling your Windows operating system is usually the last thing on the list, but it is undisputedly the most effective way to get rid of system errors & get the performance that you need. Keep in mind that the process is quite lengthy and you’ll have to re-install all your applications in order to avoid any errors. Use this as a last resort if the tips above don’t work.