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Simple steps to speed up your computer

Is your Windows-based computer getting slower, and are tasks such as browsing the Internet and opening files taking longer than they used to?

You are not alone.

Over time, the speed of computers can decrease, the causes for which could be many, such as programmes that you no longer use and updates occupying space.

Your computer may also have a faulty component.

It is possible to restore speed to your computer with a few, simple tasks.

However, as the first step, you should have an external backup copy of all important documents.

You can do the following four things yourself.

Keep your Desktop Clean: Is your computer Windows ‘Desktop’ filled with files?

Ideally, the ‘Desktop’ should only have ‘shortcuts’ and no files. Hence, move, save and store files into folders such as ‘My Documents.’

Delete Temporary Files: As you use the Internet or open new documents, temporary files are created, and these accumulate over time. These temporary files should be regularly removed. One way to do this is to download, install and operate programmes such as ‘CCleaner,’ available free.

Please visit www.ccleaner.en.softonic.com

Defragment your Disk Drives: Your hard disk drive is a component inside your computer in which all information and files are stored. A healthy disk drive allows quicker access to files, and can be speeded up using the built-in disk clean-up programme. Please do the following: (a) with your mouse, click on the ‘Start’ button, and then click on ‘(My) Computer’ (b) right click your mouse on the hard disk drive C: and select ‘Properties’ (c) Select ‘Tools,’ followed by ‘Defragment Now’, ‘Defragment Disk’ or similar instruction (d) remove unnecessary software programmes

If your computer has programmes that you never use, uninstall (remove) them.

Every programme takes up disk space and makes connections to other programmes; with more programmes, your computer gets slower.

Using the mouse, click on the ‘Start’ button, and then ‘Control Panel.’ Select ‘Programmes and Features’ or ‘Add/Remove Programmes.’ Remove Programmes that you no longer need or use.

When deleting programmes and files, make sure that you know what they are. If you accidentally delete an important programme, it could damage your computer.

Technical solutions

There are four more things that you can try, if you feel you are up to it. However, they are very technical and hence are best left to someone with more knowledge. I have therefore not discussed them in detail here.

Clean-up Start-up Items: When you install new programmes, some of would be working in the background even when not in use, and these slow down your computer. You can disable ‘Start-up Items’ using the ‘msconfig’ Programme or use ‘CCleaner’ as mentioned above.

Remove Viruses and Malware: Every computer is vulnerable to viruses, which are nasty little programmes that can cause problems. Malware are programmes created by companies to find out more information about customers, so that they can market their products better. Scanning and removing these periodically is a great way to improve computer performance.

Add more RAM Memory or change to a faster Disk Drive: Sometimes, adding or changing some components and parts can help such as more RAM memory, a separate graphics card, or a faster disk drive.

Start from scratch and install all software programmes again: This is sometimes referred as a “Factory Restore” and takes your computer back to the state when it was first setup. However, this will mean all your data files, documents, software programmes and settings will be lost. The nice thing about doing this is that you essentially have a ‘new’ computer.

These tips should speed up most computers, but they are not the only solutions.

There could still be a fault with your computer, or perhaps it is too old and tired.

If none of the above works, you should then visit your local computer repair store, or get professional advice and assistance.

Nik Naidu is IT Consultant and Director of PC King, a computer firm that has been providing IT support and data backup solutions for more than 20 years.

Email: nik@pcking.co.nz; website: www.pcking.co.nz

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