Despite the weather we have just experienced, spring is almost upon us, so why not give your PC a spring clean of its own?
Why a Spring Clean?
If your PC takes ages to boot up or respond to your inputs, there is a chance it requires some basic housekeeping.
Whilst you could purchase a new PC or upgrade your existing one, you may not need to. There are several things you can do easily which will noticeably speed up your equipment. However, unlike new IT equipment, these tips won’t cost you a penny!
When performing a spring clean on a slow computer, you need to decide where to start. You will probably perform all of these steps by the time you’re finished, but doing the right steps first can save a lot of time in the long run. Bear in mind your network and all local PCs could be administered by your IT administrator, so you may not have sufficient privileges to carry out some of the tips.
Try the Built-in Performance Optimiser
Windows has a built-in tool which assists with performance issues. The tool will check a number of potential issues, such as how many users are currently logged on to the computer and whether multiple programs are running at the same time.
To use this tool, click the start button and search for the Control Panel. Now find the Troubleshooting section and click ‘Check for performance issues’ under the ‘System and Security’ heading.
Delete Programs You Don’t Use
Many PC manufacturers pack new computers with programs you didn’t order and might not want. These often include trial editions and limited-edition versions of programs that software companies hope you may find useful and then purchase.
Keeping the software on your computer might slow it down by using precious memory, disk space, and processing power. If you don’t want these programs, it is a good idea to uninstall them.
You should also uninstall software that you installed but don’t want any more – especially utility programs designed to help manage and tune your computer’s hardware and software. Utility programs such as virus scanners, disk cleaners and backup tools often run automatically at start up, quietly chugging along in the background where you can’t see them. Many people don’t even realise they are running.
Even if your PC is older, it might contain manufacturer-installed programs that you never noticed or have since forgotten about. It’s never too late to remove these and rid the computer of the clutter and wasted system resources. Maybe you thought you might use the software one day, but never did. Uninstall it and see if your PC runs faster.
Limit How Many Programs Run at Start-up
Many programs are designed to start automatically when Windows starts, Software manufacturers often set their programs to open in the background, where you can’t see them running, so they’ll open right away when you click their icons. That’s helpful for programs you use a lot, but for programs you rarely or never use, this wastes precious memory and slows down the time it takes Windows to finish starting up.
How can you tell what programs run automatically at start up? Sometimes this is evident, because the program adds an icon to the notification area on the taskbar where you can see it running. Look there to see if there are any programs running that you don’t want to start automatically. Point to each icon to see the program name. Be sure to click the Show hidden icons button so you don’t miss any icons.
Clean Up Your Hard Disk
Unnecessary files on your hard disk take up disk space and can slow down your computer. Disk Cleanup removes temporary files, empties the Recycle Bin and removes system files and other items no longer needed. You can find this useful utility by searching for ‘Disk Cleanup’ in the search box of the Windows Start menu.
Run Fewer Programs at the Same Time
Sometimes changing your computing behaviour can have a big impact on your PC’s performance. If you are the type of person who likes to keep eight programs and a dozen browser windows open at once – all while sending instant messages to your friends – don’t be surprised if your PC bogs down. Keeping a lot of email messages open can also use up memory.
If you find your PC slowing down, ask yourself if you really need all your programs and windows open at once. Find a better way to remind yourself to reply to email messages rather than keeping all of them open.
Check for Viruses and Spyware
If your PC is running slowly, it is possible a virus or spyware has infected it. This is not as common as the other problems, but it is something to consider.
Before you worry too much, check your PC is using antispyware and antivirus programs. A common symptom of a virus is the degradation in computer performance. Other signs include unexpected messages popping up on your PC, programs starting automatically, or your hard disk constantly working.
Of course, the best way to deal with viruses is to prevent them in the first place. Always run antivirus software and keep it up to date. Even if you do take precautions, it is still possible for your PC to become infected. If you are unsure if you are protected from viruses and malware, please contact us as we are a McAfee partner and are experienced in implementing Endpoint Protection for business clients.
Hopefully once you have performed these steps, you will find your computer running like new again. If not, please contact us and we are happy to investigate further or make recommendations. We are also happy to advise on and implement new IT equipment.