Speeding up a computer can make you enormously more productive—and much more happy too. Saving one second in website page loads or in opening programs multiplied by the hundred or more pages you load or programs you open can save you tens or hundreds of hours a year.
Even better, speeding up your computer doesn’t need to take too much of your time. The following three tricks apply to any modern Windows computer.
Speed Up Your Computer #1—Remove Unnecessary Programs
There are an incredible number of great programs for Windows and you may have tried a whole bunch of them. But do you still use them? I find many computers filled with freeware programs, each one with a registration reminder or taskbar applet running in the background using up a little bit of your computer’s CPU and memory (RAM).
If you aren’t using these programs, you shouldn’t let them use your computer’s resources. Simply go to the Add and Remove Programs wizard in the Control Panel and remove any programs you aren’t using any more. Don’t worry, in most cases you can reinstall the program later if you decide you need it again. (Just make sure to record any applicable registration information if you paid for the program.)
Speed Up Your Computer #2: Check Your Startup Programs
Even after you remove unnecessary programs, you probably still have a bunch of programs running in the background while you work. Each of these programs starts when your computer boots or you login to your desktop, and they all use up part of your computer’s resources, which slows down your computer.
You need some of these programs. You probably appreciate some of these programs too. But the rest provide no useful benefit for you, so they’re just wasting your computer’s resources and slowing down your computer.
To speed up your computer, you should use a start-up program optimizer. There are plenty available on the Web for free or for money. (I haven’t tried too many, but the free ones seem adequate to me.)
These programs look in the several places Windows uses to find start up programs, such as your Startup folder and the Windows Registry “Login” key (folder).
After they find every program which starts automatically, they display a list for you. You can go down the list and enable or disable particular programs. For example, one of the most common start up programs I see is the Logitech Registration Reminder program. This program runs in the background every time you start your computer if you’ve ever used a Logitech installation CD. It even continues to start in the background after you register your device. There’s no useful benefit of this program for you, so I recommend that you disable it. If you check, you may find a dozen or more other programs you can easily disable to speed up your computer.
Speed Up Your Computer #3: Close Programs
Perhaps the simplest way to speed up your computer, besides performing regular computer maintenance, is to close down programs when you’re done using them, especially heavyweight programs such as Microsoft Office or your Web browser.
Remember that each program running on your computer uses a bit of its processing power (CPU) or memory (RAM), which holds back the power and memory from other programs on your computer. Keeping a few small programs such as your Instant Messaging [IM] client open isn’t too bad, but keeping a few large programs open can significantly slow down your computer, especially if you have a small or medium amount of computer memory.
Studies have found that people aren’t very good at multitasking, so only using one major application at a time can make you more productive in addition to helping speed up your computer.
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