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The Ultimate Guide to Fixing a Slow Running PC

By Edited Nov 16, 2013 0 2

speed up your PC for free

slow running pc
Got a slow running PC? Most people do and don't even realize it. If your PC is running slow there are many free things you can do to speed it up. A slow running PC can happen for many reasons. From virus's (even after you clean them out) to simply downloading and installing program after program without ever deleting them out. Even Windows itself has many basic settings that, well, are prone to make your PC very slow.

We'll go through the steps to fixing a slow running PC in three stages, first we'll do a general cleanup, then we'll go ahead and clean the registry and finally we'll turn off some of those settings that can make a PC very slow.

Clean out the old stuff to fix a slow running PC

.....Tons of old files left undeleted will result is a slow running PC!

If you've had your computer for a while odds are the hard drive is full of old files that really need to be deleted. From old photos, music files, downloaded programs, or whatever, they take up space and can make a slow running PC.

  • First off, delete unused and unwanted programs. Go to the control panel, then add/remove programs and then uninstall all the old programs that you no longer need.
  • Next delete all of your unwanted documents, pictures and music
  • Do a disk cleanup. In Vista go to control panel, click on "performance information and tools" then click on "open disk cleanup" on the left.  In windows 7 it's in the 'Manage computer ' area.
  • Clean internet explorer files, or whatever browser you're using.. Open internet explorer, on top choose 'tools', internet options then on the general tab delete history. You'll also want to turn down the space allocated for temporary internet files.
  • Go to 'start' then run (in Vista open a command prompt) and type in %temp%, delete everything in the window that opens as these are temp files (there may be some you cannot delete as they are in use, it's ok)
  • Finally, empty your recycle bin

Run your anti virus programs now, just to be sure there's no baddies around. Obviously this can make a PC very slow too. Virus's like to hide in the temp folder as well as the temporary internet files area, that's one of the reasons we cleaned them out. Here's a great article that will show you where to get free anti virus protection software.

After deleting all the old stuff you'll want to defragment your hard drive, this will really boost a slow running PC

Fix a slow running PC
Picture a hard drive as a big encyclopedia, all the information on it is stored in an orderly manner (alphabetically) making it very easy to find the information you need. Over time, this information get's out of order and can easily make a PC very slow.

Right click on the start button and choose explore. In the window that opens find your C: drive and right click on it, choose properties and finally defragment hard drive. This will take a few minutes but will have a great effect on a slow running PC, especially if you've never defragged your hard drive before.

Now clean out your registry to fix a slow running PC

Over time, whether because of programs you've installed or even from virus's that infected your PC there can be many, even 100s of bad entries in your computers registry. Now, I'm not going to tell you to go through 40,000 lines of code and clean it up. Theres a free registry cleaner tool available here.

Let's turn off some un needed settings to fix a slow running PC

Turn off some of the display options if your PC is running slow

Click on start, then go to the control panet, click on system, then advanced tab. Under performance tab click on settings. There are many options here, you can uncheck as many as you like and only keep the ones you want.

In Vista just go to the control panet, open System and click on 'advanced system settings' on the left. Under the advanced tab, performance click on settings and then click the button 'adjust for best performance'

Here's an easy one, remove any desktop picture you may have, it eats up display memory and can make your PC very slow.

Also, turn off file indexing. Right click on the start button and click on explore. Then find your C: drive again, right click on it and go to properties. On the General tab at the bottom uncheck the 'Index this drive for faster searching'. This will really speed up a slow running PC.

 

Disconnect unused USB devices to speed up a slow running PC

If there are USB devices attached to your system you need to disconnect them if they are not in use. Windows will load the drivers if it detects an attached USB device, whether you're using it or not.

Outdated device drivers can make a PC very slow

This is NOT a slow running PC anymore!
Go to the manufacturer website for all your devices and download and install the latest drivers. Do this for your video card, sound card, motherboard, mouse and any other devices you may have attached, like a printer or network card.

Updating your device drivers will have a profound effect if your pc is running slow.

And finally, after you've gone through all the steps to fix a slow running PC you'll need to reboot your computer.

When it comes up your computer should be lightning fast again, just like when you bought it.

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Comments

Aug 24, 2009 1:06am
retireyoung
Another tip would be to check your computer for any spyware.
Apr 2, 2012 2:50am
toebunkers
This is always what my I.T. department recommend,
"Have you tried turning it off and switching it back on again?"
No, but I have thought about making 100% redundancies in the I.T. department and using the budget savings for the Christmas party.
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