Why do we clean our houses? So everything is nice and organized and there's not trash everywhere to step over. Computers are the same way, except you don't step over trash it just slows down everything you do. Is your computer moving at the pace of the tortoise instead of the hare? Then you need to do some house cleaning. Sure, everyone knows of some little things they can do to clean up their computer. However, does sweeping the floor mean your entire house is spotless? No. It is a combined effort. Try making a monthly routine of doing the following and you will never have to deal with a slow PC again.
Clean Out Your Old Files
This includes your downloads folder, which holds every picture, downloaded attachment and file, MP3 or video you have downloaded. Unless you specified that your computer save them elsewhere, then clean that out. If you indulge in the illegal activity of torrenting, make sure you clean out your old torrents from wherever you store those.
Uninstall Unused Programs
Go into your Control Panel, open Programs and Feature, and read through that list. Is there a program you just don't or won't use anymore? Get rid of that waste of space. Don't worry about removing a program essential to the Operating System or anything, that is what the feature in the Control Panel is for. keeping the system files safe.
Empty Your Recycling Bin
Cleaned out all your old files? Uninstalled all those unused programs? Now it is time to permanently remove them. Open your Recycling Bin, chose the option to empty the Recycling Bin and all those things are gone for good. make sure there is not anything you need, first though. Even if you delete something and it goes to the Recycling Bin, it will still be taking up space and making your computer slow. So be sure to empty it on occasion.
Run Your Antivirus
Now it is time to take care of all the unseen things that may be running extra processes on your computer and making it slow—viruses. If you don't have antivirus software, that right there is probably why your computer has so many problems. It is most likely badly infected. I personally recommend Avira (it's free) with Advanced System Care (also free). I use those two together along with another program I will discuss in a minute, and no virus escapes me. Avira provides real time protection, so it can prevent you from downloading infected files or visiting malware site. While Advanced System Care helps clean out viruses, malware, and extra junk files that are making your computer slow.
However, with both programs, be sure to do custom installations. The developers tacked on extra programs into the install, so unless you want stupid toolbars, do a custom install. They are easy to avoid installing.
This program is specifically for malware and spyware. If those above antivirus options missed them, this won't. However, you can't just use Malwarebytes by itself. It only works for malware, not viruses. You still need an antivirus program.
This is definitely something to run if your computer is running slow, it should along with your antivirus be the first thing you start. It is a free program as long as when you are installing you uncheck the option to have a trial of the Pro version.
After doing all those things, this is the last thing you should do. When you delete a file or a program, not everything gets deleted. It can leave little fragments of files everywhere that do nothing but take up space. That is where defragmenting comes in. It combines those files and removes them or puts them back where they are needed. Defragging is a great way to clear up space and make a computer run faster.
Roll Back To A Better Time
If things are bad. I mean, really, really bad. You can always go back to a better time. Going to Accessories from the Start menu then System Tools, then System Restore can literally make your computer go back in time. Providing you haven't changed it to not keep restore points. Usually a restore pint is made every two weeks, meaning if you got a horrible virus that prevents the installation of an antivirus, you can just go back.
This, of course, is a last resort option. Something like a panic button.
Slow Boot Times
Is your computer taking 3+ minutes to start up? A common cause could be the programs that start up when Windows does. Every program that starts up, which would be anything in you task bar, is causing your PC to need more time to start up.
To disable this programs go to the start menu, go to Run, type in msconfig, then go to the startup tab. You will see a list of programs with check boxes next to them. Uncheck everything you don't need open on start up. Your antivirus? Need that. Itunes? Probably don't need that. You get the drift.
If after all that, your computer is running at the pace of an old man with a walker. Well, it might be time to invest in a new computer. Computers are really only optimum for at least four years before they should be replaces. However, if you do not want to purchase a new computer, at least upgrade certain parts of your computer. Your hard drive, RAM, graphics card, or the mother board. However, some mother boards will not support more RAM than you already have in there or different video cards. You should always make sure a part is compatible before buying.
If you bought your computer already assembled, like most reading this guide probably have, you may not be able to swap parts at all. That is how companies like Dell and HP get you to buy new machines, since you cannot upgrade your old ones.
However, if you don't want to upgrade your computer yourself or at all. Consult your local IT professional, whether it be a friend or one of those services like A+ computers.