Speed Up Your Windows PC: How to Make Your Computer Run Faster

by Tammy

Speed Up Your Windows PC: How to Make Your Computer Run Faster

Photo: Kossak

Has your computer started working slow, but you don’t know what to do about it? Try the suggestions below to help speed up your computer and make it run faster.

Increase RAM

The most obvious way to make your computer run faster is to increase your Random Access Memory. For instance, 1GB of RAM can work well for Windows XP users, but for Vista and higher, you will want to consider 3GB or 4GB for a smoother performance. The bigger programs become, the more RAM you’ll want to have.

If you would rather not do it yourself, go to a local computer store and ask if someone can do it for you. You will be glad you did.

Delete Temp Files

Beyond RAM, another way to speed up your computer is to delete temporary files on your hard drive. Without being aware of it, every time you surf the Internet, your computer is storing information (web pages, files, cookies, etc.) to make future visits to a website easier for you. This is fine when you frequently visit the same websites, but if you don’t return to the same place twice, you still have the temp files on your PC. And if you still have the temporary files on your PC, it is wasted space.

Delete temp files by opening your browser of choice (Internet Explorer, Firefox, or whatever you use to browse the Internet), then click Tools, which is usually found in the top menu bar with File and Edit, and look for a place to delete recent history and/or files.

  • In Firefox, click Tools and Clear Recent History. In later versions, click History and Clear Recent History.
  • In Internet Explorer, click Tools and Internet Options, then in the General tab, click the Delete button beneath Browsing history. For some versions, click the “gear” icon in the top right corner, then select Internet Options and click the Delete button in the General tab.
  • In Chrome, click the three horizontal lines in the top right corner, then select History and click Clear Browsing Data.

Defrag Hard Drive

Another tip for helping your computer to have a faster overall performance is to defrag your hard drive regularly. How often you should do this depends on your personal computer use, but once a month should be enough for most people.

To defragment your Windows hard drive, click the Start button (bottom left corner of your screen), then go to Programs or All Programs. In the Accessories section, click System Tools and Disk Defragmenter. Follow the instructions onscreen in the box that opens to defrag your hard drive, which is normally the C: drive.

Check Background Programs

Sometimes a computer will slow down due to programs running in the background. If you use an instant messaging program, this could be one cause. Another program that is certain to slow down system performance is an automated virus scanner. It takes a while for virus programs to scan a computer, and even though you can still work on your computer during this process, the PC will become much slower during the scan. It’s better to disable auto scans and get into the habit of running a scan manually every couple of weeks, again depending on your personal computer usage. If you are visiting a lot of unfamiliar websites, you might want to scan more often.

Program updates and any kind of file download can also cause a slower computer performance. If you aren’t sure, click Ctrl-Alt-Delete (all 3 buttons at the same time) and click to Start Task Manager. In the Applications tab, you will be able to see what programs are currently running.

For those with Windows 7 (not Windows 7 Starter), especially Netbook users, switch your desktop background theme from Aero to Basic for a noticeable difference in speed and performance.

Uninstall Old Programs

Similar to the Disk Defragmenter, which rearranges fragments into fewer files, uninstalling old programs you no longer use will not only free up more space on your computer, but it can also help things run faster and smoother. To uninstall a program, go to your computer’s Control Panel and click to Uninstall a Program. Find the program you want to delete, then click to Remove or Uninstall. On some computers, you might need to right-click on the program name and select Uninstall.

Use a Registry Cleaner

The registry area of a computer is where most information is stored. Over time, this area can get very cluttered, so it needs to be cleaned out. Although there are many good ones out there, Advanced SystemCare is one of the best registry cleaners that will not only make your computer run faster, it will also do some of the jobs listed above for you. Even better, it’s free. Just be sure to pay attention when you are installing or updating the program; they do like to push their other software, so don’t be afraid to click Cancel or Decline.

After trying these few tips and things are still running slow, it might be time to upgrade your computer. Older computers can’t always hold up to the many new programs and features that are released more and more everyday. If you are unable to afford a new one at the moment, find someone in your local area who can build one for you. Having a computer customized can be a much cheaper route, plus you can get everything you want on it, including that much needed RAM.