10 Ways to Speed Up Your PcAuthor: Duncan Kelly
A slow computer is a real pain, especially when you are in a tearing hurry to get something done. Well, take heart! There are ways of speeding a slow computer up, without having to buy a new one.
First and foremost, if your RAM (Random Access Memory) is too small, increasing it's size will definitely solve most of your problems. When RAM is too small, the computer spends most of it's time swopping data from it's RAM to the hard drive and back again. It does this because the computer works from the RAM - whatever you see on your screen has to be in the RAM first, so if there's no space in the RAM it has to make space by taking something else out first. Getting stuff off the hard drive is much slower than getting it from RAM, so the computer becomes slow. The more programs you load at the same time, the more this swopping will occur, and the slower your computer will become.
To give you a rough idea of RAM needs: Windows XP will work nicely on 1 gigabyte (1000 megabytes) of RAM. You can get by with 512MB, but 1 gig is better. If you are running Windows Vista, you will probably be better off with 2 Gigs of RAM.
(2 Gigs (or GB) of RAM is 2,000 MegaBytes, which is 2,000,000,000 Bytes, where one byte is the memory used to store one character, such as an "A" or a "7" )
Other things also affect performance, although not as much as RAM tinyness. Here are some of those other things you can do to get your speed up:
1. Keep your recycled bin empty. Windows has to keep track of those files, somewhere in it's memory.
2. Defragment your hard drive every so often. This process relocates the files on your hard drive into contiguous lumps, making the time shorter that it takes for your hard drive to load a file, because it doesn't have to go looking all over the drive to find all the bits of your files.
3. Keep the number of icons on your desktop to a minimum. Icons are little graphic pictures, which all have to be loaded into the RAM in order to be displayed on the screen. Move as many of them as possible into a separate folder, and then just drag a shortcut to the folder onto your desktop.
4. Check your startup folder, that you are not loading a whole lot of programs that you never use. Delete what is unnecessary.
5. Check your Temp folder. You can usually delete the items within this folder. (NOT the folder itself! Windows uses it) If you get an error message when you try to delete one of these files, then just leave it there - it means some program is presently temporarily using it.
6. Shut down programs when you are not using them. Don't just minimise them and leave them running. They are using memory space.
7. In Task manager (right click blue bar at bottom of screen, select Task manager) click on the processes tab and see what processes are taking all your memory. Click on the mem.usage column to sort the numbers numerically. A Google search will tell you what these things do, and quite a lot of them can be shut down. Important!! Don't shut anything down if you don't know what it does.
8. Sometimes upgrading to a faster CPU (main processor) will help performance, but this is quite expensive and it's often easier and not much more expensive just to buy a new, faster computer.
9. Clean out all your deleted emails, which often just pile up and use resources.
10. Type faster. Sorry, only kidding. I couldn't resist that one! It will get your speed up though!
These few tips should get you going a bit faster, and hopefully reduce stress and irritation. Happy computing!