Easy Fixes To Increase PC Peformance

“My computer is too slow.”  I do get this one a lot.  The easiest and quickest hardware fix to this problem is to add more RAM, or main memory, to your PC.  But there are many simple and free things you can do to speed up your system and improve response and efficiency.

  • Uninstall unused programs – Every installed program seems to have an active component that runs at start up and lives in the Tool Tray down by the clock.  We all have programs installed that we tried once and never used again, or crapware that came preinstalled by the manufacturer.  Go to the Control Panel and use Add/Remove programs in XP or Programs and Features in Vista to remove this stuff.
  • Keep stuff off your desktop – Saving files to your desktop will significantly slow down your PC’s performance.  Files are to be saved in your My Documents folder.  Desktop shortcuts are fine, and usually under 1KB in file size, but placing hundreds of megabytes or gigabytes of actual files on your desktop means that your computer basically has to completely render them every time you start up.  Plus most backup programs do not automatically backup the Desktop, just the My Documents folder, so saving to the desktop could present other problems if your system crashes.
  • Empty out your Inbox – This applies to those of you who use Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail or a similar email program, but not those of you on AOL, Yahoo, MSN, or some other type of browser based web-mail.  I have had several clients who had thousands of emails in their Inbox, going back years in one case.  Here again, when Outlook opens, it has to open and render every one of those emails when the program starts, and at every Send/Receive.  Learn how to save message in a folder, or better yet, a folder system, and see your email speed incease dramatically.  The rule is: unread email in the Inbox only, read it, then delete it or save it to another folder.
  • Skip the Browser toolbars – since Internet Explorer 7 was released, there is really no need to browser toolbars from Google, Yahoo, Windows Live, or anyone else for that matter.  And some, like My Web Search and My Web Points are really spyware, and just a plain bad idea.
  • Empty the Recycle Bin – right click on the icon and choose Empty from the context menu.
  • Delete Temporary Internet Files – In Internet Explorer select Tools, Internet Options, then Delete Files from the first tab.
  • Occasionally run Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmentation utilities – these are found under Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools.
  • Periodically use a registry scanner – I recommend Registry Mechanic by PC Tools.  Use some caution here, there are fake registry cleaners out there that are really malware.
  • Schedule Virus Scans – You can set a schedule for your virus and spyware scans to occur when you are not using the PC, after hours, or during lunch.  Some of them will even turn the PC off when they are finished scanning.  Run a quick scan daily and a full system scan once a week.  There is nothing like a virus or spyware infection to bring your system to a crawl.

Try some of these tips out and let me know how they worked for you.


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at http://wyzguyscybersecurity.com

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