If you are having problems with your computer running too slowly, you may be tempted to figure out how to change the CPU speed. In most cases, however, it is not the CPU hardware itself that is slowing you down, but rather a combination of factors having to do with various software and registry files that have accumulated in your hard drive. With a few simple maintenance operations, it is possible to speed up your computer and reduce the frequency of errors and crashes without having to resort to expensive hardware purchases or costly repair bills. Here are a few tips to optimize your computer’s performance:
1. Scan for viruses, spyware, adware, and other nasties. A surprising number of people with slow computers wind up forking over their hard-earned dollars to “expert” technicians only to find out later that their problems were caused by viruses or adware that they could have removed themselves with a simple scan. There are a number of free virus scanning and removal programs available; I’m currently using AVG and following it up with occasional scans by Microsoft Defender. In conjunction with using the Firefox browser for surfing, this has worked well for me so far. I have had very few virus or slowdown problems despite my frequent use of the Internet.
2. Go through your hard drive and get rid of programs that you no longer use or need. Although you should be careful not to delete files that are required for your computer to run properly (such as those that make up your main operating system), most people accumulate a lot of junk on their hard drives that simply takes up space and can lead to hard drive fragmentation if regular maintenance is not performed. In order to check what programs you have currently installed, you can go to Start >> Control Panel >> Add/Remove Programs. From here you can uninstall programs that you no longer need. This will not only free up space on your hard drive, but is a recommended step to take before moving on to the next tip.
3. Defragment your hard drive(s): Over time, the constant adding and deleting of files that occurs with normal computer use inevitably leads to fragmentation of your hard drive. This means that your individual files become scattered in a less organized fashion, making it more difficult for your computer to access them quickly. As you might imagine, this can cause your computer to slow down if you let it go long enough. Fortunately, there is a simple fix for this. After removing all unnecessary programs, go to Start >> Accessories >> System Tools >> Disk Defragmenter, choose an appropriate drive, and press “Defragment”. This process could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on how many files you have accumulated as well as how long it has been since this operation was last performed.
4. Scan and clean your registry: Another unfortunate side effect of installing and uninstalling lots of programs is the accumulation of obsolete or invalid entries in your computer’s registry. The registry is an important part of your computer’s operating system that stores configuration settings regarding hardware, memory, user preferences, and various applications. As most computer technicians will tell you, it is not a good idea to mess around with manual editing of the registry unless you really know what you’re doing. Fortunately, there are free downloadable programs such as RegCure that will allow you to scan your registry for errors, back it up, clean out invalid entries, and fix any existing errors that may be causing problems.
Unless you have a physical problem with your hardware, these four steps should go a long way toward fixing your computer’s CPU speed by allowing it to operate at its full potential. These things should also be performed as routine maintenance occasionally, especially if you use your computer frequently or are allowing other people to use your computer without your supervision. If you can keep up with this kind of maintenance, you can not only prevent errors, slowdowns, and crashes, but you will save yourself a lot of time and money in the long run by effectively extending your computer’s useful life span.