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How to Improve Your Computer’s Performance

May 15th, 2009

You can easily optimize and improve the performance of any PC running Windows XP or Vista by following a few easy steps.

Remove Unnecessary Files From Your Hard Drive - Disk Cleanup

The Disk Cleanup tool can be useful for locating all those temporary Internet files, downloaded program files (such as ActiveX controls), and Windows temporary files that are hidden on your computer. After it scans your system, you get to choose what you want the tool to delete. It also allows you to choose optional Windows components and installed programs that you no longer use and may want to remove. This should be done at least once a week to ensure best performance.

To Use Disk Cleanup:

1. Click Start, click My Computer, right-click Local Disk (usually C:), click Properties, then click Disk Cleanup.

disk-cleanup-improve-performance.jpg

2. After the scan completes, scroll through the list of Files to delete. Place a check in the box beside any content that you want removed or clear checks from anything you want to save. Highlight a category and click View Files to see which files will be deleted. Once you have selected all the files you wish to delete, click OK. When prompted to verify that you want to delete the specified files, click YES. Once the process completes, the Disk Cleanup window will close.

cleanup-files-improve-performance.jpg

Under the More Options tab you can select Windows Components, Installed Programs, and System Restore Points to remove (this is done separately from the “Files to delete” option and will open additional windows).

Reduce The Time It Takes To Read/Write to your Hard Drive - Disk Defragmenter

Fragmentation of your files can negatively impact your system’s overall performance. When you open a file, the computer must first scan the hard drive and find all the individual pieces of the file. Disk Defragmenter will move the pieces of your files and folders so that each occupies a single space on the hard drive. For optimal performance Disk Defragmenter should be run at least once a month as well as when you add a large number of files, install new programs, install new Windows versions, or whenever you have 15% or less free disk space. Alternatively, you can also use other freeware programs to perform the same function and access additional information about your computer’s hard disks. For more information on this, see my previous article on Auslogics freeware disk defragmentation.

To Use Disk Defragmenter:

1. Click Start, click My Computer, right-click Local Disk (usually C:), click Properties, click on the Tools tab, then click Defragment Now.

defragment-hard-drive.jpg

2. Make sure that the drive(s) you want to defragment is selected and click Analyze.

3. One the analysis is complete, you will be given the option to view an Analysis Report that lists information such as your most fragmented files and some statistics on your drive(s). If you wish to view this information, click View Report; otherwise click Defragment.

Depending on the condition of your drive(s), this process may take a very long time to complete. Note that in Windows Vista there is no graphical interface that shows the progress; however, the drive is still being defragmented.

4. Once the defragmentation is complete, the results will be displayed. Once you have finished reviewing the results, click Close to close the Disk Defragmenter utility.

Detect and Repair Disk Errors - Error Checking

Over time your drive may develop bad sectors, making it difficult if not impossible to write data (save files) to your drive. It can also greatly slow down your drive’s performance and can compromise the integrity of files you already have saved. The error checking utility scans and attempts to fix bad sectors on your hard drive. It also detects file system errors which occur when files or folders are misplaced. This process should be run about once a week to best avoid possible data loss.

To Use the Error Checking Utility:

1. Close any files that are currently open. Click Start, click My Computer, right-click Local Disk (usually C:), click Properties, click on the Tools tab, then click Check Now.

check-disk-repair-errors.jpg

2. In the Check Disk dialog box, make sure the box beside “Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors” is checked, then click Start.

3. If bad sectors are found, choose the option to fix them. Only select “Automatically fix file system errors” if you have reason to believe that your drive contains bad sectors.

Often slow computer performance can be contributed to a culmination of spyware, adware, and other malware on your computer. These can not only slow down your system, but they are also a risk to your personal information. Having an active virus protection program as well as performing regular scans can all but eliminate these threats and many can be found for free online. The steps above, in addition to keeping unwanted software from infecting your system, will greatly improve your computer’s overall performance and could save you hundreds of dollars on unnecessary repair bills.


This tutorial on how to improve computer performance was submitted to Constant Content by Crystal Overman earlier this year, where its usage rights were purchased by Karlonia.com. We are eagerly awaiting more articles from this author. If you would like to submit your own article for publication, you may do so through the Contact page.


One Response to “How to Improve Your Computer’s Performance”

  1. comment number 1 by: Jeanne

    Before defragmenting your computer’s hard disk, you should do something in advance.

    1. You should clean up the junk files and information.

    Since your system work for a long time, the junk files may cram many unconscious operations may result in junk files. They are temporary files when installing the programs, cache files after browsing, DLL files left by deleting software and error files produced by shutting down the computer forcedly.

    It is common that most users are inclined to use the disk cleaning up programs in the Windows, at the same time, you can also turn to certain more powerful defragmenter to help you.

    2. You should check and restore any mistake in the hard disk.

    Of course, you can have a try of the Disk Scan Program of Windows firstly. Although it really takes a lot of time to repair it, as long as you are patient enough, the most errors and mistakes can be restored after complete and detailed scanning.

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