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Simple Tasks to Boost PC Performance

Written By: Willie Long

Many people wonder why their computer seems to get slower and slower as time passes. Just like a car, a computer needs routine maintenance to continue running properly. Here are several steps to get your system back in order.

Check Your Hard Drive for free space

If you are running out of storage space, your computer will definitely slow down. You can simply double click My Computer, right click your hard drive, and select properties to view your used space and free space. If you are running low on space, now is the time to delete any old programs you no longer need.

Uninstall Old Programs

Click your start button, then head to Control Panel- Add/Remove Programs. Here you will see a list of programs that are installed on your machine. Read through the list and uninstall any programs you no longer need. If you aren’t sure what something is, it is best to leave it for now. You can use an internet search engine to find out about it later.

Clean Out your Web Browser’s Cache

Many people fail to realize their browser usually keeps a record of the sites that they visit daily. You may want to get rid of this for several reasons. For the purpose of this article, we want to get rid of all the temporary files, history and cookies. You need to know beforehand that a full clean-up may get rid of some of your saved usernames for specific sites. Internet Explorer users should click, Tools, Internet Options, and the General Tab(Default). Here you can delete your cookies, delete your temporary files, and clear your history.

Scan your computer for Spyware and Adware

This is by far the most common problem I encounter. If you constantly get pop-up windows from sites you have never visited, you may be infected. Spyware and Adware are programs installed on your computer that track the sites you visit and send you unsolicited ads related to your frequently visited sites. You should download two programs to remove these programs; Spybot Search and Destroy and Ad-Aware. You can find both of these programs by visiting www.download.com and searching for their names. After downloading and installing the programs, make sure you run them. You may be surprised by what is installed on your computer without your consent.

Update and Run Your Virus Scan Software

Make sure you have virus scan software on your computer. If you don’t, McAfee offers a free program you can use over the net. Visit http://www.mcafee.com and click “Home and Home Office”. If you already have virus scanning software, update it, and run a full check
periodically.

Run Scandisk

Double-click your My Computer icon on the desktop. From their, right click your hard drive(c: is the default), select Properties, then select the Tool tab. Now you need to select Check Now in the error checking section. Once you click “Check Now” a small window will pop-up. Check the “Automatically fix the system errors” box and hit the Start button. Follow the instructions your system gives you from this point.

Run Disk Defragmenter

This is by far the longest step in this article. I suggest you perform this procedure last. It may be best for you to let this program run overnight or while you are at work. Over time, the information on your hard drive may become fragmented. Imagine being assigned a file clerk position at your job.

Would it be faster and easier if the files you need to sort/retrieve are all in one location and alphabetized? Or, would it be easier for you to randomly look for the files all over the office?

Sometimes your computer needs to “look for files all over the office”. Defragmenting your hard drive will correct this problem. To run this program, double click My Computer, and right click your hard drive (c: is the default) and select Properties. From the Properties window, select the Tools tab and click Defragment Now. You can also click the Start Button- Programs- Accessories- System Tools. Make sure you run ScanDisk before you run Disk Defragmenter.

There may be errors on your hard drive that need to be fixed before you defragment. I would hate for you to run this program, head to work, and find out the program stopped on its own once you get home.

These are just a few things that you can do to boost your PC performance. If you would like further tips and tricks, visit www.24-7computers.com.

About the Author

Willie Long is the webmaster at www.24-7computers.com. He has 8+ years experience working in the Information Technology field.

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