Speeding_up_your_PC_for_free by MarijanStefanovic


									Title: Speeding up your PC for free

Word Count: 621

Summary: This piece discusses the basic system utilities that come with the Windows
operating System used for optomizing your PC's performance. Demonstrated how to use
them as well.

Keywords: PC, support, computers, optomization, speed, faster

Article Body: My mother-in-law is not very good with technology. She understands that
computers run the government and that the Internet is great for purchasing figurines on
eBay, but that's about it. Like all tech-proficient son-in-laws before me, I am often my in-
law’s foil for computer questions and repair. So, when she came to me demanding that I
make her 1996 PC run faster, I knew she wanted me to use all my skills and computer
super-powers to forcefully evolve her computer into the new millennium. By taking some
very simple, and no-so-well-known cleanup steps both my mother-in-law and I were
pleasantly surprised to see the notable improvement in performance. Looking to do the
same with your PC? Of course you are!

The first Three steps taken were simple:

1. Run the Disk Cleanup Utility (Start-->Programs-->Accessories-->SystemTools)

2. Run the Defragmenter Tool (Start-->Programs-->Accessories-->SystemTools)

3. Scan the main disks for errors (My ComputerRight-click on C drive--
   >Properties-->Tools Tab-->”Check Now” button under Error Checking)

The Disk Cleanup Utility should be obvious in nature. Use it to remove pesky files that
live in your seldom-to-never accessed portions of your hard drive. These files cause
system overhead when performing searches or loading program data. The Defragmenter
tool is actually quite old, dating back to the days of DOS when most of the “geeky” stuff
was done using that unforgiving command line most home users have come to dread.
Defragmenter sort of rearranges the files on your drive to remove gaps that occur
naturally over time. Applications may seem to live in one spot conceptually. However the
reality of it is that the OS takes portions of unused disk space that actually break up the
continuity of the program. Even thought the OS knows where to find both parts of the
program’s code to make run without errors, it takes more time to read the instructions
from all of the different regions. Finally, use the Disc Scanner/Error checker to find
possible flaws in the hard drive that slow down the physical movement.

The next step required software to detect for spyware. After a long, hard search I came to
find that three anti-spyware programs seemed to work above all. The first is a program
known as Spyware Killer, or by its retail product name, Stopzilla. The programs costs
about $20 (with rebate) and was the most comprehensive of all programs I used. Stopzilla
found programs running in the background that I would have never spotted myself. The
second program is called Spy Doctor. The initial scans are free, however I found that I
had to purchase the whole program to make it as effective as Stopzilla, and the price was
about $30 instead of $20. The final program I used was the Windows Anti-spyware suite
(beta edition). The Windows program ran well, but the beta edition expires and there is
no immediate renewal in sight.

The last step I needed to take was to run a Registry Cleaner utility. The registry is a large
database used by the Windows operating system to hold information about how your
machine should look, behave, and operate. Since my mother-in-law’s computer was
almost 10 years old, countless program installations left the registry bloated, and
resource-consuming. We found that “Registry Mechanic”, made by the same people who
created the Spy Doctor program mentioned above, was the most popular application for
the job. The program was simple to follow and the free trial edition was more than
enough to smooth out the registry wrinkles. In the end, we were able to almost triple the
performance of her PC for little more than $20.

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