?Slow PC? Fortunately there are numerous things which may be done to speed up your computer. These five simple methods below are simple and effective and may be done by even inexperienced PC users. Run Disc Cleanup Disc Cleanup comes as standard with all versions of Microsoft Windows. This application finds seldom used files, unneeded files and deleted files and compresses (Zips) or deletes as appropriate. Not only will this application free up disc space but will also speed up your PC. It is recommended to run this program before Disc Defragmenter. To access Disc Cleanup in Windows XP go Start -> programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disc Cleanup. Select the drive you want to clean then click OK. Select the default options and click OK again. Repeat with any other drives on your computer. Run Disc Cleanup once a month. Defragment your Hard Drive As you use your PC you'll save and delete files. When saving data the drive breaks the data into small ‘pieces' and saves each piece in the first available piece of disc space which is large enough for each individual ‘piece'. Over time, as data are saved and deleted the data ‘pieces' become fragmented (in other words they could be stored more effectively). This fragmentation makes a PC slower because it takes more time to construct the data ‘pieces' when needed. By running a defrag the data ‘pieces' are put closer together and nearer the front of the drive making the PC faster. To defragment your drives on Windows XP go Start -> programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disc Defragmenter. Select the drive you want to clean then click Defragment. Repeat on all drives. Disc Defragmenter may take a few hours to run depending on the amount of data on your drive, the speed of your PC and other factors. Defragment your discs once a month for best results. Remove unneeded Applications Applications are installed onto our PCs both per our instruction and as part of automatic updates. As time goes on Applications which you don't use will remain on your computer. These unneeded applications slow down your computer as well as use up hard disc space. Some of the most common software which is not uninstalled when unneeded is security software; if, for example, security software is trialled then not purchased it may remain on your PC but remain inactive even if you install and use a competing software vendors software. To remove unwanted software in Windows XP click Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Add Remove Programs. Select the program you want to remove then click Remove. Remove unneeded Programs every three months to speed up your computer. Close Windows and Applications Every concurrent application which is run or window opened uses system resources and slows down your computer. Best practice is to close any windows or applications you'll not be using for awhile and reopen them only when required. There are certain applications which need to run all of the time such as firewall and anti-virus software however some applications such as Microsoft Word only need to be open when needed. Some applications also use significant computer resources (such as games) Get into the habit of closing unneeded applications and windows and you'll notice the difference in your PC speed. Remove Applications from Start-up When you start up your PC many applications start automatically. Some of these applications are needed however some are not and are slowing down your computer unnecessarily. Security software is certainly important to be run at system start-up however some software starts up purely so that it is available quickly should you need to use it. Often you won't be aware that part of the application is running as it won't appear as a window even though it is running in the background (such as Webcams and PC cameras). Running unneeded applications at start up eventually slow your computer considerably. Microsoft provides an excellent free tool called Windows Defender (included as default with Vista however requires download for Windows XP). With the ‘Software Explorer' of Windows Defender you are able to manage startup programs very effectively. Follow the five simple performance enhancement activities above and your PC is sure to run quicker.
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