In the last article I talked about how buying a new PC can really speed things up and bring you up-to-date. But, I also promised to give some tips for those of you who still want to hang on to what they've got. After all, buying a new computer isn't the only way to speed things up. There are actually quite a few ways, but I will discuss the best one today.
The most common reason for a sluggish PC is having too many programs loading automatically at startup.
When you bought your computer it seemed really fast, didn't it? That's because it most likely had the bare minimum software required. Since then, you install software, virus protection, spyware protection, memory optimizers, web browser toolbars, IE plug-ins, desktop wallpaper utilities - the list goes on. All of these take up precious memory and CPU time and most of them load automatically when your PC turns on. This leads to increased wait-time when Windows boots up and even when you shutdown.. The worst part about the collection of these add-ons, is that you probably don't even use half of them, but have simply learned to ignore the little icon it shows in the system tray, next to your clock.
Go ahead and take a look right now, next to your clock. Do you see a lot of icons? For those of you running Windows XP, click the little circle arrow button down there to scroll all the tray-icons out into the open. Oh yeah, you didn't know those were there?
Here's how to clean this problem up and gain back some of your speed.
First, click Start->Control Panel->Add/Remove Programs. Look through the list of programs and uninstall any which you no longer use. This will not only free up CPU time, it will also give you more disk space. You may even find some nasties (adware or spyware), that you don't even recall installing in the first place. They often come bundled with other free tools you may have downloaded.
Now that you've uninstalled the junk, it's time to make the computer start up faster. Download a good startup optimizer, such as our product Startup Select. Remember, ksoft never bundles 3rd-party software with our tools. When you first run Startup Select, you will see a list of all the programs which run automatically when your PC turns on. These are the guys slowing you down. Look through the list and find the ones which you don't think you need or, in the case of spyware, that look suspicious. The first 10 or so items will be programs you have probably installed, while items afterwards (with the little gear icon) are Windows services. Double-click any items to disable them.
For the services (shown by a grey and yellow gear icon), be a little choosier about what to disable. For a quick list of harmless ones you can turn off, I usually pick: Alerter, Indexing Service (this is a big speed up saver), Messenger, and Remote Registry. You may wish to try a few others as well.
The best part about using a tool such as Startup Select is that if you find out you disabled an entry that you actually need, you can just run the tool again and enable the entry.
After you're done disabling unnecessary entries, exit the tool and reboot your PC. This will let you test the effects. Make sure you don't see any errors appearing and that you PC runs as you expect. If any problems arise, just run Startup Select and re-enable the entry which was complaining.
In this way, you can help optimize your PC startup time and make it run a bit faster. Your eyes will also thank you since you won't have to look at 100 colorful icons next to your clock anymore.