Speed Up My PC

Posted on February 28, 2011

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If you’re like me, you constantly surf the ‘net finding sources and information for writing articles and pictures, links and videos to include in them. Over time, your PC gets sluggish and needs a “tune up” to get it going strong again.

Follow the steps below regularly – weekly, unless otherwise specified – to ensure your computer is always a clean, lean smooth-running machine.

1. Clear your Internet cache. I do this manually every 3 or 4 days, but you can also set it up to do it every time you close your browser. Your Internet cache captures every site you visit or search on, so (depending on your usage) it can get quite robust after just a few days.

For Google Chrome users:

Click on the little wrench in the upper right-hand side of the address bar (long, white horizontal open space in your Internet browser). Select “Options” and click on the “Under the Hood” tab. Click on “Clear browsing data.” Minimally, you want to select “Clear download history” and “Empty the cache.”

For Internet Explorer users:

Click on the “Tools” tab and select “Internet Options.” Make sure you’re on the “General” tab. Under “Browsing History,” select “Delete,” then click on the items you want deleted. Minimally, select “Temporary Internet Files” and “History,” then click on “Delete.”

For Firefox users:

Click on the “Tools” tab. Select “Options.” Click on the “Privacy” tab, then click on “clear your recent history” and “remove individual cookies.” While in this tab, you could also tell Firefox to never remember history or customize the way it remembers history. Do this by clicking on the drop-down tool bar to the right of “Firefox will.” Select “never remember history” or “use custom settings for history” to customize it to your preferences. Next select the “Advanced” tab. Click on “Clear Now” button to the right of “Offline Storage.”

2. Clear your Adobe flash player cache. Click here and look in the box that says “Website Storage Settings panel.” What you see is your computer’s actual flash cache. Select “Delete all sites.” It clears out stored cache websites that will save again when you visit them the next time.

3. Clean Your Windows Registry OR download a quality uninstaller. If using a software to clean your registry, you don’t need to do it more than once monthly; however, a quality uninstaller eliminates the need for a registry cleaner. Steve Bass from PC World says that the Windows Registry is a critical system file that collects details about your computer. In short, this detail sometimes gets cluttered and causes your computer to slow down. Cleaning out the registry speeds up the performance of your computer, but not without risk. That’s why Bass says you must always back up your registry with ERUNT prior to cleaning it. A free registry cleaner that one online user strongly suggests is Wise Disk Cleaner. Instead of the registry cleaner, however, Bass recommends using a quality uninstaller. PC World has a free one available for download on their site called Revo Uninstaller. Bass says you don’t need a registry cleaner with Revo.

4. Use SUPER AntiSpyware to clean your computer of spyware and malware. Many PC support experts say it’s the best. You can download it free here. If you use the free version, you’ll have to manually initiate the cleanup. I use it about once a week and let it go through a minimum of two cycles to ensure it catches everything. It’s easy to follow and seems to do a really good job cleaning up what my F-Secure misses.

5. Initiate a disk cleanup. Click on the Windows icon on the bottom left-hand of your computer screen. Select All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disc Cleanup. Some users download free software to ensure the disk cleanup is thorough. A popular disk cleanup software is Wise Disk Cleaner Free, and you can download it here for free. I found another site that offered instructions on how to automatically initiate a disk cleanup on the Windows Guides site. The Windows Disk Cleanup Wizard does not touch files under a week old. If you want all files cleaned up, this is good to implement.

6. Delete all your downloaded files. When you download a file from your mail service, your computer saves a copy. If you save it to your hard drive, you now have two copies of the file. for Windows 7 users, click on the Windows icon on the lower left-hand of your screen. Type in downloads. Initiate a search and voila! Other Windows users may have to select Computer > C: > Users > [Your Name] > My Documents > Downloads. Save on your hard drive the ones you want to keep and delete the rest.

7. Delete all Windows temporary files. Windows temporary files are separate from temporary Internet files. When you delete your Internet cache of temporary files, you don’t delete Windows temporary files and vice versa. To find all your Windows temporary files in Windows 7, click on the Windows icon on the lower left-hand corner of your screen. Type in %temp% and click on the magnifying glass to do a search. The results show all your Windows temporary files. Delete all the files in this folder. “Skip” the ones that won’t delete as these are system files necessary to run your computer. You can directly access your Windows temporary files at C:\Users\Owner\AppData\Local\Temp, but you may have to turn off the “hidden files and folders” option. Replace “Owner” in the file name with your user name.

8. Defrag your hard drive. As you add or delete files and simply use your computer every day, files fragment on your hard drive slowing it down. Defragment your hard drive to speed it up. Follow the same process as disk cleanup, but after “System Tools,” select “Disk Defragmenter.” I scheduled mine to run every Wednesday at 1 a.m. You can either schedule yours or do it manually every week when it’s most convenient.

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