A common question I receive via email (I get A LOT of emails so, please be patient I DO answer every email I receive) is “How can I speed up my computer?” I also get the question regularly from my younger nephews and nieces “MrGROOVE, MrGROOVE! Make my video games go faster!!” Ok, I made up the “MrGroove” part, but regardless of what you’re doing on a computer, it is always nicer to have it done a little more quickly.
My good friend grooveDexter recently contributed a new How-To Article: Increase Windows Explorer Shell Stability and Speed for XP users. So I’ve decided to use my free evening to jot down a groovy list for readers so they can quickly improve overall PC performance for Vista and XP.
I’ll call it the “MrGroove Quick 10 Performance Tips.” Hmm.. not so exciting. Regardless, here you go! Hope they help!
1) Disable Files Indexing
File Indexing is a service that improves the speed of Windows searches. If you use it, it’s great! If you don’t, it’s a waste of resources.
To turn off file indexing:
- Double Click the My Computer icon
- Right-Click your drives and Click Properties
- Uncheck Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching
- Click OK and apply it to all subfolders and files if it gives you the option
- Repeat for each drive
2) Scan and Clean Your Computer Registry
Windows Registry can get messy when you install new programs and update your applications, especially when uninstalling unwanted programs. An excellent way to improve the speed of your PC is to perform maintenance from time-to-time on your computer registry with a registry cleaner. I’d recommend CCleaner. You can see my review of the product here: Securely Wipe / Delete Files and Cache History Using CCleaner
3) Disable Performance Counters
Windows XP has a performance utility which monitors all of the loaded .dll’s on your computer. These performance counters can be useful, but a home user doesn’t need them. These utilities are meant more for corporate network environments, and so their use of your home PC memory is just going to waste. You can Disable these pretty quickly. Just Download and Install the Extensible Performance Counter List. Then Check each Setting in the Extensible Performance Counters window and Uncheck the Performance Counters Enabled check box near the bottom.
4) Don’t Use A Desktop Picture
It might be really cool having your favorite scenery, car, or super-model on your desktop. But, did you know that this uses up system resources thus slowing down your PC performance? If you opt to remove the image and just use a plain color background it can help increase your computer speed.
All you have to do is Right-Click any blank area on your Desktop and Select Properties. Then Go to the Desktop tab and under Background Click None, and then Click OK to finish.
5) Regularly Defragment your Hard Drives
Regularly defragmenting your systems Hard Drives is probably one of the easiest ways to improve system performance. Many people seem to think that if you fill up your computer with BEEFY Processors and Gigabytes of memory, your computer will be screaming fast. What they fail to realize is a slow performing Hard Drive (Poor Disk IO) plays a VERY significant role in the Performance of a Computer. A messy Hard Drive (Defragmented) can bring a system to it’s knees quickly. (Umm? yeah, fast heheh.)
One thing to remember is that in order to Defrag your drive efficiently, you should try to keep 15% of your drive free when you initiate the clean-up. Although the 15% rule isn’t a requirement, when the system begins moving files around to optimize the drive the more space available the better (and faster.)
Although this is a manual process for older Operating Systems (Windows XP, 98, etc.), Windows Vista and Server 2008 allow you to Schedule Defrag to keep your drive IO optimized. Take a look at this Groovy How-To for detailed Step-By-Step for Windows Vista and Windows XP: http://www.groovypost.com/howto/microsoft/vista/improve-windows-performance-by-defragmenting-your-hard-drives/
6) Get Rid Of Unnecessary Display Settings
Windows has a lot of built in visual effects that really don’t do anything, and you probably won’t really even notice that they are gone. By removing some these unnecessary visual options you can help fix your slow computer or just improve performance.
To disable all the effects,
- Click Start and Right Click My Computer, Click Properties
- Double-Click System to enter it
- Click the Advanced tab
- Under Performance Section, Click Settings button
- Click Adjust for Best Performance and then Click OK
For a visual of step 6, take a look at the Step-by-Step goovy Article: Improve Windows Performance By Disabling Windows Visual Effects
7) Use Vista’s ReadyBoost
If you are using Windows Vista there is a really neat built-in service called ReadyBoost which helps augment your system memory on your PC. By doing this, Vista’s Readyboost can help overall system performance including improving performance for Applications, Games, Internet Browsing, etc. To use it simply plug-in a USB flash device and check “setup to be used for ReadyBoost”. For a Step-By-Step, take a look at this groovy write-up: Increase Windows Vista Performance Using ReadyBoost
8) Simplify Windows Explorer Browsing & Improve Stability
And of course, a plug for groovyDexter’s latest post – Improve your folder browsing so that a single Explorer window does not take the rest of your system down by launching each window in a separate folder & disabling network prefetch (kinda).
- Click Start menu and Click My Computer
- Click Tools tab from File Menu at the top of the window
- Click Folder Options & Click the View tab
- Check and Un-Check two separate boxes – First, Uncheck the box that says Automatically search for network folders and printers. Then scroll down and Check the box that says Launch folder windows in a separate process.
Again, for a detailed Step-by-Step, checkout http://www.groovypost.com/howto/microsoft/xp/increase-windows-explorer-shell-stability-and-speed/
9) Scan for Spyware and Viruses
Spyware and Viruses and viruses are becoming more and more common as the internet continues to expand. If your security features aren’t 100% up to date you can acquire a virus or spyware simply by just browsing the internet. Once your computer is infected it will really hurt it’s performance among other problems including information vulnerabilities and complete system failure. The best way to go about protecting yourself is to make sure you always have all of the latest Windows Updates installed. And another way to keep yourself safe is to get an Anti-Virus program. I did a write-up a while back. Feel free to take a look or grab your own AV: Download Free and Reliable Ant-Virus Protection
10) BUY A FASTER COMPUTER
Sorry… 🙂 but that one is for my close friends who are still using the same computer they bought brand new with Windows 95 on it. Yes yes yes… I helped you out and installed Windows XP on it and yes, IT’S TIME TO BUY A NEW COMPUTER. After all, you can probably get one from DELL or HP these for under $500 bones! So do all your computer geek friends and family a favor (yeah, the ones you call every time your computer dies and need them to jump start it back to life) and BUY A NEW PC. 🙂 🙂
Well, I hope that helps! Anyone have any other great tips? Would love to hear from you!