There are many ways to improve computer performance, from hardware upgrades to editing the Registry. But upgrading hardware can be quite expensive and editing the Windows Registry can seriously harm your computer if you do something wrong. In this article I've focused on simple and safe tweaks that will not cause any trouble and will make your computer run faster.
There are many ways to improve computer performance, from hardware upgrades to editing the Registry. But upgrading hardware can be quite expensive and editing the Windows Registry can seriously harm your computer if you do something wrong. In this article I’ve focused on simple and safe tweaks that will not cause any trouble and will make your computer run faster.
1) Speed Up Windows Explorer
Sometimes starting Windows Explorer can take a while. This is because Windows automatically looks for network files, shared network folders, and devices when you start Windows Explorer. It is possible to make it open faster by changing the settings:
- Open Windows Explorer
- Click on Tools menu
- Then click on Folder Options
- Click on the View tab
- Find Automatically search for network folders and printers check box and uncheck it
- Click Apply, then click OK
- Reboot your PC
- From now on Windows Explorer will start faster, as it will no longer automatically search for network files, shared folders, and devices in the network.
2) Optimize Appearance Settings
We all are used to how Windows XP looks. But actually its visual effects waste system resources. The graphics card is not the only one that has to deal with it – the CPU and the memory are affected as well. Windows Vista graphics are even more advanced and can dramatically slow down your PC, especially if your computer isn’t one of the latest and the fastest ones.
Luckily there is a way to configure Windows XP for best performance by reducing the effects in the graphical user interface. This will free up RAM and increase computer speed. To configure Windows XP for maximum performance do the following:
- Go to Start, Settings and select Control Panel
- In the Control Panel, click System and then Advanced tab
- In the Performance Options window select the Adjust for best performance radio button
- Click OK to confirm and close the window
- This will turn off all visual effects, which is good for less powerful PCs and laptops. However, if you would like Windows XP to look more like what you’re used to, leave the following boxes ticked:
- Show shadows under menus
- Show shadows under mouse pointer
- Show translucent selection rectangle
- Use drop shadows for icons labels on the desktop
- Use visual styles on windows and buttons
3) Uninstall Unused Device Drivers
Once you have uninstalled a device, it’s a good idea to remove any device drivers that were left behind. Otherwise those drivers will still be using valuable system resources. Here is why this happens.
When you install a device, you also install its drivers and they get called each time you boot up your PC. And even when the device has been removed, but the drivers are still there, your system continues to load them at boot up. What a waste of resources!
If you have Windows XP, follow these steps to remove any unwanted device drivers:
Press the Windows key + the Break key on your keyboard. System Properties box will appear
- Select the Advanced tab
- Click Environmental Variables
- Under System variables click New
- In the variable box type devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices
- Type 1 in the variable value text box
- Click Ok to return to the System Properties box
- Click Ok again
- Go to the Device Manager tab
- Click View – Show hidden devices
Then you will need to expand all the branches and look for washed out icons. Those icons show unused device drivers that you can uninstall.
Once you have found a device driver you wish to uninstall, highlight it, right-click it, and choose Remove. Delete only washed out icons. All the other icons show drivers of connected and used devices. If you delete them, your devices will stop functioning properly.
4) Remove Software You Don’t Need
One more way to speed up your PC is to check what software you have installed and see if you need all the applications or not. To do this click Start – Settings – Control Panel – double-click Add/Remove Programs.
Most likely, you will find programs you’ve used only once or twice. Removing them will free up disk space and make your PC run faster.
When Uninstalling Software Fails
Removing software doesn’t always go as smooth as one hopes it would. A very common problem is that some programs don’t remove all their data completely, thus leaving some files behind. These files are called junk files.
Sometimes you have to uninstall the software trial version in order to register the full version. But if the uninstall process is not complete, you might fail to register the program that you have paid for.
If the uninstaller doesn’t work, it may be possible to manually remove the software. This means that you will need to remove all related files and configuration data from your hard disk. Usually software uses the Windows Registry to store configuration information.
Firstly, you will need to find the folder where the program was installed. Most likely it’s the Program Files directory. Locate the software folder and delete it. If it’s impossible to delete some files, try restarting your computer. This will help if the files were used by the system. If you can’t delete the files even after a restart, try booting in Safe Mode (tap F8 during PC boot) and then delete the files.
After that you will need to remove invalid Registry entries. Microsoft offers a free Windows Installer CleanUp Utility to help you do the job. After you’ve installed and opened it, select an application you wish to uninstall from the list. The utility will remove all registry entries related to that software. Double check what applications you select and also backup the Registry in case something goes wrong.
If running Windows Installer CleanUp Utility does not solve the problem, you can use a third party registry cleaner. Be careful and only use well-known software that has received positive reviews and trustworthy awards. There are lots of programs that claim to be great, but in fact they contain malware and spyware, and can damage your computer.
Another way to uninstall software without having to worry about the Registry is to use a software uninstaller. Program uninstallers track down and remove all application-related components from your system, thus ensuring that the software gets completely uninstalled.
Auslogics BoostSpeed contains both an uninstaller and a registry cleaner, plus lots of other useful tools to optimize and protect your system. You can download it from http://www.auslogics.com.
5) Disable Indexing Services
The Indexing Services use large amounts of RAM and can often make a computer pretty slow and loud. This service indexes and updates lists of all the files that are on your computer in order to enable you to search for files and folders faster. To tell you the truth, this service is not really needed and you can safely disable it.
- Go to Start
- Click Settings
- Click Control Panel
- Double-click Add/Remove Programs
- Click Add/Remove Windows Components
- Uncheck Indexing Services
- Click Next and then click Finish