For Windows PC: Click on the Start menu, select all programs in Windows 7, open the Startup folder and delete the programs without a second thought. This will not delete the programs completely but only remove them from the startup so that when you reboot your system next, these will not launch themselves automatically – thus giving you a quick start!
For Mac: Go to the Apple menu and open System Preference, click on Accounts and then click on Login Items. You will be surprised to see the exhaustive list of programs and helper applications inside. Delete the programs that you do not need while starting up your Mac. If you are not aware of what a particular program does simply Google it before deciding whether or not to delete it.
Check all the running applications: Your Windows task bar only becomes more voluminous over a few weeks, months or even years. How do you check that? Well, look at the row of tiny icons at the bottom-right corner of your PC screen. Each of these icons represents a program running in the background. These are unnecessarily eating into your PC’s resources. You can tackle them in the following manner. Simply right click on each item, for instance Skype or iTunes and click on ‘Close’. Or, you can also open the programs and uncheck ‘launch at startup’ in the Preference or Options menu to prevent them from launching when you start your PC. These will make booting up your system really quick.
Switch off P2P applications: Programs that work on peer-to-peer technology such as BitTorrent or Skype use up a lot of your PC or Mac’s computing power. Software that allow massive file transfers in the form of movies and superior quality net-based voice or video chat do require a lot of bandwidth, yielding a blow to your PC or Mac’s computing power. You can shut down these programs and launch them only when required to speed up your PC or Mac.
Dig out viruses and malware from your system: Ignoring a Trojan horse, a small virus or even a tiny malware is a deadly practice as nothing slows down your PC or Mac as these. It is highly recommended to use a commercial antivirus application that will sweep your PC or Mac clear of any nefarious elements and provide ongoing protection to your system through regular and timely updates. You can download such software from Microsoft’s Security Essential website for your Windows PC or purchase a Norton or McAfee anti-virus package to protect your Mac. Rooting out viruses and malware will definitely help you speed up your PC or Mac.
Clean up your hard drive: The more junk your hard drive accumulates, the longer it takes your PC or Mac to start up and your system to access the data that it requires. You must scan your folders and files regularly to toss out the programs or data that you do not require and create more space on your hard drive. You can buy an external hard drive,, available at a reasonable price online or offline, and transfer all your data, especially movies, photos and music files on to it. Hard drives are available with a huge capacity, ranging from a few GBs to 1TB. Most of these hard drives or USB 2.0 external drives are plug-and-play and you can simply drag and drop all your transferable data to create more room in your PC or Mac’s hard drive.
You can also delete old programs which are not in use anymore in order to free your hard drive of unwanted materials. Window PC users can go to Start menu, click on Control Panel and select Add/Remove Programs (Uninstall in case of Windows 7) to dump unwanted program files. Mac users can go to the Applications folder and toss the programs or app files that are not in use in trash.
Turn off the Mac dashboard widgets: The Dashboard is one of the recent features of a Mac OS X. it comprises a layer of useful widgets that can be pulled up and launched simply by clicking on the dashboard option in the Dock. However, no matter how useful these widgets might appear, they do eat up a lot of system resources, thereby slowing your Mac considerably. You can deactivate these widgets if they are not in regular use. To do this, you can simply activate your dashboard, click on the ‘Plus’ sign in the bottom-lest corner of your Mac screen, then click on ‘X’ in the upper-left corner of the widgets that you do not require. Tossing out unwanted or redundant widgets will definitely speed up your Mac!
Update your browser: if your existing browser has been acting slow it is time to upgrade to a new one. The good old Internet Explorer has two powerful alternatives in the form of Google Chrome and Firefox and Apple’s Safari too has a fast Window’s alternative. However, it is not imperative that you switch to a new browser. You can stick to your old one but make sure that you use the latest version. Here are the steps to find updates on the most popular browsers for PC or Mac:For Internet Explorer: Check the Windows Update application under the Start menu.
- For Firefox: Select ‘Check for Update’ under the Help menu.
- For Chrome: Select ‘About Google Chrome’ under the wrench icon in Windows or under the Chrome menu in Mac OS X.
- For Safari: Launch ‘Apple Software Update’ under Start menu in Windows. Select ‘Software Update’ under Apple menu in Mac OS X.
Also, have the latest version of Adobe’s Flash Player (version 10.2) installed on your PC or Mac.
Defrag your hard drive: As discussed earlier, the more cluttered your PC or Mac hard drive is, the slower your system becomes. This is why defragmenting hard drive is highly recommended in order to consolidate all the scattered blocks of data into one big chunk and leave more free disk space. Windows users can select Computers in the Start menu, right-click on the hard drive icon, select Properties, Click on Tools and then click on Defragment Now. Mac users can manually defragment their hard drive through the in-built disk optimization features in Mac OS X. However, there are other defragment utilities for Mac such as Drive Genius and iDefrag that can give you a much bigger disc space. However, remember to take a back up of your data without trying these defrag utilities out.
Here’s hoping that these steps will help you speed up your PC or Mac in a snap!
About the Author:This article by Frank Johnson is the first in his series on ‘Speed up Your Pc/Mac’. Frank is a regular editorial contributor on technology related subjects. To know more about speeding up your PC or Mac, you may interact with him here