I have heard this time and time again… “My computer used to run so fast when I bought it but now it runs so slow. It is only X years old?”……… If you live in the Haldimand / Hamilton Area, I can help you with this, contact me.
If you are online a lot, your computer may slow down for a few reasons. In my 15 plus years’ experience of working on computers and servers, I found that there are 7 things that contribute to the performance of a computer. “Undoing” these things from time to time can help your computer run optimally for years. The only thing you really have to worry about is hardware failure (That is why you perform backups :))
I am finding this to become less and less of a problem but it still needs to be considered. Viruses need to be downloaded and run for them to be effective and people are getting better and not doing this. However, those who try to distribute viruses find crafty ways to get you to click. For example you receive an official looking email that may be from your bank asking you to verify some account info. How about the UPS email that wants you to download an attachment of an invoice you are apparently waiting for? Maybe Revenue Canada needs you to download an attachment to verify some income tax info? The problem is we are inundated with email and we also do business we all of these parties from time to time. That makes for a deadly combination, especially when you really need your computer to work. Computer performance issues aside, it is also not good for your identity info since that what they are trying to get anyway (I will talk more about this in a future post). So if you are not sure if your computer is affected, doing a periodic virus scan is a good idea.
I myself use what comes with Windows but for the less technical you should get a subscription from an antivirus company you trust. There are several companies to choose from. I have listed a few here (Look under “About your Antivirus”). Most offer scheduled scanning and allow you to choose between quarantining and removing the offending program. Keeping the virus definition up to date is very important.
Malware something that accumulates over time through extensive web surfing. You really don’t where it’s coming from but every time you look up information on the web about something a pop up might bother you to click it and not let you go back to your web browser until you click it. There>….. you just got some malware. A neat little trick I tell people to do is to hit Ctrl-Alt-Del and bring up Windows task manager. Under the process tab you will see several “iexplore.exe” or “firefox32.exe” or “Chrome.exe”, depending on what browser you use etc…. End task them all or at least the offending pop up window. When you restart your browser and it complains that it was not shut down properly DO NOT restore the last browsing session. At least some of the Malware has been averted.
Like virus scanning, periodic Malware scanning helps remove any offending programs that could be slowing your computer down. The best program hands down is Malwarebytes . It comes in a free version or a premium version. If you have multiple users on a single computer (and they happen to be kids) I would recommend purchasing the premium version. You can schedule scans and it also does real-time scans. In a pinch, the free version is good but you need to run the scan manually.
Web Browser Toolbars
So you need Flash and Java to have full functionality on some web pages, great! The problem is if all you do is click Next, Next, Next, Finish to get the program to install you may have installed some toolbars that you didn’t know about. This is just a couple of examples here. There are a lot of programs that do this so I don’t want you to think I am picking on Flash and Java. They are just very popular programs. Each toolbar that loads when you start your web browser increases the time in which it takes for your browser to properly start. I have had an instance where a client complained that it took three minutes for Internet Explorer to become functional, the culprit? A printer toolbar that once was uninstalled, the browser went back to less than a second to load! The message here is to watch what you are installing and if it is a web tool bar you are not really going to use, uncheck the box or decline the install before hitting “Next”. Your frustration level with your computer will thank you!
Over time you will probably install a lot of programs on your computer. Those programs may load bits of software that loads when your computer starts. In Windows XP you would know this because the task tray beside the system clock would show a lot of icons. Sometimes they would go right across the lower part of the screen! With Windows Vista and above those icons are now hidden and only show when the notification area is expanded. If you don’t need to use a program anymore, uninstall it. Just go to your control panel under “Programs and Features” and click uninstall. The less that loads at start up, the faster your computer will be ready to go!
Disk Clean Up
Keeping the drive clean of any unwanted files is a great idea. If you have had system crashes they build up system error memory dumps that you don’t actually see but take up space on your hard drive. Performing a disk cleanup will help. Go into the C Drive’s properties and click on “Disk Cleanup”:
Check what files you want removed (I recommend at least error reporting files and temporary internet files) Click “OK” and it will do its thing!
Disk Fragmentation occurs over time when the computer’s hard disk reads and writes data. As you delete data from the disk “Free blocks” for writing new data become available. The problem is, if the file the computer wants to write will not fit on a free block of data on the hard disk it has to store it on two or more blocks of free space. This can be on very different spots of the disk. You see the data as one file but the computer may see it has several spots on the hard disk to retrieve that data for you (I won’t go into the technical details). The good news is if you have Window Vista or higher disk defragmentation occurs automatically (unless somehow you turned its schedule off). It doesn’t hurt to do it manually every once and awhile. You can at least analyze the disk to see if it needs it too.
You can access the disk defragmenter by going to the properties of your Boot Drive (C Drive):
Clicking “Analyze” will tell if you disk needs to be defragmented or not.
If your computer has crashed from time to time, the disk will probably have some corruption on it. By performing a scan disk, the corruption can be repaired for you:
When you click “Check”, Windows will tell you if a scan disk needs to be performed. If it does, it may ask you to reboot your computer to complete it.
By taking care of these seven items regularly, your computer will run practically as fast as the day you bought it. If you find doing this at all troublesome and you live in the Haldimand / Hamilton Area, don’t worry, I can do it for you! Just contact me