"Hey Chris! I have an old Compaq laptop and it runs really slow. How do I make it go faster??"
While there are any number of reasons a computer can be slow, I'm going to assume a few things on this one.
- You don't have a virus, spyware, etc. (How To Get Rid Of Viruses)
- You have not recently dropped your laptop and now it's "slow"
The very first step you should take is to download CCleaner. This program used to be called Crap Cleaner in the good ole days, but I guess when their parent company bought them they decided to clean up the name. Now install it!
Experience Note: As you go through the installers on free programs read each screen with a checkbox carefully. Uncheck anything it wants to install that isn't the program itself, such as a toolbar or spyware detectors etc. Currently CCleaner doesn't appear to have anything else installing.
Once it's installed, run it. Now we begin cleaning.
- Uninstall Old Applications. Go to the Tools button and the Uninstall option should be checked. Go through that list and uninstall everything you know you don't use anymore.
- Remove Start Up Programs. Go to the StartUp option below Uninstall. Here you want to click on items you don't want to start every time your computer starts and click Disable, NOT DELETE, at the bottom of the window. Read the names under the File column. Some quick suggestions I see a lot are: Groove Monitor, iTunes anything, Adobe anything, QTTask, Windows Media Player, Acrotray, nwiz, onenotem.exe, anything Doogle other than Google Desktop if you use it, jussched.exe. You can ask about specific things on here!
- Run The Cleaner. Now is the time I run the cleaner, so on the left click on the Cleaner button. If you're like me, you don't want the history removed from your Google Chrome that you're now using. Click the Applications Tab and under Google Chrome uncheck everything but Internet Cache. Now click "Run Cleaner" on the bottom right. Yes it will delete files from your computer. That's the point!!
- Clean The Registry. Once that's done click on the registry button and click Scan For Issues at the bottom left, then when that's done, click Fix selected Issues. Yes go ahead and make a backup in your My Documents folder. Can't hurt right?
DONE! Well at least with CCleaner. Restart your computer and you should have a decently faster computer. At least once the computer is up and running you should notice you can have multiple programs going and it doesn't lag as much.
As for raw processing power speed increases, those come in two ways.
- Make hardware upgrades to your computer RAM, CPU, etc.
- Change the programs you're using.
We'll just work with number 2 here because hey, these programs are free! Here are a few suggestions I have:
- Remove all spyware, adware, antivirus mess you may have installed to protect your computer and install only Microsoft's Security Essentials. It's free, does as good a job as any, and doesn't bog your computer down. If you're really paranoid, you can also keep Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware on your computer, but I don't think it's necessary.
- Download Google Chrome and start using it instead of Internet Explorer. This will be the browser you use to access the internet. It's free and FAST! I use it all day everyday and just get mad when I'm using anything else.
- Clean off your cluttered desktop. Now I'm not 100% sure this makes your computer faster, but it will make rendering your desktop much faster. DO IT! Put your documents and files in My Documents where they belong. Get rid of all the application shortcuts cluttering your desktop and only leave on there what's necessary. No, you don't need that Adobe Reader icon on your desktop. Delete it.
I hope this helps!! Please remember that what you do to your computer is at your own risk and if you don't feel comfortable doing anything I've written above, the best thing you can do is take it to someone you trust. Ask around and get recommendations based on experience with a tech. You don't want one that goes perusing your personal data and can't get the job done correctly. There are a lot of "computer guys" out there that don't know what they're doing. If you'd like someone to fix your personal computer or come out to your business, I'd go visit or call some good personal friends of mine at Advanced Data Services.
Chris Williams, Web Developer, WideNet Consulting
If you have a news tip or a topic you would like to see me write on, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write on my facebook page's wall.