Boosting a slow PC

Having a computer that is running slowly is something that many users find extremely frustrating. After all, no one wants to wait several seconds for text to appear after they write a sentence in an email, or to stare at their desktop for close to a minute after they have double clicked on their web browser’s icon.

There are many reasons as to why a computer can be slow. While many amongst the general public will think that a slow computer is caused by obsolete hardware, it is not always the case. There are also software-related problems which can cause a computer to slow down considerably. Here are some things that you can do to boost your PC’s speed.

Mind the number of programs that you have running at the same time. While today’s computers are designed for multitasking, which is running several programs at once, this does not mean that you can have an unlimited number of programs opened at once. Every piece of software that is running on your computer, even if it is minimized and not currently visible on the screen, will use some resources, such as memory and CPU resources. The reason why having too many things open at the same time will slow down your PC is because once your computer runs out of RAM (Random Access Memory), it will begin to use a portion of the hard drive as “virtual memory”. The problem with this is that reading and writing data from a hard drive is many times slower than from a stick of RAM located in your computer.

Check to see what programs run at system start up. Many programs, such as instant messaging software, file sharing clients, internet phone programs, email clients and various other pieces of software will automatically open themselves and run in the background. They often appear only as a small icon in your notification bar, next to the clock. These programs will use up system resources, even if you are not actively interacting with them. While there are certain programs, like anti-virus and firewall software, which actually need to stay active in the background at all times to fulfill their purpose, you can safely close most of the other ones and also set them to only open up when you actually need them.

Defragment your hard drive. The way your computer stores information on its hard drive is similar to the way a man who is always in a hurry puts clothes in his closet. He would grab what he needs, run out and then when he comes back, put it in any available space, without ever organizing things or thinking about storing them neatly.

When your computer saves some data on your hard drive, it doesn’t always do so in an orderly fashion either. When a file is saved on your hard drive, the zeros and ones are not always arranged in a continuous fashion. Part of a file could be in one section of the disk, while the other part could be located at the opposite end. This isn’t cause for concern, as your computer is smart enough to know where all the bits are and can easily find them and reconstruct them, however this means that it will take a lot more time to find the data it is looking for. All versions of the Windows operating system have a tool that lets you restore some order in the way files are stored in the hard disk. It is called a defragmenting tool and the easiest way to access it is by clicking on your hard drive’s icon under “My Computer”, going to “Properties” and then “Tools”. The tool will analyze your hard disk and will tell you whether or not it is recommended to defragment your disk. Note that the whole process could take some time, depending on a few factors, but it can also be of a great help in boosting your PC’s speed.