As you use your computer regularly, over time you collect old data and parts of old programs that stick around and slow your computer down.
What if you could run your computer like the day you first took it out of the box?
Here are 7 simple steps you can take to fix a slow PC in minutes.
*1. Backup your data*
One of the easiest steps you can take is improve your storage space. If you store all your large files like movies, music and photos on an external hard drive or burn them to CD, you'll leave more room for your computer to find what it needs when you open a program. Saving space makes your computer run faster.
*2. Empty your Recycle Bin*
If you don't need a file, get rid of it. Not just to your recycle bin, but for good. Leaving your recycle bin full of old files means you're leaving rubbish in the path of programs that you use every day. Emptying your recycle bin of old files will make it easier -- and faster -- for your computer to open the program you want.
*3. Uninstall old programs*
With time, a regular computer user will have a dozen or so programs on their hard drive that had a purpose for particular task, but haven't been opened for a long time. Removing these is easy and frees your computer up for the jobs you need it for.
To find and remove old programs, go to Start - Control Panel - Uninstall a program (Vista), or XP users, follow Start - Control Panel - Add/Remove Programs. This path will show you a list of familiar programs, some of which you may no longer have a use for. Click on the program, then select 'Uninstall'.
*4. Remove temporary files*
Just as you want to clear your Recycle Bin daily, it's also a good idea to find and remove files that you don't need. For example, you may have documents that were relevant several months ago but their use has passed. Another example is images. You will download a lot of images attached to emails, such as a signature file. These have no use to you, but they take up room on your computer. To clear your old and unnecessary files, go to Start - All Programs - Accessories - System Tools - Disk Cleanup and select the files you want to remove.
*5. Run System Recovery*
If you suffer from a relatively new PC that is chronically slow, get a new computer in a minutes by restoring your PC to the same factory settings you enjoyed when you took it out of the box. System Recovery will wipe your hard drive clean, taking all the slow bugs -- and your data -- with it. This is the nuclear option.
Use System Recovery AFTER you have backed up your important data onto an external hard drive or CD. To access System Recovery, enter your Windows install CD into your drive and follow the instructions.
*6. Check your firewall*
It's possible a slow PC is the victim of a malicious program or virus, sometimes called 'malware' or 'spyware'. Spyware keeps tabs on the information on your computer and may transmit it to thieves to use your credit card data or similar personal information. Check now if your firewall is turned on. Follow Start - Control Panel - Network and Internet Connections - Windows Firewall.
Spyware will slow your PC down significantly and if you've got it, you should get rid of it immediately with an antivirus program. Click here for recommendations.
*7. Clear your registry*
The registry is like your computer's library that stores your programs. With time, as some programs are added and removed, and everyday programs opened more frequently than others, your registry ends up disorganized with files scattered everywhere. An old or cluttered registry will cause crashes and blue screen lags.