How to speed up your PCís performance?

Follow my instructions below and click on my Black Bag to get more cures from the Doctor!

The first step you should take is to download the latest software updates for Windows XP from Microsoft Windows Update, (click here) as these often contain vital security and performance fixes. Once you've done this, you should remove any unnecessary software. We're all guilty of hoarding applications we don't ever use, and these can put a strain on the speed at which your PC starts or operates.

Use the Add/Remove Applications wizard in the Windows Control Panel to get rid of superfluous programs, then defragment your hard drive, as this can increase the speed at which your PC locates and opens files, and reduces those annoying crunchy hard drive seek noises. To do this, just open My Computer, right click the C: drive, click 'Properties', and hit 'Disk Cleanup'.

Programs that start automatically when you boot your PC are usually a hog on system resources, but they aren't always critical. We suggest you stop them from starting at the same time as your PC. To do this, click the Start button in Windows, followed by Run, then type 'MSCONFIG' into the dialogue box and hit 'OK'.

This will launch the System Configuration Utility. Click the Startup tab to see which programs start at boot time, and uncheck the boxes of applications that aren't essential to you. We recommend you do this in small batches and test your PC to see if any problems are encountered, rather than removing everything in one huge batch. If you're not sure what's what, feel free to disable them anyway -- when you reboot and find something doesn't work as expected, you can always re-enable the offending item.

You can also disable Windows Services from the Services tab of MSCONFIG. Identifying their importance is a lot more difficult than choosing Startup applications, but fewer processes usually means faster performance. Again, ensure you disable services in small batches and test your PC as you go along.

1. Clever with colors

Just because you have a high-end PC doesnít mean that you have to make use of its best settings. They slow down your machine. Try keeping the settings to high color (16-bits) or even 256 colors instead of the true color (24-bit) that your video card is really capable of. Thereíll be a definite improvement in speed, especially during browsing. Although the 24-bit setting gives you the most accurate reproduction of colors, even a setting of 256 colors will look acceptable. You canít distinguish between the 65,000 colors (16-bit) and the 16 million colors (24-bit) available, and unless youíre a graphics designer, you donít need that many colors!

2. Do away with needless fonts

You can speed up your system significantly by uninstalling fonts you donít need. But be careful not to delete the default Windows fonts. So how do you identify Windows fonts? The default fonts have the same date as other Windows system files. Check the date of your Windows from the Systems folder in Control Panel. Another way to do this is go to Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-System Information date. Once you know the date, go to the Fonts folder in Control Panel and look at the date stamp on each font fileódo this in the detailed view (View-Details). Make it easy by sorting the files by dateóclick on the Modified section.

3. Clear out Temp files

Windows and its programs continually create temporary files that store bits of data that your programs need during their operations. Normally, when you quit the program, it removes these temp files. But not all programs do this. Gradually, these temp files clutter up your hard drive, taking up megabytes of space. To trash out these, first examine the contents of your Temp folder. Select Start-Run, and type %temp%. This opens a window of the Temp folder with all its files. You can then safely delete the older files and make space.

4. Did you know about Disk Cleanup?

Go to Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools, and there sits this humble utility Disk Cleanup. With this tool, available in Windows 98/Me/2000, you can make your cleanup process routine. Unnecessary programs, temp files of all kinds including from the Internet, can take up valuable disk space. Run the Disk Cleanup regularly, select the disk you want to clean, choose the programs you donít need and get more disk space. Its initial report will tell you how much space temporary files are taking up.

5. Watch your Windows!

Happy with the burglar alarm at home? Well, you can have a Windows advanced warning system, too. To avoid Windows crashes, freezes, or hangs, keep an eye on your system resources. Running on low resources is the most common reason for such problems. System resources are blocks of memory dedicated to Windows and its programs. A clever Windows utility called the Resource Meter can give you a full status on your system resources. Start this by selecting Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Resource Meter. The Resource Meter sits quietly in the system tray. Move your mouse pointer over the icon and youíll see a list of percentages of available resources. Double-click this icon to display the same information in a window. If any category of resources is below 30%, youíre skating on thin ice and if resources drop below 15% or so, itís time to shut down all programs and restart your system

6. Limit your start up programs

You can see what programs you're running at startup by going to Start Menu Button-> Accessories-> System Tools-> System Configuration-> System Information. When this program launches up, go to the Tools menu, and select something like "System Configuration" or "System Editor". A new window will pop up, and this will allow to do enable or disable (by checking or unchecking a little box) whether programs launch automatically at startup


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