Speeding up your slow Windows computer
Why is my computer so slow?
Could be any number of reasons, something really simple like a buggy app, or something serious like an impending hardware failure. Save yourself time in the long run by doing some diagnostics before it gets out of hand.
Hardware problems, Hard Drive Speed, RAM and the Event log
In our experience Windows 7+ needs at least 1GB just to get off the ground, to run MS Office 2003 or newer you will need at the very least another 2GB.
For Graphics intensive apps such as Gimp (Photshop, Gimp, Games etc), in addition to another few GB you need to have a good amount of graphics RAM (1GB+)
Check the Windows Event Log – look out for errors reported therein. If you see errors about “bad blocks” from “harddisk” – then it is likely your hard disk is starting to go and this will slow things down while the computer repeatedly tries to read from un-readble sectors on the hard drive. Backup your data as soon as you can and arrange to have it replaced. For this you need some expertise – or be willing to spend some serious hours of googling. Look at about 1-4 days for the average user computer-user. If you have neither, see “I cant handle this!” below.
You can get a massive boost to performance by replacing your Hard Drive with an SSD. Again, this can take a lot of time, but there are good people about who can help. Check out The Restart Project who host regular events in London. Their wiki has have great links for empowering yourself.
Temporary Files Buildup
For some reason, Windows insists on storing all the cookies and temp files it ever uses, for an indefinite period. Get rid of them! The problem is finding them because Windows also thinks that since you a just a dumb consumer do not want to see them, so the easiest way to do this is to install and run CCleaner (http://www.ccleaner.com/)
Don’t remove anything unless you know what your doing, but please have a peek under the hood yourself – START | RUN | $APPDATA
Virus or Malware infection
Note that most malware is not classed as virus, so you will need to use an Anti-Malware product as well as the AV
Check that your Antivirus software is up to date and is not too resource hungry. Software such as Macaffee and Symantec tend to be very resource hungry, so if you have less than 2GB RAM then remove them and install a leaner one such as Bitdefender.
Make sure the “Safe Browsing” options are unchecked – since these submit all your search results to the AV provider for checking before giving them back to you. Apart from the privacy issues, if their server is having a bad day you too will be impacted.
Install an anti-malware software (we recommend MBAM from malwarebytes.org), update the signatures file and scan your drive, remove all it finds.
This has not helped..
Windows maintains all its information about hardware and programs in the “registry”. After some years of Installing/Uninstalling the registry can become too large and even corrupted. There are some specialist tools to tweak and clean the registry but in our experience they seldom work very well.
At the end of the day the best way to improve performance is to wipe Windows and re-install. This means you will have to back up all your documents, emails etc, wipe your drive and re-install Windows. Be sure to have the original disks and serial number for all the software you have installed because otherwise you will lose all of this.
If your going to the lengths of a re-install then you’ll thank yourself to do it on an SSD.
I can’t handle this!
Check out The Restart Project, based in London but there are regular events all over the world.