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Fix your slow computer. Tech’y secrets revealed. Ssshhhh.

OK, so we have all been there. Writing a word document, listening to You Tube vids with Facebook on in the background. Then, without warning, your machine grinds to a halt. Que the 1 finger reset.

There is a long list of potential issues, some more serious than others. This post is to advise you on how to maintain a basic level of good housekeeping on your system. Its not difficult, some of it can be automated and all of it will help keep your machine in tip top condition.

First a disclamer, First off, this is advice for windows operating systems. Secondly, if you somehow manage to royal balls up your machine by going off track. Not my fault. With that out of the way, lets begin.

1. Keep it dust free. A clean computer, is a safe computer. Im not talking about the layer of dust which seems to settle minutes after cleaning the house, I mean open it up with the power off and disconnected. Look at the mother board, the intake and outlet fans and the CPU fan. Older machines, ie pre 2005 had a nasty habit of catching fire.  It wasnt the tech that was faulty, but the crap inside that had built up. Computer components can run at very high temperatures. Would you want a dust ball sitting on something at 60 degrees. Use an air duster with a straw to remove the worst of the dust. Perhaps a small hoover to get the worst out. Be delicate and do not to touch the motherboards components. At the end of the day, the fans control the airflow. The airflow keeps the components cool. If the components arent cool, the computer has “issues”.

2. Virus scan. You dont need to pay over the odds for virus protection. Some virus protection software programmes use more of your computers resources defending you from potential attacks, which is fine if you can spare the RAM and CPU performance. Like most people, my day to day computer is a basic off the shelf build, with a few upgrades to keep it current. I use free virus protection from Avast and am confident in saying that I have never had a virus. So scan away and scan regulary. A virus will spoil your machines performance.

3. Digital Housekeeping. Find your C drive properties. For Windows 7 ,usually by right clicking the C drive, select Disk Cleanup. 

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This will calculate how much space you are able to free up on your hard drive. Once it has run, select all the check boxes and select delete.

4. Error Checking. Again in the C drive properties, again windows 7, select the tools tab. We will use this again in step 5.

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Select Check now. On windows 7 this will only run, once a reboot has completed, windows 8/10 will do it in the background. Select OK to run the check and reboot as required. In windows 7 after a reboot, the screen will go black with white writing. Dont worry, this is the check. Once it finishes it will go back to the logon screen. Just let it do its thing.

5. Defrag. Remember the properties image above? Now select defrag. This will defragment your hard drive. This is necessary to keep the files on your hard drive in pristeen condition. It can also be configured to run automatically.

6. Desktop. Only keep shortcuts to stuff on your desktop. A shortcut is 1kb in size, compared to the 15 word documents you keep there for ease these are tiny. Lots of documents and programmes on your desktop is a bad idea, it means the machine has to partially load all those up when you log on as well as do what your asking it to do.

7. Reboot.Do not underestimate the power of a controlled reboot. This will fix problems you didnt even know were there. But do it properly. Start -  Shutdown - Reboot. Killing the power will cause hard drive problems so let Windows do it for you.

8. Update. Make sure you have windows update turned on, and the latest updates installed. You can find this by selecting Start - Control panel - System and Security - Windows Update. Ensure these are automatically downloaded and installed by clicking in the check box.

9. Assess. If your machine is inexplicably on a go slow, select Ctrl, Alt+Del. Select the task manager and select processes. Look and see what is using all your RAM (memory). Perhaps its something you can remove or re install to stop it being so RAM intensive.

10. De clutter. If you have a habit of just selecting OK everytime you see an information box, chances are you have programmes installed that you neither want or need. Have a look at your installed programmes and remove as required.

11. My last one, upgrade. Research is key here. Make sure whatever you are upgrading is compatible. RAM, CPUs and Graphics Cards come in so many flavours its difficult to guess and hope it works. A little research will save hours of torment trying to get the kit work.

Posted 69 weeks ago