6 Ways to make your Windows machine fast like the day you got it

One of the more common questions my support team at work receives is in regards to Windows based computers starting to run slowly. This will eventually happen to all windows machines and is simply in the nature of windows.

The long-term problem is that the windows registry (the database that underlies windows and controls everything from passwords to last window locations) simply gets clogged from installing and uninstalling software.

Most Windows professionals recommend that if you want a machine to remain ‘speedy’ that you should reformat it every 6-12 months (new Windows install). Obviously not all of us have the time to do this so I will outline a few things that can be done short of formatting that will still significantly increase system performance.

1. Install Ad-Aware SE
Ad-Aware SE is one of the better anti-spyware programs ont he market and is completely free. Spyware can be installed via legitimate software that you intended on installing or by simply browsing to a web site that will execute malicious code. Internet Explorer is notoriously susceptible to spy ware installing itself via routine web browsing and because of this (and a number of other reasons) US-CERT (the governmental agency in charge of issuing software security announcements) recommends that no one run Internet Explorer at all. FireFox is an excellent alternative and should import all of your IE favorites during the install.
2. Make sure your virus software is up to date and run and complete system scans.
Virii is a common performance thief on windows based computers. They hog resources either by design or wile executing a payload and harvesting address books, files on your hard drive or propagating itself.
3. Look at your sysTray.
The sysTray is the area next to the clock in the lower right hand corner of your screen. Each icon you see there is running in memory. I recommend right clicking on each icon that you do not need and seeing if there is way to permanently disable the item. Some items will have a ‘disable’ option, however it will only disable it for that session. Upon logging out and back in you will see the icon again. With items like this you will need to find a ‘preferences’ or ‘configuration’ option. If none seems to be available I would go into the application associated with it and check in its preferences.
4. Startup Items
Open windows explorer (windows hot key + e on your keyboard) and browse to ‘c:\documents and settings\YOURUSERNAME\startmenup\startp” and delete any icons that you do not running when you log in. You will also want to do this in the ‘c:\documents and settings\all users\startmenu\startup” directory after having logged in as administrator. If you realy want to get a handle on whats going on at startup you will want AutoRuns by sysinternals.
5. Run a scandisk.
By going to My Computer, and right clicking on your C drive you will be shown a dialog box with a number of tabs. Go to the ‘Tools’ tab and start a scan disk. This will check your drive for file system errors and correct them. In some cases windows will need exclusive rights to the hard drive and say that it will be run during the next reboot. Tell it ok and then reboot your machine.
6. Run a defrag.
After the machine returns from the scan disk in the same area run a defrag or ‘disk defragmentation’. This will physically align all of your files in the proper order on your hard drive. This will create less drive-seak time when running programs or loading files. This task is best performed monthly.
If you have performed all of these steps, rebooted your machine and are still unsatisfied with the performance, you may want to consider backing up your files, locating all of your programs install media and licenses and reformat your machine and reinstall windows.
Click here to view a microsoft article on the same subject.

2 Replies to “6 Ways to make your Windows machine fast like the day you got it”

  1. this in no way will help with that…
    i do all of the above every day basicly…

    it a known fact that windows computers should be reinstalled like every 3 months if you dont use it much. and like 1 month if you use it everyday and shut down your computer…
    shutting down the computer is the worst thing you can do. always keep it on.

  2. You have to keep in mind that this article was written for the home user or average non-IT worker.  You know the type, sys-tray is a mile long and they haven’t formatted in 3 years.

    So yes, for those people, this stuff does work.

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