How to Speed Up Your Computer

Speed Up Your Computer

If you’re struggling with computer performance, then it might be time to do some maintenance. Your PC might be new or old, but you should still make sure the hardware is up to snuff and that there are no problems with your software application. If your PC has been sluggish lately and you seem to be getting slower speeds when opening programs or webpages, it’s likely because of hardware errors.

This article will go through some of the most common causes of speed loss in a laptop computer as well as solutions for those who use desktop PCs. For those who want to see faster speeds immediately, check out our article that details how to speed up a laptop or PC in five minutes.

Essential PC Tasks

Just about every computer supports the basics of operating a modern workstation, including responding to the keyboard, mouse, and monitors. Here are some basic tasks that speed up your computer:

Clear Temporary Files

This is the place where most programs store temporary data associated with their usage. Hard drive space is limited so if you have several applications open at the same time — for example an email program and Web browser — then there will be a lot of data stored in these temporary files. Clearing temporary files frees up a lot of space.

This is the place where most programs store temporary data associated with their usage. Hard drive space is limited so if you have several applications open at the same time — for example an email program and Web browser — then there will be a lot of data stored in these temporary files. Clearing temporary files frees up a lot of space.

Defrag Your Hard Drive

Clearing files and defragmenting your hard drive are essential maintenance tasks. This will speed up your computer’s performance by making it take less time searching for files and moving around data on the hard drive. This also makes your computer’s appearance more professional and increases performance across the board.

Clearing files and defragmenting your hard drive are essential maintenance tasks. This will speed up your computer’s performance by making it take less time searching for files and moving around data on the hard drive. This also makes your computer’s appearance more professional and increases performance across the board.

Optimize Your System

There are three core areas of optimization in a PC: memory, CPU, and hard drive space. Make sure you have a modern operating system that is optimized for performance. Some great operating systems to try are Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

Defragment Your Hard Drive. Even if you haven’t done so recently, it’s still a good idea to defragment your hard drive periodically. Note: For the best speed boost possible, defragmenting should be completed on a weekly basis.

Back Up Your Data

Backing up your files is an essential part of any computer maintenance routine. It’s always smart to back up data from all important files — documents, photos, music, and videos — to CDs and DVDs so you have a copy in another location just in case. Nowadays many people use cloud storage (such as Dropbox) or online backup services (such as OneDrive), but it’s still important to have a hard copy of the data available for restoration.

Update Your Antivirus Software

Most antivirus software automatically updates its virus definitions on a regular basis — often daily or weekly. There are some antivirus programs that require manual updates, though this is rare. It’s essential to keep antivirus software updated because new viruses are detected frequently and new virus definitions must be released so that the software can detect them. If you don’t keep your antivirus software up-to-date, then your computer might be vulnerable to new viruses.

Most anti-virus applications update their virus definitions on a regular basis — often daily or weekly. There are some antivirus software that require manual updates, though this is rare. It’s essential to keep your anti-virus software up-to-date because new viruses are detected frequently and new virus definitions must be released so that the software can detect them. If you don’t keep your anti-virus software up-to-date, then your computer might be vulnerable to new viruses.

Keep Your Operating System Updated

This is just as important as keeping antivirus software updated. While automatic operating system updates are usually enabled by default, it’s a good idea to occasionally check for updates manually. In many cases, you will receive alerts when an update is available. You should update your operating system as soon as you can to ensure the highest level of protection against viruses and other threats.

Keep Your Browser Up-to-Date

It goes without saying that your browser must be kept updated with the latest security patches and updates, but it doesn’t hurt to find out from the vendor what exactly changed and why it’s important to upgrade.

What Should You Do If You’re Infected?

Hopefully, you never fall victim to a virus. But if you do, don’t panic. It’s important to take steps in order to protect your computer and your personal data.

Disable System Restore

System Restore is an OS feature that creates “shadow copies” of certain files on your hard drive when programs install or update. These shadow copies can be used to restore the system’s original versions of these files. However, if you don’t know what kind of changes these shadow copies contain and whether they are good or bad, it’s better not to have them on your computer at all.

Disable Java

If possible, disable the Java plug-in (Sun Java plugin) in your web browser (e.g., Internet Explorer or Firefox) in order to protect against any malicious JavaScript code that might be embedded into Web pages.

Don’t use ActiveX controls

If it’s important for you to use ActiveX controls, disable them (e.g., by unchecking the “Enable Scripting” checkbox in the Java Control Panel).

Use a widely-used anti-virus tool

The next time you need to run a program from an on-line file source (e.g. ClickOnce, Kazaa, or Windows Update), run it and find out if the program has been updated recently.

Clean Your Computer

Run your virus scanner at least once a week — ideally daily or even more often if you use a lot of programs at once — in order to catch any new viruses that might remain on your system.

Install an anti-virus program for your mobile device

Many modern smartphones and tablets are shipped with anti-virus software, so make sure yours has been updated recently. You can also download anti-virus software from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to protect your smartphone or tablet.

Upgrade to Windows 10

Microsoft’s upgrade offer for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users is still available. If you’re running a computer on which Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7 is installed but not activated during the upgrade period (typically 30 days), you will be able to activate it as an upgrade (for any edition of Windows) at no cost within 14 days of the installation date, assuming you have Internet access.

Back Up Your Data

Most viruses also try to delete all data on your computer’s hard drive. Make sure you have an up-to-date backup copy of your data or your entire OS and programs so that everything can be restored in case of a disaster.

Quickly Contact Antivirus Companies. If you believe you’ve been infected with a virus, contact the antivirus company whose product you use as soon as possible (e.g., Symantec, Avast, McAfee, etc.). The sooner they are able to analyze the threat and develop a removal tool for it, the better.

Conclusion

Viruses are bad — typically receive names based on their effect (e.g. “Control-Alt-Delete” virus) or where they emerge from (e.g. “worm” virus). If you use a computer for work or personal use, it’s important to keep your anti-virus software up-to-date and update your operating system as necessary. Frequent updates are also an important part of maintaining maximum security against viruses.

Have you ever encountered a computer virus? What proactive steps have you taken to protect against them? Let us know in the comments below!

For more tech articles, read PC Ocular magazine.

Benkő Attila is a Hungarian senior software developer, independent researcher and author of many computer science related papers.

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