How to Speed Up a Slow Computer

Having worked with computers for several years there’s one complaint I hear more than any other. The complaint is normally given to me as a question basically asking how someone can speed up their slow computer. Fortunately there are some things that anyone can easily do to speed up their computer.

One of the main reasons computers run slow is they don’t have enough memory (RAM). RAM is the memory that’s used every time you run a program on your computer. Some programs use very little RAM while others can use a lot of RAM. If your computer is short on RAM your computer will use virtual memory, which is very slow.


If your computer is more than 4 years old you may need more RAM unless you’ve already upgraded it. Also, companies often sell new computers with too little RAM so they can charge you to buy more later. I know, that’s not very nice of them! If you’re running an Operating System prior to Windows 2000, seriously consider buying a new computer since Microsoft is no longer supporting it with essential security patches. This includes Windows 95, 98 and ME (Millenium). If you’re running Windows 2000 or Windows XP you should have, at a minimum, 512MB of RAM. I recommend 1GB.

If you’re running Windows Vista you need at least 1GB and I recommend 2GB. Vista is a very memory hungry Operating System that still has a lot of bugs. As of this writing I’m still not recommending it to people buying new computers (but it’s getting harder to find new computers that come with Windows XP).

There are a couple more simple things you can do that can add a little more kick to your computer.

The first thing is to turn off hard drive Indexing. Click Start and open “My Computer” right-click on your C: drive and go into Properties. Uncheck the box that says “Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching”. Apply this change to C:\subfolders and files when you get the confirmation window. This may take several minutes to run. You’ll only have to do this once though.


The second thing you can do is Defragment your hard drive. Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter. Click the Analyze button and you’ll get a message letting you know if your hard drive needs to be defragmented. If you decide to Defragment your hard drive, this is another function that can take several minutes to run. I usually Defragment my hard drive about once per year.

One final bit of advice… If your computer is infected by a virus or adware your computer is going to be slow and do things like: change your Internet Homepage, give you endless pop-ups telling you need to buy some software (don’t do it!), produce system errors and a host of other annoying things. The things I’ve covered in this series of posts may help but your computer will never run right until you get rid of the malware (malicious software).



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