technology and zen of life

“A heisenbug (named after the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle) is a computer bug that disappears or alters its characteristics when an attempt is made to study it.”

Increase your computers performance

Computers tend to slow down especially if you are running under windows platform. Like most things a computer needs regular maintenance to keep it up and running at the optimum speed. In this post I would give you some tips and tricks on how to maintain your system to have it running properly and for a long time. This post I am specifically focusing on increasing your systems performance without having to lose or give up on any visual effects or tools. Later on I will also write a post on how to tweak your system performance for old PC’s.

1. Defragment: Disk fragmentation can have a huge impact on the systems performance. When the files are fragment the system takes longer to fetch the various parts of the file and join them together from the disk.
By default windows comes with a built in Disk Defragmenter utility that analyzes and defragments the system disk.

The Disk defragmenter can be found at Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System tools -> Disk Defragmenter


Windows disk defragmentor

In the Disk defragmenter Dialogue box you can choose the drives you want to Defragment, you should first analyze the disk to check if you need to defragment and then click on the Defragment disk button to begin the defragmentation. The defragmentation can take long time depending on the state of the disk and the size.

2. Hardware updates: Another thing that can help improve the performance of your system is to upgrade your hardware drivers. Hardware updates can be found on your hardware manufactures website and also some of them can be automatically detected with the help of windows update.

3. Detect and repair disk errors: Over time hard disk can develop bad sectors resulting in slowed down performance of the system. It is a good practise to occasionally check your disk for errors and to try and let windows fix it for you. The Error checking utility can be found by right clicking on a drive in the Windows explorer in the properties dialogue box under the tools tab.

Error check tool

4. Keeping your disk free: Another good tip is to have at least 10% of your main system-drive as free space. This helps in ensuring that there is always some operating space available on the disk and also keeps defragmentation of the files low. You can always start by deleting the temporary files stored on your computer with the help of disk cleanup wizard. You can find it in Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System tools -> Disk cleanup. This will display a list of temporary files that you can remove.

Disk Cleanup Window

Unselect the ones that you would like to keep and press ok to free up the space.

5. Clear the start up programs: Normally a lot of programs that you install set themselves to start in the background when you start your system. A good idea is to disable these programs from starting up as they just add to your boot times and slows down your systems performance. The easiest way to do this is by the MSCONFIG utility.

Msconfig

Open the run command (start \ run) and type msconfig. Under the startup tab you can find all the application that start in the background when you start your system. You should disable all the applications that you do not require to start up. This should be almost everything except some drivers and security applications. Next place to look for the startup programs is under Startup-> All programs -> Startup.

Removing shortcuts from that directory will only stop the applications to start on their own and not the applications itself.

6. Spyware check: Check your system for any possible spyware. Spyware can drastically slow down your system and although easy to spot sometimes they can be totally invisible and show no symptoms and thus it is a good idea to scan for them once in a while. Check out the post Spyware Detection and Removal for more information on how to search and remove spyware.

I hope you can get a lot more speed out of your system after following these simple steps. I would write another follow up post on how to increase your systems performance using a bit more advanced techniques.

Leave a Reply

5 Responses

  1. Christiaan says:

    Driver Detective is paid for, this one http://download.cnet.com/SlimDrivers-Free/3000-18513_4-75279940.html is a free alternative.

  2. Navin says:

    Chris, most of the driver updates include patches, fixes and performance upgrades and sometimes some new functionality. I think that if you see an update available for your drivers for your operating system it is always a good idea to do it. In any case if you do feel that you liked your old drivers better you can always roll back but I cant imagine why.

    Graphics drivers for one I would definitely update.

    SVChost is normally liked with the service that your PC is running to have a detailed look on the services the svchost is linked with you can right click on the svchost.exe in the process manager(in vista) and then choose go to services. Stopping the unnecessary services would help in reducing that memory usage.

    I hope this helps!

  3. Christiaan says:

    For some reason my PC is super fast, thanks you guys 😀

  4. Christiaan says:

    Hmmm, just realised that most of my 48% occupied memory (I have 3GB) is due to all the services started up by svchost.exe.

    I am now wondering if I can get rid of some of these services. The ones I recognise are involved in network activities, so they look pretty essential. Or are there also not-so-usefull services which I can get rid off in order to reduce the amount of memory the various svchost executives use?
    Or does it come with the bliss of Vista? (home premium 32bit)

  5. Christiaan says:

    Some people on fora claim not to update drivers when current ones are working just fine.
    Also, some suggest that windows can check for these drivers, while there are programs out there like driver detective which can check for the most recent drivers.

    Do I want to update my graphics card drivers or not?
    And do I care about the rest of the drivers?

    Note that the ‘latest’ drivers date from 2008 for my system.

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