General Question

KateTheGreat's avatar

How can I get my computer to run faster?

Asked by KateTheGreat (13635points) May 6th, 2011

For the past two days, my computer has be unbearably slow. I’m getting very angry. Is there anything I can do to make it run a bit faster?

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14 Answers

yankeetooter's avatar

Have you done all of the usual maintenance procedures? Scan Disk, deleting cookies, history, etc., Defragmenting?

BarnacleBill's avatar

Are you on a laptop or PC? Add memory cards on PC? Easy, and you can do it yourself.

ragingloli's avatar

Remove programs from automatic startup that do not need to be started (start > run > enter “msconfig” > startup).

Disable services you do not need (start > run > enter “services.msc”). Be careful though. You could shred your system by disabling the wrong ones.

Uninstall programs you do not need.

Defragment your hard drive.

Disable any visual styles and effects you might have enabled.

yankeetooter's avatar

Also, have you recently installed a new program? Maybe something didn’t “take” right. Besides uninstalling and reinstalling the program, you should be able to go back and do a System Restore that will take you back a few days to when your computer was acting right.

geeky_mama's avatar

I side with both of @yankeetooter‘s bits of advice.

1. I’d first consider if you installed something new..and perhaps uninstall it if you did.
2. Next I’d run a virus scan. (There are some new worms out there – and the most frequent symptom is slllllooooooowwwww computer)
3. If you have no virus, I’d check if your hard drive needs a defrag.

Those 3 steps usually speed up my laptop..

HungryGuy's avatar

If you’re running Windoze, the easiest solution is to reinstall it. If it’s a recent machine, there’s likely a “secret” partition on your hard drive that contains the CD image. A hotkey combo at boot time will cause it to reinstall itself clean. Just be sure to back up your own files (your MP3 playlist, Word/OpenOffice documents, porn collection, etc.).

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
koanhead's avatar

I’m assuming that this is a Windows computer.
First step- make sure the hard disk is defragmented and checked for errors.
Next step- make sure that your computer is not running unnecessary programs in the background. I recommend Process Explorer from SysInternals as it’s much better than the built-in tool. There are an array of startup managers available as well if you don’t want to go fooling about in your Registry (and why would you?) so that once you have only the programs running that you want to run, you can make sure they don’t start up again on the next boot.
For the next step, make sure your antivirus has a mode that lets it run at startup, before the OS loads and boots. Several antivirus programs offer this capability, I will leave it to others to recommend specific ones.
Now reboot and let the full virus scan run. Time to go for lunch. When you get back, if the antivirus scan has found and eliminated viruses then your computer will probably run faster.
If not, then the next step is to re-install Windows.

Note that if you ran Linux you would never have to do any of the above.

Note also that the real first step is to make sure you have a current backup. You make regular backups, right?

If the above instructions don’t speed up your computer the next step is to get a bootable CD like PartedMagic or Ubuntu 10.04. It needs to be one that offers MemTest86+ (most all of them do.) Reboot again and run MemTest from the prompt. This test will take a long time unless you have a small amount of RAM, and if that’s the case then the answer is “add more RAM and your computer will go faster”. Any amount of RAM less than “enough” will slow down your computer a lot. RAM is cheap these days. Max it out.
If MemTest finds errors, replace the RAM (the program will tell you which bank) and the computer should run faster.
If it doesn’t the next step is to check out the hard disk. If you are using the Ubuntu livecd you can use an included program called Palimpsest to run tests on your disks. Run a “SMART Test”. Do the full one. It may take several minutes, but should be quicker than the virus scan was, so go to coffee instead of lunch. If the test finds errors you may need to replace the drive. Make a backup first, of course.
Once the drive is replaced then your computer should be running fast again. If these steps don’t work, call a priest and have the machine exorcised. Beyond that I don’t know what else to tell you.

jaytkay's avatar

If your hard drive is nearly full it can slow things to a crawl.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
augustlan's avatar

You could also run CCleaner. I download and run this every so often, then get rid of it til I need it again.

chewhorse's avatar

All the information on this question is sound and true.. All I can add is when your working on a project (whatever) then close all other programs as each program whether being used or idle continue to sap your systems resources and if you have a small amount of ram (less than 3GBs) and Hz (less than 2GHz) then keeping programs active while not using can definitely cause the system to run slower than normal especially if it’s augmented with other issues as well.

pshizzle's avatar

Delete your browsing history religiously, get Antivirus software and do daily runs on it, and stop watching pornography ;)

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