General Question

2davidc8's avatar

How can I speed up my computer?

Asked by 2davidc8 (9179points) June 8th, 2016

I think that my experience is typical. You get a new computer or laptop and it’s pretty zippy at first. But over time, it starts to get bogged down by all sorts of stuff that gets inadvertently installed, even if they are technically not regarded as viruses.
Under Windows, Task Manager shows me dozens of “processes” and “services” running in the background that I have no idea what they’re for and if they are even necessary.
So, what is the best way to clean things up, so that my PC can be speedier? Is there reliable and safe software that I can use?
Is there a website that shows what such things like QWAVE, Mcx2Svc and hkcmd.exe are for and whether they could be safely disabled or removed?

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15 Answers

dabbler's avatar

If you don’t already have it, get the Microsoft Security Essentials for your Windows installation.
It’s free and most reviews of anti-virus/anti-malware software indicate it’s as good as the ones you pay for. (the paid ones each have some particular thing they might be better at, but overall coverage with MS SE is good)

Pachy's avatar

Suggest you check out this Google search. When you find sites that apply to your particular situation (and I’m sure there are many), you’ll be able to follow step-by-step instructions.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

The biggest computing horesepower theif is usually a big invasive security suite like norton or mcaffee. Generally though the slowdown is expected. You can do things like add ram, add a ss drive for your os. Even simple things like defrag your conventional drive, removing drivers for devices you are not using etc… basic house cleaning stuff

AshlynM's avatar

I’ve used Spybot Search and Destroy in the past. It removes malware and spyware when you run it. You can also check out CC Cleaner. It’s suppose to overwrite and clear free space on your hard drive.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Reinstalling the OS helps, just put the stuff you want to keep on a flash drive because it wipes out everything like new.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Get a solid state hard drive. They may be pricey, but in my experience they never slow down.

If money is an issue, use CCleaner to get rid of temporary files. Then delete any files or programs you don’t need. After that (not before) defragment the hard drive(s). Repeat this process once a month, as some amount of fragmentation of files cannot be recovered without a fresh installation of your OS.

2davidc8's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Yes, an SSD would probably be faster, but my point is, my machine was plenty fast enough before, and my computing needs haven’t changed. I suspect that a big reason for the slowdown is that there are now too many unnecessary processes running in the background. But I don’t want to go into Task Manager and shut these off or disable them without knowing what they’re for, in case I turn off a critical program. I was wondering if someone could point me to a site where these background programs are identified and/or explained. Or to software that can scan my machine and show me what processes are important and which ones are not. Anyone?

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@2davidc8 Check out this page and this one. Alternatively you can run a search in your “Program Files” folder for a .exe file, since every .exe needs a location, and see what folder it turns up in. I haven’t used the paid version of CCleaner before, but the “real time monitoring” function may also help. Check out the free trial if you think it may help.

Another approach you can use is to look through the registry for programs that are set to start up with the OS. I’ve forgotten how to do this, since XP SP2 was current last time I played with the registry, but there should be online tutorials easily available. Just remember that if you stuff up the registry you may need to re-install your OS. Make sure you know what you’re changing before you modify anything, and write down any values you change on paper so you can change them back to their previous state.

2davidc8's avatar

GA, @FireMadeFlesh, your second link is kinda what I am looking for. That link addresses “processes”. Do you know of any resource that explains the “Services”? Services seem to have more cryptic names.

2davidc8's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Your link is a great place to start! Thank you.
I have a lot to learn.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@2davidc8 Enjoy your journey down the rabbit hole!

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