General Question

theabk's avatar

How do I make my computer run faster?

Asked by theabk (683points) February 28th, 2007
My computer (a Dell laptop purchased in 2005) is getting slower and slower - I've run Spybot Search & Destroy as well as regular Norton antivirus but this doesn't help. When I open the task manager I find that my CPU usage is all over the place, sometimes spking to 100%, and my page file usage is really high - usually in the mid 400 MBs. Plus only about 10% of my physical memory is available. Any advice on what I can do?
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9 Answers

ben's avatar
This is one of the annoying thing about Windows. This slowing down seems to happen to everyone. The best thing to do is backup your data and reinstall windows (or if you're feeling adventurous, linux. I'd recommend ubuntu-free, easy, fast, and stable:
ben's avatar
However, if reinstalling is too much of a pain, there are many other steps that can be taken, it's just that most of them are a little tedious, or require buying something. The number one thing you should focus on is removing all those built-in services that start on startup. The task area in the bottom-right should be as empty as possible. You want to remove/disable every that's not totally essential. Because this is all stuff that's in memory and slowing you down.
ben's avatar
There are also lots of articles like,1895,2092851,00.asp which may provide some hints. But if you can do a clean reinstall that will make your machine like the day you bought it. Also, I would always use firefox ( instead of IE to prevent random virus and spyware that could be slowing things down.
Modern_Classic's avatar
Before reinstalling windows....aghhhh....what a pain that is, in addition to killing off resource robbing processes (we'll visit that in a minute), I'd also look hard at the <10% disk space. What OS are you running? Since it's from 2005, any chance you've got (shudder) Windows 2000 or (just say no!) Windows ME? In any case, archive off as much of your non-used and rarely used files. Clear out the assorted Windows \TEMP directories. Clear out cookies and Temporary Internet Downloads. Empty the recycle bin. Look into Registry Fix or any other S/W that will clean up your registry. Try to get your hard drive as close to 50% empty as possible. Even if you can't do that, after getting rid of as many unneeded programs (use Uninstall!) and files as possible, defrag the hard drive. Norton Utilities is great for that. Even if you did a Windows re-install, you'd do well to stay on top of the above issues. Sigh. Windows so sucks. And this from a developer who works exclusively in Windows (so far). Good luck
cssboy's avatar

CCleaner ( is an excellent free resource to clean up potentially gigabytes of space by finding and removing many uncommon stashes of temporary files on your Windows PC. Its also got a great registry debugger which has never led me astray and creates beautiful backup files in case anything does get horked up.

In addition, close any unnecessary applications that may be running from the system tray (lower right, next to clock). Usually right clicking on the system tray icon will give access to "Exit" or "Quit" commands.

In the end though, your best bet to speed up your PC is to format your hard drive and start from scratch. Be sure to do a thorough backup and have your drivers on CD ready to reinstall, especially network card drivers, as those can be tough to try and download from a network card that doesn't have any drivers. (It sounds obvious, but I've done it before.)

irsmart's avatar

Sounds like a virus... Aw... :) Do everything on your compuer in safe mode (I think press F8 or F10 while your computer is starting up)

Virus scans, etc...

klaas4's avatar

TuneUp Utilities is the best app ever: it has all the functionallity of all the programs mentioned here.

klaas4's avatar

Except the spyware-removers…

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