What to do when your laptop/PC goes slow.

PCSo you made an investment a few years ago on a decent laptop/desktop and were in seventh heaven as your machine purred beneath your fingertips and mouse clicks. But that was then and this is now, and your former “pride n joy” is operating at the speed of a Trabant and you’re not sure why?

The reality is that just like cars, PCs/laptops need servicing from time to time. Despite starting of technically similar (obviously with different specifications), they develop unique characteristics and “personalities” that are dependent on their history of use. So day to day events such as installation and removal of programs, recovery from occasional crashes, virus and spyware attacks and recovery, creation and deletion of files and how they are saved on your harddrive, operating system inefficiencies etc all take their toll and eventually leave your machine needing a little TLC.

So for the technically adventurous, here are a few simple tips to help bring the zest back into your machine:

● Before starting the service, ensure that all your important data files and emails are backed up safely!

● Check how much memory the system has. Nowadays with Windows 7/8 and more demanding software programs it is worth having AT LEAST 4 Gigabytes of Ram (8 Gigabytes preferable). If you have less then it may be well worth investing in more. The more memory you have the better.

● Delete any legacy printer installations and mapped network drives that no longer exist.

● Run a full anti-virus and anti-spyware scan on your system and drives. Use AntiVirus and AntiSpyware software that is not system resource hungry. By resource hungry I mean programs that use a lot of the machines processing power and memory. For example I personally avoid Norton AntiVirus because it tends to turn ones PC/laptop into a big AntiVirus/Spam machine, incapable of doing much else. Our preferences are Kaspersky and MalwareBytes.

● Delete “deleted” files from your email program’s folders. Often these are moved to a “Delete folder” for example as in Microsoft Outlook. If you don’t do this your email’s database file will get larger and larger and become cumbersome for your mail program to manage.

● Ensure you have at least 1 Gigabytes of disk space available on your main harddrive. If not uninstall programs you don’t need and delete all unnecessary files (usually files ending in *.tmp, *.avi, *.mpg or *.wmv). You could use an utility tool such as Windows Manager to assist with the removal of these files. Even if you have more than 1 Gigabytes of space available it is well worth removing unnecessary files that “clog” your system..

● Backup legacy documents onto a separate drive/cd.

● Run Microsoft Scan Disk and Microsoft Defragmenter. Both these are built into your Windows operating system.

● Check and clean up your operating systems windows registry using Windows Manager. Note be very careful when working with windows registry and ensure you make a copy of your systems registry before doing any tweaks. Tools such as Windows Manager have a user friendly wizard to help you do this process automatically and safely.

● Use Windows Manager to remove unnecessary start up programs that “eat away” at your system’s memory. For example when you install HP printers, they often also install programs that run at your PCs/laptops start up, and which most people don’t need. Again Windows Manager will allow you to identify and remove these programs. However before you remove any start up programs, ensure that you understand what you are removing.

● Further tweak your PC’s hardware and software settings using Windows Manager. The wizard will help you with most of these.

● If you can afford a SSD drive (currently very expensive), then clone your existing OS image onto a replacement SSD drive. As harddrives are often the bottleneck for system speed using an SSD rather than a normal Sata drive will improve overall speed.

Hopefully after this “do-it-yourself” service, your PC/laptop will be back to some of its former glory.

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