5 tips for speeding up your computer

Somebody asked me the other day what he could do to speed up the performance of his old laptop which had slowed down to a crawling pace. Well, here are my 5 top tips for breathing new life into your machine and the best news is, most of them won’t cost you a bean to implement.

1. Remove unwanted programs!

If you don’t use it, delete it. How many programs are sat on your hard drive which you simply don’t use? I bet the answer is a lot. Have you still got those free trial programs your shiny new machine came pre-loaded with which you have no need for? Then don’t just leave them, delete them.

I know these days hard disc capacity is much less of an issue thann it used to be, but overcluttering your system can still slow it down, particulalrly on the drive on which your operating system is loaded. Target to have at least 30% free space on your C drive. Go on, clean it up today!

2. Defrag that Disk.

Right, assuming you’ve already got a minimum of 15% free space on your C drive, make sure you defragment the disk regularly. There is no excuse, all flavours of windows have a defragmenter tool built in and if you don’t like it, check out and download a free alternative from the web.

In Windows XP you have to run the defragmenter manually, but in Vista and Windows 7 you can set up a schedule to do it regularly. I recommend once  a week. In Windows 7 just type ‘defragmenter’ in the search box, select the program and off you go.

3. Run Disk Clean Up.

Besides removing unwanted programs, I bet  there will also be a load of other clutter that you can safely remove – temporary files from your web surfing sessions, system error files etc and not forgetting the good old recycle bin! Once again, windows has a built in tool to help you achieve this in the form of the Disk Cleanup utility.

Just type ‘clean’ in the search box and select the program. If you want something a little more versatile and powerful, download the excellent CCleaner from Piriform. Its free to use and comes highly recommended.

4. Add more RAM.

The single most effective hardware upgrade you can make for improving the performance of your machine is to add more RAM. Each version of windows has increased the demands on computer memory and most machines are seldom shipped with the optimum amount. If you are running Windows XP, then I would recommend a minimum of 1gb of RAM and preferably 2gb if you want to run several programs effectively at the same time.

For Vista, my minimum figure would be 2gb and for Windows 7 4gb. RAM memory is relatively inexpensive at the moment, typically around £10-15 per 1gb. Make sure you get the right spec for your machine, there are a lot of different types around.  Alternatively, let My PC Surgery take the strain and upgrade your computer for you.

5. Use ReadyBoost

Did you know you can speed up your computer with a flash drive? Through the magic of a little known Windows technology called ReadyBoost, your PC can see a real increase in speed. ReadyBoost is available in both Windows 7 and Vista and uses free space on an external hard drive, normally a USB drive. Its a great way to make your computer faster and more efficient by increasing the amount of RAM without a formal upgrade.

Plug your usb drive in, select it in windows explorer, right click on the usb drive icon and select properties and then the ReadyBoost tab. You can dedicate the whole drive or select just the amount of free space you want to ReadyBoost. Go on, give it a try today!