0

Seven Tips To Keep Your Pc Running At Peak Performance.
By
Dave Fraser
http://www.pcsandthings.com/
(c) Copyright 2004


Did you know that very soon after you start using your computer it begins to slow down and loses that responsive, "fresh out of the box" sort of feel. You've just started up your new super-speed, top of the range computer. You start surfing the internet, downloading a few new programs to try out and then a few weeks later you're working away and you notice it just doesn't seem as fast as it was before. If that's ever happened to you, then there are a few things you should know which I'll be covering in this article that will get the pep back into your PC.

------- Seven Steps to Sharpen up your PC -------

********************************************************
Step one: Clean up any Adware and scumware
********************************************************

Free programs on the internet are not always what they seem. Often the sting in the tail is, the behind the scenes, installing of Adware or Scumware as it's sometimes known. This usually consists of programs that run in the background and advertise various offerings which can be targeted to
match your preferences. These programs take up valuable system resources and should be cleaned out. Programs such as Gator (form filler) and Kazza (music sharing) are well known examples of this but there are many others. The solution to this, is for you to download one or both of these free programs.

Adaware 6.0 at http://www.tucows.com/preview/236049.html
or Spybot search and Destroy at http://www.safer-networking.org/index.php?page=download

Use them to clean up your system regularly. I personally use them both once a week.

**********************************************
Step Two: Clean out your start-up files
**********************************************

Nearly every program you load on your computer wants to be top dog. By that I mean when you install the program it usually sets itself up in your startup list. This means that whenever you start up your computer the programs installs itself automatically into main memory whether you are going to use it or not and just takes up valuable resources that could be better utilised by programs you are using right away. If you hit the Control-Alt-Delete keys once (if you do it twice you will reboot the computer and lose any unsaved work) you will be able to see all the programs that are running behing the scenes. The more you have running that you are not using, the more memory will be taken up and the slower and less stable the system will be. Things like Anti-Virus programs and "system tray" should be left running but many others can be removed. To do this in windows 98/ME, hit "Start"-"Run"- and type in "msconfig" and enter, then choose the right hand top tab marked "startup" Uncheck all the programs that you aren't using all the time. You will be able to run them normally at any time from your start menu so don't worry about that. Most of the programs can be identified by the program names at the right hand side, any that can't, you can always type it into google and see what comes up. Occasionally you find programs loaded here that are malicious programs such as Trojans or Browser hijackers that you definitely don't want. To get rid of them search for the filename in Google and then see if it comes up as a nasty and then get the info on how to remove from the anti-virus website. You will notice a definite improvement in start-up speed and general running when these are removed.

***********************************************************************
Step Three: uninstall any old programs that are no longer used
***********************************************************************

Windows registry is the section of windows that contains all the information relating to your system and software. As time goes by it can get extremely bloated and even if you are not using the old programs anymore, the time taken to search through registry is increased. Uninstalling the programs rather than just deleting the files will ensure that the entries in the registry are removed and this helps keep the size under control. Another little utility you might find useful is called "EasyCleaner" and it is great for cleaning out all these unwanted files and registry entries that were somehow left behind. You can also use it to locate temporary files used by various programs that just clog up your hard drive and slow things down. It's a free utility you can download from http://www.docsdownloads.com/easycleaner.htm

*******************************************************
Step Four: Invest in a good antivirus program
*******************************************************

Invest in a good antivirus program such as Shield-Antivirus or Panda anti-virus and keep it regularly updated. Having a virus on your system can not only wreak havoc with your system speed but can lead to more serious problems and data loss. You can check out Shield at:- http://www.pcsandthings.com/shield-antivirus.htm and Panda at:- http://www.pcsandthings.com/panda.htm

******************************************************
Step Five: Delete or uninstall unwanted fonts
******************************************************

When Windows loads it installs all available fonts. This not only takes up space but also valuable time. Deleting or uninstalling fonts that you will never use will help streamline things a bit more. To view the installed fonts, select Start, Run, type "fonts", and press Enter. To see what a font looks like, double-click its icon. You can delete a font by right-clicking it and selecting Delete, but it's safer to uninstall it by dragging it to another folder so you can always drag it back if you really need it. You must do this dragging (in either direction) from within Windows Explorer. Moving or copying a font to or from the C:\Windows\Fonts folder via DOS commands or some other utility won't properly install or uninstall it. Some fonts should stay put, such as Windows system fonts, which have the extension .fon instead of .ttf. The icon for a system font has a red 'A' rather than a gray-blue 'TT'. System fonts are usually hidden files, but they're visible in the Fonts folder in Explorer. They disappear when you move them elsewhere, though. Some applications require specific fonts, such as Arial, Verdana or Times New Roman, so you'd better keep them around. Any other ones you don't use can be moved to another folder. More info on this can be found at:- http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;234749

**************************************
Step Six: Optimise your system
**************************************

A few basic pointers for optimising your system.

(1) From the desktop right click on the "my computer" icon and select properties. Select "file system" and under the hard disc tab, where it says "for typical role of this computer" select "network server" in the drop down menu as this speeds up transfers.

(2) Under floppy disc make sure the little box is not ticked as this increases boot up time slightly.

(3) On Internet Explorer while surfing the net, images are stored on the hard drive in a section called the cache. This is useful if you are using a slow dial-up connection as it means the most used images don't have to be continually downloaded so surfing speeds are increased. If the cache size is too great then Explorer has to check through all the images before it downloads them and this can slow up browsing. The optimum size is a bit, hit or miss, but with ADSL or cable the cache can be set much smaller as the images download quickly. Also when the cache is too large the files get fragmented (this is covered later) and the hard disk thrashes around trying to piece it all together thus slowing everything down. It's a matter of trial and error but I wouldn't recommend much more than 50MB for a slow connection and about 10MB for ADSL or Cable. Adjustment is made by clicking on Internet explorer "tools" and "internet options" then under "temporary internet files" the settings button and use the slider to adjust the amount.

(4) A program I find very useful for optimising various parts of your computer is one called "Speed up my PC" With this you can set it automatically to take care of memory usage and can prevent system crashes at awkward times. It's not free this on but it might be worth taking a look at it. You can read more on it here:- http://www.pcsandthings.com/speed_up_my_pc.htm

***********************************************************
Step Seven: defragment your hard drive regularly
***********************************************************

De-what, my hard drive? I might hear you say. Sounds a bit severe but it's something that should be done fairly regularly. Your computer works efficiently when the data it takes from the hard drive to process in memory is all in one place and doesn't take very long to fetch. After using your computer for a while, related files get broken up into fragments and are scattered all over the disc. This happens in normal use and it can significantly increase the time it takes to collect it all up. A bit like you going to another room to fetch your files from a filing cabinet and if they were all together it would be easy to collect them. If on the other hand they were in different cabinets all dotted around the room then you get the idea. The thing to do is run the defragmenter that comes with Windows. Double click "My Computer" and then Right Click the icon for drive C: and then click properties. Select defragment and follow the instructions. This process can take a long time on a large hard drive with badly fragmented files, so it may be advisable to set this running at a quiet time computer wise or even overnight. There is a another program I highly recommend for defragmenting which is called Diskeeper Lite and is much better than the built-in version that Windows has. It is available as a free download plus some more articles on fragmentation from http://www.executive.com/downloads/menu.asp Defragmenting is best done last after the other steps above as removing files and clutter will leave gaps that can then be put back together for normal use.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carrying out the above actions will help keep your PC running faster and more stable and hopefully crashing less causing you less stress and frustration from lost work. So get started now and clean up your PC and make it a habit to do it regularly and keep your system running at peak performance. And don't forget one of the most cost effective upgrades you can do to your PC at the moment is to add some more Memory (RAM). Check our website for "Memory specials" at:- http://www.pcsandthings.com/ or Buy direct from the manufacturer at:-http://www.pcsandthings.com/crucial.htm They have a system selector that can help you choose the correct RAM for your PC.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dave Fraser makes it easy for beginners to learn about
their computers in less technical terms. For more Free
tips and tricks to make your computing experience better,
visit http://www.pcsandthings.com and sign up for our FREE newsletter.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Contributors
12
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Discussion Span
Last Post by SMterminator
0

i cant find the file system! can you help. i have the xp.tks


Seven Tips To Keep Your Pc Running At Peak Performance.
By
Dave Fraser
http://www.pcsandthings.com/
(c) Copyright 2004


Did you know that very soon after you start using your computer it begins to slow down and loses that responsive, "fresh out of the box" sort of feel. You've just started up your new super-speed, top of the range computer. You start surfing the internet, downloading a few new programs to try out and then a few weeks later you're working away and you notice it just doesn't seem as fast as it was before. If that's ever happened to you, then there are a few things you should know which I'll be covering in this article that will get the pep back into your PC.

------- Seven Steps to Sharpen up your PC -------

********************************************************
Step one: Clean up any Adware and scumware
********************************************************

Free programs on the internet are not always what they seem. Often the sting in the tail is, the behind the scenes, installing of Adware or Scumware as it's sometimes known. This usually consists of programs that run in the background and advertise various offerings which can be targeted to
match your preferences. These programs take up valuable system resources and should be cleaned out. Programs such as Gator (form filler) and Kazza (music sharing) are well known examples of this but there are many others. The solution to this, is for you to download one or both of these free programs.

Adaware 6.0 at http://www.tucows.com/preview/236049.html
or Spybot search and Destroy at http://www.safer-networking.org/index.php?page=download

Use them to clean up your system regularly. I personally use them both once a week.

**********************************************
Step Two: Clean out your start-up files
**********************************************

Nearly every program you load on your computer wants to be top dog. By that I mean when you install the program it usually sets itself up in your startup list. This means that whenever you start up your computer the programs installs itself automatically into main memory whether you are going to use it or not and just takes up valuable resources that could be better utilised by programs you are using right away. If you hit the Control-Alt-Delete keys once (if you do it twice you will reboot the computer and lose any unsaved work) you will be able to see all the programs that are running behing the scenes. The more you have running that you are not using, the more memory will be taken up and the slower and less stable the system will be. Things like Anti-Virus programs and "system tray" should be left running but many others can be removed. To do this in windows 98/ME, hit "Start"-"Run"- and type in "msconfig" and enter, then choose the right hand top tab marked "startup" Uncheck all the programs that you aren't using all the time. You will be able to run them normally at any time from your start menu so don't worry about that. Most of the programs can be identified by the program names at the right hand side, any that can't, you can always type it into google and see what comes up. Occasionally you find programs loaded here that are malicious programs such as Trojans or Browser hijackers that you definitely don't want. To get rid of them search for the filename in Google and then see if it comes up as a nasty and then get the info on how to remove from the anti-virus website. You will notice a definite improvement in start-up speed and general running when these are removed.

***********************************************************************
Step Three: uninstall any old programs that are no longer used
***********************************************************************

Windows registry is the section of windows that contains all the information relating to your system and software. As time goes by it can get extremely bloated and even if you are not using the old programs anymore, the time taken to search through registry is increased. Uninstalling the programs rather than just deleting the files will ensure that the entries in the registry are removed and this helps keep the size under control. Another little utility you might find useful is called "EasyCleaner" and it is great for cleaning out all these unwanted files and registry entries that were somehow left behind. You can also use it to locate temporary files used by various programs that just clog up your hard drive and slow things down. It's a free utility you can download from http://www.docsdownloads.com/easycleaner.htm

*******************************************************
Step Four: Invest in a good antivirus program
*******************************************************

Invest in a good antivirus program such as Shield-Antivirus or Panda anti-virus and keep it regularly updated. Having a virus on your system can not only wreak havoc with your system speed but can lead to more serious problems and data loss. You can check out Shield at:- http://www.pcsandthings.com/shield-antivirus.htm and Panda at:- http://www.pcsandthings.com/panda.htm

******************************************************
Step Five: Delete or uninstall unwanted fonts
******************************************************

When Windows loads it installs all available fonts. This not only takes up space but also valuable time. Deleting or uninstalling fonts that you will never use will help streamline things a bit more. To view the installed fonts, select Start, Run, type "fonts", and press Enter. To see what a font looks like, double-click its icon. You can delete a font by right-clicking it and selecting Delete, but it's safer to uninstall it by dragging it to another folder so you can always drag it back if you really need it. You must do this dragging (in either direction) from within Windows Explorer. Moving or copying a font to or from the C:\Windows\Fonts folder via DOS commands or some other utility won't properly install or uninstall it. Some fonts should stay put, such as Windows system fonts, which have the extension .fon instead of .ttf. The icon for a system font has a red 'A' rather than a gray-blue 'TT'. System fonts are usually hidden files, but they're visible in the Fonts folder in Explorer. They disappear when you move them elsewhere, though. Some applications require specific fonts, such as Arial, Verdana or Times New Roman, so you'd better keep them around. Any other ones you don't use can be moved to another folder. More info on this can be found at:- http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;234749

**************************************
Step Six: Optimise your system
**************************************

A few basic pointers for optimising your system.

(1) From the desktop right click on the "my computer" icon and select properties. Select "file system" and under the hard disc tab, where it says "for typical role of this computer" select "network server" in the drop down menu as this speeds up transfers.

(2) Under floppy disc make sure the little box is not ticked as this increases boot up time slightly.

(3) On Internet Explorer while surfing the net, images are stored on the hard drive in a section called the cache. This is useful if you are using a slow dial-up connection as it means the most used images don't have to be continually downloaded so surfing speeds are increased. If the cache size is too great then Explorer has to check through all the images before it downloads them and this can slow up browsing. The optimum size is a bit, hit or miss, but with ADSL or cable the cache can be set much smaller as the images download quickly. Also when the cache is too large the files get fragmented (this is covered later) and the hard disk thrashes around trying to piece it all together thus slowing everything down. It's a matter of trial and error but I wouldn't recommend much more than 50MB for a slow connection and about 10MB for ADSL or Cable. Adjustment is made by clicking on Internet explorer "tools" and "internet options" then under "temporary internet files" the settings button and use the slider to adjust the amount.

(4) A program I find very useful for optimising various parts of your computer is one called "Speed up my PC" With this you can set it automatically to take care of memory usage and can prevent system crashes at awkward times. It's not free this on but it might be worth taking a look at it. You can read more on it here:- http://www.pcsandthings.com/speed_up_my_pc.htm

***********************************************************
Step Seven: defragment your hard drive regularly
***********************************************************

De-what, my hard drive? I might hear you say. Sounds a bit severe but it's something that should be done fairly regularly. Your computer works efficiently when the data it takes from the hard drive to process in memory is all in one place and doesn't take very long to fetch. After using your computer for a while, related files get broken up into fragments and are scattered all over the disc. This happens in normal use and it can significantly increase the time it takes to collect it all up. A bit like you going to another room to fetch your files from a filing cabinet and if they were all together it would be easy to collect them. If on the other hand they were in different cabinets all dotted around the room then you get the idea. The thing to do is run the defragmenter that comes with Windows. Double click "My Computer" and then Right Click the icon for drive C: and then click properties. Select defragment and follow the instructions. This process can take a long time on a large hard drive with badly fragmented files, so it may be advisable to set this running at a quiet time computer wise or even overnight. There is a another program I highly recommend for defragmenting which is called Diskeeper Lite and is much better than the built-in version that Windows has. It is available as a free download plus some more articles on fragmentation from http://www.executive.com/downloads/menu.asp Defragmenting is best done last after the other steps above as removing files and clutter will leave gaps that can then be put back together for normal use.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carrying out the above actions will help keep your PC running faster and more stable and hopefully crashing less causing you less stress and frustration from lost work. So get started now and clean up your PC and make it a habit to do it regularly and keep your system running at peak performance. And don't forget one of the most cost effective upgrades you can do to your PC at the moment is to add some more Memory (RAM). Check our website for "Memory specials" at:- http://www.pcsandthings.com/ or Buy direct from the manufacturer at:-http://www.pcsandthings.com/crucial.htm They have a system selector that can help you choose the correct RAM for your PC.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dave Fraser makes it easy for beginners to learn about
their computers in less technical terms. For more Free
tips and tricks to make your computing experience better,
visit http://www.pcsandthings.com and sign up for our FREE newsletter.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

0

i cant find the file system! can you help. i have the xp.tks

Double-click on My Computer, right-click on the drive you want to check, click on Properties, and look for where it says "File System:" Next to that you should see NTFS, FAT32, or whatever file system you have.

0

how do i do the one about cleaning up start up programs in step 2 with w2k. "msconfig" does not work in w2k
john

0

right on. thank you. it doesnt make any sense to me that w2k doesnt come with that.

Nor to anyone else that I know of. I wonder if it does to Microsoft :confused:

0

(1) From the desktop right click on the "my computer" icon and select properties. Select "file system" and under the hard disc tab, where it says "for typical role of this computer" select "network server" in the drop down menu as this speeds up transfers.

I didnt find any file system tabs in my computer properties ?? Can you help me find that...

0

***********************************************************
Step Seven: defragment your hard drive regularly
***********************************************************

I've used Perfect Disk 7 and its also a great defragmenter .... after I defragmented from Perfect disk, I got a great boost to my computer ... and things havnt fragmented again over a period of time. What do you think of this software ?

0

I'm having a little trouble with step 7. I went to the defragmenter, it analized it and then it has stayed on "(C) Defragmenting... 1% Moving file mqdscli.dll" for about 20 mins now, anything i should be worried about?

Thanks

EDIT- Ah crap, it moved to 2%. Sorry, bout that and nevermind

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