Is your PC under par? Does it take longer to log on and load websites then it used to? Are your programs crashing more often then Evil Knieval used to?
If the answers yes to all of these questions, then it’s time to give your computer a new lease of life. But we’re not talking drastic measures like buying a new one, as there are a few fixes you can do yourself (or with the help of an expert) that will restore your computer to its former glory. Here’s how you can perk up your PC.
1. Install tune-up software
The quickest and easiest way to restore your PC to health is to install a free registry cleaner that’ll tune things up. In fact, some programs won’t just return your computer to its regular speed; they’ll even turbo-charge it for you so you’ll have a boost of power when you need it the most.
As well as running at normal speed, your system will crash less and have more disk space available. You’ll probably even notice improvements in battery life too.
2. Back up your computer
Before you carry out any maintenance or make any changes to how your computer works, back it up first. Backing up is when you create a copy of your current system onto an external device or disk, such as an external hard drive or a writable DVD or CD.
As well as backing up before making any changes to your system, it’s wise to regularly make a copy of your files. After all, some of the information on your computer, like family photos, may be impossible to replace if it was deleted. After you’ve backed up, you can then remove any large files that you don’t use regularly (like mp3 files or high-res images), this should help free some disk space and speed up your system.
3. Uninstall programs you no longer use
Another easy way to free up some space on your hard disk is to uninstall programs that are out of date or that you never use. This could include pre-installed software or trial versions of programs you no longer use. If you browse online with Chrome or Firefox you might also consider removing Internet Explorer too.
To check for programs you don’t need, firstly click on the Start button and choose Programs and Features. Google any program names that you don’t recognise. After all, you don’t want to delete anything that’s vital for running the system. Removing the icon from your desktop does not delete the program. You’ll need to uninstall it via the Programs and Features menu you navigated to above.
4. Clean up your hard disk
Deleting large files you’ve backed up and programs you don’t use will provide you with extra space on your hard disk, but you can probably clear even more junk than that. Cached and temporary files, for example, will also be using up valuable chunks of memory.
Fortunately there is a program already installed on your PC that can clear these for you. Disk Cleanup will search your drive for unwanted data and then either remove it, or simply identify it so you can decide whether or not to get rid of it. If you use your computer a lot, it’s a good idea to run Disk Cleanup regularly. Set it as a weekly scheduled task and prevent your computer from slowing down drastically again in the future.
5. Update your software
Older versions of software or operating systems will make your computer run slower as additional security fixes (often called patches) and add-ons reduce computing speed. Updating to newer versions should help to improve the speed of your PC, as well as the security of your set-up too.
If you’re running Office 2003 or Windows XP, then you should definitely consider upgrading to a newer version. From 8th April 2014, these programs will no longer be supported by Microsoft, leaving users more open to risks from hackers than before.
6. Scan you computer for viruses
Viruses and malware (malicious software) may well be to blame if your computer’s running slowly or performing strangely. As well as preventing your computer from working as normal, they could be gathering your information or even planning to steal your identity.
Running anti-virus software will not only identify and get rid of any viruses you’ve managed to pick up; it’ll also help to keep your computer clean in the future. So both your computer and the information on it will be safe from harm.
7. Defrag and check for disk errors
If you’ve done all of the above and your computer’s still not performing as it should, then it may be necessary to defrag the hard drive and then check it for disk errors. Both of these tasks are slightly more complicated however, and you’re only advised to carry them out if you’re a competent PC trouble-shooter. If you’re not, then this is the time to call in the experts.
Image Credit: Boians Cho Joo Young