Speeding up your computer


Over time, your computer will slow down and performance will not be as robust as it once was. There are several things you can do to help this. 

Step 1: Ensure you have enough free hard drive space

Without adequate hard drive space to use as virtual memory, Windows will run extremely slowly, to the point of sometimes seeming to hang. To ensure that you have adequate space, open My Computer, then right click on your Local Disk (C:) and choose “properties”. A pie chart will appear giving you the amount of used vs. free space. If you don't have at least 15% free (25% is preferable) then your system will run slower than it otherwise would.

All the software that comes installed on your computer when you received it, including Windows, accounts for less than 10% of your total hard drive space. If your hard drive is full, or near full, chances are it is from media that you have installed, most likely music and videos. Try to clean these materials up as much as you can.*

Step 2: Clean up unneeded files

Windows has a built in Disk Cleanup utility.  It will scan your computer for files you can remove to clear up space.  

  1. Open Disk Cleanup by clicking the Start button. In the search box, type Disk Cleanup, and then, in the list of results, click Disk Cleanup.

  2. In the Drives list, click the hard disk drive that you want to clean up (usually drive C:), and then click OK.

  3. In the Disk Cleanup tab, select the check boxes for the file types that you want to delete, and then click OK.  You can highlight each option to get a description of the type of files they are.

  4. Once you have selected everything you want to delete, click Clean up system files.

Step 3: Defragment the hard drive

Hard drives are made up of sectors, several bytes long. A file, which can be many megabytes in size, sits across many sectors. If the amount of sectors required to accommodate a file you are attempting to copy to the drive are not available all in a row, then the computer will spread the file across multiple spans of sectors on multiple parts of the drive. This is called “Fragmentation”. A file is broken up into multiple fragments, in order to fit it on the drive.

A drive that has many fragmented files is considered a badly fragmented drive. In such a case, the hard drive has to seek all over the drive, just to retrieve files. This slows the system down, as drive seek is often the slowest part of running any program or performing any computing task. To speed the computer up, a program can be run which will, in essence, rearrange the files on the physical drive.

The files will all remain in the folders you put them in, they are only being rearranged on the physical level, much like shaking a box of crackers will settle the crackers, so they are more concentrated in the bottom, with less air space between them.

Again, Windows has a built in drive defragmentation tool called Disk Defragmenter.

  1. Open Disk Defragmenter by clicking the Start button. In the search box, type Disk Defragmenter, and then, in the list of results, click Disk Defragmenter.

  2. Under Current status, select the disk you want to defragment.

  3. To determine if the disk needs to be defragmented or not, click Analyze disk. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

    Once Windows is finished analyzing the disk, you can check the percentage of fragmentation on the disk in the Last Run column. If the number is above 10%, you should defragment the disk.

  4. Click Defragment disk. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Disk Defragmenter might take from several minutes to a few hours to finish, depending on the size and degree of fragmentation of your hard disk. You can still use your computer during the defragmentation process.  

Note:  If the disk is already in exclusive use by another program or is formatted using a file system other than NTFS file system, FAT, or FAT32, it can't be defragmented.

Step 4:  Remove Malware (spyware, viruses, adware)  

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) is an extremely powerful and user friendly piece of software which will allow all users to clean most spyware and virus infections at their own convenience. It is highly recommended to run this toolkit on a regular basis and it should be the first step in cleaning possible infections.

MBAM is not a replacement for any full-time AV protection program. It is a standalone scanner, meaning that it is used to scan and clean all current infections, but does not provide any protection against future infections. It is a cleaning tool only, not a protection package.

If MBAM finds, but is unable to clean any infections you may be experiencing, please contact the Service Desk in person on the 100 level of the Beveridge Arts Center to allow us to perform a manual cleaning of your system. If you have any problems with this tool please contact us at 902-585-4357 (902-585-HELP) or via email at helpdesk@acadiau.ca.
To download and install MBAM visit the following website https://www.malwarebytes.org/antimalware/​.

The only other possible pitfall you could run into is legitimate software that loads on startup. If you use Peer to Peer sharing software, please check the documentation or settings to disable “Load on Startup” or “Start when Windows loads” type options. Any personal software that loads on start can contribute to the system load, causing the system to run slower and less reliably.

*Please note, copyrighted materials, such as feature movies, commercial music and television episodes are not free, despite their abundance on the Internet. Downloading these materials without paying to their respective rights holders is considered, by law, to be theft, and may be dealt with, by the authorities, as such.

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Article ID: 51
Mon 7/27/15 10:40 AM
Fri 6/26/20 4:04 PM