Everything needs a tune up: cars, pianos—even your computer! Here are ten ways for you to tune up your PC to help keep it running smoothly and efficiently.
What you'll need:
•USB drive (1GB minimum)
1. Keep your PC up to date
One of the best things you can do to protect your PC is also one of the easiest: Make sure you are set up to get automatic updates from Microsoft. If you use Windows and other Microsoft software, such as Microsoft Office or Windows Live Essentials, then you should use the Microsoft Update service. You'll also get notices about new Microsoft software that you can download for free.
So how do you turn on automatic updates? Simple: Go to the Microsoft Update Web site. If you don't have automatic updates turned on, we'll help you through the process.
Next, you should “look under your PC's hood” to see how efficiently your computer is operating. To check your PC's performance in Windows 7, click the Start button, type Performance in the Search box, and then choose Performance Information and Tools in the search results.
Your system's processor, memory, graphics handling, and your hard drive are rated according to their capabilities. If you need more information on what these ratings mean click the What do these numbers mean? link found under your base score.
3. Action Center
In Windows 7, Action Center is a central area for messages and warnings about security that need your attention. When there is nothing to report you won't even realize it's there, but when something occurs that you should know about, you will see an Action Center flag notification in your taskbar.
When you click the warning you can choose to resolve the issue from there. You can also open the Action Center itself to see other notifications and actions you can take to help keep your PC running smoothly.
If you have a USB drive with at least 1GB to spare you may be able to make your system faster using ReadyBoost. ReadyBoost uses available storage space on a removable device to boost your system speed. Most flash drives and flash memory cards can help speed up your computer.
5. CPU Utilization
Your Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brains of your computer. It organizes the processes in your computer to help keep it running smoothly. If you're wondering if an application may be slowing down your system, you can check the Performance tab in Windows Task Manager to see if the online movie you are watching is taking more than its fair share of power.
Windows Task Manager provides details on each process running on your computer, allowing you to find those programs affecting your PC's efficiency.
6. Check for Viruses and Spyware
Has your computer really slowed down since you bought it? Are windows occasionally popping up or programs starting independently? Is your hard drive constantly spinning? These and other problems may be caused by viruses or spyware.
Be sure your computer has protection against viruses, spyware, and malware. If you don't already have security software installed, try Microsoft Security Essentials.
7. Clean up your hard drive
Just like your closet needs a good cleaning occasionally, your hard drive does too. To unclutter your hard drive use Disk Cleanup. When you use Disk Cleanup you will toss out those old unneeded temporary files, all the trash in your recycle bin, and many other bits and pieces that are no longer needed.
Run it on a regular basis and you will be amazed at your computer's efficiency.
8. If you don't use it, uninstall it
Even a brand new computer has programs that you never use and don't need. If you don't use a program, uninstall it. This goes for pre-installed software, trial software you decided not to purchase, or software that you've replaced with an updated version.
Many unwanted programs run in the background upon startup whether you are using them or not. They take up disc space and memory. If you don't need the program, uninstall it. One warning: If you don't recognize a program name or know what it does, don't uninstall it until you've checked to see if it's software essential to running your PC.
9. Defrag your hard drive
Over time, files on your computer are moved around the hard drive. Eventually it takes your computer longer to find various parts of the programs which have been moved or fragmented. To boost your computer's speed and overall performance defrag your hard drive on occasion. In Windows 7, Disk Defragmenter rearranges fragmented data, making your computer operate more efficiently.
10. Try troubleshooting for performance
Your PC may also have some simple or more complex issues that Windows 7 can repair for you. Try a troubleshooting program to automatically fix those issues.
In Windows 7, the performance troubleshooter checks specifically for performance issues and the maintenance troubleshooter will look for hard drive maintenance issues. Both are quick and easy to use and may provide you with some useful suggestions.PrintPDF
For Further Reading,