Few things in one’s workday are as frustrating as trying to open up a hard-stored document/graphic – that is, an item reposited on the hard drive or a removable storage device such as a thumb drive or external hard drive – and getting nowhere. Either you receive an open document command fail message or the spinning wheel of document retrieval whirls forever. This situation becomes even more aggravating when the item is a necessary piece of evidence (email, e-documents, incriminating photos or videos…) that you needed yesterday.
Most often, storage degradation or inability to retrieve stored items results from poor PC maintenance. (The other main causes of a slow-running pc are: inadvertent computer ingestion of morning joe, internal dust bunnies or a pre- ehistoric model PC/laptop.)
In this week’s Bulletin, we will provide you with eight clean-up tips on boosting your PC’s performance in an effort to lessen the likelihood of negative retrieval events.
1) Uninstall unused programs
New PCs come with a boatload of programs you will never use, or even know exist.
To remove unwanted programs, open the Control Panel’s Programs feature and uninstall those you do not need.
If you are unsure about which programs to uninstall and those which are critical to system operation, try a third-party called such as PC Decrapifier – it’s free for non-commercial use – which, despite its funky name, should tell you which programs you don’t need.
2) Delete temporary files
Temporary files pile up on your computer through everyday tasks and can remain on your hard drive, slowing the computer down. Get rid of these files:
a – Open “My Computer”, and select your local drive (usually C:\). Select the “Windows” folder and then open the folder titled “Temp”.
b – Open your browser’s History option and delete temp files and finally,
c – Empty the Recycle Bin.
All of these tasks can easily be scheduled to occur automatically through the same access options listed above.
3) Install a solid state drive
Hard drives are the biggest cause of slow speeds and especially slow startup speeds on your PC.
Installing a solid state drive, which have extremely fast read times, can speed up your startup considerably.
What is a solid state drive, you might intelligently ask? From Wikipedia (not a source for actual news or validated history but we see no reason why they would mislead on us on a simple hardware definition):
A solid-state drive (SSD) (also known as a solid-state disk though it contains no actual disk, nor a drive motor to spin a disk) is adata storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data persistently.
SSDs have no moving (mechanical) components. This distinguishes them from traditional electro-mechanicalmagnetic disks such as hard disk drives (HDDs) or floppy disks, which contain spinning disks and movable read/write heads. Compared with electromechanical disks, SSDs are typically more resistant to physical shock, run silently, have lower access time, and less latency.
Got it? Okay.
4) More hard drive storage
Even if you diligently clean out all your temporarily files, bottom line, if your hard drive becomes 85 per cent full, it’s going to affect your computer’s speed.
If you regularly film videos or use your PC for recording television or video monitoring purposes, you will want as big a hard drive as you can get, up to 1TB in size.
5) Prevent unnecessary start-ups
The number of programs launched at Start Up will primarily affect how long it takes for your laptop or PC to startup, but often these programs continue to run and use up your computer’s memory.
From the Start Up menu, deselect the programs you do not need or want to operate as your computer is starting up or even as it is in use.
6) More RAM
RAM, which stands for Random Access Memory, is the temporary storage memory used by your computer and is in use when tasks are being executed by different programs. Logically, therefore, the more programs you use, the more RAM you need, and the slower your computer will be if you don’t have enough.
A clear indicator of not having enough RAM is if your computer slows down every time you try to process large files, or it freezes will carrying out several different actions at once.
You can either add more RAM with an extra memory stick or two or getting completely new memory if all the slots are taken. There is – theoretically – no upper limit on the amount of RAM that you can have with a 64-bit operating system.
If you don’t know which type RAM to buy for your computer, (or if you do and are ready to order), we highly recommend Crucial.com which offers two ways to upgrade your system’s RAM: and Advisor tool in which you enter your computer’s relevant data or Crucial’s Scanner option: a downloadable system analyst which returns manufacturer RAM suggestions. (Crucial can also provide you with these same options regarding hard drive and solid state drives.)
You can also find out how many RAM your computer is using in the Task Manager’s Performance tab (hit Ctrl-Shift-Esc and then More Details to bring this up).
7) Run a disk defragment
Disk defragment basically reconfigures how your hard drive stores information for optimum efficiency.
Go to “My Computer”, right-click on the hard drive (usually C) and select “Properties”. Under the “Tools” tab there should be an option to “Defragment Now”.
8) Run disk clean up
Windows also includes a built-in disk de-cluttering tool called “Disk Cleanup”.
It searches through the system for unnecessary large files such as temporary Internet files, program installers, and so on.
Access Disk Cleanup by clicking “Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup”.
If after doing all, most or some of the above, you find no discernible improvement in your computer’s speed, talk to us about debugging.
BNI Operatives: Situationally aware; info savvy.
As always, stay safe.