Posted May 24th, 2012 by Mark with No Comments
Take a look down by the clock in the lower right corner of your screen. Click on the upward-facing arrow if necessary to show the hidden icons. Every icon you see there is a program that is running and using up system resources. The more icons you have there, the longer it takes for them all to start up when you turn on the computer, and the more system resources are being used – leaving less available for the things you want to do.
Hover your mouse over each icon in turn and read what the pop-up text says. Use this to determine whether or not you need each of these programs. If you determine that you need all of them, then that’s fine – but recognize that each one of them adds to the startup time for your computer and takes away from the resources you need to run other programs.
If you identify programs that you know you don’t need, then uninstall them (Control Panel, Programs applet) to free up the resources taken up. If you don’t recognize, or you’re not sure about some of these programs, then leave them alone. It’s easy to delete something important if you’re not careful.
Random Access Memory, or working memory, is used by Windows itself and by programs that you run. When you don’t have enough free RAM, your computer will run slowly. To check on your RAM, do this:
- Run Task Manager by right-clicking on the task bar at the bottom of the screen. Choose “Start Task Manager” from the popup menu.
- When Task Manager comes up, click on the “Performance” tab. There are two live graphs shown. The 2nd one is labeled “Memory”. The left side shows the amount of RAM that your computer is currently using. Make a note of this figure. On the computer I’m using to write this, the RAM currently used is 1.49GB (or Gigabytes).
- Below the graphs is a section labeled “Physical Memory.” The first line in this section is labeled “Total.” Note the figure there. On my computer it says 8,191 MB (Megabytes, which is equal to approximately 8 Gigabytes).
- Compare these two numbers. In my case, I have a total of 8GB of memory, and my computer is currently using 1.49GB. In other words, I have about 6.5GB of RAM available (8 minus 1.49). This is the space used to run additional programs. You want to have enough free memory so that when you run programs like Word or Internet Explorer, your computer isn’t running out of memory.
- If you find that you don’t have much free memory, then it’s time to add more. Call us for help – this is an easy job.
Open your internet browser and take a look at everything that is displayed above the actual website you are viewing. There is probably a menu bar, and maybe the address bar where you can see the URL of the web page. Every other toolbar shown is slowing down your browsing. Take a look at what toolbars are there and make a note of any that you can live without. Close and disable them from within Internet Explorer, then uninstall them from Control Panel.
Use the Disk Cleanup Utility to get rid of temporary files. Open “Computer,” right-click on the C drive, then choose “Properties.” Click on the “Disk Cleanup” button on the “General” tab. Make sure you DO NOT choose to “Compress Files” if that is offered. You only want to delete temporary files. Check the boxes and click “OK.”
Both Firefox and Chrome load pages a bit faster than IE, and a new browser will not be encumbered by any toolbars or other add-ons that might have accumulated along the way with IE.
If you haven’t run manual scans in a while, take the time to do so now (make sure you update first!) Viruses or malware running in the background can certainly slow down your computer.
It should go without saying that you should have a good backup before making any big changes to your computer. If you’re unsure about any of this or would like us to just come and do it for you, just give us a call at (412) 480-9969 – that’s what we’re here for!