The thing about a Windows computer is that is requires regular maintenance. After a fresh installation of the operating system, as you continue to use the application for web browsing, application installing, and regular computer usage, a large clutter of unwanted temporary files, registry entries, missing extensions, gradually builds up. At first the clutter is not noticeable but you begin to notice it as soon as your system’s performance is poorly affected.
In such a situation, what is the average computer user supposed to do? Will a fresh OS installation suffice or are there other measures that can be taken? In today’s post, I shall provide you with 5 easy steps that you can follow to improve your computer’s performance. Follow these steps in the order that they are given, and you shall notice a significant improvement in your PC’s performance.
Step 1: Stopping unwanted programs from initializing on system startup
If the main problem is related to system startup, then you should immediately disable any unwanted programs that open as soon as Windows logs you in. Although there are applications you can install to find out what programs are running on system startup, you can do so easily from native Windows tools too. Here is how:
- Open up the Run dialog box by using the following hotkey combination: “WindowsLogoKey+R”
- Type in the “msconfig” into the provided text area and press the Enter / Return key.
- In the subsequent window, head to the “Startup” tab.
- See which programs are unnecessarily checked. Uncheck them and click on the “OK” button.
After this step, restart your computer and see how speedily your system starts up.
Step 2: Remove the clutter of temporary files from your PC
When we talk about temporary files, we mainly refer to items in the “Temp” folder under the main User folder, the temporary internet files, browser cookies, missing shortcuts, etc. While it is possible to remove these files manually, it is far more convenient to use an application that will handle this task for you. You will find on the internet numerous freeware options that are up to this task. But the tool that I have found most helpful in this regard is CCleaner. You can get the application from here.
The app lets you select the precise things that you want to clean out, along with the applications that you want CCleaner to clean up. If you do not what the options mean and if you want a complete cleanup, then simply mark all the checkboxes except the last one that says “Wipe Free Space” and then click the “Run Cleaner” button. After the app finishes its cleanup, it provides you with a summary of the disk space recovered and details of the files deleted.
Step 3: Clean up your Windows Registry
Over the course of your computer usage, you will install and uninstall many applications. This action along with many others, affects your Windows Registry and many times, the registry is left in a worse state than before. Cleaning up the mess in the registry can be an excellent way to fix your system’s performance. For this task, I have two recommendations: Registry Mechanic and CCleaner. Many of you might want to stick with the freeware CCleaner as it kills two birds with one stone (because it fulfills Step 2 as well). However, if you want a more thorough cleanup of your registry, go with Registry Mechanic. The application is not free, but it gets the job done the best way and it is quite easy to use. You can get Registry Mechanic from here.
Step 4: Defragment the disk partitions on your system
To understand what disk defragmentation does, you must understand how Windows saves data of your files. Instead of one chunk, Windows divides the files into fragments that are saved in your disk wherever free space is found. Resultantly, file fragments can be spread out all over the disk which causes the computer to do more work while opening the file. There is a good chance that if a certain file is taking too long to open up, then it is a fragmented file. Disk defragmentation will realign those file fragments together so that they are easier to find for Windows. To carry out, disk defragmentation, follow these steps:
- Open the Run box as explained in Step 2.
- Type in “dfrgui” and press the Enter / Return key.
- Have each disk analyzed and if it is fragmented, simply have it defragmented.
You might want to turn on the scheduled defragmentation option. Note that while the disk is being defragmented, you should not be using your computer, so that the defragmentation is carried out effectively.
Step 5: Install a clean Windows copy on a formatted drive (the last resort)
This is a major decision. Many people will simply reinstall Windows on their existing copy of Windows but the right way to do it is to reformat the disk that the OS is being installed on. If you have found that the abovementioned four steps failed to significantly improve your Windows performance, then you should move all of your data to a backup drive and then reinstall Windows. Remember to format your disk completely during the installation process. And when you have a clean installation of Windows, be sure to follow the abovementioned four steps on a regular basis so that you do not return to this last resort.