How to speed up your computer

Most people have slow computers. And while most people don’t know it, you can easily make your computer faster. Even if you’re using a five year old computer, you can in some cases double its performance by following these steps. This isn’t a tweaking guide, this is just a list of some ways that you can optimize and speed up your computer. Let’s start with the basics.

Viruses, Adware, Spyware

First off, you need a good antivirus program and a good anti-malware program. I use AVG Free and Adaware SE. You should not have more than one antivirus and one anti-malware program installed on your computer because they will interfere with each other. Antivirus that comes preinstalled on your PC is useless, and it is one of the major reasons why your computer is so slow. Once you have a good antivirus program, scan your computer and clean it up.


CCleaner is one of the best clean-up programs available. This amazing tool will delete useless files on your computer, clean up your registry, clean up your startup, let you uninstall some stuff Windows might not, and more. Once you download it, go through the checkboxes to make sure nothing you want to keep gets deleted, like cookies, and then run the cleaner. This can free up from a few megabytes to over 5GB!

Another thing you need to do with CCleaner is to optimize your startup. The startup is the list of programs that start up with your computer. Click on Tools, then on Startup. *NOTE: be careful what you do here, because you can mess up your computer. I am not responsible for your actions.* Remove any extra programs from this list that you know aren’t needed on startup. All I have in that list is AVG and two Vista tools. I can’t really tell you what to do in this screen because it is different on every computer, so try to use common sense and see what programs can be avoided at startup.

Background Programs

This is an image of my taskbar. The items highlighted in red were open at the time I took the screenshot. The items that aren’t highlighted always run in the background. They are (not including the highlighted ones) AVG, Vista sidebar, Windows defender, network connection, and volume. That is 5 background programs. You can count 4 if you don’t include the sidebar, as that is an optional one. Most people I know have anywhere between 10 and 30, yes 30, background applications. And then they wonder why their computers crash all the time and run so slow. You don’t need (as an example) limewire, itunes, real player, windows media player, windows messenger, msn messenger, yahoo messenger, aim messenger, computer manufacturer support, etc running all the time. This is one of the biggest things that slows down your computer dramatically.

For an IM program, I recommend Pidgin. It works with almost every single IM protocol, like AIM, MSN, and Yahoo, and it is one of the fastest and most lightweight and bloat-free IM programs. It starts up in one or two seconds and will not slow down your computer like AIM or MSN will.


These are just some of the steps you can take to increase the speed of your computer. There are plenty more tweak guides and customizations you can do, but these are the easiest steps for the average user. I will give more tips on increasing operating system performance in the future.

8 thoughts on “How to speed up your computer

  1. While I agree that it’s foolish to have programs like messenger running in your system bar during boot, lots of ohter sofwtare is important to load. This is not 1995, computers are made to load more crap, so loaded when it’s needed to run at any time.

    Take me for example, I run in the systembar after boot;

    – firewall (needed, better than Windows firewall for outgoing traffic)
    – virusscanner (needed)
    – UPS monitoring and test software (needed,epecially in my area!)
    – Calender with advanced reminder (everyone needs one if you ask me)
    – Drive monitoring (checks conditions of 4 hard drives for S.M.A.R.T. paramaters to predict failure (I have 1.2TB). If you care about data, use it! S.M.A.R.T is invented for a reason!)
    – Backup software (Same story, if you care about your data, use it! Allows scheduled backups, Vista backup program is good but not good enough for me)
    – Encryption software (allows me to open encrypted containers that act like drives. Great for protecting important data,impossible to crack)
    – LAN messaging (so that people don’t have to yell at me from a distance, not really needed, but useful)

    8 programs isn’t all that bad. I have been doing this for almost 10 years and never had compatibility issues or slowdowns like you pretend is going to happen. Average CPU usage on idle is 0-2.
    Conflicts were avoided by installing one program at a time and running it for a week before adding the next program, never had any issues on XP or Vista with reliability or slowdown; this is not the age of Windows 98/ME!

  2. @ J. Donner: You’re right, computers are meant to run more apps now. But the average person doesn’t know what should be running. Once my math teacher brought her home laptop to do a presentation, and it was horrid seeing 30+ apps in the tray and all the popups appearing. It took no less than 10 minutes to start the thing.

    And it affects RAM usage much more than CPU usage. Most people I know have 256-512 MB RAM. They can’t run the things I can with 4GB.

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