How To Fast Your Persnol PC

1. Buy More RAM

RAM stands for Random Access Memory and is a key hardware component inside your computer. The rule of thumb is: the more RAM you have, the faster your computer can access recently used data and therefore process information faster.
Using a word processing document as an example, this is how your computer processes data:
  • a. A document is stored on the hard-drive.
  • b. When you want to make changes to the document, it is retrieved from the hard-drive and loaded into RAM (memory), along with the word processor program.
  • c. As you make changes to the document, it is processed by the Central Procesing Unit (CPU) or “processor” .
  • d. Changes to the document are made in “real time” via RAM (memory).
  • e. When you save the document, it is read from RAM and written back to the hard-drive.
In simple terms, RAM acts like a buffer between your hard-drive (the “C” drive) and your processor. The more RAM you have, the more “stuff” that stays buffered (in memory) for longer periods of time improving pc speed. Because computers rely heavily on accessing related information or doing the same thing over and over again, RAM is therefore crucial to overall computing performance or boosting pc speed.
In terms of data aquisition / access time / speed, RAM is ultra fast compared to hard-drives — by about 1000 times. If your computer does not have enough RAM to process a task (for example: the loading of a document), the hard-drive is used as a temporary dumping ground to offload what was previously in RAM in order to free up additional resources. This is where a PC can start to crawl, as the result of access time differences — including file fragmentation (described further down).
Here is a very general rule of thumb for the amount of RAM you should use with a Windows PC:
  • Windows 98: minimum 128 MB of RAM (256+ MB recommended), maximum 2GB.
  • Windows XP: minimum 512 MB of RAM (1+ GB recommended), maximum 4GB (XP Pro).
  • Windows Vista/7: minimum 1GB of RAM (2+ GB recommended), maximum 4GB (32bit) / 4-8GB (64-bit).

2. Uninstall Useless Programs

The more programs you download and install to your computer, the more cluttered your hard-drive becomes, the longer it takes to store and retrieve information, causing pc lag or pc freeze.
Why? The simple explanation is to think of your hard-drive as a wall of a bricks, where each file stored on the hard-drive represents a brick. Files are stored sequentially on the hard-drive: similar to that of the way bricks are layed and cemented one after another to form layers of a wall. When a file is deleted, its space (location) becomes available… and just like a brick wall, all the other bricks surrounding it will remain unmoved — cemented in their locations.
When you save a file to your hard-drive, the first available space is claimed. If the file is too large to fit in the available space, it is segmented across multiple locations of the hard-drive. The more segmented a file, the longer it takes to retrieve from the hard-drive due to the read/write head constantly moving from one location to the next. This is referred to as read/write head access time and is measured in milliseconds.
Simply put: the less space available on your hard-drive, the more fragmented it will become, potentially causing pc lag or screen freezes or worse, crashing completely.

3. Defragment Frequently

Defragmenting your hard-drive essentially relocates all your files so that all available empty spaces are placed at the end of the hard-drive. In theory, the less “looking” the hard-drive has to do to locate/place a file, the faster it will be to retrieve/store that file. An optimum file read/write involves the read/write head of the hard-drive moving only once. If all new files are stored at the end of the hard-drive, they will always follow one another and will never be fragmented — that is, until you start deleting / adding new files again, which is why you should defrag frequently. Ultimately this keeps your pc speed up, giving you an overall faster pc.

4. Upgrade to a Larger Hard-drive

If you are constantly running out of space on your hard-drive, then it also makes sense that your files are also likely fragmented because you are likely deleting and adding new files constantly. To avoid fragmentation altogether, you need lots of available space on your hard-drive. Therefore, upgrading to a significantly large hard-drive can speed up file access — this is because the hard-drive will likely never have to segment files in multiple locations in the first place (because of the available space).

5. Optimize the Windows Registry

The Windows Registry is one of the most important components of the Windows Operating System. Like a warehouse, The Registry is database that stores everything about your computer, including: all your installed applications, hardware drivers, program settings, and the like. When a program is installed to Windows, its details are added to the registry. When a program is removed, its details are *supposed to be* removed from the registry.
The problem is that not all programs are installed or uninstalled properly — and this is usually the fault of the software developer. To resolve this issue, you should use a registry cleaner to search for and remove defunct / obsolete / incorrect registry entries. Doing so optimizes the registry and decreases the chance that your computer will attempt to retrieve incorrect or outdated information — again, this has to do with hard-drive access time. Furthermore, incorrect registry information can produce strange error messages, cause system stability issues, or even crash your computer on rare occasions.

6. Streamline the Startup

Often when a program is installed for the first time, it will add itself to the Windows Startup so that it is automatically loaded each and every time you turn on your computer. Having frequently used programs launched at startup is convenient, but too many programs launching at Startup can not only depleat resources (RAM), it can also have a severe drag on the time it takes your computer to finish booting, again causing pc lag, hanging or pc freeze. By removing some startup programs, you can reclaim resources and shave seconds — or even minutes off your boot time.

7. Regularly Scan for Spyware and/or Malware

Malware is “malicious software, a program or file that is designed to specifically damage or disrupt a system, such as a virus, worm, Trojan horse.” (Source: Malware is also interchangeably used with the term “Spyware.”
Malware often overrides regular system functionality in order to take control of the users’ experience; in doing so, the system becomes bogged down from the extra activity. For example: some malware can monitor keystrokes (actual keys you type on your keyboard!) and serves ads to your PC based on words you type. Now you can see why this might cause pc lag and screen freezes.

It is not uncommon for a system to crash or “hang” perodically from a malware infection. As such, it is recommended you scan for malware / spyware as part of your regular system maintenance to make pc faster or maintain a faster pc. To avoid being infected with malware in the first place, we recommend using real-time anti-spyware protection. This type of software will alert you before the malware has a chance to install deep into your system (and is often very difficult to remove once infected). 

8. Update Software Drivers

A software driver is a program responsible for controlling a hardware peripheral via the operating system (Windows). For example: a printer driver is software used to configure / operate a printer. Software drivers are released on a regular basis by manufacturers: often the result of optimization or bug fixes. Some bug fixes can be severe and it is not uncommon (especially for video drivers) to be unstable and cause pc lag, pc freeze and/or crash your system. It is therefore recommended that you update your drivers regularly to ensure pc speed, optimization and stability.
Software drivers are usually available from the hardware manufacturer’s web site. If you are unsure what hardware components are inside your computer, I recommend you download and install Belarc Advisor (100% free)
Depending on your system configuration, monitoring and updating drivers can be a pain — especially if you own multiple peripherals developed by different manufacturers. To make this essential maintenance task much easier, I recommend Driver Checker: an innovative and automated driver update program, possibly the best available.

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