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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

make pc faster

A sucker buys a new PC at the first signs of a slowdown. A savvy power user gives his aged PC a fighting chance for redemption. From tweaking your OS to compressing files to overclocking your videocard or CPU, there are plenty of ways to tune up a computer, and none require a trip to Bob’s House of New PCs. Follow along this step-by-step as we show you 21 of our favorite techniques for making a PC better, stronger, and faster — for free. These essential tweaks and tune-ups range from common-sense caretaking measures to practical adjustments that you'd be foolish to ignore. Combined, they release your PC's untapped potential and breathe new life into your system.

1. Secure Your Applications
You know to update your antivirus definitions and run Windows Update, but did you know about that massive security hole in Acrobat 8.0 or the potential risks of running that obscure unzipping app you favor? Probably not. That’s where Secunia’s Personal Software Inspector (http://secunia.com) comes in. PSI uses its massive database of security holes to monitor all the apps on your machine and let you know which ones need updating. PSI even provides a link to any available patches and is on constant vigilance for new application security holes as they arise.

2. Clean Your PC
Depending on the environment, you can breed an entire warren of dust bunnies inside your PC within a few months. That may sound harmless, but the build-up can easily slow or even jam the various fans in your system and impair performance. Just as you vacuum out the dust from your refrigerator’s condenser on occasion (you do that, right?), you should also clean out the dust that’s jamming the fans in your rig. A vacuum cleaner will work on the larger case fans and filters, but we shudder at the thought of capacitors being sucked off the surface of the motherboard. Instead, bring the PC outside (or inside if you don’t care about your office) and use a can of compressed air to clean out the more sensitive areas.

3. Clean Up Windows
Some of the built-in functionality in Windows is underrated. The Disk Cleanup does a pretty handy job of wiping out junk you don’t need such as Microsoft Office temp files and old error reports. To run Disk Cleanup, open My Computer. Right-click the drive the OS is installed on and click Properties. Under the General tab, you’ll see a Disk Cleanup button. Click it and the app will run an analysis of the machine. You can dump the Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files, Offline Webpages, Microsoft Error Reporting Temporary Files, Recycle Bin, Temporary Files, Web Client/ Publisher Temporary Files, Temporary Offline Files, Offline Files, and Catalog Files for the Content Indexer with no ill effects.

4. Compress Your Files
It’s a known fact that hard drive performance plummets as you approach the drive’s maximum capacity. Folks with 2TB drives may never see that day, but for the peeps subsisting on a nearly full 160GB or 250GB drive, it’s a very real and performance-crippling problem. Assuming you don’t have an additional drive to move the content to, your choices are pretty slim. But before you take a machete to your files, you might want to consider simply compressing them.We don’t mean firing up WinZip and archiving all the files—that would be too much work. Instead, use Windows’ built-in compression tool, which will make accessing the files no different than it currently is. You can access the feature by opening My Computer, right-clicking on the drive you want to compress, and selecting Properties. Click Disk Cleanup and make sure Compress Old Files is checked. Click Options and specify the age of the files you want Windows to compress. Click OK and Windows will compress only the files you haven’t accessed in more than, say, six months. Once Windows is finished compressing the files, you’ll see that the names of those files are colored blue. The names of the untouched files will appear in black.

We’ve found that with even mid-level CPUs, such as a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, the time it takes to decompress a file is minimal. For even older machines, you shouldn’t see too much of an impact as most of the files that are compressed haven’t been accessed in some time. On one of our machines, we went from 8GB free to 30GB free by compressing older files.

5. Take Advantage of ShadowCopy
Windows Vista includes a nifty feature that makes incremental “shadow copies” of your document files. This lets you revert to a previous version of a file if you, say, suddenly realize you screwed up your resume and need to access the one from a month ago. Unfortunately, ShadowCopy is one of those premium features that’s only included with Windows Vista Ultimate (or Business). Home Premium users can go pound sand. Or so Microsoft thought. Apparently, all Microsoft really did was remove your ability to access those previous versions— the documents are still backed up if you have System Protection enabled in Microsoft Vista. To make sure it’s switched on (it is by default), right mouse-click My Computer, click the System Protection link, then the System Protection tab. There should be a check mark for each drive you want shadowed.To access the previous versions of your file, download the free app ShadowExplorer from ShadowExplorer.com, install it, and voila, you can now browse through the tons of backed-up files. A drop-down on the upper left-hand side of the window lets you view the backups by date.

One more thought: If you’re suddenly a little freaked out that almost all of your documents are secretly being backed up and, for the most part, hidden from you by Vista, you can erase all of those backups by turning off System Restore (right-click My Computer, select Properties, then System Protection, and uncheck the C: drive), or purge all but the last system restore point (go to Disk Cleanup, select More Options, then Clean Up, and delete what’s unneeded).

6. Scan for Updates
You know to keep your drivers updated, but keeping track of them is like trying to remember to change the water filter on the refrigerator. (Did you last do it in 2008 or 2007?) One way to do a quick and easy scan for outdated drivers is to run Phoenix Technologies’ web-based DriverAgent. Just go to DriverAgent.com and click the Web Scan button on the left. The app will run a quick check of your drivers against Phoenix’s database of updated drivers and tell you what devices need updating. You can either shell out for the service, which finds the updated drivers for you, or freeload like us and simply take note of the devices you want to upadate, and go find the updated drivers yourself.

7. Search and Destroy Malware
Malware is a common scourge of computing performance, not to mention the severe security risks that it poses. You could pay some guy in a white shirt and black tie to clean up your PC for $200, but why do that when you can do the job yourself?

First, start with SuperAntiSpyware (www.superantispyware.com). After installing the app, you can opt to have it protect your home page or not. When you get to the General and Startup tab, select “Start SuperAntiSpyware when Windows Starts,” “Use Windows XP Style Menus,” and “Integrate with Vista Security Center.” Also select “Do not scan when SuperAntiSpyware starts” and “Check for updates before starting on startup.” Perform a complete scan and nuke anything that moves.Now, download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (www.malwarebytes.org). Install it, run an update, and have it conduct
a scan. Again, wipe out anything that moves.

8. Decrap Your Drive
Ever wonder how a new PC can be bought for $400 with a new monitor? Part of the answer is the software subsidies. Fire up any low-cost PC and the desktop looks like it got hit with a 12-gauge load of icons. These icons lead to trialware, which when expired, do nothing but decompose on your hard drive and waste space. On some PCs, the amount of trialware has gotten so bad that it takes a few hours just to scrub it off. Now there’s an easier way to zap those apps without spending four hours in front of your parent’s new laptop. PC Decrapifier (www.pcdecrapifier.com) will automatically uninstall and delete the majority of trialware applications that are preinstalled on new PCs. Just download the free app, install, and run it. It will ask you if the PC is new or not. If you select not new, the app will create a system restore point. Otherwise, it will continue to the next step and scan your computer for the various trailware apps. You should then be presented with a list of apps you can uninstall. Once you’re ready to remove the offending trailware, click Next and PC Decrapifier will automatically remove the junk.

9. Archive Your Files
So, you know that hard drives get slower as they approach their full capacity. If you’re lucky enough to have more than one hard drive in your PC (and most power users do), why is your host OS drive so full of crap you don’t need? To improve the overall performance of your PC, move your old documents and games that you don’t regularly use onto the secondary drive.

10. Get S.M.A.R.T
Modern hard drives feature Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology, or S.M.A.R.T., which can warn you if your hard drive is starting to fail—before it actually does. Unfortunately, the OS doesn’t pay attention to these warnings. So, even though you could have known a few months in advance that your drive was about to go tango uniform, the OS kept it a secret. There are a number of good free tools available that can relay the message, such as SpeedFan (www.almico.com/speedfan.php) and DiskCheckup (http://passmark.com), but their interfaces can be a bit overwhelming for the average Joe or Jane.
Posted by: Admin
Easy Learn Computer, Updated at: 5:52 AM

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