How to Boost Your Computer’s Performance. Part 2

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Yesterday, I made my case for fastidious antimalware scanning. I also emphasized the need for keeping an eye on installation procedures and removing crapware on a regular basis. And most importantly, I directed your attention to updates. Keeping Windows as well as all security and network services up-to-date is a crucial task.

Today, I am going to explore some more advanced ways to improve your computer’s performance even more.

To Defrag or Not to Defrag

Programs are not very efficient in using all available space on your hard drive. File fragments are all over the place on your hard drive after a few months of use. This is when defragmentation is necessary.

If you use a hard disk drive, or HDD, run Defraggler every couple of months. HDDs use spinning magnetic disks for data storage. These disks spin at incredible speeds of 5400 or 7200 rotations per minute. Drives for video editing professionals use disks with 10000 rotations per minute. However, high file fragmentation lowers file access time for HDDs even at these rotational speeds.

If you use a solid-state drive, or SSD, don’t defrag at all. SSDs don’t have any rotational parts, so it’s irrelevant how fragmented their disk space becomes. In SSDs file access time doesn’t decline with fragmentation. You may even lower the lifetime expectancy for your SSD by defragmenting it.

If you don’t know what kind of drive you have, listen to the sound your computer makes when you turn it on. If there is a spinning sound, that’s an HDD. If you are still not sure, you can check your computer’s hardware parameters with Speccy.

Clean House

Electronic components inside your computer are a welcoming place for dust particles. After a year or two, depending on how dusty your environment is, the amount of dust and dirt inside your computer will make it slower, noisier and lower its life expectancy.

So once a year you need to get rid of this great performance thief.

Since you don’t want to distribute the dust inside your home, unplug your computer and take it outside. Place it carefully on a table and open it up. Be sure to remember, especially in the case of laptops, which screw belongs where. Write it down or take a picture if possible.

Before going in, be sure to get rid of any electrostatic charges you might have in you by touching something metallic. Also be sure not to wear clothes that produce electrostatic charges, don’t use a vacuum cleaner, or any other electric tool to clean the inside of your computer.

Use dry paper towels, pieces of cloth, cotton pads, and cotton swabs. You can also use a light brush and a can of compressed air to blow dust out of inaccessible parts. Never use water or any chemicals to clean the inside of your computer.

After you are done, put everything back in place, plug in your computer, and be happy with a quieter and faster computer… for a while.

Tweaking Windows

If you are using an HDD, there are several ways to improve the speed of your Windows.

You can turn off the Windows Indexing Service, so that your hard drive’s contents will not be indexed. To do this, go to Windows Explorer by using the Win+E keyboard shortcut. Right-click on your hard drive’s icon or name. In the drop-down menu select Properties. In the General tab, untick the Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed box. Click Apply and OK.

Windows Indexing Service

You can also turn off Windows Restore Points and delete all existing restore point data. To do this, go to Control Panel > System and Security > System. Click System protection in the left pane of the window. In the System Properties window click on the System Protection tab. Select your hard drive by drive letter and click Configure. In the window that pops up, select Turn off system protection, then click Apply and OK.

Windows Restore Points

You can use hibernation instead of shutdown to improve the speed of starting up Windows again. When you want to shut down, simply click on the right arrow next to the Shut down button and then click Hibernate.

As a side-note, if you are using an HDD to load Windows, please buy an SSD. Your boot time will decrease by at least 30 seconds. If you use your computer every day, that’s three hours a year that you can use in ways more productive than waiting for Windows to start.

There is one more way to speed up Windows boot time. Disable any unnecessary startup services by going to Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > System Configuration. In the Services and Startup tabs uncheck any services you prefer not to load, then click Apply and OK. Be sure not to disable important update services. Remember that all internet based services should be able to update on a daily basis in order to make your computer more secure.

Final Thoughts

Let me know in the comments section if you have problems applying the above mentioned pointers and I will try to help you out. Also let me know of any other straightforward performance boosters you have come across.

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