Introduction: How to Make Your PC Faster

If you are a windows user, you must have faced the problem of slowing down of your PC with time. Most of the time you got to format your whole windows directory to solve this problem. But there's always a way to make complex things simpler. Check 'em out:

1. First, run a scandisk or checkdisk. Let Windows fix any errors.

2. Run a disk cleanup utility...this will flush your temporary internet folder, trash can, temp system files, etc.

3. Delete any garbage files or data...if possible, run a Duplicate File Finder program.

4. Run Defrag on all partitions (NOTE: run this after you have deleted all trash and excess files!)

5. Run a registry cleaner utility and delete or get rid of any orphaned entries in that registry.

6. Check your exisiting swap file for it's size and location (*will explain location later in the post). If you have alot of ram (i.e. 1 gig and over) set this swap file to something small, like 250 mb. The reason is that this will force Windows to load more into memory, resulting in faster performance (note: some games and applications actually require a certain sized swap file so check your applications performance after making a size adjustment for any error messages.)

7. Under XP, you can tell Windows to use Classic Style on your desktop, - this will remove the neat single click and internet-style desktop but for lower end systems this will improve performance in other areas, such as gaming and multi-tasking.

8. Run msconfig and under startup and only keep the programs that are essential to load in the tray icon (and hence stay resident in memory). Uncheck anything else non-essential, like an ATI or Nvidia control panel, Quicktime utility, Real Audio, etc.

9. Upgrade drivers! Check for the latest BIOS, video, motherboard, sound, etc drivers from the manufacturers. Alot of my friends had chipsets on their motherboard that had advanced disk management capabilities or AGP port settings but the drivers weren't loaded for them so they were never being used. A simple upgrade realized a noticeable difference. For instance, they didn't have the latest driver for their AGP port so it was set to 1x, instead of being used at 4x!

10. (OK, so this won't speed up your PC but it could save you alot of time and trouble later on!) After making all these improvements, make a working backup! I use Ghost, but for XP users you can also use System Restore...


1. Take a look under the hood (for IDE owners). How are your IDE devices configured? If you have more than 1 hard drive, put the master hard drive on the primary IDE channel and the secondary hard drive on the secondary IDE channel (most motherboards have two IDE channels).

2. Place all CDROM drives, DVD readers etc. on the secondary IDE channel (or SCSI bus, etc). This will reduce I/O contention with your master hard drive which should have your OS and apps installed...

3. Remember when I mentioned the location of the swap file? OK, if you have 2 hard drives and you have one on the primary IDE channel and the other on the secondary IDE channel, move the swap file to a partition ON THE SECOND hard drive (on the secondary IDE channel). This will greatly improve system performance as the PC can write to the swap file while loading and running OS and system commands without I/O contention on the primary IDE channel!

4. Take a look under the hood (for SCSI owners) What kind of SCSI do you have? If it's the newer Ultra 160/320 etc cards then guess what? Any devices placed on the same bus will automatically default to the slowest drive on the chain...this means that if you have say, an Ultra 160 SCSI card, and it has an Ultra 160 drive (capable of transferring 160 mb/sec) on the same chain as a SCSI cdrom drive (capable of only 40 mb/sec) then the whole bus slows down to the 40 mb/sec speed...use different chains for the slower devices and maximize those hard drives!

5. Run a utility like WCPUID and check the your CPU/front speed bus/AGP port running as fast as they should be? If not, check your drivers and BIOS configuration options. Also, are all of your chipset features enabled? If not, then enable them! (usually done in your BIOS!)

6. Dig in to the BIOS...check settings like boot order, for it checking the floppy first? Change this! Select your order to reflect the hard drive first, then CD, then floppy for a noticeable boot time improvement. Also disable any non-used on board peripherals...for instance, - does your motherboard come with an on-board NIC card? Guess what, if you don't use that NIC card and it is enabled it will eat up valuable CPU cycles and can be detrimental to your systems' performance. DISABLE THAT MUTHA! Also, see if you can play with memory timing and CPU clock frequencies (NOTE! This is for expert users only!) Set these timings to "Aggressive" and see what happens in your games and apps...Also, check to see what your video aperature is set to. If you have a video card with 128 megs of on-baord memory, your aperature should be set to this amount too. Read the BIOS owner manual for further non-general performance tricks or improvements! Do you have the latest BIOS firmware version?

7. Under hardware properties, check to see that everything is working properly, and fix any hardware contention issues. You'll see the dreaded yellow exclamation point (!) beside any hardware componenet that is not working correctly.

8. Evaluate the potential for system/hardware upgrades...usually, the best bang for the buck is adding memory so buy all that you can afford (don't go much above 512 megs for Win 98 or ME). If you have a motherboard with an 8x - capable AGP port but you are using an older 4x video card, consider upgrading to an 8x card. You get the idea here...

9. Quit using software pigs like Norton system utilities, etc. These place files everywhere and can be a real system resource hog on lower end PCs.

10. Did I mention to make a good backup? Do it now! Also, while you're at it, run a good virus program with the latest definitions.

There are more options to make your system faster, such as overclocking, etc. but (just about) everything I've mentioned in this tech post costs you nothing and will result in faster system performance! Good luck and if you have any questions on how to do anything mentioned here, ask a knowledgeable friend or consult a book, - don't mess up something trying to do something you are not sure of!


niel.sagaert made it!(author)2015-01-21

nice article!

i found a site about this

ironsmiter made it!(author)2012-06-28

step 8...
Just, WOW.

If you MUST(or really really want to) run Windows, the "good" versions are... win3.11 for work-groups, Win95B, WinNT4(for the server minded),Win98SE, WinXP, Win7

If any other version of windows is installed... I'm sorry. Try puppylinux?

Good tip on the memory. for anything before XP, maxing the motherboard out at 512MB makes a big difference. Video card, not so much. Well, ok, jumping up to an outrageously priced agp4650 will make high def video possible, but for the same price, you could get a new MB/CPU/ram combo deal, with better on-board video.

Step 9.
I don't know what to say, what really needs saying.
Some people LIKE Norton. They Trust Norton. They're willing to build a computer JUST to run Norton, and occasionally open a web page.
It works, but what a price to pay. Literally, AND figuratively.

thegeeke made it!(author)2012-06-30

I always tell my clients that Norton is a curse word in my language. They always tell me they like "they way it looks" (yes I know it's called a GUI... That's just their exact wording 99% of the time.)

I always recommend a free antivirus, or if they really want to pay for one: Kyspersky.

thegeeke made it!(author)2012-06-30

First of all, if you tell an inexperienced user to run a registry cleaner, they are going to screw something up. It's just that plain and simple. You have to tell them which one to use. (I would recommend CCleaner.)
Second of all, Windows does need that large swap file. Moving to another HD is a good idea.
Third, for a home user, the boot sequence should be:
Optical disc drive
Flash memory
Whatever else.
The reason is that 1. If the OS crashes, you need to boot off of a CD or flash drive. Although most of the time you could just make the BIOS changes when you need to boot off of something else, there are rare circumstances where I have seen the BIOS unexcessible when I needed it the most. Also I want to know if I accidentally left a boot disc in the drive. The last thing I want is a client walking off with my copy of Win 7 because I needed to copy a file off the install disc!
The amount of time it takes the BIOS to check the extra media is nominal.

Willard2.0 made it!(author)2012-06-29

step 6: You want to have a large swap file. Even if you have 'lots' of ram (1gb is nothing in today's PC's), you still need a swap file that is approximately 1.5 times the size of your ram. If you have 1gb of ram, I would make the swap file at least 1.5gb. 4gb of ram = 6gb swap file. Even with 8gb of ram, I still have a swap file that is 16gb in size.

Windows needs a swap file. Plain and simple. If your ram fills up, windows must be able to shift some of this data to somewhere else. If your ram and swap file fill up, windows will either begin deleting things from ram to make room or will just freeze permanently when you try to open something new. If windows deletes things, applications begin to crash.

Your advice moving the swap to a secondary drive is great.

Computothought made it!(author)2012-06-29

The hardware advice is generally good. but the title of this instructable s/b How to make your "MSWindows" PC faster.

Boot time (within reason) is not that important to me. More to life than boot time as there are other things to do to keep busy. If you never turn the system off, then boot time is moot. Can not wait to try Arch linux. It is supposed to be really fast in operation. For non-linux people and really old machines, do not forget about Freedos (or DRDos) plus Gem (Win 3.x era) and Reactos (NT era).

pfred2 made it!(author)2012-06-28

To make my PCs fast I install Linux. Look at it booting up on a 1 GHz P3 in 18 seconds:

You'd be lucky of you could get an i7 with an SSD to do that with Windows.

ironsmiter made it!(author)2012-06-28

gotta be careful with broadly worded challenges like that :-)

My lowly celery rig "boots" windows in under 30 seconds.
see... they changed the definition of "boot".
Sure, it's more of a "resume from suspend"... But i can unplug the desktop, move it, plug it back in, and still "boot" in under 15 seconds.
And that's with a slow IDE hdd and a borderline cpu.

Now, I'll grant that, using the same software tricks, I could probably get a linux distro to "boot" in even less time. But then, Windows8 goes one step further, and rolls the concept into the core OS as a feature, rather than something you can optomize.
check out the boot video from

Now, I personally HATE the preview edition of windows 8 for a desktop pc, but it's hard to argue that their boot is slow.

About This Instructable




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