VERSION 2.0! I have run the entire guide through Microsoft Word's spell checker, and went through the whole Instructable checking for errors. It should be a lot easier to read and sift through the information. You may notice some new steps as well ;) Enjoy!
In this Instructable I will show you a few tips to make your computer run a lot faster. The great thing about this guide is that everything you'll see is free! This can also benefit you in more ways than one. Each step is a separate way to clean up your computer. These are all great ideas and I hope that you take the time to read them. If you have any suggestions for new topics, feel free to leave a comment and I'll research it!
PLEASE don't be scared by the amount of steps or excessive wording in the Instructable. Each step is one way. For example: All step 1 is saying is to dust your computer. I am just putting more information on it for those who are wondering how or why it works. This seems like a lot to do, but is actually not that much. A lot of the steps at the end may not even apply to you. Once you get started, it will be a breeze for upkeep.
I update the Instructable pretty much every time someone leaves a suggestion in the comments, as you can note with many of the steps featured. Please check back every now and then for something new and update your rating if you see fit. This Instructable will never be 'closed' so express your interest and input!
One more thing: If you have a really old computer, and therefore a very small hard drive, do everything that does not involve installing a program first, and then try the programs if your machine is still sluggish.
Just a note for the steps about the programs that are advertised: this is the program that I use that is free and seems to work great for me. I would suggest using these, but feel free to research into another program and let me know if you found a better one!
Please excuse if there are any steps under construction. If you have any suggestions that would help me, please leave a comment! I am working to get them published in the near future.
Now, let’s get started!
Step 1: Dust Off and Clean Your Computer
Dust is a major killer of speed if you haven't cleaned it up in over a year. This can block filters, and prevent air from flowing through the computer. It causes the machine to overheat. It also affects disk drives and can even block USB ports and interfaces. Dust also acts as an insulator which can add to the heat buildup. More importantly, dust can also cause a short in circuit boards and integrated circuits causing computers to crash and, in some cases, even catch fire!
Be careful when removing the dust, use caned air to blow it out & a vacuum to get the lose clumps around the computer that is NOT INSIDE IT. NEVER use a vacuum to clean out a computer, as it will cause electrostatic shock. Companies sell special vacuums designed for computers. Only use compressed air for the computer, vacuum for the area the computer is in.
Also make sure that you touch the outside case before you start working to discharge your body static. You can damage the computer boards if you cause a spark! The main thing that needs to be cleaned regularly is the CPU fan. Dust on the CPU fan is the number one reason for overheating and slow performance. Also, lots of dust between pins and connectors can short the circuit, so it’s always a good idea to clean the PC regularly. It’s most important to do this before installing any new hardware.
After you are done cleaning up the inside of your computer, be sure to also clean up your mouse and keyboard. I would definitely dust off your computer at least once every 6 months.
For those who are more wary of sparking the system: You should never open your case without being correctly “earthed” with a conductive strap and bonding point. You can look into purchasing them, and can see a picture below. They aren't very expensive.
A Quote from a commenter: "The reason you should not use a vacuum cleaner is that this can (and has been shown in many cases) to cause a static discharge through the components. It is fine to use a small vacuum on the keyboard (not on a laptop) but not on the case. The problem faced is that many people believe that they have not caused damage, because their PC often keeps working. The problem with static discharge is that it only occasionally causes critical failure of parts. The OS often error handles problems caused by damaged components, as (to an extent) the components themselves do. The side effect of this is a slower, less efficient system. To place static electricity damage in perspective - when sitting still at a desk, your body generates approximately 100 times more static electricity than is required to damage computer hardware. A vacuum cleaner and the flow of air creates a huge amount more."