i use these tips every few months to speedup my pc .
my laptop is a 4 year old acer aspire that runs windows xp and a lot of free opensource software.
most of the clean up steps and apps will also work in windows vista and windows 7
Step 1: Speeding up windows part 1
goto start > all programs > accessories > system tools > disk cleanup
select the c:\ drive > select al catagory's and press ok.
this wil free up system space and will make you laptop run faster ,because windows will not have to keep track of all those unneeded files
Step 2: Speeding up windows part 2
this is for the people that dont use my recent documents .
my recent documents is a feature of windows that loads the most recently used files in to memory for if its needed later and if these files are large files the will take a lot of memory.
slowing down your pc . because i dont use this feature a lot i will show you how to clean the list and disable it .
go to the startbar and right-click on a empty place of it > go to click properties > click on the button "start menu" on the top > click on "customize" > click on "advance" on the top > click on "clear list " > uncheck "list my most recently opened documents" > "ok" then "ok"
Step 3: Speeding up windows part 3
when you use windows ,windows will constantly move bits and pieces of files from one place to a other on your harddrive and this causes the files to be scattered over the whole hardedrive after a while .
because of this, it will take the system a long time to retrieve and open a file.
what defragmentation those is the place the file in a way that it is easy for the system to find and retrieve .
go to start > all programs > accessories > system tools > click disk defragmenter.
the program will open.
click on analyze .
this will analyze your drive to see if it is fragmented .
if it is fragmented click on "defragment " .
it can take a some time if your drive very fragmented.
so leave it to finish .
Step 4: Usefull software to have on your laptop or pc
it is because it often well kept and very up to date
for internet i use K-meleon web browser
it was made for developers but it pretty goed for normal use i have been using it now for a few years.
the link http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/
i use it because it fast and lighter then firefox and has a lot of feature's built-in that have to be installed in firefox
i use my cellphone as a modem to connect to the internet so i need it to react fast so i dont get bored .
only problems are that hotmail keeps thinking it a mobile browser and it sometimes screws up the layout ,but the speed great.
i use vlc media player for audio - and video playback and encoding.
it has a lot of cool effects and supports a lot formats.
i use audacity for audio editing and mixing .
i had to dance once for school so i used audacity to make my music mix and everyone loved it.
i dont use lmms a lot ,but it great for creating my own beats and house music.
cd and dvd burning tool
for burning cd and dvd i use CDburnerxp it very usefull .
for pdf files i use foxit reader , because its small and easy to use.
i normally use microsoft office ,but a good alternative is abiword or open office
for abiword http://www.abisource.com/
for open office http://www.openoffice.org/
i use GIMP for editing my images and to modify almost al my foto's.
all the images in this instructable were created via "Ctrl+PrtSc" ,saved in paint and edited in GIMP.
i use youtube downloader to download usefull video
i use winrar to compress files and unzip zip files and many other formats.
(winrar is not free but can be use after the trail to unzip and, unrar files and many other formats ,only it compression is very low.)