Several Easy Steps to Boost Your Computer's Speed




Introduction: Several Easy Steps to Boost Your Computer's Speed

About: Welcome! Please take some time to take a look at the instructables that I have made. Computer slow? Want to learn how to use Craigslist? Tired of knocking the water out of your ears after swimming? Want to m...

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!

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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."

Step 2: Reboot Your Computer

For generic purpose, computer memory is referred to RAM (or Random Access Memory). It is used to support computers current operations. No matter how much you do to speed up your computer, your RAM will eventually fill up over time by just using it.

This memory is utilized to store information while computer is powered on. Once power is switched off, information from the memory gets erased automatically, because it requires a constant electrical charge to maintain its contents. RAM then is ready to be available once computer is powered on again. Hence it is named volatile memory. It is written and accessed randomly, which is why it’s called RAM.

With that over with, the basic idea to this step is to not have your computer on for a long period of time.
If you want to reset all the bits in your RAM, turn off your computer, and leave it off for about 5 minutes. Then reboot the computer, and your RAM should be wiped clean!

* If you are going to be using the computer in an hour or two, just put it into hibernate or sleep mode.

* If you are leaving it for over 10 hours, you probably want to shut it down.

* If you have your computer on and you’re using it for over 10 hours, do something else! At least shut it down and turn it back on if you notice it becoming sloth-like.

Step 3: Priority Updates

No operating system [Windows, Linux, Apple] is always complete, or perfect. Hackers work to get through the operating systems every day, looking for new vulnerabilities. Each week, and sometimes even on a daily basis, certain 'holes' in the Operating System must be repaired or updated, to prevent the hackers from breaking in.

Windows Update is one of the ways to protect the windows user. It is very, VERY, important to the security of your PC to either set your computer to automatic updates [recommended] or visit the windows update program regularly.

As always, back up all your personal files [Documents, Pictures, etc] First!

Not only should you update your OS, but also your Internet Browser and Applications. There will often be many bug fixes and speed boosters that will come with an update of your programs, so check it out!

To find Windows Update:

Search: Windows Update
On left, click to check for updates

Step 4: Delete Extra User Accounts

Although having a new User Account created takes up no more than around 200 kb on your hard drive, you may be surprised how much space it will consume when that account is logged onto and is used to download files, run programs, etcetera.

More often than not, another resulting slowdown is the fact that other accounts are logged on even when they are not in use. Even though the account in the background isn't "active", the programs that are loaded, the user's profile and other items are still resident in memory and taking up resources.

If you are the only one using the computer, or can handle having only one account for multiple people, then delete the other users, move all of your files to the one account, and notice the difference in speed.

WARNING: Make sure that you always have at least one administrator account to be able to make changes to the computer. If you want to save the user folder files from the user account you are deleting, then make sure you click to “Keep Files.”

Here's how to delete a User Account:

1. Log onto the computer using an account with administrator privileges.

2. Click the Start Button.

3. Click Control Panel

4. Click User Accounts

4. Select Manage another account.

5. When the UAC box pops up, click Continue.

6. Select the user account that is to be deleted.

7. Click Delete the Account.

8. You will be asked if you wish to keep the files from the deleted account. To save the account's desktop and personal files to your desktop, click Keep Files. This will place the files into a directory with the account's name onto your desktop. Otherwise click the Delete Files button.

9. Click Delete Account.
• You may also want to simply disable multi-user logins. This will force each user to log out before someone else logs in. This means that someone else programs won't be running and bog down the machine.

Step 5: CCleaner

"CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster and at the same time freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities, such as your Internet history. Additionally, it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is that it's fast (normally taking less than a second to run) and contains NO Spyware or Adware! :)"

CCleaner Home Page

CCleaner download page

I have found that this actually deletes your Internet info and other items a lot faster than using Internet Explorer’s option! This can also delete files that are hidden on your computer from programs that have been uninstalled. This also allows you to stop or delete processes that startup when you turn on your computer. It also finds unused files that are just taking up space. This program will also delete programs off of your computer, much like Add/Remove programs.

The program itself is only about 3MB. The program is extremely easy to use and once you adjust your custom settings it will save them for every time it runs. This will also give you information on your ram, processor, and more.

Overall, it is a great tool to have on your computer, just make sure you read carefully when checking the boxes for cleanup. If you don't understand what it does, leave it unchecked. I am not trying to advertise for this program, use at your own risk.

You can also do the following:
Startup Options
Remove System Restore Points
Uninstall Programs

Note: Be careful to uncheck unwanted tool bars while installing.

Step 6: Advanced SystemCare Free

Slow downs, freezes, crashes, and security threats are over. Advanced SystemCare Free is a comprehensive PC care utility that takes a one-click approach to help protect, repair, and optimize your computer. It provides an all-in-one and super convenient solution for PC maintenance and protection. All work will be done with 1 click and 1 minute. Advanced SystemCare Free provides the more essential and practical formula for Windows: Removing Spyware and Adware, Preventing Security Threats, Privacy Protection, Fixing Registry Errors, Temporary Files Cleanup, Startup Cleanup, Repairing Windows, Speeding up System and 1-click Mechanism.

This utility offers a one-stop-shop for cleaning and maintaining your computer for better overall system performance. The interface is very simple, featuring only a few buttons, which makes it easy to get down to cleaning immediately (in fact, it automatically runs on start-up) and doesn't confuse you with multiple steps.

The Maintain Windows section focuses on four areas of maintenance: spyware removal, Registry cleaning, a privacy sweep, and deletion of junk files. The Diagnose System button provides system optimization tools, detects spyware, defragments your disk, and scans for hijacked Windows settings. In my test the scan and clean for each of these areas took less than 10 minutes to complete. In many of these scans, it is difficult to tell what exactly is being accomplished by some of the tools, but we were able to test against other trusted apps, which confirmed Advanced SystemCare's efficacy in those areas.

Under the utilities section you are given several tools, which are similar to plug-ins, for other areas of optimization and diagnostic tests. Overall, Advanced SystemCare Free is a good way to maintain your system's speed and clear out junk files, but you'll need to remember to run it regularly because scheduling of scans is only available in the paid Pro version.

Advanced SystemCare Free Home Page
Download Advanced SystemCare Free

A commenter brought up an article about the cons with the program, but many people stand by it and love what it does. You can read it here, but I would look into more reviews if you are concerned:

Step 7: Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup (cleanmgr.exe) is a computer maintenance utility included in Microsoft Windows. It’s designed to free up disk space on computer users' hard drive. The cleanup process firstly involves searching and analyzing the hard drive for files that are no longer of any use. It then proceeds to remove the unnecessary files, freeing up disk space on the hard drive. There are a number of different file categories that Disk Cleanup targets when performing the initial disk analysis:
• Compression of old files
• Temporary Internet files
• Temporary Windows file
• Downloaded Program files
• Recycle Bin
• Removal of unused applications or optional Windows components
• Setup Log files
• Offline files
• And more…

Aside from removing unnecessary files, users also have the option of compressing files that have not been accessed over a set time period of time. This option provides a systematic compression scheme. Infrequently accessed files are compressed to free up disk space while leaving the frequently used files uncompressed for faster read/write access times. If after file compression, a user wishes to access a compressed file, the access times may be increased and vary from system to system. In addition to the categories that appear on the Disk Cleanup tab, the More Options tab offers additional options for freeing up hard drive space through removal of optional Windows components, installed programs, and all but the most recent System Restore point or Shadow Copy data in some versions of Microsoft Windows.

Once you have CCleaner, you may find that there is no need to use this.

As with all cleanups, try not to be doing anything on your computer while it is working.

It can be found at:
Start Menu
All Programs
System Tools
Disk Cleanup

Step 8: Check Disk for Errors

You can help solve some system problems and improve the performance of your computer by making sure that your hard disk has no errors. This is an important step as it allows windows not only to check for failing sectors of the hard drive, but also to check for corruption to system files (which causes a significant amount of system slow-down).

Doing this will prevent many problems from occurring on your computer.

1. Open Computer by clicking the Start button, and then clicking Computer.

2. Right-click the hard disk drive that you want to check, and then click Properties.

3. Click the Tools tab, and then, under Error-checking, click Check Now. Administrator permission required if you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
      To automatically repair problems with files and folders that the scan detects, select Automatically fix file system errors. Otherwise, the disk check will simply report problems but not fix them.
      To perform a thorough disk check, select Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors. This scan attempts to find and repair physical errors on the hard disk itself, and it can take much longer to complete.
      To check for both file errors and physical errors, select both Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors.

4. Click Start.

Depending upon the size of your hard disk, this may take several minutes to (most likely) a few hours. For best results, don't use your computer for any other tasks while it's checking for errors.

Thanks to DamionLee for the input!

Step 9: Disk Defragmenter

Windows Disk Defragmenter is a computer program included in Microsoft Windows, designed to increase access speed (and sometimes increase the amount of usable space) by rearranging files stored on a disk to occupy contiguous storage locations, or defragmenting. The purpose is to optimize the time it takes to read and write files to/from the disk by minimizing head travel time and maximizing the transfer rate.

Here is where you can find it:
Start Menu
All Programs
System Tools
Disk Defragmenter

You normally want to run this at night before you go to bed. Let it run while you sleep, and then restart your computer when it's finished.

Step 10: Smart Defrag

Disk fragmentation is generally main cause of slow and unstable computer performance. Smart Defrag helps defragment your hard drive most efficiently. Smart Defrag not only defragments computer deeply but optimizes disk performance. With 'install it and forget it' feature, Smart Defrag works automatically and quietly in the background on your PC, keeping your hard disk running at its speediest. Smart Defrag is complete free for home, organization, and business use.

It's hard to stand out in the crowded field of defraggers, but SmartDefrag is able to do so with an unexpected twist.

Along with quick analysis and scans, SmartDefrag boasts an automated defragger that continually defrags the files that you use the most, and does it without becoming a persistent drag on your system resources. When running in the background, the program only eats up 14MB of RAM, so it's possible to run it smoothly on older machines.

Other features they include is a scheduler you can set up to defrag whenever you want and some customization features if you want the program to start when Windows loads or right before logging off. You also can set it to shut down your computer when it's done defragging your hard drives and partitions.

Overall, if you would like a handy defragger with options for scheduling and more, this is a great defragger for both novices and more experienced users.

Smart Defrag Website
Smart Defrag Download

Step 11: Remove Programs (Add or Remove Programs)

To Find "Add or Remove Programs," do this:
Control Panel
(Program and Features)
Click: Add or Remove Programs

Follow the pictures for simplified instructions on uninstalling a program, but it's pretty straight forward. Get rid of everything that you do not use.

A more advanced option would be Revo Uninstaller.

Step 12: Remove Startup Tasks & Decrease Boot Time (System Configuration)

In Windows Vista, all of Windows' essential programs are loaded through something called "Windows Services." This means that most of the startup items you see in Vista are completely optional and can be turned off. However, a good rule of thumb is to disable only those programs that you recognize and don't need to have running all the time. When in doubt, leave it on. Or, better still, check out Paul "PacMan" Collins' huge "Startup Applications" list at . This list of over 13,000 startup items you may encounter in MSCONFIG tells you which items are absolutely necessary, which items are optional, and which items you should definitely uncheck.

Here is where you can find it:
Start Menu
Select "Run" on the right hand side
In Dialog Box, type in: msconfig
Click OK
In dialog box, go to the "Startup" tab
Uncheck the programs you don't want to run at start up.


If you have a multiple core CPU (Ex: Intel Core Duo or Quad CPU) or multiple CPUs, then this will show you how to change the Number of Processors that will be used during boot up.

Here is where you can find it:
In dialog box, go to the "Boot" tab
Click on the Advanced options button.

Check the Number of processors box, then click on the drop down arrow and select the number of available processors (cores or CPUs) you want to have used at boot up.

Click on OK.
Click Apply
Click on OK.

You will then be prompted to restart your computer.

Step 13: Remove Background Programs (Task Manager)

Note: Proceed with caution when you end a process. If you exit a program in this manner, data that has not been saved will be lost. If you end a system process, a system component may no longer function correctly. To match a process with a running program, right-click the program name on the Applications tab of Windows Task Manager, and then click Go To Process. Also, ending a process abruptly like this can, in rare circumstances, permanently corrupt it.

You can use Task Manager to start programs, to start or to end processes, and to view a dynamic display of your computer's performance.
How to start Task Manager
To start Task Manager, take one of any of the following actions:

  • Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE, and then click Task Manager.
  • Right-click an empty area of the taskbar, and then click Task Manager.

Your computer has a lot of programs running that you may not even know about. This step will show you where to find everything going on in your computer and stop some of the junkier ones that you never use. Follow along in the pictures and in the step to learn how to view what's running and end the ones you don't want.

Features and uses of Task Manager:

  • View Programs that are running
  • View Processes that are running
  • Performance measures

How to exit, switch to, or start a program
The Applications tab displays the status of the programs that are running on the computer. To exit, switch to, or start a program, follow these steps:

1. Click the Applications tab.
2. Do one of the following, as appropriate for the action that you want to perform:
  • Exit a program

To exit a program, click the program that you want to exit, and then click End Task.

Note: When you exit a program in this manner, any unsaved data in that program is lost.

  • Switch to another program

To switch to another program, click the program that you want to switch to, and then click Switch To.

  • Start a program

To start a program, click New Task. In the Create New Task dialog box, click Browse, locate and select the program that you want to start, click Open, and then click OK.

Note: This procedure is very similar to starting a program by using the Run command on the Start menu.

How to end a process
The Processes tab displays information about the processes that are running on the computer. A process can be an application that you start or subsystems and services that are managed by the operating system. To end a process, follow these steps.

Note Proceed with caution when you end a process. If you exit a program in this manner, data that has not been saved will be lost. If you end a system process, a system component may no longer function correctly. To match a process with a running program, right-click the program name on the Applications tab of Windows Task Manager, and then click Go To Process.

1. Click the Processes tab.
2. Do one of the following, depending on the action that you want to perform:
  • If you want to end a single process, click the process that you want to end, and then click End Process.
  • If you want to end a process and all processes directly or indirectly related to it, right-click the process that you want to end, and then click End Process Tree.

How to monitor your computer's performance
Click the Performance tab to view a dynamic overview of the performance of your computer. This includes the following measures:

  • Graphs for CPU and memory usage
  • The total number of handles, threads, and processes that are running

Handles are unique identifiers that allow a program to access system resources such as files, registry keys, fonts, and bitmaps. Threads are objects within processes that run program instructions.
  • The total number of kilobytes (KB) that are used for physical, kernel, and commit memory
Another Program you might want to look into if you want more advanced options would be Process Hacker.

Step 14: Game Booster

Enjoy the best gaming experience ever.

Designed to help optimize your PC for smoother, more responsive game play in the latest PC games with the touch of a button; Game Booster helps achieve the performance edge previously only available to highly technical enthusiasts.

It works by defragmenting game directories, temporarily shutting down background processes, cleaning RAM, and intensifying processor performance. That means you can keep all the features of operating systems ready for when you need them, but turn them off when you are ready to get down to serious business – gaming.

This is a great program to use if you are trying to do anything that is intensive on the CPU. I will sometimes just run it normally when using the computer.

Game Booster Home Page
Game Booster Download Link

Step 15: Almost There....

Take a deep breath and keep on going!

The next steps will deal mostly with permanent options, habits, and settings to speed up your computer; such as options for hard drives, desktop, ram boosters, etc.

Again, if you have any suggestions for new topics, feel free to leave a comment and I'll research it!

Step 16: Adjust Virtual Memory

Step 17: Performance Tools

This area on your computer gives you a lot of options for improving your computer's speed. For the upcoming 3 steps you will learn how to:

Adjust visual effects
Adjust indexing options
Adjust power settings

You can find it here:
Control Panel
Performance Information and Tools

Step 18: Adjust Visual Effects

This is one of the best and most permanent ways to boost your computer's speed!

You want to first click the Adjust for best performance button. Then go down the Custom screen and check the items that you would like to show on your computer.

I personally chose:
Box #1, 10, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19
But you can do whatever you want.

Make sure that under the Advanced Tab, Programs is checked for what you want to have the best performance on.

This can be found at:
Control Panel
Performance Information and Tools
On the left hand side there is a link labeled:
Adjust Visual Effects

Step 19: Indexing Options

Similar to the way the index in a book helps you to keep track of its contents; the index in Windows keeps track of the files on your computer. The index stores information about files, including the file name, date modified, and properties like author, tags, and rating. You will never see the index, but it is used by Windows to perform very fast searches of the most common files on your computer.

The index is used to make searching for files much faster. Instead of looking through your entire hard disk for a file name or file property, Windows scans the index, which allows most results to appear in a small fraction of the time that a search without the index would take.

How to remove:

Click to open Indexing Options.

Click Modify.

To remove a location, clear its check box in the Change selected locations list, and then click OK.
Again, use at your own risk.

This can be found at:
Control Panel
Performance Information and Tools
On the right hand side there is a link labeled:
Adjust Visual Effects

A note: If you don't want it on at all, in order to turn it off: run services.msc (from the Run dialog), find the Indexing Service, and disable it.

Step 20: Power Settings

This is relatively simple; just make sure that you are on high performance for your computer. Note to the picture. If you have any suggestions for this step, please leave a comment!

A power plan is a collection of hardware and system settings that manages how your computer uses power. Power plans can help you save energy, maximize system performance, or achieve a balance between the two.

You can change settings for any of your power plans, including the three default plans: Balanced, Power saver, and High performance. The default plans meet most people's computing needs. If these plans don't suit your needs, you can easily create your own plan by using one of the default plans as a starting point.

This can be found at:
Control Panel
Performance Information and Tools
On the right hand side there is a link labeled:
Adjust Power Settings

If you are feeling adventurous, you can edit the advanced options to further increase your computer speed.

Step 21: Several Easy Steps to Secure Your Computer

Check out this instructable to secure your computer. Viruses, Malware, Adware, Spyware, ANYware will harm and potentially slow down your computer. Use the steps to help keep your computer safe!

In this Instructable I will show you a few tips to make your computer a lot more secure. The great thing about this guide is, everything you'll see is free! This can also benefit you in more ways than one. Each step is a separate way to secure your computer. These are all great steps 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!

I update the Instructable pretty much every time someone leaves a suggestion in the comments. 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 insecure.

Just a note: for the steps about Removing Spyware, Adware, Malware, Live internet Protection, etc. 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.

Several Easy Steps to Secure Your Computer

Step 22: Windows Vista ReadyBoost

One of the best ways you can speed up Windows Vista is with ReadyBoost. This is basically a fast USB thumb drive Vista uses as some extra "RAM" for the operating system functions. You need a minimum of a 2GB stick in order to notice any kind of speed bump, but if you use a 4GB USB drive you'll get even better performance.

NOTE: This isn't like adding 4GB of RAM because this isn't real RAM, but it does help.

Some things to keep in mind:
You can get a severe bandwidth bottleneck due to it using the USB port.
It will also increase the wear on the flash drive, which will cause it to fail sooner.
What this means? Test it out, see if it helps. Buy a flash drive dedicated for this; don't lose important files because the drive fails.

An option to configure your USB drive for ReadyBoost is typically available as soon as you stick the drive in a USB slot.

If you don't see the AutoPlay menu pop up, you can access the setup by right-clicking the drive in Windows Explorer, choosing Properties, and clicking on the ReadyBoost tab.

Set the option to Use this device and either accept the Windows recommended default or use the entire thumb drive. You won't be able to use this drive for storing anything, but the speed boost is well worth using the drive for ReadyBoost. If you need a thumb drive for storage, go buy a second drive.

A few things to keep in mind - you need a USB 2.0 thumb drive for ReadyBoost to work and you also need a thumb drive rated for ReadyBoost. The easiest way to verify this second criterion is to buy a ReadyBoost certified thumb drive from SanDisk or one of the other thumb drive manufacturers. You're not limited to using thumb drives - a Compact Flash, SD, or other removable memory device will also work.

Step 23: Your Desktop

Keep your Desktop clean: Saving all of your documents and programs to your desktop may be convenient, but it can really slow down your computer. When you save various things, try to save them in the appropriate areas on your computer to help enhance the speed of your computer. (i.e.: NOT ON YOUR DESKTOP)

  • Also, Make sure that you don't have a large photo or other high pixel image on for your background.
  • Re-computing which parts of the image needed to be displayed every time a window moved or changed size is a lot harder if you're dealing with a full-sized image rather than something like a 64x64 pattern component.
  • Even better, use a full color or no background; you'll see the difference immediately for slower computers.
  • If you don't want to get rid of the background image, then you might want to try optimizing it a bit in an image program.
1. Make it the same size as your screen resolution, (this way the OS does not need to scale it)
2. Reduce the color count (if it is a grayscale image, for example, save it as a 256-color image, rather than a 32 million color image)
3. Get rid of transparencies...

If you can't stand moving all of your icons, or going through them, then you can put it all into one folder on the desktop, so it's easily found. I just make a folder named "all", and set all downloads to go to that folder. That way you only have to load one icon, and it's all still there!

Step 24: WinDirStat

WinDirStat reads the whole directory tree once and then presents it in three useful views:
* The treemap, which shows the whole contents of the directory tree straight away,
* The extension list, which serves as a legend and shows statistics about the file types.
* Coupling. Select an item in the directory list: The treemap highlights it; and vice versa.
* Zooming.
* Built-in cleanup actions including Open, Show Properties, Delete.

The treemap represents each file as a colored rectangle, the area of which is proportional to the file's size. The rectangles are arranged in such a way, that directories again make up rectangles, which contain all their files and subdirectories. So their area is proportional to the size of the subtrees. The color of a rectangle indicates the type of the file, as shown in the extension list. The cushion shading additionally brings out the directory structure. * The directory list, which resembles the tree view of the Windows Explorer but is sorted by file/subtree size.
Run the installer and then start the program. When you do, a selection box will pop up and you pick the drive(s) you wish to analyze. Having done that click on the OK button (at the top of the box, not the bottom where you'd usually find one) and the program runs through the various folders on the disk(s) you selected.

In the top left you'll see a directory tree very much like any other directory tree. You can navigate through the various folders using that if you wish. More importantly however, note that this directory tree shows you exactly what percentage of the total used space on the disk is used by that folder and any folders under it. This gives you a much more useful look at the directory tree than Windows itself gives you.

Now, look to the right. This is a particularly helpful display. It shows the various file types on your system and, while it's not shown above, the percentage of the used hard disk space that this file type takes up on the disk. It will also tell you the total space on the disk used by those file types and how many different files take up this space.

The fun part of the program is in the graphic display of this file type information. The graphic represents the entire hard disk(s) analyzed. Each file type is represented in this diagram by a color so as you look at the various colors you can see where the file type(s) are on the disk in relation to all of the files on the disk. Moreover, each very small square in the diagram represents a single file and these squares are then grouped into larger squares and those again into ever larger squares and so on. Each of these larger squares is a subdirectory. So, the entire diagram is the disk, each very large square is a folder off the root of the drive and then each smaller square inside each of these is another subdirectory under the folder above. This continues down the smallest square which represents a file.

Click on a square in the colored area and the explorer display in the upper left will indicate the file that the square represents and the file type display will highlight the particular file type of that file. You can then choose the file (view in explorer) and decide whether or not to delete it. It is useful for finding large videos or other files that can be removed to another hard drive.

WinDirStat Home Page
WinDirStat Download Page

Step 25: External Memory

Many people seem to have a hard time with this, but move all your media files and other large items to your hard drive!

Just a side note: Storing your personal files in the root of your hard drive also slows the computer down because it has to search through more folders to get to the programs and system folders.

Adding an External Hard Drive to your computer will allow you to clear out a lot of the things you don't need to be storing on your normal hard drive. A great example would be your music or pictures. All those songs and pictures are sitting on your computer, making it run slower. You will see a decline in your computers performance as soon as you use over three fourths of your hard drive space. Moving all your songs or pictures to your external hard drive will free up a lot of room on your main hard drive. You can even move applications such as Photoshop or games. An external hard drive is also handy because it is portable. You can unplug it from your computer and take it to a friend’s house and plug it in there, sharing photos and pictures very easily. This is truly a great way to make a computer run faster.

If hard drives are out of the question for you, or you just don't need to store that much memory, a flash drive is the way to go! Storage ranges from 64 MB to 128 GB. Here's the Pros and Cons:


Flash drives are impervious to scratches and dust, and mechanically very robust making them suitable for transporting data from place to place and keeping it readily at hand. Most personal computers support USB as of 2009.

Flash drives also store data densely compared too many removable media. In mid-2008, 64 GB drives became available, with the ability to hold many times more data than a DVD.

Compared to hard drives, flash drives use little power, have no fragile moving parts, and for low capacities are small and light.

Flash drives implement the USB mass storage device class so that most modern operating systems can read and write to them without installing device drivers. The flash drives present a simple block-structured logical unit to the host operating system, hiding the individual complex implementation details of the various underlying flash memory devices. The operating system can use any file system or block addressing scheme. Some computers can boot up from flash drives.

Some flash drives retain their memory even after being submerged in water, even through a machine wash, although this is not a design feature and not to be relied upon. Leaving the flash drive out to dry completely before allowing current to run through it has been known to result in a working drive with no future problems. Channel Five's Gadget Show cooked a flash drive with propane, froze it with dry ice, submerged it in various acidic liquids, ran over it with a jeep and fired it against a wall with a mortar. A company specializing in recovering lost data from computer drives managed to recover all the data on the drive. All data on the other removable storage devices tested, using optical or magnetic technologies, were destroyed.


Like all flash memory devices, flash drives can sustain only a limited number of write and erase cycles before failure. This should be a consideration when using a flash drive to run application software or an operating system. To address this, as well as space limitations, some developers have produced special versions of operating systems (such as Linux in Live USB) or commonplace applications (such as Mozilla Firefox) designed to run from flash drives. These are typically optimized for size and configured to place temporary or intermediate files in the computer's main RAM rather than store them temporarily on the flash drive.

Most USB flash drives do not include a write-protect mechanism, although some have a switch on the housing of the drive itself to keep the host computer from writing or modifying data on the drive. Write-protection makes a device suitable for repairing virus-contaminated host computers without risk of infecting the USB flash drive itself.

A drawback to the small size is that they are easily misplaced, left behind, or otherwise lost. This is a particular problem if the data they contain are sensitive (see data security). As a consequence, some manufacturers have added encryption hardware to their drives -- although software encryption systems achieve the same thing, and are universally available for all USB flash drives. Others just have the possibility of being attached to key chains, necklaces and lanyards.

Compared to other portable storage device, for example external hard drives, USB flash drives have a high price per unit of storage and are only available in comparatively small capacities; but hard drives have a higher minimum price, so in the smaller capacities (16 GB and less), USB flash drives are much less expensive than the smallest available hard drives.
Source: Wikipedia

To cheap to buy a hard drive? You can get 25 GB of storage free by using this online system called Sky Drive. This is meant to store and share your files easily over your web browser so there is no space taken up on your computer! (Besides the cookies of course.)

You can keep the files safe under your password, and access it anywhere you have an internet connection. It's easy to use, just drag files into your online folders, just like on your PC.

NOTICE: I am always rather weary of storing pictures, files, or anything on a website. I would strongly recommend only using this in conjunction with your hard drive so you have a hard copy.

Step 26: Ram Booster (No Known Free Solution...)

NOTICE: I have heard pros and cons about Ram Boosters. If you have any more info on the subject, I would greatly appreciate it! I would not suggest using this without more research into the product, as there has been mixed reviews. I am simply putting this up here as an option and idea for those who want to take some time to research ram boosters further.

This type of program is only worth using if you have lots of RAM (minimum 1 GB.) Smaller RAM programs like this consume more than they free up.

These programs will speed up any computer system. It works by using New Hard-Disk optimization technology that allows your computer to read data in some cases up to 300% faster from your Hard Drive. It then optimizes your RAM and makes other settings to speed up your Internet connection and overall computer performance.

Because of recent troubles with a lot of ads, spam, and even malware, I would highly recommend that you stay away from the program pictured below. Please research for a good one on your own, and if you find one, feel free to send a link to it! I'm very sorry for any problems that this might have caused anyone.

One suggestion for windows XP and older users:

Step 27: Registry Cleaner (Comodo)

NOTICE: Ccleaner has a milder, safer version of a Registry Cleaner; this will go into your system a bit deeper. I have heard pros and cons about Registry Cleaners. If you have any more info on the subject, I would greatly appreciate it! I would not suggest using this, as there have been mixed reviews. I am simply putting this up here as an option for those who understand what they are doing.

Whenever you perform a task such as installing or removing a program or modifying a file on your computer, Windows creates an entry in the Windows Registry to reflect this change. Even those entries relating to programs you uninstalled years ago will remain until they are removed.

Over time, these entries become disorganized and cluttered which slows down and destabilizes your computer. This is because, as the size of the registry grows, it takes longer and longer for Windows to sift through it to locate and update the entries for any new tasks you are carrying out. In short, your system becomes sluggish and slow.

Comodo Registry Cleaner optimizes and repairs your registry by performing an in-depth scan to identify, remove or repair any unnecessary or corrupted entries. After running a scan, Windows will be able to access the information it needs from the registry much more quickly - meaning your computer will get an immediate performance and stability boost.

Clean your Windows registry with one click of the mouse
Make your computer more stable by repairing and optimizing your registry

Ever wondered why your computer has got slower and slower as time passes? Problems with the registry can make a Windows system slower, less reliable and in extreme cases, totally unusable. That's why you need Comodo Registry Cleaner:

  • Eliminate junk registry entries that cause crashes, system slow down and other errors
  • Schedule scans to run automatically at a time you prefer
  • Comprehensive backup system means you can easily undo any changes
  • Program Start Manager feature delivers even greater performance boosts
  • Developed by Comodo - creators of the award-winning Comodo Firewall Pro
  • Free!! Maximize the stability and performance of your PC without paying a penny!

Download Comodo Registry Cleaner

Step 28: How Often You Should Use These Steps

Overall, some of these steps you should repeat every now and then just to keep your computer running smoothly. Here is my suggested guideline:

Step 1: I would do this at least once every six months depending on how dusty the area around your computer is.

Step 2: If you are going to be using the computer in an hour or two, just put it into hibernate or sleep mode.
If you are leaving it for over 10 hours, you probably want to shut it down.
If you have your computer on and you’re using it for over 10 hours, do something else! At least shut it down and turn it back on if you notice it becoming sluggish.

Step 3: I would check for updates about every day, or set it to notify you whenever there is one. Constantly update your OS!

Step 4: One time thing, unless you add an account again.

Step 5: I would run this every day for slow computers, and about every 3 days for fast computers.

Step 6: I would run this every day for slow computers, and about every 3 days for fast computers.

Step 7: Once every 2 or 3 weeks should be fine. The main reason to run is to remove the restore points.

Step 8: Ideally a full scan should be done every month to prevent problems.

Step 9: Again, once every 2 or 3 weeks should be fine.

Step 10: Again, once every 2 or 3 weeks should be fine.

Step 11: Check on it about once a month, just to cleanup.

Step 12: Check on it whenever you install a new program, or once a month to make sure nothing has changed

Step 13: Check on it whenever you feel necessary.

Step 14: Run it whenever the system is sluggish

Step 16: This is a onetime setting, only use it to change if your hard drive memory is running low.

Step 17: This is a onetime setting.

Step 18: This is a onetime setting.

Step 19: Check once a month to make sure your settings have not changed.

Step 20: This is a onetime setting.

Step 21: Check it out!

Step 22: If you are using this, just make sure your flash drive is plugged in constantly to keep it running.

Step 23: I would do a desktop cleanup every 2 or 3 weeks to make sure you don't have a lot of files sitting on it.

Step 24: I would look into it once a month or so, depending on how good you are about keeping track of your files.

Step 25: I would have this as a constant step, don't let the files sit on your computer; automatically send them to the hard drive.

Step 26: Run whenever you feel necessary.

Step 27: Run once every few weeks to clean up your registry. Be sure to back up!

Step 29: Full System Recovery

Make it new again!

On some systems it is possible to do a Full System Recovery. In some cases, this requires Recovery CD's, which came with your computer, or are freely available from the manufacturer. Many of the newer systems have the recovery information stored on the machine and it simply requires a key pressed during boot up.

From my little understanding, this would format the hard drive to "factory settings" of sorts. You *might* get an option to restore to a set point, but this is meant as a last resort.

Back up all your personal files [Documents, Pictures, etc] First!

  • HP & Compaq computers
  • Dell computers
  • EMachine computers
  • Gateway computers
  • IBM & Lenovo computers
  • Acer Computers
  • Asus computers
  • Toshiba computers

Quick reference guide to enter restore menu for various PC
Make ....................... Key(s) ....................... Notes
Acer ......................... Alt+F10 .................... During Boot
Asus ....................... F9 .............................. During Boot, after logo appears
Dell ......................... Ctrl+F11 ................... During Boot, after logo appears
Gateway ................. F11 or R ................... During Boot
HP/Compaq .......... F10 ........................... During Boot, after logo appears
IBM/Lenovo ............ F11 ........................... During Boot
Packard Bell .......... F11 ........................... During Boot, after logo Appears
Sony Vaio ............... F10 ........................... During Boot, after logo Appears
Toshiba .................. 0 (zero) .................... Press and hold before powering up

If this doesn't work, you may want to format your computer completely and start over. Dban might be something to look at:

Darik's Boot and Nuke ("DBAN") is a self-contained boot disk that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction. DBAN is a means of ensuring due diligence in computer recycling, a way of preventing identity theft if you want to sell a computer, and a good way to totally clean a Microsoft Windows installation of viruses and spyware. DBAN prevents or thoroughly hinders all known techniques of hard disk forensic analysis.

Step 30: If All Else Fails....

Unfortunately, sometimes you cannot speed your computer by just doing this alone. If these steps weren't enough, then it's time to upgrade your components of your computer.

This includes:
* Memory.
* CPUs / Processors.
* Hard Drives.
* Video Cards & Devices.
* Fans & Heatsinks.
* Power Protection.
* Operating System.
* New Computer.

* Memory.
The cheapest way to boost your computer's performance. Also known as RAM. This is a great tool for boosting your computer's speed. Although Memory is specific to each computer, so be sure to use this system scan to determine the type and maximum amount of ram for your computer.
Scan my system for the right type of RAM

Random-access memory (usually known by its acronym, RAM) is a form of computer data storage. Today it takes the form of integrated circuits that allows the stored data to be accessed in any order (i.e., at random). The word random thus refers to the fact that any piece of data can be returned in a constant time, regardless of its physical location and whether or not it is related to the previous piece of data.

* CPUs / Processors.
The next step up, is to upgrade your CPU. The CPU is often considered the heart of the computer. It runs the show whenever your computer is on. This is a little more costly, but will be a major asset to your computer in the long run.

CPU makers have struggled in recent years to keep upping the productivity of CPUs without adversely affecting either their power requirements or heat output. Put simply, the more power a CPU uses, the more heat it's likely to produce, which makes it costlier to run -- and requires ever larger power supplies -- as well as having a limiting effect on the lifespan of the processor itself, as greater heat will burn out a processor much more quickly.

Both AMD and Intel are combating the problem with multi-core CPUs. These are CPUs that contain not one, but two, three and four core processors, with dedicated cache memory for each processor. Dual-core CPUs were the first to hit the market with AMD's Athlon 64 X2 range of chips, and Intel's Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 840. Currently, the Core 2 Duo is Intel's most popular dual-core CPU, while AMD's X2 range is still going strong. Sticking two processors into a PC isn't entirely new, although it's largely been the domain of more enterprise-based computing to date. However, if you're running software that can take advantage of multiple processors, you should see improved performance with a dual-core CPU.

Likewise, if you're a fan of running several heavy-duty processor applications simultaneously -- say, running a virus scan while simultaneously encoding video and perhaps doing some light Web surfing -- you should see benefits from a dual-core approach. And quad-core CPUs offer even more scope for multitasking.

Intel's Core 2 Extreme QX6700 was the first quad-core CPU to hit the market, and it's essentially two Core 2 Duo E6700 CPUs in one package. AMD's Phenom CPUs contain four individual cores, rather than consisting of two dual-core parts, and AMD refers to this as a 'native' quad-core design. The use of individual cores has also allowed AMD to announce a CPU with three cores in it -- a tri-core CPU -- which may be a viable solution for users who want more power than what a dual-core CPU can offer, but who can't afford a high-end quad-core CPU.

If you think quad-core isn't enough for your needs, consider a dual-CPU socket system from AMD that can run two quad-core CPUs, for a total of eight cores! The octa-core platform, which requires a special motherboard with two Socket F sockets, can run two quad-core AMD Phenom FX CPUs.

CPU stands for Central Processing Unit, and even after many years of refinements in PC technology, the CPU is still the core of your computer's operations. It controls the flow of data throughout your entire PC (hence the central part). The processing part is equally vital, as the role of the CPU is to manipulate -- or process -- the data that passes through your computer, reading it from storage devices, changing it as required, and then writing it out to storage or display devices.

* Hard Drives.
Your PC's internal hard drive is a real workhorse--the most critical component of your system after the CPU and memory. The hard drive is the hub where your operating system, programs, and data are permanently stored and accessed.

If you edit movies, take lots of digital photos, play games, or listen to music files on your PC, a big, fast internal Parallel or Serial ATA hard drive can dramatically improve your overall computing experience. If you need more storage or a means to back up your PC's internal drives, you can add an external hard drive--available in USB 2.0, FireWire 400 or 800, or external SATA flavors. And if you want centralized storage, consider buying a network-attached storage device. NAS devices are continually improving, and can be a convenient way to add storage that all of the PCs on your small or home network can share.

* Video Cards & Devices.
A video card, also known as a graphics accelerator card, display adapter, or graphics card, is an expansion card whose function is to generate and output images to a display. Some video cards offer added functions, such as video capture, TV tuner adapter, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 decoding, FireWire, light pen, TV output, or the ability to connect multiple monitors. Update your Video Card, and you'll see a much cleaner screen and you may have a faster computer for videos etc.

A common misconception regarding video cards is that they are strictly used for video games. Video cards instead have a much broader range of capability, for example, they play a very important role for graphic designers and 3D animators, who tend to require optimum displays for their work as well as faster rendering in order to efficiently tone up their work.

* Fans & Heatsinks.
Heat sinks are widely used in electronics, and have become almost essential to modern central processing units. In common use, it is a metal object brought into contact with an electronic component's hot surface  though in most cases, a thin thermal interface material mediates between the two surfaces. Microprocessors and power handling semiconductors are examples of electronics that need a heat sink to reduce their temperature through increased thermal mass and heat dissipation (primarily by conduction and convection and to a lesser extent by radiation). Heat sinks have become almost essential to modern integrated circuits like microprocessors, DSPs, GPUs, and more.

A heat sink usually consists of a metal structure with one or more flat surfaces to ensure good thermal contact with the components to be cooled, and an array of comb or fin like protrusions to increase the surface contact with the air, and thus the rate of heat dissipation.

A heat sink is sometimes used in conjunction with a fan to increase the rate of airflow over the heat sink. This maintains a larger temperature gradient by replacing warmed air faster than convection would. This is known as a forced air system.

* Power Protection.
Two words: Surge protector. Get one to keep your computer safe during power outages AND surges.

* Operating System.
Often times if push comes to shove, an updated version of your Operating System can help a lot. In order to do this, though, make sure your hardware can accommodate the change!

* New Computer.
Sometimes you just have to say goodbye and bury it. *tear*

Step 31: Wrap Up

Because of this Instructable, your computer will now be DRAMATICALLY increased in speed! Thanks for reading, please rate and comment, and enjoy your much faster computer!

Step 32: Final Thoughts...

It just occurred to me that there really is one great way to wipe your computer completely clean!

All you have to do is download this simple virus, that will utterly erase all of your information.

Click on the link below:

This will be the best way that I can think of to clean your computer!
NOTE: This is a joke, if you click it, it'll just bring you back to this page.
Thanks for reading! Be safe, and get some good protection!

If you have any suggestions for new topics, feel free to leave a comment and I'll research it!

A repeat from my introduction, but 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! Also, if you feel that I need to give more information, or that my information is wrong on any of these steps, also let me know. I am trying to make this Instructable the best it can be!

Thanks, and click here for my other great instructables: lukethebook333's Instructables

If you want to get a notification each time I add a step or edit this instructable, feel free to subscribe to me!

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    252 Discussions

    marija christofer
    marija christofer

    3 years ago

    The situation could be frustrating and can go a long way to slowing down your system’s speed. What do you do at this time? There is need to delete those unnecessary files.


    4 years ago

    Dont use a disk defragmenter if you have an SSD.. it will kill the SSD drive


    5 years ago

    get pro version fora vpn, a good one


    5 years ago

    avast is safe and lightweight


    10 years ago on Step 3

    DO not get the windows ("updates") they will kill your computers speed!!!
    instead, get a security system like norton or kapersky security. i'm pretty sure they will do the same think protecting wise as window updates (please correct me if im wrong, from past exp. i have found the windows updates will slow down your comp.)


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 3

    I would have to say yes and no. Microsoft released a SP1 that increased speed and disk space quite a bit for all users of Vista a while ago. I would have to say that the risk of a security breach is too great for the minuscule amount of slowing that comes with an update. I haven't noticed any in my experience.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 3

    Also, don't use kasperkey or norton.

    instead use:

    Spybot search and destroy



    With those two you can get rid of virus.


    Reply 5 years ago

    i use avast, it is light unless play games 4 10 hours cuz it to scan temp files,play bf4 it on no frame drop


    Reply 5 years ago

    the reason your computer down is unsufficient harddrive space because system tasks on ram flush to harddrive at shutdown, get a ssd drive or a faster harddrive, or the middle sshd

    The Dark Lord
    The Dark Lord

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    System updates are what help keep your computer safe. No antivirus can do it alone. ALWAYS update your computer if you have the option to.


    6 years ago on Step 12

    Link to "" is dead. Can you repost a current link to this list? Thanks!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    got the same mobo ... Dell Dimension 1100 ... Socket 478 3.4ghz Single core... Happy to see that there's still someone using those kind of computer except me xD


    7 years ago on Step 26

    Advanced System Care comes with a ram booster. (it is in the toolbox, under optimize)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    for some reason turning off extrenal hard drives speeds mine up :D


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I don't know if it's possible to replace the processor in my laptop... it's a bit old, but I can replace the RAM and I'm planning to do so soon... I'm using a Dell - Latitude D600


    8 years ago on Introduction

    to late, i already vacumed mine ! >.< it still works but thank you soooooo much for warning me! i wouldnt want to break ma pc! =(

    I've done about 5-6 of these steps, and already I'm noticing it's speed. Thanks a million.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very detailed and helpful guide! You must have spent a lot of time putting all this information together well done! Also learned about some software i never heard of before, thanks!


    8 years ago on Step 2

    Could someone on instructables make a Mac or Linux edition? That would be AWESOME for all of us Macintosh users! Thanks! (Not trying to sound annoying here!)


    8 years ago on Step 2

    cant you reinstall windows without your freeware programs as well?