December 14, 2018
PC Performance Knowledgebase

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A Programmer's View of Java Errors
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Fitness for Your Aging PC

Often, our PCs tend to display aging problems after being used for a while. The longer you own a computer, the slower it seems to be. Do PCs have aging problems like we human do? How come the same computer with identical hardware and configurations runs much slower as compared to how it performed when it was new? Well, more than often, what we had done to our PC was to be blamed for degraded PC performance.

Time for a Garage Sale?

We install a lot of software to fulfill different computing needs. Apart from the Windows operating system and its various patches, we have Microsoft Office software, Email software, photo viewing, printing and editing software, instant messaging software, accounting software, and plus a few computer games. Every piece of software consumes with hard drive spaces and physical memory resource when you use it. Some programs that silently run in the background take up memory and CPU power when you are not even using them explicitly.

Like how we sometimes acquire stuff for occasional or rare usage but end up piling them up around our house, we also install free software like screensavers, fonts, smilies, games, and utility software on our PCs. Little we know that these programs also come free with virus, spyware and adware. Sometimes, these malware terminate your PC by destroying the fundamentals of your operating systems and make you lose all valuable information on your computers. Nevertheless, the rest of these malware often quietly install themselves in the background and start consuming computing resource meanwhile stealing your personal information or using your PCs as SPAM bots. The result of all of the aforementioned computing habits is your seemingly aging PC with slow performance.

Detoxification

Luckily, there are few "fitness programs" that you can put your PC through so that it can regain its original performance. First things first, clean up the PC from malware infections, which include both virus and spyware. Virus is dangerous enough so that the Windows operating system can be completely paralyzed. Nevertheless, Spyware are usually causes of ongoing performance issues and can also harm your online identity and invade your cyber privacy. Install a quality antivirus and antispyware program, keep both updated of their signatures and program patches, and run them regularly to keep your PC from being eroded by malware.

Trim Excessive Fat

After ensuring your PC is free of malware, let's make your hard drive to loose some weight by removing old programs you no longer use. The most trivial way to remove unneeded programs is through "Add and Remove Programs" from the "Control Panel", which you can access from the "Start" button. If you use Windows Vista, it is called "Programs and Features". This system tool displays the list of all installed programs on your PC, with their size information, installed date, and last used date. If the "Last Used On" column is turned off, simply right-mouse-click anywhere on the header of the list (where you see "Name", "Publisher", and "Size") and choose "More". It should give you a check list of columns to display. Some programs occupied a few hundred megabytes and yet havenít been used for over a few years. Remove those programs to free up your cluttered hard drive. Be careful, donít remove programs such as Microsoft updates, which can be displayed by clicking "View installed updates" on Windows Vista. You can tell if a program is an update or not by looking at its publisher (it will say Microsoft) and the name of the program or update which usually includes "KB" followed by a 5-digit number, which stands for a particular knowledgebase number that is associated with the update.

Building Muscles

After manually uninstall programs, it is time to free up more disk space and defrag the hard drive. A defragged hard drive loaded with only essential programs and necessary information provides the best accessing speed for both read- and write-access performed by your PC. You can access both tools from the "Start" menu, select "Accessories", and click "System Tools". It is suggested that you run both tools on regular basis to keep your hard drive running with its best performance.

Now, after you have a healthy hard drive, make sure you don't automatically load software, even they are good software that you use, at the start up time. Here is a complete article about how to remove start up applications. The less programs that your PC has to load at start up time, the faster it finishes booting up the operating system for you to perform your real computing tasks.

Faster Reflex Time

Last but not the least, did you know that slow network connection also causes your PC to perform poorly for couple of reasons. First, programs that rely on either network or Internet connections wait for proper transferring of network packets, which contains information going up the network or downloaded from the network. The longer these programs have to wait, the less ideal computing performance they will give. Therefore, a faster network connection, whether it is wired or wireless, is a wise investment for better computing experience. Secondly, if you have disconnected network drives, Windows will always try to get it connected in the background without notifying you. So if you have a few out-of-date disconnected network drives, make sure that they are properly dealt with. To disconnect an unused network connection, click the "Start" button, go to "My computer", click the "Tools" menu from the top of the Window, and choose "Disconnect Network DriveÖ". If you have network drives set up before, this tool allows you to disconnect them if necessary.

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Last updated on December 14th (Friday)
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