I often get asked by friends, family and co-workers how to make their computer run faster and improve its performance. Computers tend to run slower and get bogged down over time if you do not perform routine maintenance.
Giving your computer a tuneup is fairly simple and can be done for free if you know the right tools to use. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite tools and techniques for giving your computer a tune up.
CCleaner is a great tool for removing clutter and cleaning the digital cobwebs from your computer. CCleaner clears out temporary files, cookies, browser history and other junk from your computer. Additionally, you can use CCleaner to easily remove unused programs and to clean up your registry. All the tasks performed by CCleaner can be done manually in Windows but this CCleaner allows you to easily perform all these task in a single location. CCleaner is the first step I use when performing a PC tuneup.
CCleaner is the most comprehensive program for cleaning up a computer that I’ve used. The best part is it’s free. Download CCleaner and start cleaning!
Now that you’ve removed the clutter from your PC, now it’s time to get rid of any malware that may exist. Malware often cause pop-ups, browser add-ons or webpage redirects. Not only is malware annoying but it can greatly reduce the speed of your computer.
I recommend using Malwarebytes for locating and removing malware. You can download the free version of Malwarebytes and run a full scan to check your entire computer. A scan can take up to 30 minutes depending on the size of your hard drive. Malwarebytes will let you know if any malware has been found and will quarantine it. You can then choose to permanently delete the malware.
AVG AntiVirus is one of the top free antivirus programs available. AVG provides real time monitoring to block malware and viruses. AVG is easy to install and is a great solution for those who want antivirus protection but don’t want to pay the annual fees associated with antivirus software.
When AVG AntiVirus has been installed, perform a scan and let it remove any viruses it may have found.
Defragment your Hard Drive
Defragmenting your hard drive is important because it optimizes the data on your hard drive; allowing your computer to retrieve data more quickly. Remember when we removed all those old programs and files with CCleaner? Well, when you remove data from your hard drive it leaves empty spaces where the data once existed. When you add new files to your hard drive the data is stored where space is available, which may be in multiple locations on the hard drive. Defragging consolidates all the various chunks of free space into a large pool on your hard drive.
So how do you defrag a hard drive?
Click the Start button and in the search box type Disk Defragmenter and select the Disk Defragmenter
Select the drive you want to defrag in the Current Status box. You will select the C: drive for most basic computers.
Click Analyze Disk to determine if you hard drive needs to be defragmented. If the number is above 10% you should defrag the hard drive.
Click Defragment Disk, the process can possibly take up to a few hours depending on the hard drive size and when it was last defragmented.
Type Defragment in search bar in Windows 8. Note: Windows 8 uses the terms Defragment and Optimize Drive interchangeably.
Click the Analyze button and then the Optimize button if you determine your hard drive is fragmented by 10% or more.
Windows 8 automatically is set to defragment on a weekly basis so you likely will not have to run this process manually. It is still a good idea to check the fragmentation levels occasionally and optimize your drive if needed.
Now that you’ve learned how to tuneup your computer you can keep it running smooth year after year. Performing these steps every 3-6 months will help extend the life and functionality of your PC.
What are some of your favorite tools or techniques for keeping your computer running like new?