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Over time your computer slow down not because the processor or hard disk is slowing down but because the operating system slowly becomes disorganised and takes more effort to run programs, copy files, install programs etc. There are several key areas which slow down as a result of normal use:
Computer Secret 1 - Reduce Internet Explorer & Firefox Cache size
Both Internet Explorer and Firefox have a cache that can be varied in size. The cahce is used to improve browsing performance however you should keep the cache size small to reduce overhead on the browser. Try a setting of 50 MB however if you have an old computer with little RAM you can try a cache as small as you like, perhaps 5 or 10MB in size.
To access Internet Explorer Cache setting go INTERNET EXPLORER --> TOOLS - INTERNET OPTIONS --> SETTINGS
To access Firefox Cache settings go FIREFOX --> TOOLS --> OPTIONS --> ADVANCED --> Network Tab
Computer Secret 2 - Delete Temporary Files Again Windows and other applications creates and uses a number of temporary files through normal use. This will free up space and operating system overhead by deleting them. As you need to be careful with what you delete you should use the inbuilt disk clean up program and BACKUP and key files on your system.
To access disk cleanup go: START --> PROGRAMS --> ACCESSORIES --> SYSTEM TOOLS --> Disk Cleanup
Choose the drive you wish to cleanup and select the options you wish to run such as compress files, delete uneeded files etc
Computer Secret 3 - Defrag You Hard disk Again Windows and other applications create many files which a spread across the hard drive. Defragmenting your files will put the pieces of files in contiguous blocks speeding up file access.
To access disk defrag go: MY COMPUTER --> Right Click on a Drive --> Click on Properties --> Click Tools TAB -->Click on Defrag button
Defraging a drive may take hours the first time. You can stop the process any time you wish. Defrag on a regular basis say one a month. You should complete secrets 1 and 2 first.
Computer Secret 4 - Reduce the number of Start-Up applications If you have little RAM you may want/need to stop applications from running at startup. Even if you have a lot of RAM, simply have applications resident in RAM can slow down your computer.
Click START --> Run --> Type in 'msconfig' and press Enter
Click on the startup tab and deselect programs you do not want to run at startup. If you make a change here after you reboot you will have an option to deselect warnings about startup configuration having changed. Choose carefully here.
Computer Secret 5 - Uninstall Unused Computer Applications This will free up disk space and reduce the registry size and RAM usage.
Click START --> SETTINGS --> Control Panel - Add or Remove Applications
Choose which application you wish to uninstall and then click remove. Sometimes a reboot is required to complete the uninstall process.