Why your Computer is Slow

You have noticed that your computer’s performance is slower than it used to be. With time and use, computers tend to accumulate junk and unnecessary programs. These occupy space on your Hard Disk Drive, steal processing power and slow down your computer. To speed up your computer and restore its original performance, this junk needs to be removed. If you think that you are not affected because you have just purchased your computer, think again! All major computer manufacturers have been known to purposely include junk software with their machines, also known as Crapware. Whether your computer is brand new or older, we recommend that all users follow these tips, to make sure that they keep their computers in top shape, at its best performance and junk free.

How to Speed Up your Computer

Step 1: Before you Begin

With the few simple steps described here, you can get your computer to perform fast again. Before continuing further though, make sure you have a recent Backup of your most important data (Backup Instructions). Next, ensure that the main reason why your computer is slow, is not because you are infected with a Virus or Malware(Cleanup Instructions).

Don’t skip the steps above! Backing up your computer will ensure that, should something go wrong, your data is safe. And cleaning up your computer from a Virus or Malware, will ensure that you don’t waste time applying the next steps, only to realize that a Virus or Malware was the culprit. When you are done, return here to continue with the tune up process.

Step 2: Remove Unnecessary Software

If you are the owner of a new computer, it is very likely that the manufacturer from which you bought it, filled it with unnecessary software, also known as Crapware. If you have been using your computer for a while instead, you probably installed software that you forgot to remove. Overtime this software keeps accumulating and taking space on your Hard Disk Drive. Let’s begin the tune up process by removing any software that you don’t need:

  1. If you use Windows 7, click the Start Orb at the bottom left corner of your monitor. If you are on Windows 8, use Search. Enter Control Panel in the Search Box, then click Control Panel.
  2. Once in Control Panel, if you are in Category View, click Uninstall a Program. If you are in Icons View, click Program and Features. If you are wondering, these actions take you both to the same place: a list of programs on your computer.
  3. Go through the list, item by item, and note down the programs that you do not think you need.
  4. Type the name of each software you noted down into Google to get some details on what they are for. This will help you figuring out which programs are not needed.
  5. Back in Programs and Features, select each program you want to remove and click the Uninstall button.
  6. Once you are done removing all unnecessary software, reboot your computer and proceed to the next section.

Generally speaking, we try and avoid removing programs that have well-known names in it, like Microsoft, Adobe or Intel. If you see software named under your computer manufacturer, it’s generally a good idea to leave that alone too, unless you know what you are doing and are absolutely sure that it’s something that you don’t need.

Add and Remove Programs can be used to uninstall unwanted software
Program and Features

Step 3: Scan for and remove Temporary Files

After removing software you no longer need, you should already start noticing your computer speed up. This next step will take care of removing any files left behind by that software, as well as files that have been accumulating over time. For this step we will need some help from a free software named CCleaner, a free program that scans and removes unwanted files (including temporary internet files, where malicious programs and code tend to reside).

  1. Download CCleaner from the official website (click its name in bold).
  2. Run the file you have just downloaded. During the installation process, make sure that you uncheck any additional software that CCleaner prompts you to install, such as the Free Google Toolbar shown in the screenshot to the right. This is not needed and it will just add to the junk you are trying to remove.
  3. Once the installation is done, close all browser windows you may have open and start CCleaner. This is important because CCleaner will not be able to remove some of the files it finds if your browsers are still running. Don’t worry if you forget to do this. CCleaner will remind you later anyway.
  4. When CCleaner main window opens, make sure that the tab named Cleaner is selected, then click the Analyze button. CCleaner will start scanning your Hard Disk Drive for any orphan files left over by software you have already uninstalled, plus any junk you may have accumulated over time. Wait until the scan is over.
  5. When the scan is complete, click the Run Cleaner button, and confirm that you want to remove the files CCleaner automatically selected for you. This is the actual cleaning process when the junk files are removed from your computer.
  6. When the cleanup process is complete, close CCleaner and reboot your computer.

After your computer is restarted, you should notice that everything works much faster. Browser windows should open quicker, programs should respond faster and the computer experience should generally feel more responsive. Hang on tight, we are almost done. With the next and final step we make sure that you are not running any outdated software.

How CCleaner tricks users into installing additional software

Step 4: Update Outdated Software

This is a good time to check that your Windows is up to date. Go back to the Programs and Features in Control Panel and click the Windows Update button. Allow the system to download and install all updates it finds. You might need to reboot the computer multiple times during this process.

When you are done with Windows Update, don’t forget to update your Adobe Flash Player. This is the software that allows you to play videos when you visit YouTube, for example. It’s important to keep it up to date to avoid being infected by drive-by-download attacks and other malware.

The same goes for Java. Windows users can check whether this program is installed in their system by clicking Programs and Features under Control Panel. If you really need and use Java for specific Web sites or applications, take a few minutes to update this software. Otherwise, seriously consider removing Java altogether.