A lot of people I know get frustrated with their computers complaining they are slow, and it’s cumbersome to use the internet, multitask, and do “simple things”. A little PC-tuning can go a long way to correcting this situation and save you big bucks if you think the best solution is a new machine. (On top of that, if you don’t learn how to solve the problems… your new machine will shortly become in the same state as your older one).

Here are some tips to keeping your (Windows-based) computer humming:

  • Defragment your hard drive. This will improve performance significantly. Go to Start -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Defrag (or on Vista, just search for “defrag”). This can take up to an hour or more to complete, so do this as you are going to bed and leave your computer on overnight.
  • If you are using a laptop/notebook computer, and you experience the problem when you are not plugged in, your battery saver software may be throttling your CPU to conserve battery. You can adjust this by double-clicking on your battery icon and look around for the controls. Make sure to select “High Performance”, but be warned, your battery will not last as long.. you need to strike a balance.
  • Visit http://pcpitstop.com/ and select the “Full test (Free)” link near the top left. This will take you through a few screens to run a scan on your computer and suggest some ways to tune it up. If you want to shell out a few bucks, their software will even make the changes for you.
  • Slow internet on your notebook? Try plugging into an ethernet cable and see if its better. If so, you may just need to adjust your wireless settings. Make sure you have a fast router (Wireless G and preferably N if your wireless adapter supports it). Use WPA-2 (AES) for wireless encryption, which is much faster than other kinds. Also… try changing the channel your wireless router works on and physically separate it from your cordless telephone base. The router and the cordless telephone may be conflicting with each other.
  • Buy more RAM memory for your computer. Often this alone will solve your woes. You may need some assistance with this. Bring your whole main computer box into the computer store with you – they’ll make sure you get the right kind and will even install it for you.

If these do not resolve your problem enough to spare you buying a new computer, ask you computer guru friend (I think we all have one) for some help. They will be able to recommend either some further adjustments or suggest a new computer is in order.