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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Increasing Computer Speed and Performance


By: Alan John

(Editor's Note: This article contains information about modifying your computer's settings. Doing so may cause your system to malfunction. Do not attempt to use these tips if you are unsure of what you are doing or without taking steps to safeguard your programs and data. If you are a novice, do not attempt this alone. Get a knowledgable computer person to do it for you.)

Many computer users are worried about their computer's performance. After spending lot of bucks, they still cannot get the charm of using their PC as they had expected. I am going to explain some major tricks used by computer experts which help them to make efficient use of their CPU.

These tips could be of little importance for people who are already using processors with a speed of more than 2400 MHz (2.4 Ghz.) but people using desktops and notebooks with less speed and older mother boards and processors will enjoy these tips. They will realize significant increases in computer performance. (continued...)

OPERATING SYSTEM CHOICE
You will be amazed to know that your choice of Windows operating system could play a significant role in your CPU's performance. For example if you are given 5 bricks to carry to and then 10 bricks to do same, how would your performance be if compared with both situations. Obviously you would perform well when carrying only 5 bricks.

The same is the case with Microsoft windows. The lighter the windows you have, the higher the performance will be. Now this does not mean that you should install Windows 95. Here is the order of Windows weight: Windows XP (any edition) > Windows 2000 > Windows Me > Windows 98 (the lightest one). So if you have a Pentium 4 with good ram then I would recommend you to use Microsoft Windows XP. People using Pentium 3 computers could use windows 2000 or if they have ram more than 256 MB then they can use windows XP too. All other lower speed users should use windows ME or 98.

You have to compromise between speed and quality. Now you can decide on which operating system you should use.

PARTITIONS
Before starting this topic I would like to give you a simple example. Suppose in one case if 100 items are placed in a house having only 2 rooms and you are required to find item no. 89, from a second room. You will have to scroll through 50 items in room two to find item 89. In another case, if the same 100 items are placed in a house having 4 rooms and you are required to find item 89 from room 2, then you would have to scroll through only 25 items present in that room and you would spend less time.

It's the same case here for partitions. If you have more partitions, it would help your windows more to find the required data easily from your hard disk when you run any file or program. I would advise you to have more partitions, each having at least 5 GB memory with a maximum of 20 GB.

***WARNING***
You should be very careful while partitioning your hard drive. Believe me many people make mistakes when they partition their hard disk and lose all of their important data. Here is a free resource Windows Setup Installation Guide that can help you learn about partitioning, formatting hard disks and installing windows.

DEFRAGMENT YOUR HARD DISKS
Your partitions become more fragmented when you create or delete folders, save new files, delete or move them and they become scattered on you hard drive and as time passes, windows become slower and slower. This due to the time needed by the system to find the required file on a hard disk. You can learn more about why volumes become fragmented by using "Disk Defragmenter" Help.

My main point is that your computer becomes lazy over time. I am sure many of you have observed that after installing windows, your computer becomes slower gradually with time. So I would strongly recommend that you use Disk Defragmenter regularly. At least weekly. I know it's quite a boring process but while taking a bath or lunch, start it. Believe me you will feel the difference later.

FREQUENCY OF CHANGING WINDOWS
Compare the difference between the speed of your computer when you freshly installed windows and now. I already know your answer! Obviously you will now feel that your PC is lazier than before.

This is all due to many factors such as file fragmentation; increasing of windows registry size, increase in number of files and folders in your primary partition and possibly because of some viruses and spyware.

I would strongly suggest that you reinstall Windows after formatting your primary partition at least every 3 months. That will keep your computer efficient. Many people think that formatting a hard drive is not good. That is a wrong illusion. Formatting your partition every 3 months and installing a fresh copy of windows will considerably increase your computer's performance.

FINAL TIP
Finally do not save junk, programs, movies, games and almost anything else on your main Windows partition. This is usually C: drive and believe me, your computer will show optimal performance for a longer time and provide fewer errors.

It's better to make your "My Documents" and "Program Files" folders on a drive other than C: so install everything like Microsoft office e.t.c, there. Not on the Windows installation drive. Do it and you'll feel the difference.

Always check your programs which automatically run at startup and use significant computer resources. Try to disable them carefully and feel the change in performance. Here is a way to check which programs and processes start automatically when windows starts. Go to START->Run then type "MSCONFIG". Then you can see which programs are consuming memory. If you do not want to do anything above and want a shorter way with fewer improvements, then create a new user account and delete the previous one. You will observe a slight change and this will also remove many errors (if present) in Windows.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alan John has always tried to help Windows users in every way possible. Due to long experience, he has been able to do that. Here is one of his websites which may help many of you. Windows Setup Installation Complete Guide

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