Title: Speeding up your PC for free

Word Count:

This piece discusses the basic system utilities that come with the Windows operating System used for optomizing your PC’s performance. Demonstrated how to use them as well.

PC, support, computers, optomization, speed, faster

Article Body:
My mother-in-law is not very good with technology. She understands that computers run the government and that the Internet is great for purchasing figurines on eBay, but that’s about it. Like all tech-proficient son-in-laws before me, I am often my in-law?s foil for computer questions and repair. So, when she came to me demanding that I make her 1996 PC run faster, I knew she wanted me to use all my skills and computer super-powers to forcefully evolve her computer into the new millennium. By taking some very simple, and no-so-well-known cleanup steps both my mother-in-law and I were pleasantly surprised to see the notable improvement in performance. Looking to do the same with your PC? Of course you are!

The first Three steps taken were simple:

1. Run the Disk Cleanup Utility (Start–>Programs–>Accessories–>SystemTools)

2. Run the Defragmenter Tool (Start–>Programs–>Accessories–>SystemTools)

3. Scan the main disks for errors (My ComputerRight-click on C drive–>Properties–>Tools Tab–>?Check Now? button under Error Checking)

The Disk Cleanup Utility should be obvious in nature. Use it to remove pesky files that live in your seldom-to-never accessed portions of your hard drive. These files cause system overhead when performing searches or loading program data. The Defragmenter tool is actually quite old, dating back to the days of DOS when most of the ?geeky? stuff was done using that unforgiving command line most home users have come to dread. Defragmenter sort of rearranges the files on your drive to remove gaps that occur naturally over time. Applications may seem to live in one spot conceptually. However the reality of it is that the OS takes portions of unused disk space that actually break up the continuity of the program. Even thought the OS knows where to find both parts of the program?s code to make run without errors, it takes more time to read the instructions from all of the different regions. Finally, use the Disc Scanner/Error checker to find possible flaws in the hard drive that slow down the physical movement.

The next step required software to detect for spyware. After a long, hard search I came to find that three anti-spyware programs seemed to work above all. The first is a program known as Spyware Killer, or by its retail product name, Stopzilla. The programs costs about $20 (with rebate) and was the most comprehensive of all programs I used. Stopzilla found programs running in the background that I would have never spotted myself. The second program is called Spy Doctor. The initial scans are free, however I found that I had to purchase the whole program to make it as effective as Stopzilla, and the price was about $30 instead of $20. The final program I used was the Windows Anti-spyware suite (beta edition). The Windows program ran well, but the beta edition expires and there is no immediate renewal in sight.

The last step I needed to take was to run a Registry Cleaner utility. The registry is a large database used by the Windows operating system to hold information about how your machine should look, behave, and operate. Since my mother-in-law?s computer was almost 10 years old, countless program installations left the registry bloated, and resource-consuming. We found that ?Registry Mechanic?, made by the same people who created the Spy Doctor program mentioned above, was the most popular application for the job. The program was simple to follow and the free trial edition was more than enough to smooth out the registry wrinkles. In the end, we were able to almost triple the performance of her PC for little more than $20.

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