There are a few easy tasks that you can do to improve the performance of your computer. Follow the below procedures and do them once a week or so to keep your computer running smooth and fast.
Get rid of unwanted programs.
Go to the Windows control panel and open it. Click on add/remove programs. Under Windows 7 it is called "Programs" Uninstall a program. Look for any programs you no longer use and click on that program to uninstall/remove it. Repeat this for any programs you no longer want on your computer.
Now scroll through this list and look for stuff you really don't need. "MySearch bar", "Google desktop" Toolbars, Google, Yahoo, ask ,etc,. All the programs load up at startup and use memory. I don't know many people that have ever really used them. It is way for them disguise something they tell you that you need to make browsing easier , but is really used to monitor your surfing habits and direct advertising at you. If you don't use them uninstall them and check for them frequently. They always find a way back on your system through other programs.
Don't uninstall Microsoft items. These are normal updates to your system. If you do not know about a program look it up online to see if it is something you need or use.
Go to "Programs" and then "Startup". What is in there? Do you need these programs to start automatically? If not right click on the icon and delete it. This removes the program from startup. FYI. Don't delete the startup folder.
Disk Cleanup and Recycle Bin
Under "Programs" and "Accessories" there should be a "disk cleanup icon. You can run this to remove temp files that you no longer need. On a later post I will show you how to do this more in depth to remove even more temp files and no longer needed files.
Normally, when Windows is installed the default setting is set to 10% or your hard drive space. With hard drives getting tremendous in size you really don't need that much space reserved for the recycle bin. For a 250gb drive this a whopping 25gb worth of space reserved just for deleted items. Right click on the Recycle Bin icon, click on properties and change the size to 3 % or you can customize your size to 3000 which is 3gb which should be more than enough and you will regain 7% of your drive space back to storage you can use. You can also choose to not save anything to the recycle bin and regain all the space back to storage.
When done right click and empty recycle bin.
Internet Explorer also reserves more space that it needs to for temporary files. Open up Internet Explorer (Version 8, most other versions similar), click on "Tools, "Internet Options". Under "Browsing history" click on settings. You will see "disk space to use" This could be set to over a 1000. Set it back to 50 which is 50 mb of temp files which is all you need and click"OK". Click on the "Security" tab and click on "reset all zones to default level and click apply. You could have installed a program that could have modified this from it's original settings. You can also click on the "Advanced" tab and chose to reset all settings back to default which is recommended.
Make sure your computer is set to automatically download updates. This feature will automatically install crucial updates and download others that need to be manually installed. The manual updates will show up in the lower right taskbar as an upright gold shield. Click on the shield to bring up the menu for you to click on the programs to start the install. Note - Symantec Anti-virus software also shows up as a gold shield on the taskbar, but will the shield will be slanted to the right as not to be confused with the Windows update shield.
To Automate Updates in Windows XP
Start > Control Panel > Windows Security Center > Automatic Updates
To Automate Updates in Windows Vista
Start > Control Panel > Security > Windows Update
Go to control panel then security. Make sure firewall setting is "on"
Check the hard drive out and squeeze it tight.
Right above the start button there is a run box. In the run box type cmd and hit enter. This will pop up a black window. In that window type chkdsk /f and hit enter. It will tell you that the disk in in use and would you like to run this on restart. Type in Y for yes. When you reboot the computer it will run 5 stages of checking the hard drive for errors and will move any data on bad areas of the drive and mark those areas as not to be used again.
Go back to "Programs" then "Accessories" and click on "Disk Defragmenter" When the defragment box opens click on "Defragment" and start the defrag. There is no need to run the "Analyze" button. Defrag will analyze the disk first and if it doesn't need defragging it will tell you. Depending on how bad your disk is scattered this could take up to 10 minutes. When it gets done run it again. Defrag takes all the data it can on your disk and squeezes it together so it can be accessed faster.
When done reboot the computer and when it comes back up after running the chkdsk program you will be ready to go. I would suggest running defrag one more time after the chkdsk program has ran.
Well that's it for now, just remember to perform the above every week or so.