Arrghhh, my computer is so slow!

TurtlesDo you feel like a turtle moving at a leisurely pace uphill can outrun your Windows® machine? Do you turn it on and wait an eternity for it to start up? Give your computer a virtual kick by taking these steps:

1. Always backup your data before making changes to your computer. If something goes wrong, you won’t loose your important information.

2. Make sure your Internet security protection software is updated, then scan your entire computer for viruses and spyware. If you don’t have anti-virus and spyware protection on your computer, read “Choosing an Internet Security Suite” and then get one.

3. If your hard drive is more than 80% full, you need to do some house cleaning. Your computer needs empty hard drive space to move files around and perform other functions. The free WinDirStat gives you a visual map (treemap) of what’s on your hard drive, making it easier to clean it up.

4. If you have a program like Norton System Works™ or Iolo® System Mechanic run the optimization and repair tune-up. It will perform several task so it will takes some time. If you don’t have one of these programs then try the free CCleaner to optimize the computers registry files and the open source JkDefrag or Diskkeeper® to optimize your computer’s hard drive.

5. Many programs start automatically when you turn on your computer. They’re in the background sucking up computer resources while waiting for you to use them. Turn off the automatic startup for as many programs as you can in their option or preferences window. You can use What’s Running to find out what programs are running in the background.

6. Check your computer memory. Is it all working? Select the “My Computer” icon on your desktop and right click. Select “Properties” at the bottom of the list that opens up. At the bottom of the window is how much memory (RAM) you have. Is it the same as what you started with–did you have 1GB of memory and now you only have 500MB? If it’s less than what you started with, some went bad and you need to replace it.

After trying the above steps that you’re comfortable doing and your computer is still slow then you may need to call in a pro. If your computer is older it just maybe at the end of its usefulness and new computer might be in order.