10 Tips to Speed Up Your Computer

  • Speed Up Your Computer

    It can be painful waiting for a song to download or a web page to load. We're accustomed to high speed electronics, so when a computer looses its speed, it can be a very frustrating time. How can you ensure that your computer stays as fast as it was when you first purchased it? What are some of the free or inexpensive software programs to help you maintain the speed and life of the computer? MainStreet asked the experts to answer these questions and share their top tips for boosting your computer's productivity. Here's what they had to say. Photo Credit: Mr. JuJu Bean
    Free Security Software
  • Free Security Software

    Free is good, and according to Steven L. Snipes, a professional computer repair technician and software educator, with AVG Home Free Edition, "you can protect your PC with one of the highest-rated security programs commercially available. It has several cool features like auto updating, social network monitoring and link advisor that make surfing the Web much safer for your system." Also consider the free software avast! to help protect your computer from viruses. Photo Credit: vivaiquique
    Emails
  • Emails

    It can be stressful when you have emails coming in every minute or so, but too many emails can stress out your PC too. Susan Risdal, director of administrations at Enterprise Technology Services, LLC, offers this tip: "If you are using Outlook, make sure auto-archive is set up. Outlook slows when there are too many emails in the Inbox. You can set up your archive folders to show on the panel on the left side of your screen, and set up rules to automatically move emails to the correct archive folder." And don't be afraid to delete old emails, as that can slow down your email program or internet if you're using a web-based email system. Photo Credit: dannysullivan
    Don’t Need It? Delete It!
  • Don’t Need It? Delete It!

    If you have old computer programs from years ago that are still installed on your computer, delete them! Clean out all the old programs that you no longer use. Steve Suesens, category manager at Staples Technology Solutions, said, “Removing unused programs will rid the computer of drivers and links that are no longer needed, resulting in faster processing and start-up time." Also consider removing old photos and documents saved on the computer (including all those old essays from college you probably don't need anymore). Photo Credit: DeclanTM
    Restart!
  • Restart!

    Restarting your computer can solve some technical glitches, so plan to do it every few days. Also consider restarting after installing a new program, downloading a program or if the computer freezes. It takes a few seconds and can make a huge difference when it comes to the speed and performance of the computer. Photo Credit: Arenamontanus
    Operating System
  • Operating System

    Ever have a message pop up on the computer informing you that there are updates for your computer (legitimate pop ups, not ads) and you ignore it? Those updates are important and can affect everything from computer speed to battery life, if you have a laptop. Lori Fraijo Raygoza of Chicalogic.com suggests updating your operating system. “Microsoft regularly releases incremental software updates for security, fixes and feature enhancements and Service Packs, a single installable collection of the incremental updates," she says. "By keeping 'Automatic Updates' enabled, you'll be ensuring that these are automatically downloaded and applied." Photo Credit: Wonderlane
    Cached Data
  • Cached Data

    It’s important to delete cached data once your internet browser is no longer in use. But wait--what exactly is cached data? Steven L. Snipes explains. “Cached data is temporary data and/or files stored on your computer by your internet browser that make websites you have visited appear sooner on your PC. Since these files automatically update every time you visit the site, they overwrite themselves and take up space on the hard drive, thus slowing down your system," he says. "You can manually set your preferences to delete the cached data when you close your browser.” Photo Credit: Masaru Kamikura
    Too Many Bells and Whistles
  • Too Many Bells and Whistles

    Do you have a complex background image on your desktop or fancy screen saver? These extras can wreak havoc on the speed of your computer, says Geek Squad agent Matt Dworkin. “An animated pointer and hi-resolution image of your favorite supercar looks nice, but unfortunately these can also slow your computer down," he says. "These animations and images must be loaded into memory every time you start your PC, which leaves less memory for more important tasks.” Photo Credit: nickton
    Internet Browsers
  • Internet Browsers

    The majority of your computer use is most likely Internet based. It’s important to have an Internet browser that is fast and reliable. If you have Internet Explorer, consider trying Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari. See if you notice any speed differences between the browsers; the format and functionality is important too. Regardless of which browser you have, be sure to constantly check for updates and never ignore the alerts prompting you to update the browser. Photo Credit: Yaniv Golan
    Beta Programs
  • Beta Programs

    It can take years for new and upcoming programs to free themselves of glitches. That’s why running Beta releases can pose potential problems to the computer. “Beta release software by definition is software that is being tested by the user community. Many beta releases have buggy or poorly written code that will slow your system. Any software that is named as a version less than one (ver 0.9) is a Beta test release,” said Bob Williams, chief technician and owner of The Binary Guys. Photo Credit: okubax
    Spyware and Adware
  • Spyware and Adware

    Spyware, adware and malware can load into your computer without your knowledge and gain information. According to Williams, “These programs are not easily flushed from memory by the system when memory space is needed for other services like loading a webpage ... Use a Malware Scanner like Malwarebytes or SuperAntiSpyware every few weeks to check for malware." Scott Gamm is the founder of the personal finance website HelpSaveMyDollars.com. He has appeared on NBC’s TODAY, MSNBC, Fox Business Network, Fox News, ABC News and CBS. Follow Scott on Facebook and Twitter. Photo Credit: viZZZual.com
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