What to Do If Your Computer is a Slow Poke

Do you often have a few programs running at once when you're working on your computer? If so, when you need to Google a topic in yet another window, does your computer seem sluggish? Or perhaps programs are just taking forever to load and you have trouble opening and closing windows.

Don't worry! In each of these situations–and in similar scenarios where your PC or Mac just isn't performing up-to-par–chances are that it can be remedied with a little maintenance work.

What to do?

If you've already cleared your cache and run your spy ware detector (I like Ad-Aware and SpyBot: I run them both at once!), and your computer is still dragging, there are a few additional steps you can take.

Check Your Computer's RAM

One reason for slow performance is that your virtual memory is running low. You should find out how much RAM (Random Access Memory) your computer is using, and try increasing that amount.

Here's what you need to do:

On the Start menu, click My Computer. Click View system information, then System Properties.

Click the Advanced tab. Under Performance, click Settings and Performance Options.

Click Advanced. Find Virtual Memory. Click Change. You'll see Virtual Memory. In the Virtual Memory box, change the Initial size (MB) and Maximum size (MB) text boxes to 1.5 times the RAM you currently have (in MB's).

Check Recently Installed Programs

If you have recently installed programs, double-check that your system is not considerably older than those programs.

You may need to remove the newer program and reinstall a simplified or older version of the same program. You may also want to wait until your system is more optimized before installing certain newer programs.

Uninstall Unneeded Programs

With usage, your computer automatically scoops up programs which it then allows to start every time you turn on your computer.

When you boot up your system, have you noticed how many systems load? What's on your desktop? A clue to this is the icons that are visible on the lower right hand side of your screen. These programs are running transparently or invisibly.

Do you want each one to load each time? If not, you can restrict access or uninstall all of them.

To disable some, or all, go to Start Up, Run, and type: msconfig. Go to Start Up. You'll recognize most of the programs that load up every time you reboot. Note: If you're not sure of what a program is, don't disable it!

Miscellaneous Tips

If you're running Java, open it, and delete all files once in a while.

To clear your cache of temporary folders, open up a web page. Go to Tools, Internet Options, and Delete Files, and put a check in Delete All Offline Content. If you want to see all the files you're deleting, go to Tools, Internet Options, Settings, and View Files.

Hit Select All, and hit Delete. You'll get the prompt: "Are you sure you want to delete these cookies?" Hit yes.

Finally, to maximize your computer's performance, daily run Ad-Aware or some other program that checks for malware, spy ware, or stealth programs.

If you follow these procedures, you should notice an improvement in your computer's performance with every click of your mouse!

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