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Category Archives for Tweaks

Speed Up My PC

How can I speed up my pc?

There are many things that can be done to improve your computer’s speed and keep it running like new. All the things in this article can be done by YOU! Yes, you being the computer user. These tasks can be completed by any user from a beginner to an expert to get your computer in tip-top shape!

3 Things we highly recommend:

1.  Install Reimage and let it replace any missing Windows files.
2.  Download Ccleaner
3.  Follow the directions below

There are a lot of different things slowing down your computer. Think about it, every time you download a program, receive an e-mail or visit a website, a trace is left on your computer’s hard drive. The more the hard drive fills up, the slower it runs. This is similar to a person running, the more things you load them up with, the slower they move. Follow each of the tasks below to improve your computer now!

1.) Backup Your Computer

This step may be the most important of all. It is definitely the step you should perform FIRST. If, for any reason, your hard drive crashes, the backup will be your saving point that you can go back to. Backing up your hard drive is fairly easy. Just go to your Start Menu -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Backup. This opens the Backup Wizard from Windows. Just follow the steps of the wizard including what to back up and where to back it up to. Personally, I think backing up to a CD in one of the disk drives or to a USB is the best way to go.

2.) Clear Out the Recycle Bin

Once you’ve backed up your hard drive, one of the easiest things that you can do to make a difference in your computer’s speed is to empty your Recycle Bin. When you right-click an icon on your Desktop and select Delete, delete a photo or file it really just moves into the Recycle Bin. The Recycle Bin holds on to these things for you in case you delete something by mistake and want to retrieve it. If you want to fully delete everything in the Recycle Bin you can right-click it and select Empty Recycle Bin. If you think you may want to keep certain things in there, you can open the bin and completely delete individual items.

3.) Clear Internet Cache

The Internet Cache is where information from each website you visit it stored. This is true for IE and Firefox both. Clearing the cache improves the speed of web browsing and the loading of pages. To clear the cache, just open your web browser and select the Tools menu then click Internet Options. In the General Department click Delete under Browsing History. If you’re using Firefox select the Tools menu and then Clear Private Data -> click Cache -> Clear Private Data Now.

4.) Delete Junk E-mails

You may already know that any time you receive e-mails it creates a spot stored in your hard drive until that e-mail is deleted. The Spam, Junk or Deleted folders of your e-mail inbox are often overlooked. Because of this, there are many junk e-mails being stored and taking up unnecessary space on your hard drive. To fix this, just open your e-mail inbox, select the junk folder and delete all the e-mails. With AOL, MSN and some others, there is also a Deleted Folder. This is so you can go back through and re-open a deleted folder if you accidentally deleted it. Be sure to check through these folders as well to permanently delete any e-mails you do not wish to keep.

5.) Delete Temporary System Files

Windows created a folder in your hard drive that saves and stores any temporary system files loaded. These files may be loaded when using a Microsoft Office program that uses the AutoSave feature, when you open an attachment from an e-mail and from the history from Internet Explorer searches and websites. Storing these temporary files may come in use if you need to go back in and view something, but most often you never need these things. You can use Windows Explorer to search your computer for the Temporary Folder on your hard drive and delete the files you wish to.

6.) Use Disk Cleanup

There is a Disk Cleanup tool built-in to your computer by Microsoft that helps you manage things on the hard disk. This tool is good to use after completing the steps above to insure those things are fully removed from each area of your computer. You can access the Disk Cleanup by going to the Start Menu -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Cleanup. Follow the prompts of the wizard to complete the process.

7.) Use a Malware/Spyware Scanning Program

There are a thousand different choices for a program to get malware and spyware off your computer. Many of these scanning programs will locate and remove anything harmful to your computer’s hard drive. And nothing is slower than an infected computer. Take precaution and repair possible issues before they attack.

8.) Clean the Registry

A thorough search of your registry can be done by PC Registry Cleaner V2, one of my personal favorites. There are many different error-scanning and repairing programs but this one sticks to your registry and cleans any errors that may have entered through a temporary file or download. Removing the bugs and errors makes more room on your computer for the good stuff.

There are several top notch registry cleaners on the market but our favorite 2 are PC Registry Cleaner and Registry Mechanic.  Using either of those will help you clean out your registry safely and help you speed up your pc.

9.) Run chkdsk

Chkdsk is another great feature that Windows has built-in to help you manage your computer. It searches through and lets you know the reliability of the files stored on your computer. Any bad files or folders can go and that makes yet more space on your computer. To run this feature, go to your Start Menu -> Run -> type cmd and press Enter -> type chkdsk and press Enter.

10.) Check Drivers

Go through Windows and check your computer’s drivers. You should check for updates and new security features. You can do this online and it makes a world of difference if you get your computer up to date.

11.) Uninstall Unused Programs

As we’ve gone over again and again, anything you can get off your computer increases room and, thus, increases speed. So, it would only make sense to go through your computer and uninstall any programs that are no longer being used. This includes games you installed but no longer play, programs installed that are no longer used and probably some things that Microsoft included on your computer for you but that you don’t use.

Just go to your Start Menu -> Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs. A list of all the programs installed on your computer will appear. Do a detailed check of the list and remove anything you no longer use. Newer Windows systems will tell you how often the program is used and the last date you used it when you select a program on the list. This may help you decide what can go.

12.) Remove Programs from Startup

This step is specific to your computer’s startup speed but is just as important as the previous steps. There are many programs, whether you set them to or not, that automatically start running when your computer boots up. You can easily go through and choose which programs you would like to run upon startup. Obviously, the more you choose, the longer startup takes. You can use MSCONFIG to sort through the mess. Do NOT uncheck your anti-virus programs from the list of startup programs.

13.) Delete Old & Unused Files

Remember that report in Word you did last year? You saved it, printed it, and turned it in… and it’s still saved on your computer. Go through your old documents and delete the stuff you know you’ll never need again. Quick, easy and effective. Don’t forget to go through your Recycle Bin after wards to fully delete them. *Refer to step 2.

Doing all these steps for the first time is likely to drastically speed up your computer and make it more reliable. This isn’t something you do today and then forget about forever, you should do these steps at least once a month. I do many of these steps weekly to prevent a slowdown in my computer, you should try to do the same.

As for the error scanning steps, I suggest Maximum Software’s line of programs. I use them because they not only locate and repair the errors on your computer but their company offers technical assistance if you own a license like PC Registry Cleaner or Bug Doctor. These scans are a couple of the things I perform weekly to keep my computer going.

Download PCCleaner

I believe you will notice a difference in your computer almost immediately after performing all the steps above! The easiest way to tell? Restart your computer. You should see the difference in the boot up time and then the time it takes your computer to run the programs you open.

Optimizing Windows Vista Process and Resource Handling

 Windows Vista by default installs services and configures several applications which may not suite your needs. If you are a home user rather than in a business environment there are many things you can change to give your computer that little extra oomph for applications and process you use.

 I have put together a few items which when set correctly can help you control how resources are used on your system. Some of these items listed will simply uninstall certain features or change a program configuration. Others listed can be used to actually designate what resources are dedicate to individual programs. If used properly this can make specific programs operate faster and more efficiently.

You may or may not wish to implement some or all of these changes as it will be a matter of preference. Please remember you should document any changes made to your system. This well help you reverse any changes made if for any reason you experience adverse effects. 

Uninstalling remote differential compression

The remote differential compression feature is designed to streamline file transfers to and from remote directories by keeping track of file changes and only transferring the changed information.

To disable this feature:

Go to “start/control panel/programs/uninstall a program”.

On the sidebar select “turn windows features on and off”.

Uncheck “remote differential compression” and select “ok.”

Designating which CPU (if using multiple processors) runs a specific process

Windows Vista allows you the ability to assign an application to run only on a specific CPU. This is called processor affinity. This is a good way of balancing the load on a multi-core CPU.

Assigning processor affinity to an application:

Launch the desired application.

Press CTRL+ALT+DEL and choose the “task manager”.

In the “applications” tab locate the desired program and right click it. Choose “go to process”.

This will bring you to the “processes” tab with the process used by the application application highlighted. Right click the process and select “set affinity”.

The processor affinity window will open. Using the check box select which processor(s) you want to run that application.

Note: All settings will reset to default when a restart of the computer is performed.

Assigning priority to an application

All recent Microsoft operating systems have contained the concept of priority, meaning in this case, which process gets the most attention from the CPU. In Vista, you can customize these priority settings so that your hardware is concentrating most on what you want it to.

Vista has a range of available settings ranging from “low” to “real time”.

Note: Any full screen application automatically is assigned high priority by Windows Vista.The best way to optimize such applications is to tweak the commonly used windowed applications.

Assigning a custom priority to an application:

Launch the desired application.

Press CTRL+ALT+DEL and choose the “task manager”.

In the “applications” tab locate the desired program and right click it. Choose “go to process”.

This will open the “processes” tab with the process highlighted.

Right click the process and choose “set priority”. The priority list will openand you may designate your desired level.

Note: that choosing “realtime” is not wise as this will designate all processing being alloted to this one specific process. All settings will be reset to default when you restart the computer.

Configuring Windows Defender

Windows Defender by default runs a scan daily. Even though this scan runs in the background it can impact system performance. You may wish to disable the automatic scanning and perform only occasional manual system scans.

Disable Windows Defender automated scans:

Open the “start” menu and in the search field type “defender.”

select the “tools” icon at the top of the window and then “options”.

Uncheck “automatically scan my computer” and select “save”.

This will be the first in a line of articles dedicated to improving performance on Windows Vista. If you have a suggestion of your own that you have implemented and you feel may be beneficial to others please comment on this article. We would be happy to include any viable tips in our next article.

 

Vista SATA- Enable enhanced performance

If your computer is configured with a SATA disk drive you have the ability to tweak the performance of the hard drive.  This can easily be done by enhancing write caching. Of course for stability and to prevent the loss of critical information please note your computer should be connected to a battery backup in case you have a power loss. Of course this is ideal for a laptop configuration since your laptop battery is a form of battery backup.

This option makes Windows Vista bypass the cache which in turn changes the functionality to where the operating system reads and writes directly to your hard drive. This is a buffer to protect your hard drive from sudden losses of power that might corrupt or lose data. This is why it is best to only enable this option for systems with a battery backup.
To perform the following performance enhancement please follow the instructions below:

1. Browse to the Device Manager

2. Select and expand the “Disk Drives”

3. Right click on SATA hard drive and select Properties

4. Choose the “Policies” tab and check “Enable advanced performance”
 
5. Select OK and close Device Manager

Pc Booster Review

PC Booster is a popular computer optimization program that will help you speed up your computer to it’s fastest possible speed. Just startup PC Booster and let it go to work speeding up your computer.

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Requirements:

Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP in 32bit versions

Pros: PC Booster does these tasks very well

– Fully automatic tune up of your PC with just a few mouse clicks.

– Eliminate and Prevent most PC crashes by optimizing resource usage.

– Auto recovery of Memory that Windows steals from your computer.

– Boost and optimize your Internet speed for faster surfing.

– Clean hundreds of unwanted garbage files from your hard disk.

– Protect your privacy by deleting up ‘cookies’ which are IDs left over from your Internet surfing.

– Make your CD-ROM run at a faster speed. Enhance your enjoyment of multimedia, VCD’s, DVD’s and game play.

– Add/remove Windows Start Menu Options. Customize your default ‘My Documents’ folder, remove ‘Favorites’, ‘Windows

– Update’ options and more customizations.

– Enable Fast Shutdown and auto close of non-responding applications.

– Real time memory usage monitoring graph.

– CPU Stability Test to make sure that your system is stable.

– Fully configurable for power users.

– Extensive documentation and instant context help.

Improve the performance of the following software on your PC:

Outlook Express

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Excel

Internet Explorer

AOL Browser

Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Front Page

Windows Media Player

Cons:

No cons to list. The software can be very beneficial to the stability of your system by providing improved performance.

Guarantee: PC Booster comes with a NO RISK Love-It-or-Leave-It 60 Day Guarantee.

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PC Booster is published by Inkline Global

Back To Work

Does anyone else find it hard to pick up work after vacationing? Having completed a weeks worth of vacation I am back to the grind….well….sort of.

I am using this day to read up on new stories and technologies for new content on the site. Please bare with me while I compose myself and get my head out of the vacation cloud. Of course this is not easily done…

As you can see from the last post we are now taking posted questions to better serve our users. As well I would like to add if there is a new technology or concern you would like for me to address please post a comment to this blog. I would be happy to research and address topics for our users.

After all….It is you the end user for which we create the content.

Optimizing Page File Usage

The page file is used by the Windows operating system to store random information. This file is used by Windows when there is not enough room in RAM to store this information.

If you use more than one hard drive there is an option you can use to tweak the performance of the page file. This option does not really improve performance in a two partition scenario but must be used with a secondary drive as you can move the paging file to the secondary drive leaving you c: drive free to perform other actions.

First check to make sure you have a secondary drive. You must first log in with an administrator account.

1. Click Start, Run (just Start in Vista)

2. type diskmgmt.msc, and press <Enter> to open the Disk Management utility (click Continue in the User Account Control, if prompted).

The bottom pane shows each disk installed on your system and the corresponding drive letter. When considering which drive to use choose the fastest drive to store the page file on.

Note: Internal drives are faster than an external drive in most cases.

3. Right click “My Computer” and choose properties

4. ON the system properties page choose the “Advanced” tab

5. Under performance choose the settings option and then the advanced tab on the subsequent window

6. Under Virtual Memory click Change. In Vista, deselect Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.

7. In the drive list select a partition on a different drive where you want to add another paging file

8. Select Custom size if you would like to set the size yourself and type in the initial and maximum size (Microsoft says making them the same amount is most efficient configuration)

Note: If the partition you select contains another installation of Windows you will receive an error message warning that the file pagefile.sys already exists. If the two operating systems are not running at the same time through virtualization then it is safe to overwrite pagefile.sys.

You should receive a notification upon completion that the settings will not take effect until you perform a restart.

Tweaking Vista Performance

Now that Vista has been released many people have implemented it’s use. Many users have found out that their PC does not run as crisp with this operating system. If you have implemented Vista on your PC with only the minimum system requirements you have seen how sluggish it can be. I thought I would put together a list of perfomance enhancing tweaks for users in this particular situation.

Disable User Access Control (UAC)

This feature protects your PC from malware infection by prompting you with a manual confirmation prompt anytime a program or even you attempt to alter or use features which can alter system critical information. This feature can be very annoying.

To disable User Access Control:

-Click Start then Control Panel
-Select User Accounts
-Select Turn User Account Control on or off
-Un-check User Account Control Box
-Restart as recommended

Turn off Windows Search Indexing

Vista search indexing constantly reviews files on your PC to make their contents available for quick searching. This is a nice feature, but it can impact system performance.

To disable this constant indexing:

-Click Start then Computer
-Right Click the C: Drive
-On General Tab, Un-check Index this drive for faster searching
-On the subsequent dialog box, Select Include sub-folders and files

Turn off ScheduledDisk Defragmentation

Vista and comes configured with hard drive defragmentation automatically scheduled. You must remember to run defrag manually.

To disable scheduled defragmentation:

-Click Start then all programs
-Select accessories and then system tools
-Select defragmentation
-Uncheck “Run on a schedule”

Turn off Windows Hibernation

Windows hibernation background services use a large amount of system resources and hard drive space. This feature as well in previous versions has caused many blue screens and protection errors.

To disable Hibernation:

-Select the Control Panel then Power Options
-Click Change Plan Settings
-Click on Change Advanced Power Settings
-Expand the Sleep selection
-Expand the Hibernate After selection
-Move the selector down to zero
-Click Apply

Turn off System Restore

Disabling this service will prevent the system restore option from working. In the event of a system crash You will be unable to use system restore.

Disabling System Restore:

-Control Panel>System
-Click System Protection on the left panel
-Un-check the main system drive
-Agree to the confirmation

Turn off Remote Differential Compression

Remote Differential Compression measures the changes in files over a network to transfer them with minimal bandwidth.

To disable these services:

-Open Control Panel
-Switch to Classic View
-Select Program Features
-Choose Turn Windows features on and off
-Scroll down and un-check Remote Differential Compression

Disable Windows Services that Auto-Launch

Vista is configured with many services enabled that load at startup and may never be used.
(these can be re-started manually by reversing the process; please document any changes you make)

Disabling Services:

-Click Start then Control Panel
-Select Administrative Tools
-Choose System Configuration
-Click the Services Tab
-You can safely disable:
Offline Files (unless you’re using Offline File Sync)
Tablet PC Input Service (unless you have a tablet PC)
Terminal Services
Windows Search (If you have already disabled indexing)
Fax (unless you’re using a fax modem)

Disable Extra Windows Features

Vista ships with many other features that are listed separately from the startup services.
You can review and disable these features by following the instructions below:

-Clicking Start then Control Panel
-Select Program Features
-On the left panel, select Turn Windows Features on or off
-You can safely un-check the following:

Note: Please document any changes made in case you need to reverse the changes made.

Indexing Service
Remote Differential Compression
Tablet PC Optional Components
Windows DFS Replication Service
Windows Fax & Scan (Do not disable if you use a modem for faxing)
Windows Meeting Space (Do not disable if you use the Live Meeting Service)

Implementing Ready Boost

Add a 2GB or higher USB Flash drive to implement Windows Ready Boost (Additional Memory Cache). There are many requirements for the devices which want to use this feature. Microsoft is working with manufacturers to label devices which are compatible with this feature. When purchasing such devices you will need to look for the Windows Ready Boost label.

To configure a USB device:

-Insert a USB Flash Drive (preferably 2GB or more)
-Click Start then Computer
-Right Click the USB Drive in My Computer
-Select the Ready Boost Tab
-Choose Use this device

More information on speeding up your computer