1. Restart the computer.
|How to actually restart the computer. |
Hibernate and sleep don't have the same effect.
2. Decrease windows starting overhead
|The msconfig dialog. It's ugly but you'll|
learn to love it.
Notice how much faster it boots this time.
3. Uninstall unneeded programs
|The uninstall programs dialog box.|
The list is overwhelming, but stay strong.
- It's a program you recognize and know that you need
- It looks like it's important for the functionality of the computer
The programs in category one are easy to find because you recognize them. They'll either be programs that you use frequently (Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer, antivirus software, etc.) or they're programs that you know you need even though you might not use them directly (HP printer software, Adobe Flash Player, Java, etc.). The programs in category two are a bit harder to determine, but generally they're programs with the publisher listed as "Microsoft Corporation." Things in this category include Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable, MSXML SP2, etc. Other things in this category can include software which is needed for certain hardware, like Nvidia or ATI video software, or Creative audio software. Everything else can, and should, go.
4. Replace Internet Explorer
|I'm not sure who thought toolbars would be useful, |
but they were wrong.
Remember how I said memory gets fragmented as the computer is used? Well the same thing is happening to the disk over the life of the computer, except that the disk is permanent. That means it isn't fixed by a simple restart. Making matters worse is that the disk is already slow; even at it's optimal level of performance, it is by far the slowest critical component of the modern computer. The way disks work make fragmentation very bad, a badly fragmented disk could easily be 20 or 30 times slower than if the data were optimally arranged. The solution is actually pretty simple, it just takes a while to run. Go to the start menu and in the search box type "defrag." A couple of things will probably come up, but click the one called "Disk Defragmenter." To run it now, just select the drive you want to defragment (probably C:), and click "Defragment Disk." That's a good start, but the key is to defragment the disk on a regular basis. To do this, just click the "Configure Schedule" button and change the settings to have the disk be defragmented automatically either once a week or once a month. You'll probably want to have it do it at a time that you won't be using the computer, since the computer will slow down dramatically while the defragmenter is running. I have mine run every Wednesday at 1am but that's a bit aggressive, once a month should be plenty.
And that's pretty much it. Follow these steps every couple of months and you'll be guaranteed to lower my phone bill.
Also it should be noted that these instructions are for a Windows 7 machine, but Windows Vista and XP are very similar. If you're having trouble figuring out how to do something on another version of windows, just google something like "Windows Vista uninstall programs" (or whichever windows version you have and whatever it is you're trying to do that I didn't explain well enough), and you should find detailed instructions.