Grandma was slow, but…You remember the saying. But why is your computer so slow? This remains one of my top 5 questions from clients and readers of this column. Let’s break this question down to three parts: the computer itself can be slow, due to hardware or software issues; your network can be slow or maybe your browser is slow.
Starting with your PC, not enough memory can be a hindrance to speed, both booting up and while running. Win XP runs better with 1 Gig or more of memory than it does with the minimum required 512 MGB. Win Seven runs better with 4 to 6 Gigs than it does with the 2 Gig minimum. If you have Win Vista, go ahead and bite the bullet for a Win 7 upgrade. More likely the PC itself is slow because of bloated programs, too many of which are in the Startup Folder, excess junk temporarily downloaded while surfing and fragmented files. Run CCleaner (a free download from FileHippo); unload the Startup Folder and defrag your hard drive. You can use the free defragger from Auslogics by downloading from FileHippo also.
Next look at your network, both the provider and your equipment. If your networking hardware is 5 years old; start over. Talk to your provider and complain that you do not feel you are getting the high speed Internet service that you are paying for. Tell them what you have and challenge them to test the speed of your connection. Sometimes a change of modem and or router will be called for and this is not a bad thing. A small investment here can pay off in increased speed. Once you determine that the hardware is OK, ask your ISP to adjust your settings to boost your overall speed and especially your wireless speed. Tweaks in power settings and broadcast channels can really pay off in WiFi speeds. When you connect to your WiFi network, notice how many other networks you can see from your house. If you see half a dozen, be sure and tell that to your ISP tech guy. There may be interference if you’re all using the same channel.
Lastly, look at your browser. Start by trying Firefox and Chrome if you are just using Internet Explorer. By the way, if you do use IE, make sure you are using version 9 for Vista and Win 7 and version 8 for Win XP. Now look at your browsers and see how many add-ons and toolbars you are running. Do you really need 5 toolbars in your IE? Right click on a blank spot on your browser main toolbar and see how many toolbars are running. Cut them all off and see how much speed you get back. If you see good improvement, go to CCleaner and uninstall all the toolbars you don’t really need. Remember this too; just install the browsers that you use. Chances are if you have five browsers and only use two; you are neglecting to keep those other two updated as you should.
Systematically look at all the components of your computing network and you’ll be able to speed up your own system noticeably.
Till next week, send your questions to:
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