Streamline your PC
PCs take a lot of abuse,
and those who like to try new software will often leave lots of unwanted
applications on their PCs. Removing these will speed up your PC and is a quick,
To begin, click ‘Start
> Control Panel’, then select ‘Uninstall a program’. If you have Windows
Vista or Windows 7, then right-click the ‘Name” column header, click ‘More’ and
choose the details you’d like to see about each program. We’d recommend
checking the Name, Size, Installed On and Last Used On boxes.
Now choose to sort by
‘Date Last Used in Windows XP’, or click the ‘Last Used On’ column header in
Windows Vista or Windows 7, and you’ll see your applications sorted by when
they were last run.
Click ‘Start > Control Panel’, then select ‘Uninstall a
If you have programs that
haven’t been used in months, then try getting rid of them, or switching to a
free download that can be installed when and where you need it. Many programs
are now available in the cloud. This means that there’s next to no footprint on
your PC and the bulk of storage is contained online. There’s a cloud version of
Photoshop, Office Word, Excel and OneNote, which offer stripped back
You can also click ‘Turn
Windows features on or off’ or ‘Add/Remove Windows Computers’ to remove Windows
applets you’re not using, but this generally has less effect. If you never run
an applet then it won’t slow you down and turning a feature off won’t free up
much, if any, disk space either.
programs you no longer use.
Manage your services
Services are programs
designed to work silently in the background on behalf of both Windows and some
third-party applications. They’re loaded before the Welcome screen appear, so
run regardless of which user is logged on.
Services cover a wide
range of uses and, depending on your computer, not all will be needed. For
example, the Windows Update service is essential because it monitors and
downloads updates for Windows, but the Bluetooth Support service is only relevant
if you have a Bluetooth adaptor installed in your PC.
Services: There are a real drain, so manage them.
Having these services
running can be a real drain on your PC’s performance, but with them under
control. We’re used SMART, which is founded on this month’s cover disc, and
takes a lot of the risk out of cancelling services by telling you which ones
are safe to stop. Follow our three-step guide to using SMART and you could
quickly make a real difference to your PC.
Set up SMART
Install SMART from the cover disc
Install SMART from the
cover disc. Click ‘Start > Computer’ and browse to the folder you saved the
program to. Open the folder you saved the program to. Open the SMART directory.
A list of Services appears. The Startup Type column reveals if each is set
start with Windows or not.
Apply automatic settings
There are three
recommendations for each Service. Safe is the most conservative, but can still
improve performance. Click the ‘Safe Settings’ button to apply the recommended
Safe setting to each Service.
Apply automatic settings
Review and update
Click the Default Settings button to restore the original settings
Once complete, restart
your PC and see whether your PC performs better than it did before. If you
experience strange side-effects, open SMART and click the Default Settings
button, which restores the original settings for each Service.
Taskbar speed-up tips
When it comes to saving
time, the taskbar is a very powerful tool.
Launch apps fast
To select a taskbar app
from the keyboard, hold the Windows key and press one of the numbers across the
top of your keyboard. Press  to launch the first icon,  the second, 
the third, carrying on up to 0 (that represents 10), so you can have items open
To switch between windows
of the same application quickly, hold down [Ctrl] as you click the app’s
taskbar icon. This great for when you have multiple instances of Internet
Explorer with different websites, or when you’re working with photos and
Keyboard speedup # 2
To switch to a taskbar
application from the keyboard, hold down the Windows key and press [T] to
select the taskbar, then use the left and right arrows to select an application
and [Return] to launch it. this can be easier than remembering numbers.
Relaunch with a click
If you’ve launched an
application and then want to run another copy, don’t go back to the Start menu
– just hold down [Shift], click the app’s taskbar icon and Windows fires up
another instance of the program. Again, this works especially well for
Get a preview
If you work with multiple
windows, such as several tabs in IE, finding them can be a drag. In Windows 7
just click the program icon on the taskbar to get live preview windows of every
tab or window. This makes it easy to go straight to where you need to be.