100 Windows Speed-Up Tips (Part 3)

4/27/2012 9:21:20 AM

Halt runaway programs

If a buggy program is grabbing all your processor time, slowing everything else down, and you can’t close it, press [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [Esc] to launch Task Manager. Click ‘Processes from all users’. Click the CPU column header and find the program using the most CPU time. Right-click the program, select ‘Set Affinity’, clear all but one of your processor core boxes, and it won’t be able to use them. Your PC will speed up.

Uninstall the right software

Uninstalling unwanted programs can speed up your PC. But which ones should go? Launch the ‘Uninstall a Program’ applet in Control Panel and click the ‘Installed On’ column header to sort your programs by the date you installed them. If you don’t see Installed On, right-click a column header and check the ‘Install On’ box – if necessary, click ‘More’ to locate it. You can see which programs you installed long ago. If there are any you’ve forgotten about that are uninstall them to make room for others.

Launch internet explorer faster

If IE8 seems slow to launch, fire up the browser, click ‘Tools > Manage Add-ons’, and click ‘Toolbars & Extensions’. This displays all your add-ons, along with a Load Time figure that shows how long they took to launch. If you spot one that’s wasting time, and you don’t need it, uninstall it, or click the extension and select ‘Disable’.

High performance mode

Description: Ensure you have ‘High Performance’ selected

Ensure you have ‘High Performance’ selected

The Windows 7 Power Options can make a real difference to system speed. go to ‘Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options’, and ensure you have ‘High Performance’ selected. Alternatively, if your computer is being too demanding on your laptop’s battery, then you can go into a low power mode, but this will slow Windows down.

Set your PC to boot quicker

If you’ve installed multiple versions of Windows on your computer, you’ll get a menu asking which version you’d like to launch. By default this waits up to 30 seconds before selecting the default choice, but if that’s too long, launch ‘MSCONFIG.EXE’, click the ‘Boot’ tab and set the Timeout figure to, for example, 10 seconds instead. It’s a faster way of getting down to work when you start your PC.

Delete duplicate music in iTunes

If you’re in iOS user, then you may well have suffered iTune’s nasty tendency of duplicating music. Unfortunately, the way iTunes likes to store your files in Windows is very different and it can lead to repetition of tracks.

Luckily, iTunes included a tool that finds, identifies and removes duplicates, keeping your music collection trim and, more importantly, your computer lean.

Go to ‘File > Display Exact Duplicates’ and a list of all repeated songs will be displayed. It would be a lot easier if iTunes only showed the duplicate ones but, unfortunately, it displays both, so you’ll have to tick second version and hit delete.

Remove old pictures

When you edit a photograph in Windows Live Photo Gallery, it keeps a copy of the original forever. That’s great if you’ve actually made it look awful or want to keep the original, but otherwise it’s a waste of space. To tweak this, launch ‘Photo Gallery’, click ‘File > Options’ and set ‘Move originals to Recycle Bin after’ to one month – or longer if you prefer.

Save resources

Description: Clear the ‘Use This Program’ box, then click ‘Save’

Clear the ‘Use This Program’ box, then click ‘Save’

If you’ve installed an antivirus package, it’s a waste of resources to have Windows Defender running as well, since you would essentially have two programs doing the same tasks. To turn off Defender, click ‘Start’, type Defender and click ‘Windows Defender’ to fire up the program. Click ‘Tools > Options > Administrator’ and clear the ‘Use This Program’ box, then click ‘Save’.

Spot hidden windows

Sometimes programs display a message asking you to do something, but it’s under another window and you don’t see it. You’re waiting for the program, it’s waiting for you, so nothing happens. The window is made visible after 200 seconds, but you can shorten the delay. Launch ‘REGEDIT’, go to ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ControlPanel\Desktop’, double-click ‘ForegroundLockTimeout’ and select ‘Decimal’. Change the value to 30,000 milliseconds (30 seconds) and see how this work.

Disable aero permanently

If you’re running Windows 7 on an underpowered computer, improve performance a little by turning off the Aero interface. Right-click an empty part of the desktop, select ‘Personalize’, scroll to ‘Basic and High Contrast Themes’ and click ‘Windows 7 Basic’. If you miss the old look, return to the ‘Personalize’ dialog and choose an Aero Theme.

Disable aero temporarily

When you’re running a program that requires all your RAM, you can give it a little extra by automatically (and temporarily) turning off Aero. Browse to the executable file or its shortcut, right-click it, select ‘Properties > Compatibility’ and check ‘Disable desktop composition’. Run the program and Aero is turned off. It’s restored when the program is shut down.

Five programs for keeping your PC speedy


Description: Registry Cleaner makes your PC faster

Registry Cleaner makes your PC faster

We’ve already mentioned the awesome cleaning power of CCleaner, but it has other powers too. Try using the Registry Cleaner, which spring cleans the back end of Windows and will make your PC faster.

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