100 Windows Speed-Up Tips (Part 6)

4/27/2012 9:28:16 AM

Speed up start menu searches

Right-click the ‘Start’ button and select ‘Properties’. Click ‘Customize’, scroll down the list of available options and select ‘Search without public folders’ under ‘Search other files and libraries’. Click ‘OK’ and results should appear much quicker than before, as there are far less places to search. Public folders are rarely used by most people, so axing them in search is a cost-free speed up trick.

Load the websites more quickly

By changing your DNS servers to OpenDNS, you’re able to browse the internet more quickly and safely. Visit http://www.opendns.cpm/start to sign up for a free basic plan.

Scale back visual effects

If you don’t have a lot of memory installed (1GB in Windows 7 or Windows Vista, or 256MB in Windows XP), click ‘Start’, right-click ‘Computer’ or ‘My Computer’ and select ‘Properties’. Select ‘Advanced system settings’ (Advanced tab in Windows XP) and click ‘Settings’ under Performance. Select ‘Adjust for best performance’ and click ‘OK’ to give yourself a speed boost.

Speed up your drives

If you’re not afraid of data loss, press [Windows] and [R], type devmgmt.msc in the box that appears and press [Return] to open Device Manager, Expand Disk Drives, double-click each hard drive or USB drive in turn and switch to the ‘Policies’ tab/ select the option for best performance, but make a note of the warnings before clicking ‘OK’. If you’re not backing up your system, then avoid this tip, as it dramatically increases the likelihood of a disc failure, which can be catastrophic.

Give your PC a helping hand

If you have spare USB flash drive, you may be able to use it to give your PC a small boost. Plug the drive in and – if prompted – choose ‘Speed up my system’. Otherwise, click ‘Start > Computer’, right-click your flash drive and choose ‘Properties’, then choose ‘Use this device to enable ReadyBoost’.

Make your PC as good as new

Get that shop-fresh feeling back by reinstalling Windows, using the disc that came with your PC. When you’re done, go to Start > Search, type Back up and Restore and set a restore point, so you can roll back to this clean setup in the future, bypassing the installation process.

Manage your fonts

Over time, the number of fonts installed on your PC swells and each one uses up precious system resources. Use a program such as AMP Font Viewer (on the cover disc) to remove those fonts you never use. Windows Vista and Windows 7 users should right-click the program shortcut, choose ‘Properties > Compatibility tab’ and tick ‘Run this program as an administrator’ for it to run properly.

Defrag on a schedule

Choose ‘Settings > Program Settings > Schedule’ to have your drive defragged regularly without having to remember it each time. We suggest no more than weekly.

Defrag in the background

Alternatively, choose ‘View > Auto Defragmentation’ to have Disk Defrag defragment your drive in the background when necessary, preventing fragmentation building up in the first place.

Minimise disruption

If you find that the defragging process is interfering with your other work and slowing down your PC when you’re trying to get things done, choose ‘Settings > Defrag Priority > Low Priority’. Your drives take longer to defrag, but you should find your other programs perform better in the meantime.

Tweak library settings

Edit an existing Library or create a new one by clicking ‘Start > Computer’ followed by ‘Libraries’ in the Navigation pane. Click ‘New Library’ or right-click an existing Library and choose ‘properties’ to include new folders in the library or reo=move existing ones.

Set up your favourite folders

If you want even quicker access to specific folders – again from any folder window or when choosing Open or Save in a program – just browse to the drive or directory containing your target folder, then click and drag it into place on the Navigation pane under Favorites.

Use the ‘send to’ folder

The Send To Folder contains a number of useful shortcuts available to any file or folder, simply by right-clicking them and choosing ‘Send To’. You can open a file in a specific program, compress it into a zipped folder in order to save space and create desktop shortcuts. And that’s just for starters.

Invert selection

If you need to select a large group of non-consecutive files within a folder, it’s quicker to select the files you don’t need before choosing ‘Edit > Invert Selection’. If you can’t find this at first, don’t worry – the Edit menu is hidden by default in Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Choose ‘Organize > Folder and Search Options > View tab’, then tick ‘Always show menus’ and click ‘OK’ to show it.

Speed up internet explorer

If Internet Explorer takes an age to open, select ‘Tools > Internet Options > Programs tab’. Click on ‘Manage add-ons’ and view the Load Times for each add-on (you may need to scroll to the right to view this). Add-ons cause Internet Explorer to run more slowly, so have a go at disabling sluggish add-ons unless they’re important, such as those linked to your security program.

Description: Add-ons cause IE to run slower, so disable them.

Add-ons cause IE to run slower, so disable them.

This isn’t a problem that’s confined to Internet Explorer. Firefox is a browser whose unique style point is its array of add-ons. If you’ve added applets that you’re not using, slash them and enjoy the feeling of a more responsive browser.

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