Keeping Your Computer FastKeeping Your Computer Fast

The personal computer was probably one of the greatest inventions of the recent millennium. With them, we are all able to perform tasks that were either never before possible, or have been delegated to people or businesses with specialized skills. Now, the computer has turned into a very basic tool that is available for almost everyone.

Over the recent years, the personal computer has evolved greatly in two main aspects: speed and storage capacity. However, it is not uncommon for the regular computer to suffer moments of sluggishness every now and then. The good news is that in most instances, these issues can be fixed.

The following are some basic tips that can guarantee a faster and smoother computing experience:

Minimize junk. When man landed on the moon, the scientists at NASA did it with slide rules and a rudimentary (at least in modern standards) computer with a measly 64 kilobytes of memory. Compare that to the terabytes of information that we can now store. Perhaps because of the aforementioned exponential increase in the modern PC's storage capacities, many owners believe that their machines can handle literally anything stored on their hard drives.

Though this seems to be the case in most instances, even the best personal computers can choke if overloaded with junk files. One of the most common issues that plague large hard drives is the issue of fragmentation, which is also most commonly ignored. This happens when too many files are scattered in several places across the hard disk, giving the system a hard time when trying to recall the needed data.

In this regard, it would be helpful to check whether your computer harbors multiple instances of the same file. Some media files, especially pictures and songs may have multiple copies inside your drive. Certain software are available that can help scan for duplicates.

It is also worthwhile to clear unwanted files that may be hogging space in your computer's temporary memory. Browser cache, the Recycle Bin, Temporary Files and a lot more may need to be cleared up, freeing possibly a couple of gigabytes of memory.

Keep your PC secure. While computer security evolves, viruses evolve too. And sometimes, they evolve even faster. Sometimes, a computer may suddenly be slowed down by a virus that is attacking your system.

Always make sure to run good security software on your system. Most of the time, it is also advisable to run two different instances of security programs -- one anti-virus and one anti-malware program. This would help you detect security infractions more effectively.

Also, many users rely too much on the real-time protection that anti-virus programs provide. A regular scan would still be in order, however, to detect any harmful software that may already have taken root.

And of course, the firewall should never be disregarded. Many avid Internet users keep their firewalls turned off to speed up their connection, but this makes them bait for unwanted infiltration. Remember that aside from merely slowing your computer down, viruses can also destroy your entire system, and can even steal vital information about you! If you believe that a virus may be on to something, disconnect from the Internet immediately and run a thorough virus scan on your machine.

Periodically upgrade. Upgrades for almost all types of software are released periodically in order to ensure the optimum performance of both the programs and your system. This applies not only to the applications that we use daily, but also to those that run in the background, especially the drivers.

Upgrades and periodic maintenance can also help improve system performance greatly by eliminating existing and potential issues, especially the infamous DLL, SYS and EXE errors. Upon onset, these issues can wreak as much havoc as a viral infection, so it is best to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Sometimes, upgrading to more recent software versions can offer increased compatibility with your system, allowing the program to fully and effectively utilize all necessary system resources. This makes for both a faster and smoother experience. Even the entire operating system needs a regular upgrade. This helps not only to optimize processes but also to close out any security holes or possible malfunctions that have been detected in previous software releases.

It is true that computers are complex equipment, but we wouldn't have to delve into the more technical steps of repairing issues if they are regularly taken care of. Following these simple steps would be the perfect start.

by Robert Corter
References and Bibliography
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