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What can you do to avoid computer slow down? – Part One

Posted Friday, April 29, 2005

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Unleash the Dragon … inside your computer!

What can you do to avoid computer slow down? – Part One

by Kevin J. Vella

Uniblue Systems

 

Last week I promised you an article about avoiding computer slowdowns. The topic is so close to the hearts of most computer owners that I want to write about it over two articles instead of one! In this first part I will give you an overview of what to look out for, while in the second part I will detail how you can improve the way the various parts of your computer interact to give you a faster, more stable and secure computing experience.

 

Avoiding slowdowns is really all about controlling as many parts or resources of your computer as possible. The most important step to knowing how to control your computer is to learn what really goes on inside it. There are some very useful articles on http://computer.howstuffworks.com/. Initially, I would look at general explanations of how PCs, Operating Systems (Windows), CPUs, and computer memory work. Written with non-technical users in mind, reading these articles doesn’t take too long. By the end of it, you will develop a thorough knowledge of the way things work inside your computer and how hardware and software interact and work together to give you smooth running applications, great game-play and a generally stable and secure environment that you can enjoy without annoying slowdowns, degradation of hardware performance and crashes. You will also realize that although your computer system is one of the latest high-octane models, it is just as susceptible to slow-downs as the old one you have just recycled or thrown away.

 

The speed and performance of computer programs depend on the hardware that is installed and how all the system is set so there are no conflicts and obstacles to the smooth functioning of all the interdependent parts. For example, if you have a fast CPU but not enough memory, you will experience slowdowns. If your modem and your browser are set-up badly, your Internet bandwidth will suffer to the point of possibly not being able to connect at all. When playing games, watching DVDs and manipulating digital images, you must make sure that you have the right graphics card and it is set up to maximize your experience.

 

Avoiding slowdowns is not just all about your hardware and system settings. It also depends on how many programs you have installed and on how secure your computer is when connected to your computer. By “how many programs you have installed” I don’t mean that the more software you install on your computer the slower it will be. Rather over the lifetime of your PC, you will find yourself installing a portfolio of programs that you have bought, borrowed or downloaded. As this collection increases, so will the collection of shortcuts in your automatic start-up list increase without your knowledge and approval. As you add more programs that must be started when you switch on your computer, you will see a general degradation of performance and a slow down in boot-up times. Spyware and viruses are a nuisance not only because they can steal or damage your data. They usually add processes that run in the background and are completely invisible to you – they sometimes even fool Windows and your other security tools in thinking that they are legitimate programs.

 

How do you keep track of all this? Well, even the most experienced users find it extremely difficult to control all resources and system settings of there computers. They are constantly tweaking their PCs manually while using software that help them. Next week, I will tell you how you can keep track of the more important resources of your PCs and how to improve the way they interact to give you more power at your fingertips. Just as a sneak preview, though, hold this thought: there exist some nifty utilities, like SpeedUpMyPC, that give you automated tools that really boost the performance of any computer.