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Fast Easy In plain English!
By Howard Fosdick , Fosdick Consulting Inc. © FCI 2010 March 27 Version 1.0
By the author of the popular free guide -How to Secure Windows and Your Privacy (Using Free Software)
By Howard Fosdick Fosdick Consulting Inc. © FCI 2010 March 27 Version 1.0
Distribution: This is copyrighted material that may not be distributed without the author's written consent. About the Author: Howard Fosdick is an independent consultant who works with operating systems and databases. He’s
written a couple hundred technical articles and several books, founded software users groups, invented concepts like hype curves and open consulting, and frequently presents seminars and at conferences.
Disclaimer: This paper is provided without warranty. Fosdick Consulting Inc. and the author accept no responsibility for
any use of the data contained herein.
Trademarks: All trademarks in this document are the property of their respective owners. Acknowledgments: Thank you to the many reviewers without whose expert feedback this guide could not have been
developed. I regret that space does not permit listing everyone individually. The computer illustration on the title page is courtesy of Wikipedia.org.
Why Tune Up Windows?
Windows computers slow down with use. They accumulate unneeded programs, waste space, and lose their speed and responsiveness. All these problems are easily fixed. This guide shows you how. Invest some time, and your computer will run as fast as the day you bought it. A two- or four- year old computer will run much faster. You may even be able make that old computer in the basement or attic useful again. This guide was written as a consumer service. It is non-commercial beyond its purchase price. This is important because Microsoft provides excellent tools – but their commercial motives steer you towards buying the latest versions of their software. They'd rather you buy a new computer – with new copies of Windows and Microsoft Office -- than optimize the performance of what you already have. Ditto for the computer manufacturers. All view your computer as a disposable consumer device. But why dispose of a computer that can meet your needs if you simply tune it up? If you're non-technical, this guide is for you. There are lots of ways to tune Windows, but this guide presents only those that are easily understood and implemented. It focuses on simple actions with high payback. All the software utilities it recommends are free. This guide also teaches you how to view and understand your computer's performance. This helps you target your tuning efforts where they will do the most good. You'll learn how to identify and fix performance problems. I omit technical details. Where they're unavoidable, I present as simply and clearly as possible. Screen photos help you follow the recommendations. The goal is to tune Windows with the least effort. This guide focuses on Windows 7, Vista, and XP. Its recommendations also apply to Windows Server 2008, 2003, and 2000. To tune older versions of Windows -- ME, 98E, 98, or 95 – see Appendix A.3. Please email recommendations for improvement to the author at contactfci at the domain name sbcglobal.net. All comments are welcome! Thank you.
1. Preliminaries ...................................................................................................................6
1.1 You Need “Administrator Rights” to Tune Windows..........................................6 1.2 How to Navigate Windows ....................................................................................7 1.3 How to Make Backups ...........................................................................................8
2. How To...............................................................................................................................10
2.1 2.2 Eliminate Malware ..............................................................................................10 Choose and Run Efficient Programs ................................................................12 Run Fewer Applications at the Same Time How to Choose Efficient Applications Efficient Replacements for Common Programs How to View Performance 2.3 Add Memory ........................................................................................................17 Add USB Memory to Use ReadyBoost 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Turn Off Visual Effects ........................................................................................21 Prune the Start-Up List........................................................................................22 Turn Off Unused Services .................................................................................25 Uninstall Unused Programs ...............................................................................27 Remove Unused Windows Components 2.8 Erase Unneeded Data Files ................................................................................30 Clean Up Your Email 2.9 Erase Unneeded Windows Files .......................................................................33 Delete Obsolete System Backups Delete Obsolete Windows Update Files XP, Windows 2000 and 2003 Users: Defragment Your Disk Now 2.10 Add Linux ...........................................................................................................36 2.11 Advanced Techniques .......................................................................... .............37 Should You Clean the Registry? Should You Disable Windows Features?
3. How to Identify and Solve Performance Problems.........................................39
3.1 How to Review and Analyze Performance .........................................................40 3.2 How to Understand Processor Use ....................................................................41 3.3 How to Understand Memory Use ........................................................................43 How to Resolve Memory Shortages 3.4 How to Understand Disk Use ..............................................................................45 Understanding Disk Performance Understanding Disk Free Space 3.5 How to Understand Network Use ........................................................................47
A.1 Where to Download Free Windows Software .................................................. 48 A.2 How to Defragment Your Disk ........................................................................... 49 A.3 What About Windows ME, 98, 95, and NT ? ................................................... 51 A.4 Glossary ...............................................................................................................53
1. If you're in a corporate or organizational setting. others require a special level of security clearance called administrator rights. see this article for Windows 7 and this one for Vista. set a password for the powerful Administrator account. (You'll find Command Prompt either right off the Start Menu or under Accessories off the Start Menu. Click on Start or the “Windows button” and then select the Control Panel 2. you may have to ask your computer support person to assign your user id administrator rights. Preliminaries 1. use Windows' unique Administrator user id. Windows 7 and Vista require you to “enable” the Administrator user id before you can log in with it. Now you can log in and start tuning Windows. This command sets the password to mypassword17: C:\Windows\System32> net user administrator password mypassword17 You can exit the panel like this: C:\Windows\System32> exit For more examples. right-click on the Command Prompt and select Run as administrator. type in this command: C:\Windows\System32> net user administrator /active:yes Next. To do this.1 You Need “Administrator Rights” to Tune Windows While you can implement some of the recommendations in this guide by logging into Windows with any user id.) When the Command Prompt appears. To see if your user id has administrator rights: 1. If not. . Verify that your user id belongs to the Administrator Group or that it is designated as a Computer Administrator or Administrator If you're working with your own computer. your user id probably has administrator rights. Double-click on User Accounts and Family Safety and/or User Accounts 3.
The Help system will explain the settings on the panel and provide a pointer you can click on to access the panel. and XP. In working with this guide. (The pointer looks like an arrow inside of a little box. Where this matters is in: ● ● Navigating to the settings panels The appearance and options on the settings panels This guide focuses on Windows 7. access the Windows Help and Support system: Start → Help and Support Enter the panel name.1.) . Vista. If you have trouble either locating a panel or understanding its options. it's easiest to find Control Panel items if you use the All Control Panel Items view in Windows 7 and the Classic View in Vista and Windows XP.2 How to Navigate Windows Going forward. though it is more properly referred to as the Windows button in Windows 7 and Vista: Windows Versions Unfortunately there are now so many Windows versions. editions. But even so you'll notice minor discrepancies. Usually you'll be able to match your navigation and panel settings to those in this guide regardless of minor differences. I'll follow common convention in initiating actions with the Start button. It describes their differences where important. I'll write the steps to procedures like the one above using a simple shorthand: Start → Control Panel → User Accounts → & Family Settings and/or User Accounts Ensure your user id belongs to the Administrator Group or is designated as a Computer Administrator or Administrator Just follow the steps from left to right using Windows' menu system. and “Service Pack” updates that it is impractical to describe the peculiarities of each.
In a worst case scenario.1. Always keep your original purchased-program discs. You should create backups on a regular. For Windows 7 and Vista this is your portion of the “users folder” (C:\Users). . How to Back Up Your Data Backing up your data is easy if you keep it in a single folder. you can always re-install if you have the original distribution media. you should always back up: ● ● Your data Windows itself Now. before proceeding. Access this feature by: Start → All Programs → Accessories → System Tools → System Restore From the System Restore panel. such as Windows' recommended folder. you won't lose critical data. or a writable CD or DVD. while for XP this is the My Documents folder. If you ever have to recover Windows. if anything unexpected happens. Then put the backup in a safe place. choose the option to create a Restore Point. just select the option to restore your computer from the same System Restore panel. All you have to do is copy the folder to an external writable device such as a USB memory stick or flash drive. How to Back Up Windows There are several different ways to back up Windows itself. Please make a new system Restore Point right now.3 How to Make Backups Before making any changes to your system. as well as how critical your consider your data. periodic basis. One of the easiest is called System Protection (or System Restore). How often you need to create them depends on how often your data changes. Please back up your data right now. Then you'll name and create the Restore Point. Then select the correct Restore Point to restore. This backs up the Windows' key components including its Registry of settings and vital information. so that you are protected in the very rare event that something goes wrong while following this guide.
The option to create a Restore Point is in the last line at the bottom of this panel.Backing Up with the System Restore panel (XP) Restoring with the System Restore panel (Windows 7 and Vista). .
or Windows Live OneCare. . Here's why: 1. Some products focus on real-time threat prevention or blocking. This applies even if you use Microsoft's own products such as Microsoft Security Essentials. Programs vary in how long they take to recognize these new.1 How to Eliminate Malware Malware is any program that has been installed on your computer without your knowledge or consent. No one product finds all problems! 2. There are many different kinds of malware. so-called “zero-day” threats. Each security program has its strengths and weaknesses in what it identifies and eliminates. Malware includes viruses and other harmful programs: Malware Threat: Spyware Adware Trojans Rootkits Dialers Keyloggers Botware Browser Hijacker Backdoor What It Does: It spies on your behavior and reports this data to a remote computer It targets you for advertisements These scam their way into your computer These steal Administrator rights and can do anything to your computer These secretly use your communication facilities These record your keystrokes (including passwords) and send this data to a remote computer This turns your computer into a bot. How To's 2. Windows Defender. Until you do this. and even if you've bought commercial products like Symantec / Norton or McAfee.2. ready to secretly carry out instructions sent from a remote server This modifies your web browser to redirect you to unwanted web sites or present annoying ads Permits secret access to your computer The first step in tuning Windows is to eliminate any and all malware from your system.to really know that your system is clean. New malware threats constantly arise. no single anti-malware product identifies and eliminates all threats! You must install and run more than one – effectively cross-checking anti-malware products against one another -. and consistent environment to work with. 3. stable. while others are better at scanning disks and detecting and removing already-installed malware. you really don't have a secure. As this article proves. Hidden malware programs siphon off your computer's resources and compromise its performance -.as well as your security and privacy.
Securing Windows against malware – and keeping it secure – is a big topic. You can find product reviews here and here. For Windows 7 go to: Start → Control Panel → All Control Panel Items → Windows Firewall or for Vista and XP use: Start → Control Panel → Windows Firewall In working with this guide. XP varies. download my free guide called “How to Secure Windows and Your Privacy (Using Free Software).” The guide complements this one and includes easy explanations. . Most products automatically download new definitions by default and have a panel setting where you can verify this.I recommend that you have one anti-malware product that tries to prevent installation in real-time. and that you also occasionally scan your disks with two other anti-virus products. If you need additional software to achieve this full level of protection. it's easiest to find Control Panel items if you use the All Control Panel Items view in Windows 7 and the Classic View in Vista. A firewall is a program that intercepts any attempt to secretly communicate with your computer. screen photos. Download via the provided links: Free Product: AntiVir Personal Edition avast! Home Edition AVG Anti-Virus ClamWin PC Tools Antivirus and ThreatFire Antivirus (Free Editions) Malwarebytes a2 Free Ad-aware Free Spybot Search and Destroy Be sure that whatever products you install automatically download new malware definition files. Firewalls thwart penetration of your computer by malware. and free software recommendations. A Windows computer must run a firewall at all times when connected to the Internet! By default the firewall is turned on in Windows 7 and Vista. You can verify the firewall is on through the Control Panel. select from this table of well-known free programs. For complete information and stepby-step instructions. You can also ensure the firewall is turned on through the Action Center in Windows 7 and via the equivalent Security Center in Vista and XP. This is how anti-malware software keeps up with new threats.
2 How to Choose and Run Efficient Programs One of the easiest ways to improve Windows' performance is to use it efficiently. web surf with one browser window and two tabs instead a ten. Sometimes you can get the same work done faster if you simply reconsider how you use your computer. Resource requirements vary greatly among products that perform the same tasks. Close unneeded windows. help the system out by reducing the burden you're placing on it. Edit one document at a time instead of four. so it will only meet my needs if they are minimal (Notepad doesn't provide basic features like text emphasis and simple formatting. You don't have to be technical to do it. all the products I'll look at are either free or come bundled with Windows). It's a text editor rather than a word processor. I downloaded the popular AbiWord and found it faster than Word. You get the idea. . The program is but a single file on disk. Is the program quick or sluggish? Later in this section I'll show you how to view application performance scientifically. Or. Schedule them for off-hours instead through their scheduling panels. A competing word processor is one alternative.2.) But Notepad's performance excels. But on my computer it's always seemed that this product runs a bit slowly. An Example Here's a simple example that shows how to choose efficient applications. it loads quickly. Run Fewer Applications at the Same Time When Windows slows down. Windows Update (also known as Microsoft Update or Automatic Updates) and anti-virus disk scans are examples. Schedule resource-intensive programs to run when you're not using the computer. Could I use a faster alternative? (Except for Word. What else might work? Perhaps Notepad. which you can access as follows: Windows 7: Start → Control Panel → All Control Panel Items → Administrative Tools → Task Scheduler Vista: Start → Control Panel → Administrative Tools → Task Scheduler XP: Start → Control Panel → Scheduled Tasks How to Choose Efficient Applications Another easy way to improve Windows' performance is to choose efficient applications. for example. use Windows' Task Scheduler. Selecting applications based in part on their efficiency is the best performance tip you'll ever hear. Say I want to write a brief memo. Many people don't realize that their behavior causes Windows to slow down. It just doesn't have the snappy responsiveness I'd like. and it consumes very little of the computer's processor and memory. Don't allow these programs to automatically update themselves during start-up or you might have a long wait. Another is whether the program responds quickly to your requests. How can you tell which applications are efficient? Start-up time is one clue. Open three windows at a time instead of a dozen. Out of habit I might start Word 2003.
If I need basic formatting I'll use Wordpad or maybe AbiWord. like Word 97? Microsoft has a reputation for increasing resource requirements across versions. Efficient Replacements for Common Programs Here are free alternatives to popular but resource-heavy applications. If a text editor lacks features I need. and G for gigabytes. Most offer the same easy-to-use WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) interface as Word. Here's a good chance to test this assertion in a practical context. M for megabytes.7. I'll also reconsider whether to unthinkingly upgrade my applications every time a vendor comes out with a new version. One last idea. These are not scientific measurements (I've simplified and excluded some important factors). Everyone's needs are unique.I also tried Windows' Wordpad. Unless the new version has new features you know you need. * First Time start-up with no process in the Start-Up List ** After starting the product with no document being edited This little experiment shows that you may be able to increase performance by replacing resource-intense applications with lighter ones when they meet your needs. It offers more features than Notepad yet is still very fast. Word 97 is way more efficient than Word 2003. In this example. I'll use Notepad instead of reflexively starting Word. so you'll have to do your own testing to see which work best for you: . But informal measurements work just fine for determining what performs best on my computer and meets my needs: Product: Startup Time: * (1 time / Subsequently) st Memory Use: ** Disk Space: Word 2003 Kompozer 0. Try using: ● ● ● A competing program A program of a different kind that still accomplishes the task An older release of the same program Next time I have a dozen windows open and I get the urge to write a quick memo. K stands for Kilobytes.10 AbiWord 2.4 M n/a (part of Office 2003) 21 M 21 M n/a (part of Office 97) 210 K 68 K All times were measured on the same computer immediately after booting without other apps running. Instead of using Word 2003. maybe a web page editor would suffice. why not try an older version of the same product. Here's what I found from monitoring these applications while they run.8 M 2.6 Word 97 Wordpad Notepad 8 sec / 3 sec 6 sec / 3 sec 6 sec / 2 sec 3 sec / 2 sec 1 sec / 1 sec 1 sec / 1 sec 11 M 17 M 8M 6M 4. I tried Kompozer to compare it. you may just acquire a slower product with little real benefit. And they have basic typesetting and formatting features.
Opera also performs better. With a bit of research and testing. the bigger the potential savings. you can really improve your computer's performance. Use web page editors like Kompozer or simple text editors like Notepad FoxIt Reader or older Acrobat Reader versions perform way better and read PDF files just fine Web site generator Dreamweaver. right-click anywhere blank in the Taskbar at the bottom of your screen and then select Task Manager if required: . How to View Performance How did I gather the performance statistics in the table above? Windows makes it easy. You might also try web-based email clients like Gmail. Use AbiWord or alternatives to word processors like file or web page editors Try Gnumeric or other free replacements on this web page Opinions are all over the map on this one. The bigger the difference in resource consumption between alternatives. The Windows Task Manager gives a quick view of performance. Based on this thread and this one in forums there are several faster alternatives. NetObjects Fusion PDF viewer Acrobat Reader Selecting resource-light applications impacts most the tasks you perform frequently.Application: Popular Resource Hog: Internet Explorer Word Excel Outlook Alternatives: Browser Word processor Spreadsheet Email I've used K-Meleon for years. Access it by pressing three keys at once: Ctrl + Shift + Esc. It's way faster than Internet Explorer. Or.
watch it drop.Task Manager's Performance Panel (Vista & 7) Task Manager's Performance Panel (XP) Once you're in the Task Manager.. You can actually watch the processor respond to your actions. you'll have two CPU graphs – one for each processor. Close a window. If you have a dual-core processor. Which application is causing the 100% CPU use? Click on the Processes tab and you'll see all the processes (programs) that are running. you'll have to wait because this computer is busy. This tells how much of your processor (or “CPU”) is being used. . If you tell it to do some new work. open a Word document.. Click on the Performance tab and you'll see the panel above (Windows 7 and Vista is on the left. you'll see several tabs. Open an application. The Task Manager draws this graph as you watch. XP's version is on the right). The top graph in the panel is labeled CPU Usage History. watch it spike. for example. See how the CPU recently went up to nearly 100% and is dangling there? That means this computer has no more processor left for other tasks. Look at the XP screen on the right side.
These are the two key resources you need to be concerned about on your computer: processor and memory. Looks like I should schedule that scan for some other time.Task Manager's Processes tab Panel (XP) Double-click on the column heading labeled CPU. This orders all running programs by descending CPU use. and XP. the Mem Usage column tells how much memory it uses. While the CPU column tells you how much of the processor any program is using. . In this case the Applications tab lists AVG Anti-Virus Free so the obvious conclusion is that an anti-virus scan just launched and that's why this computer is slowing down. These Task Manager techniques work for Windows 7. The section of this guide entitled “How to Identify and Solve Performance Problems” explains how you can use the Task Manager to identify and fix performance problems. For now. A shortage of either causes a slowdown. This is why you're waiting if you ask your computer to do anything else! You can usually find out which application this process belongs to by clicking on the Applications tab in the Task Manager. Double-click on the Mem Usage column to sort programs in order of descending memory consumption. The “memory hog” programs instantly pop to the top of the list. Vista.exe is consuming 97% of the processor. This lists all applications that have an open window on your desktop. you have a quick way to see which programs are most efficient and which consume your computer's CPU and memory resources. Click on the Task Manager's Processes tab. You can also use it to determine if you need to upgrade your computer hardware. Now it's obvious that a process called avgcsrvx.
” “How to Prune the Start-up List” and “How to Turn Off Unneeded Services.3 How to Add Memory Computer memory consists of semiconductor chips.if possible – will likely increase its performance. Try to open a menu. or if you click a menu item you might not get a response. Look up your specific Windows version and edition in this Microsoft chart. Insufficient computer memory causes slow performance. It also holds some of the data on which the programs operate. This doesn't require any extra hardware but it does take some of your time. like a USB memory stick or flash drive. and it might materialize slowly. If your computer lacks enough memory.” “How to Choose and Run Efficient Programs. The telltale signs of low memory are display problems and out of memory notifications. go to: . adding memory to the system -. Business. Circumstances vary. Used memory is very inexpensive through on-line sources like Amazon or Ebay. 32-bit versions of Windows 7. The limit is much higher for 64-bit Windows and varies widely by version and edition. A third alternative is to reduce Windows' memory use. I'll explain how this works in the next section. An alternative for Windows 7 and Vista users is to add a removable storage device. and turn on a Windows feature called ReadyBoost. New windows might appear blank when opened or their contents appear translucent or don't all paint at once. or at computer shows. one of the easiest and quickest performance enhancements you can make is simply to add extra memory. To determine how much memory your computer has. for example. Vista and XP can only use up to a maximum of 4 gigabytes of memory. It holds programs while your computer runs them. 1 gigabyte Ultimate editions) Vista (Home Basic edition) XP (Professional edition) XP (Home edition) 512 megabytes 64 megabytes (128 recommended) 64 megabytes (128 recommended) If your computer has less memory than the value in the right-hand column above. Sections in this guide that help you reduce memory use include “How to Eliminate Malware.2.” How much memory your computer requires for optimal performance depends on how you use it. This chart gives a quick take on how much memory works best for different Windows versions: Windows Version: Microsoft's Official Memory Recommendation: 1 gigabyte (2 for XP mode or 64-bit systems) Popular Performance Recommendation: 2 or more gigabytes (4 gigabytes for XP mode and 64-bit systems) 2 or more gigabytes 2 or more gigabytes 512 or more megabytes 512 or more megabytes Windows 7 Vista (Home Premium. One point everyone agrees on is that Microsoft's official recommended memory requirements for Windows are far too low.
here's an alternative if you run Windows 7 or Vista. the first thing Windows jettisons from memory is this disk data cache. If you have trouble opening the computer or recognizing the memory slots. You can order the memory immediately from these sites. Youtube has several good videos that demonstrate adding memory to desktops and laptops. Since memory access is way faster than disk access. Here's how that panel looks: . accessing some data in memory instead of disk greatly speeds up performance. When Windows' AutoPlay dialog pops up. then seat the memory stick in an open slot. look in the manual that came with your computer when you purchased it. ensure you touch something metal so that you don't give the memory or computer an electrical shock. tell it you want to enable the device for ReadyBoost. see the computer's manual. If you don't have it. For desktops. When your computer does not have enough memory. These sites offer easy. Open the case. All computer manuals are on-line. or CompactFlash to speed up disk access. How to Add USB Memory to Use ReadyBoost If you can't add memory to your computer and low memory is an issue. Or just retrieve the information and shop around. If you don't have the manual. look up the computer manufacturer and model on a web site like Upgrade Memory or The Upgrade Place. Before you buy. look up your computer model at the manufacturer's web site.” SD card. interactive look-up to determine the maximum allowable memory and the kind of memory required for any computer. open the case to verify this. Windows 7 and Vista can bring back the disk cache by storing it on fast removable storage devices through a feature called ReadyBoost.Start → Computer (right-click) (or My Computer (right-click)) or Start → Control Panel → System → Properties To determine the maximum memory your computer can support and the kind of memory it requires. The Crucial web site scans your computer and tells you what your memory options are. Just plug in a USB memory stick or “flash drive. Laptops have a panel on the bottom you remove to see if there is an open memory slot. make sure your computer has an available physical slot into which to insert the memory stick. Adding memory is simple. One way Windows uses your computer's memory is to store data from disk.
Selecting ReadyBoost in the AutoPlay Dialog (Vista) Sizing ReadyBoost Memory in the Disk Properties panel (Vista) .
You can access Disk Properties by right-clicking on the disk in the Computer or My Computer panel. when you insert a USB memory stick you would set aside between 1 and 3 gigabytes for ReadyBoost in the USB device.The Disk Properties panel (above) for the removable device allows you to enable or disable ReadyBoost. . If your computer has less memory than the recommended amounts. try ReadyBoost as a quick and easy way to increase performance. ReadyBoost is very effective for machines with insufficient memory but of little value for computers with lots of memory. Microsoft recommends you allocate one to three times the amount of your computer's memory to ReadyBoost. ReadyBoost only takes advantage of removable memory that supports fast data access. If you select ReadyBoost with an unsuitable device. So if your computer has a gigabyte of memory. You can also tune how much memory ReadyBoost uses on the device. Windows tells you it can't use the device in a reply panel.
The Visual Effects panel (Vista) . If you can do without some of Windows' “eye candy. The difference between the three versions will be in the visual effects listed. Vista. If not.” turning off the high-end visuals may help performance. So turn them off. you can always go right back to what you had before. and XP all display a panel like the one below.2. It's simple to turn visual effects off or on. They're also expensive in terms of computer resources.4 How to Turn Off Visual Effects Great visuals are one of Windows' best features. and see if it helps your computer's performance and if the visuals are still acceptable. Reach the panel to set visual effects by: Start → Computer (right-click) → Properties → Advanced tab → Performance Settings button or My Computer Windows 7. Turn off visual effects by selecting: Adjust for best performance → Apply → OK Turn visual effects on by the same process and choosing: Adjust for best appearance.
But here's the catch. so it may not be worth the effort to disable them. the program launches again and reclaims it position in your systray! To permanently stop unused programs from starting whenever you boot your computer. it can carry whatever load these programs impose. These represent programs that run every time you start up your computer: What is all this stuff? These programs remain in memory. consuming resources throughout your session – whether you use them or not. You'll see a horizontal row of icons. But let's be realistic: if your computer is performing fine. however. XP: Start → Run. In most cases this only ends the program for your current session. and most programs provide an option to exit the program.2. this is a great place to start. Right-click on the icon. If you need better performance. Expanding the Command and Location columns in the panel enables you to determine what many of these programs are. just google on the Startup Item at issue. Next time you start up (or “boot”) Windows. Select the tab labeled Startup. One simple way to increase Windows' performance is to ensure that only the programs you want to run get launched when Windows starts. In the “run box” that appears. Take a look at this example: . enter the program named: msconfig The System Configuration Utility panel appears. This inevitably leads to a situation whereby Windows accumulates all sorts of programs in its Start-up List that you really don't need.. How do these programs and their icons get into the system tray or systray? Many insert themselves there when you install them – without asking. select: Windows 7 and Vista: Start → All Programs → Accessories → Run. Hover the cursor over any icon in the systray and you'll see what program that icon represents. Others. In this case.. Pruning these programs down to those you use reduces how long it takes to start your computer.. Your goal is to eliminate any programs you do not use from this list by unchecking them. There you'll see a checklist of programs that start every time you boot your computer and stay in memory whether you use them or not. may not be familiar.. And it increases overall performance for your entire session.5 How to Prune the Start-up List Look down to the far lower right-hand corner of your display monitor.
Here's how this message looks with the box checked: . This ensures you really did turn off only programs you didn't need. Windows presents a dialog box that notifies you that changes were applied. so I uncheck it. Any item I un-check will not run at next boot.. After you make changes and close the System Configuration Utility panel. Obviously I should keep them checked. I can guess that the programs or Startup Item's that begin with the letters avg belong to the free anti-virus program.. Error on the side of caution and keep any Startup Item you can't positively identify. When you start the computer after making System Configuration Utility panel changes. But what is zlcient? Just go to Google and enter it as a search term. Try this with all the checked boxes and eliminate whatever programs you can from the start-up list. a keeper. But googling on dumprep tells me it is not a necessary program. To eliminate this message simply check the box for Don't show this message. again and then OK. You'll quickly find that it belongs to the ZoneAlarm firewall. Again. Click Restart in the message box to reboot. AVG Anti-virus. ClamTray I know belongs to the ClamWin anti-virus program. Another keeper. verify that everything works as before.The System Configuration Utility panel (XP) Only the items checked will run when Windows boots. When Windows comes up again. Windows prompts you to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
The performance savings are usually worth the time. . but in the end most people find they can eliminate many programs from the systray and the start-up list.This message box appears after rebooting if you change the Start-up List It might take some googling and a couple re-boots.
Like the Systray programs.Automatically starts with Windows .Can not start up The Services Panel (Windows 7) . These Windows programs are called Services because once started they remain in the system for use by other programs. You can see that those programs with a Status of Started have been started and are consuming resources. If you turn off or disable a slew of unneeded Services. Like pruning programs in the Start-up list.6 How to Turn Off Unused Services Windows has its own start-up list for Windows components. Here's how to access the Services Panel: Windows 7: Vista & XP: Start → Control Panel → All Control Panel Items → Administrative Tools → Component Services Start → Control Panel → Administrative Tools → Services (or Component Services) Here's what the Services Panel looks like. It has no way of knowing which you may not need. Why? Since Services provide useful features. you save memory and processor resources.Automatically starts if another program requests this Service . Only make the effort if you need better performance. The section entitled “How to Identify and Solve Performance Problems” shows how to analyze your computer's performance so that you know whether effort you spend on this will be worthwhile. most people do not use all the Windows Services started by the operating system. The Startup Type column lists one of these three possibilities: Automatic Manual Disabled . Windows starts them.2. turning off unneeded Services takes time. It may take an hour or more to do a thorough job.
Unfortunately. allow you to immediately Start or Stop a Service.The settings panel for an individual Service (XP) To see details for any Service. You'll see the Properties panel for the Service you selected: The drop-down list box allows you to set a Service to Automatic or Manual startup. go to these web sites to see which Services you can set to Manual or Disable: Version: Windows 7. or to Disable it from starting altogether. These many variations make it impractical to list all the Services here. just double-click on its name. labeled Service Status. The buttons immediately beneath the list box. but in most cases. the Windows' Services vary not only by version but even by edition and the updates you have applied to Windows (called Service Packs). you need more information. and which you can set to turn on only if needed (set to Manual)? Sometimes the Description field will tell you what you need to know. XP Windows 7 Vista XP Web Sites: Black Viper Tweaking with Vishal Speedy Vista The Elder Geek . Vista. Instead. As with pruning the Windows Start-up List the big question with Services is: how do you know which you can turn-off permanently (set to Disable).
find out where the program's files were installed.2. . any of these navigations might get you to a panel to uninstall programs: Windows 7: & Vista: Start → Control Panel → All Control Panel Items → Programs and Features Start → Control Panel → Programs and Features → Installed Programs panel Start → Control Panel → Programs → Programs and Features or the “Uninstall a Program” link Start → Control Panel → Add or Remove Programs XP: Whether you're looking at the Programs and Features or Installed Programs panel (Windows 7 and Vista) or the Add or Remove Programs panel (XP) you take the same actions. and Windows will display the folder into which that program is installed. simply delete their folder following the uninstall. Depending on how your system's defaults are set. Before uninstalling any program. New Windows computers come with a ton of “useful” pre-installed software you'll never use. Highlight any program in the list you wish to uninstall and deinstall it. Since sometimes Windows programs remain on disk even after you have uninstalled them. Deleting this junk reclaims lots of space and cleans up Windows' Start-up List.7 How to Uninstall Unused Programs You can reclaim lots of disk space and reduce some of the clutter in your system by deleting unused programs from Windows. Do this by accessing the program in the programs menu: Start → All Programs → (name of the program you want to uninstall) Hover the cursor over the program name in the All Programs list. If not. This process is called de-installing or uninstalling. you'll see how much disk space it consumes on the right-hand side of the entry. This isn't just a matter of removing programs you installed but now no longer use. You'll reclaim at least this much disk space by uninstalling that program. this way you can go back and verify they really were removed from the disk. Scroll through the list of installed programs and see which you never use and can uninstall. For each application. Write down this “install folder” so that you can remember it after you have completed the uninstall process.
Removing a Program Through the Installed Programs panel (Vista) Removing a Program Through Uninstall or change a program (Vista) The Add or Remove Programs panel (XP) .
the Add or Remove Programs panel pictured above includes an option in the left margin labeled Add/Remove Windows Components. Use this to de-install unneeded Windows components. Select the option to Turn Windows features on or off. especially if you select the Typical option during the install process. How to Remove Unused Windows Components You may want to uninstall Windows features and components you don't use. you can delete it manually. . In XP. remove unwanted Windows components through the Programs and Features panel shown in the middle screen photo above. Note that if you had saved any data in this folder it will be erased as well. Windows installs lots programs you may never use.After the uninstall. verify that the application's folder was deleted from Windows through the Windows file manager. If not. In Windows 7 and Vista. What can be removed depends on the Windows version: Windows 7 allows you to delete more Windows components than previous versions.
or video. you may have to search for them. all files are not created equal. Simply copy or “archive” the files to a writable media. music. Fortunately the Windows Search panel allows you to search for Video. These retrieve and list all the common multimedia file formats. video. If you need it again. Running out of disk space means you won't be able to store more files. or your My Documents folder in XP). followed by audio files. diagrams). it's easy to delete them. you can access the files by popping in the removable media that has the files. Music. and store the data offline. Together.8 How to Erase Unneeded Data Files Disks provide permanent storage space for your programs and data. then image files of various kinds (photographs. CD. Of course. A DVD movie might consume 4. Audio files might consume up to a megabyte or more per recorded minute. Delete just a handful of your biggest unneeded files and you can quickly reclaim lots of space. Video files are the biggest. But to give you a quick idea of how much space you might reclaim: ● Video files often consume tens of megabytes per recorded minute. this doesn't mean that you lose those files forever. such as a writable DVD. ● ● If all your multimedia data files are in one place (such as your Users folder in Windows 7 and Vista. Getting really low throttles Windows' performance. or USB memory stick. and image files are referred to as multimedia files. Image files consume from a few kilobytes up to several megabytes each. How much space these files consume varies widely. pictures. In the initial Vista release and XP you can access it from the Start menu: Start → Search Then select the option to search for Pictures. Some require insignificant space while others can add up. The Search panel has changed and moved around a good bit in the evolution from XP to Windows 7.2. See the screenshot below. Many songs require a few megabytes each. audio. If not.5 or 8 gigabytes on disk. The best way to reclaim disk space is to erase files that you no longer need. . or Picture files. When it comes to size.
Microsoft Office files are . uncluttered system. music. Instead they have a Search box that appears on the Start menu and throughout the operating system. Microsoft calls this Instant Search. including Picture. it's always nice to have a clean.Finding pictures. This makes it easy to find your multimedia files if they don't all reside in your Users folder. Other and Advanced Search. and video files through the Search Panel (XP) Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows 7 remove Search panel access from the Windows Start menu. But in terms of reclaiming space. smaller files don't consume much relative to modern disk sizes. The Search panel (Vista) Should you delete any other files? Well. The new Search panel includes a menu bar in which you can select file types. Music.
The other they use as a public email account for public forums and mailing lists. You should empty the Recycle Bin on a regular basis. delete obsolete sent email as well.small. then select the option Empty Recycle Bin from the pop-up menu. You might consider deleting old archive files and downloaded application files. Finally. Email with photos or other multimedia attachments can be huge. remember to empty the email application's trash folder to reclaim disk space. Most email programs allow you to sort emails in a folder by size simply by clicking on the size column. Delete them and you'll save lots of space while speeding up your email system. Consider turning off this option. all you have to do is right-click on the icon. Text and log files are tiny. you must empty the Recycle Bin to actually reclaim their space. Better yet. don't even allow it to receive and store these emails. If this is the case with your system. After you're done deleting all the obsolete and junk mail. which stays clean. Assuming the Recycle Bin icon is on your desktop. if your email program supports it. So you should delete email you no longer need. This web site offers free spam filter programs you can install to block incoming junk mail. too. This way spam only comes to their public account and not their private email address. unless you've embedded multimedia within them. You might also search for files ending in .old and delete them if appropriate. This enables you to find and delete the biggest emails at a glance. These often end in the three letters: zip.bak or . One they keep private and only tell their friends or co-workers about. Many people create two email accounts. . Delete junk email or spam. it's worthwhile to look in the “root directory” or C:\ to remove unwanted files as programs sometimes use this as a “dumping ground” for their temporary files. How to Clean Up Your Email Email programs like Microsoft Outlook slow down if you never delete obsolete emails. Many people don't realize that their email client saves a copy of every email they send. Remember that after you delete any unneeded files.
Download.2. CCleaner Is my personal favorite. Windows' Disk Cleanup utility gets rid of many of these files. CCleaner lists all the files it will delete. and so over time your computer becomes cluttered and wastes disk space. When you click on its Analyze button. install. Thereafter. Then click on the Run Cleaner button and CCleaner deletes all the files you check-marked and immediately reclaims their disk space. CCleaner cleans up after Windows and many common applications. and run it. This screen shot superimposes two copies of CCleaner running at once (not something you would do) in order to show all the temporary and work files it deletes. They don't delete all these files after using them.9 How to Erase Unneeded Windows Files Windows and other applications create many temporary files. . run it on a regularly scheduled basis. perhaps once a week or once a month. Access it through a button on the Disk Properties panel: Start → Computer (or My Computer) → right-click on the disk name → select Properties → Disk Cleanup Disk Cleanup doesn't do as thorough a job as some of the free Windows cleanup programs. and you'll reclaim lots of disk space while enhancing Windows performance.
on “How to Make Backups. you must click on the More Options tab after you access Disk Cleanup. first ensure you can see Windows' hidden files. How to Delete Obsolete Windows Update Files Microsoft Update or Automatic Updates is the Windows feature that automatically downloads and updates Windows and other Microsoft software. by installing new software). In your file manager (Windows Explorer or Internet Explorer). You may well be using 5 or 10 gigabytes of disk space to store obsolete backups. the Disk Cleanup panel has an button labeled Clean Up System Files. even after years go by and the roll-back data is obsolete and no longer usable. In Windows XP.” explained how to back up Windows' critical system files through the feature called System Protection. and Windows will delete all but the most recent system backup. Delete all system backups except for the most recent one by accessing Windows' Disk Cleanup utility: Start → Computer (or My Computer) → right-click on the disk name → select Properties → Disk Cleanup In Windows 7 and Vista.How to Delete Obsolete System Backups Section 1. You'll want to use this feature to create system backups after you make changes to Windows (for example. This is great. You'll usually see one folder named: $hf_mig$ This folder probably has many sub-folders. which is especially welcome since these machines often have small disks compared to newer computers. To delete these folders and reclaim their space. which you can see if you double-click to open them up. It's not unusual to reclaim 10 or more gigabytes of disk space on computers that are several years old. and Windows does not automatically delete them as they become obsolete. After a year or more this feature consumes tons of disk space. button under the label System Restore. Do this by accessing Folder Options: Windows 7: Start → Control Panel → All Control Panel Items → Folder Options Vista and XP: Start → Control Panel → Folder Options On the View tab of Folder Options.. Click on it and Windows will delete all but the single most recent system backup. The reason is that each time it runs. click the option that says Show hidden files and folders. except that it never erases this undo data. Then select the Clean Up. so do not turn it off or “disable” it. System Protection is also known as System Backup. go down to the Windows folder and open it. You'll also see many folders that start with the letters: . Now you can see and delete obsolete Windows Update files..3. System backups require much disk space. it saves information about how to undo or “roll-back” the update in case it doesn't work on your computer. It is an essential feature for Windows performance and security.
Windows 7 or Vista automatically run the disk defragmentation utility weekly. a process called disk defragmenting.2 entitled “How to Defragment Your Disk” for instructions on how to do this. this article shows you how. If you run XP. You need do nothing. or NT. and 2003 Users: Defragment Your Disk Now The previous three sections of this guide (2. XP. You can make disk access more efficient by consolidating the used storage portions together into contiguous areas. and Windows Server 2003. Windows 2000.8.7. But there's no reason you can't delete older sub-folders in the $hf_mig$ folder and that begin with $Nt and thereby eliminate lots of clutter. . Windows Server 2003.$Nt You'll want to keep recent folders in case you want to roll-back a recent Windows Update. It takes a minute but you'll reclaim lots of space. 2.9). This results in a situation in which used and unused storage areas are intermingled on your disk drive. Windows 2000. make your system more efficient by deleting unneeded files. you must manually run the disk defragmentation utility. and 2. I recommend deleting folders older than three months and reclaiming their disk space. Go to Appendix A. If you wish to regularly schedule the disk defragmentation in XP. Windows 2000.
memory. Ubuntu requires at least 8 gigabytes of disk space. You'll have a system that performs well even on hardware too under-powered for Windows. the current version of Ubuntu requires the same resources as XP did way back in 2001: Windows 7 and Vista Official Requirements for Most Editions: Processor Memory Disk 1 ghz 1g 20 g to 40 g Windows 7 and Vista Consensus Requirements for Most Editions: 2 or more ghz 2 or more g 40 g Ubuntu Consensus Requirements for Current Version: 1 ghz 512 m 8g Ubuntu complements Windows because you can easily install it on a Windows computer without altering Windows in any way. take a look at the illustrated installation instructions here or here. Ubuntu Linux benefits include: ● ● ● ● ● ● Everything's free No malware problems It comes with a full set of home and office applications You can download any of thousands of free Linux applications from a web-based repository and install them simply by a few mouse clicks You can read and write Windows files Ubuntu's Open Office is highly compatible with Microsoft Office While Linux is as easy to use as Windows.10 How to Add Linux Linux is a competing operating system to Windows. called Ubuntu. you'll have the option to use either Linux or Windows. This chart contrasts the resource requirements of Windows and the most popular Linux version. Beyond good performance. While Windows resource requirements balloon with every release. When you boot the computer. To get started with Ubuntu.2. So weigh these benefits against the time and effort it takes to install and learn new software. Even though you might hear people claim that one or the other is much better. Linux is relevant here because it requires far fewer computer resources – processor. Then download and install it. and disk – than Windows. it is an entirely different operating system. . One way to get better performance on a computer on which Windows is slowi is to install Linux. in fact both systems have their strong points and shortcomings. or read the official dual-boot installation instructions here.
This saves the resources those features otherwise would consume. First it scans the Registry. See the section entitled “How to Make Backups” for more information. and more. configuration. Then it lists each change it recommends and lets you un-check any you do not want applied. Windows requires a valid Registry to run. then it applies the changes you selected. It contains settings. status data. Other tuning “tweaks” are easy enough to apply but really don't provide much better performance. When you press the Fix Selected Issues button.2.registry cleaners can't always know what should be changed or deleted. There is little evidence that Registry-cleaning provides measurable performance benefit. invalid information.11 Advanced Techniques Should You Clean the Registry? The Windows' Registry is its internal database that contains vital information Windows uses while it runs. Applying incorrect changes could damage Windows (or even cause it not to run in an extreme case).the Registry gets out of sorts. Sometimes these techniques are rather technical. I do not recommend it unless you are technically adept. CCleaner writes a file you can run to revert the changes back to the original if desired. Here are several more free registry cleaners.especially as you install and uninstall products -. Microsoft literature indicates registry defragmenting provides greater performance benefits than cleaning. Some of the tweaks you'll encounter include: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Turn off Search Indexing Turn off automatic Disk Defragmentation (in Windows7 and Vista) Turn off User Account Control Disable Windows Hibernation Turn off Disk Compression Turn off Remote Differential Compression Turn off Anti-malware product real-time operations (such as those of Windows Defender) . make a good back up first and ensure you understand how to recover with it. Should You Disable Windows Features? A popular tune-up suggestion is to disable various Windows features. and other corrupted data. And there is a bigger concern -. Registry cleaners use various techniques to address this concern: ● ● ● Most back up the Registry prior to running Others log everything they change and provide a program you can run to revert the Registry back to its original state if needed Some list recommended changes and ask you to approve each before applying them If you clean the Registry. product parameters. Over time -. The technically adept may also want to defragment the Registry by running Microsoft's free PageDefrag tool. It collects obsolete entries. This web site reviews and compares five commercial registry cleaners. The free CCleaner program includes a registry cleaning option. Many web sites advocate cleaning the Registry.
Though many find this feature irritating. to a second hard disk) Change laptop power settings Many. it is fundamental to Windows security. Ditto for User Account Control. visit these web sites: InTechgrity (Windows 7) PC Tips Box (Windows 7) PCStats (Vista) PCStats (XP) WorldStart (all Windows versions) WinGeek (Windows 7) TechRepublic (Vista) TuneXP (XP) Tweak3D (XP and earlier) Tuning with Vishal (all Windows versions) . Unless you are backing up Windows by some other means. you are disabling an essential feature. many more I do not recommend turning off System Restore. For more information on advanced ideas like these and how to implement them.● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Turn off System Restore Turn off DFS Replication Service Turn off Fax and Scan Turn off Meeting Space Delete unneeded desktop icons Delete unneeded items from the Start menu Manually size the paging file Change more interface options in the desktop window manager Ensure you have the latest video drivers Ensure you have the latest device drivers for disks and other devices Update the system BIOS Turn off tablet PC Optional Components Use hot keys and quick-key shortcuts Wipe the disk and re-install Windows and all your applications Delete obsolete “favorites” from your web browser Clean up and optimize the Taskbar and Notification area Run Windows Update (Automatic Updates) manually rather than scheduled Buy a video card with more video memory Do your backups to a faster device (for example.
Disk storage holds more data than memory but is much slower to access data. 2. . If your computer doesn't have a bottleneck.) If you have a dual-core processor. Memory -. disk. Identifying and fixing the bottleneck fixes your performance problem. If your computer has a shortage in any of these basic resources – processor. and reliability. Processor – The processor runs computer programs or applications. How to Identify and Solve Performance Problems You need to be able to view and understand your computer's performance to: ● ● ● Resolve performance problems Identify where your tuning efforts will produce the biggest pay-off Determine if adding hardware will increase performance This section teaches you how to analyze your computer's performance through the Windows Task Manager.. Different parts of this guide lead you through the steps required to optimize resource use. any information in memory is lost. consistency. Disk – Since data in memory is lost when you turn off your computer. 3. understanding performance in terms of these resources helps you target your tuning efforts to best effect. memory. disk provides permanent storage for programs and data. your computer actually has two processors. First. Memory is temporary storage – when you turn off the computer. some background on how your computer works .Memory holds programs and data while they are in use by the processor. 4.3. Windows computers consist of four resources: 1.. or network connection – this could create a bottleneck that throttles the computer's overall performance. Network Connection – The key characteristics of your computer's Internet or network connection are speed. (The processor is also known as the central processing unit or CPU.
Windows 7 and Vista are on the left and XP is on the right. and networking). It is easy to use and provides all the performance data you need for tuning. and Esc (or Ctrl. .3. disk.1 How to Review and Analyze Performance Windows versions offer several different performance monitors. Shift. This is a real-time view – a view of events as they occur. Access the Task Manager by either: ● ● Simultaneously pressing three keys: Ctrl. and Del) Right-clicking anywhere blank in the Taskbar at the bottom of your screen. Alt. The panel tabs allow you to view use of various computer resources (processor. then selecting Task Manager from the pop-up menu Task Manager's Performance Panel (Vista & 7) Task Manager's Performance Panel (XP) The Task Manager's Performance tab shows you whether a processor or memory limitation is holding back your computer's performance. The next few sections show you how to read and understand the information from these panels. Here's how this panel looks. memory. This guide focuses on the Windows Task Manager because it is common to all Windows versions and is fairly well standardized.
you need to figure out why or how it happened to avoid the problem again. Something happened during this chart and our processor is being 100% consumed. You need to address your processor usage if it either: ● ● ● Remains high on a consistent. Watch this panel for awhile to verify that this is really the offender. (which for most people means buying a new computer).) Then click on the Applications tab. and the Task Manager will switch you back to the Processes tab panel with the process for that Application highlighted. You can also tell if a program has gone haywire and has frozen your system at 100% CPU usage. Since the Task Manager panel stays on top by default as you work. We can let AVG scan to conclusion or we can access the AVG control panel and terminate it normally if we need to reclaim the processor for other work. Many Windows processes run without placing a visible window on your display. If you highlight an Application listed in the Applications tab panel. If you identify a program that has frozen the system at 100% CPU. The Applications tab panel only lists processes on your computer that display a visible main window. This leads us to conclude that the AVG anti-virus scanner is running and totally consuming our processor. For now let's explore how to understand processor use from the Task Manager. then choose Go To Process from the pop-up list. You can watch as this chart draws before your eyes.” “How to Turn Off Visual Effects. What could it be? We click on the Processes tab and see the panel below. you can start and run applications while you watch how they affect CPU use.3.” An alternative is to get a faster processor. Each CPU gets its own performance curve. Click on the Task Manager's Processes tab to see exactly how much of the processor different application processes currently use. This is not unusual behavior for a virus scanner. In the Performance tab panel illustration above for XP. This shows if any application is hogging the processor. (You'll know if its CPU continues to be very high. Here's an example of how CPU analysis works.” “How to Choose and Run Efficient Programs. A process called avgsrvx. and you see that one of the applications currently running is named AVG AntiVirus Free. . so a dual-core processor displays two charts.2 How to Understand Processor Use The chart labeled CPU Usage History in the Performance tab panels above tracks what percentage of your processor is in use over time. Then we click twice on the column label CPU to sort the rows in descending order by CPU use. Use the Task Manager's Applications tab to map between the processes listed in the Processes tab and the applications you're running in screen windows.exe has 97% of the CPU. This is why there are many more processes in the Processes tab panel than Applications in the Applications tab panel. ” and “How to Prune the Start-Up List. you can right-click it. sustained basis Frequently spikes to 100% and stays there for any appreciable time Consistently remains above 5% or 10% when you're computer is idling (you're not doing anything or running any applications) Sections in this guide that show you how to reduce the load on the processor include “How to Eliminate Malware. you'll notice that the CPU Usage History recently swung up to near 100% and is dangling there.
If we don't like that it barged in on top of us and suddenly slowed our work down. Just go to Windows' Scheduled Tasks panel or AVG's own scheduler and change when the scan runs.Task Manager's Processes Panel during 100% CPU Usage (XP) If we didn't launch the AVG scan ourselves. we can assume it is probably a scheduled job. we now know how to fix it so it doesn't happen again. .
If nearly all the physical memory in your computer is in use. so Windows increases the amount of memory available to it by using a chunk of disk space as if it were memory. The actual amount of memory on your system is called physical memory. The amount of physical memory your computer has is under the column heading Physical Memory (K) and it is to the right of the label Total. The total of this physical memory plus the disk area Windows pretends is memory is called virtual memory. you also use the Performance tab panel to view memory use. The label System / Page File tells how big the paging file is and how much of it is in use. But if Windows is using a lot of paging file memory. The label Peak shows the largest amount of virtual memory used since you started your computer. In Windows 7 and Vista. Programs use as much physical memory as possible to maximize their performance. The example system above has 1534 megabytes of real memory (about 1 ½ gigabytes). For the example above. If the amount of the paging file in use approaches its maximum size. If the virtual memory total is larger than the physical memory. This memory is a valuable. that's fine. Before using the Task Manager panels. For the example above.3 How to Understand Memory Use You can view and analyze your computer's memory usage with the same Task Manager panels. you need to tune memory or buy more of it. because disk access is very slow compared to physical memory access. here are the numbers: Commit Charge (K) Total 449560 Limit 1279036 Peak 452604 Physical Memory (K) Total 522544 Available 171528 System Cache 206152 Compare the virtual memory total (Commit Charge (K) / Total) against the physical memory total (Physical Memory (K) / Total). Your computer has a certain amount of memory installed. The amount of virtual memory in use is under the column heading Commit Charge (K) and it is to the right of the label Total. Heavy use of the paging file slows your computer down. I like to see a system where less than half the paging file is in use. your computer has been forced to write data to the disk paging file and is slowing down. The disk area Windows uses to simulate memory is called the paging file. If it is a couple times the size of physical memory. your system is greatly under-performing. . the Performance tab panel tells how much physical memory is installed in your computer under the label Physical Memory (MB) / Total. you need to understand how Windows manages memory. too. that means your system could benefit either from adding memory or memory tuning. Here's how to read the Task Manager's Performance tab panels shown above to tune memory. limited resource.3. The paging file usage should be a good bit lower than the maximum for the file. For XP. here are the numbers: Physical Memory (MB) Total 1534 Cached 940 Free 36 System Handles Threads Processes Up Time Page File 18834 733 61 33:58:44 1113M / 3308M 1113 megabytes of a 3308 megabyte paging file are in use (about 1 gigabyte of a 3 gigabyte paging file).
you could reduce the number of programs your computer loads into memory when it starts.” “How to Add Memory. and you'll see how much memory each process uses. Remember that you can relate the processes to the applications you're running by clicking on the Task Manager's Applications tab. Finally.” “How to Turn Off Visual Effects. The largest amount of virtual memory ever used (Commit Charge (K) / Peak) tracks the maximum virtual memory used during the session. You might be able to configure some “memory-hog” programs to use less memory. This makes it easy to see which processes are using the most memory. opt for alternative programs to those in the list that are using most of the memory.” “How to Choose and Run Efficient Programs. To tune memory.” and “How to Turn Off Unused Services” tell how to conserve memory and use it efficiently. and the Task Manager sorts the processes in order of descending memory use. .” “How to Prune the Start-Up List. Click on the Task Manager's Processes tab. The sections in this guide entitled “How to Elminate Malware. Double-click on the Mem Usage heading. The alternative to tuning memory is to buy and install more physical memory (if possible). How to Resolve Memory Shortages There are many resolutions to memory performance problems. run the programs that use the most memory at different times to avoid them all contending for memory at the same time. Or. The section in this guide entitled “How to Add Memory” tells how to do this.Watch these numbers for awhile to ensure you see a real trend instead of a brief temporary phenomenon. You can tune the memory by reducing your use of it.
Flash drives are faster than disk because they don't have any moving parts. The speed hierarchy of device data access. If so.4 How to Understand Disk Use There are two aspects to disk use: 1. and then Details from the drop-down list.. You can add the number of disk reads and writes to the panel by checking the boxes for I/O Reads and I/O Writes. Windows needs space for its temporary and work files. Click OK to close the box and now this data appears for each process on the panel. go to the Task Manager's Processes tab panel. or seek alternative programs.. With this knowledge you can assess whether the disk input/ output or disk I/O has become a bottleneck. which expand and contract during its operations. Also consider whether the total free space you have across all disks on your computer is enough for your own future data storage needs.3. you can use the same strategies to resolve this as you might with processor and memory contention – run disk-heavy programs at different times. Or. from the fastest to the slowest. from the pop-up menu. go to: Start → Computer (or My Computer) If you don't see the details for disk space. But you can at least see which processes perform the most disk activity. . configure them to do less disk I/O. You could also buy a faster disk drive. Click View in the menu bar. is: To see how much disk activity is occurring and which processes are doing it. then choose Select Columns. To see the number of bytes transferred check the boxes for I/O Read Bytes and I/O Write Bytes. move the data files the heavy I/O program uses to a faster USB memory stick. the Recycle Bin and System Restore mean Windows always needs some free disk space available. Understanding Disk Free Space To find out how much free space is left on your disk drive(s). Disk performance – how long it takes for your computer to read data from the disk and write data to it 2. select View from the top menu bar of the Computer Panel. Disks that have less than a few gigabytes of free space are running low. Features like virtual memory. Free disk space – whether you have enough disk space for good computer performance and for your personal storage needs Understanding Disk Performance You can't do much to alter the physical characteristics of your disk drive or its performance.
.” Another solution is to add more storage to your system.” and the appendix on “How to Defragment Your Disk. Windows automatically recognizes any USB devices and makes them immediately available. Office files. textual documents.” “How to Erase Unneeded Windows Files. Compare this to how much free disk space you have left. and spreadsheets consume little disk space. You can estimate your future disk needs by thinking about how many new files you'll store and what they will contain.” “How to Erase Unneeded Data Files.Video. this guide tells how to delete unneeded programs and files to free up space. If you're low on free disk space. You could: ● ● ● Install a second internal disk Plug in an external USB disk Plug in a USB memory stick The latter two alternatives are quick and easy because you simply plug in the new device through a USB port and you're done. See these sections: “How to Uninstall Unused Programs. audio. and image files consume the most disk space.
. you can add the column Bytes Per Interval to see the throughput for your network connection. You can reinitialize it by right-clicking on the network icon in the systray and selecting Repair from the pop-up menu.5 How to Understand Network Use The Task Manager's Networking tab panel graphs networking use. . For example. Windows will attempt repair the network connection. if the network connection is being fully utilized you can see if competing processes are using the connection at the same time.3. Bytes/Sent Interval and Bytes/Received Interval break down network data transfers by direction. The Networking tab panel also shows if your Internet connection is frozen or broken.. Perhaps you could schedule the programs to run at different times or in off-hours when you're not using the computer. If this doesn't work you may have to reboot Windows or turn your modem off and on again to reinitialize the connection. as data coming into or being sent from your computer. If you select View in the menu bar and then Select Columns. from the drop-down list. Use it to tune the load you place on your network interface. The Networking tab panel shows how fast your network connection is and whether your computer is fully utilizing it.
This guide links to all the free applications it mentions.1 Where To Download Free Windows Software Windows' popularity means you can download free programs for any task.Appendices A. or software is not only illegal. videos.com Major Geeks Tucows Microsoft's Sysinternals web site has good but geeky utility programs Download only from reputable web sites and scan anything you download with your anti-virus program before installing it. . Web sites offering “pirated” or illegal software often serve up viruses and malware too. it may expose your computer to harm. Stealing music. You can also go to any of these well-known web sites to download free software: The Free Country Cnet's Download.
Windows 2000. and NT. chunks of disk storage that are used become scattered all over the disk. Windows Server 2003. In XP. Do it sometime when you can launch the operation and then go do something away from the computer for awhile. intermingled with unused portions.A.2 How to Defragment Your Disk Over time. By default Windows 7 and Vista automatically defragment your disk weekly. and the Tools tab on the right: Disk Properties' General tab panel (XP) Disk Properties' Tools tab panel (XP) . You don't have to do anything. access all Windows' disk tools by: Start → My Computer (or Computer) → right-click on the disk you want → Properties → Tools This illustration shows the Disk Properties' General tab panel on the left. the Defrag utility does not run by default.9 How to Erase Unneeded Windows Files To manually defrag. You'll definitely want to run it after you've completed the recommendations from sections in this guide that delete data from your hard disk: 2.7 How to Uninstall Unused Programs 2. “Defraging” is a simple operation that requires little effort on your part (though it may tie up your computer for an hour). This speeds disk access and increases system performance. Defragmentation consolidates in-use disk storage.8 How to Erase Unneeded Data Files 2.
Click on the Error-checking / Check Now. After completing a disk check. If Windows is currently using the disk. Highlight the disk you want to defragment. Simply click the Defragment Now... . This is Windows' built-in disk cleanup tool. You want to verify the integrity of the disk prior to defrag'ing.” The Tools tab panel on the right above allows you to check the disk for errors. you are ready to defragment the disk.. The bar chart illustrates how fragmented the disk space is: Windows responds with a message box telling whether you need to defragment the disk. Note the Disk Cleanup button. button. then click the Analyze button in the lower left of the panel. Windows responds by presenting the Disk Defragmenter panel below that displays information about all your computer's disks. If Windows does not recommend defragmenting the volume. you can continue to use the disk and its files while defragmentation runs. It's easy to use – just press the button – but not nearly as thorough as free products like CCleaner described in “How to Erase Unneeded Data Files..The General tab panel on the left shows the size of the disk and how much space is used and free. click the Defragment button and Windows will go to work. button in the Tools tab panel above. just click on the Close button and don't bother to defrag. If the message says You should defragment this volume. Windows responds with this: The Check Disk panel (XP) Check both options and click Start. Unlike Disk Checking. it will ask you if it's ok to automatically run the disk check next time Windows boots. Select Yes and disk check runs next time you start up Windows.
The big problem with older Windows versions is their vulnerability to malware. you can tune up these Windows versions using the advice in this guide. social networking. A Better Alternative: Install Puppy Linux An alternative to tuning old Windows versions is to install Puppy Linux instead. Since it is immune to malware (like all Linuxes). web research. (Just turn on Puppy's bundled firewall. and a farmer who runs a dedicated application that requires Windows 98 and won't run on newer versions. email. Download this equivalent free program to view and analyze performance instead. This increases performance because the processor doesn't have to support the overhead of Windows' anti-malware programs. it probably runs Windows ME. file transfer Play audio off the web. A better question is: what can't an older computer running Puppy Linux do? This depends on the limitations of your hardware. Can you use the techniques in this guide to tune-up these computers? And will the computer be of use if you do? Yes. This makes it difficult to secure old Windows computers to connect them to the Internet.3 What About Windows ME. you can connect to the Internet without worries. 95. burn CD's or DVD's. Systems manufactured prior to 2000 usually can not: . view. Free anti-malware programs increasingly no longer support them. personal information manager Web surfing. You can use USB memory sticks. calculator. instant messaging and chat. Perhaps the single biggest difference is that the Task Manager does not have all the useful features of the current Task Manager. Some of the settings panels differ but the techniques still apply.A. spreadsheets. If you don't need an Internet connection these old computers might still be useful. read Microsoft Office files. 98. web page editing. The anti-malware products that do run on these systems overwhelm their limited CPU and memory resources. 98SE. Neither is Internet-connected. convert and mix audio. file editing. and NT ? If you purchased a consumer computer prior to the introduction of Windows XP in 2001. and manage photos. play an audio CD. view and edit images Download free software from the web. Or perhaps it runs Windows NT. This Linux version is specifically designed to run on older computers.) What can you do with a computer running Puppy Linux? This chart gives an idea: Area: Office Internet Multimedia More Tasks: Word processing. edit. 98. and use wireless Internet connections – as long as you have the supporting hardware. Microsoft no longer provides security updates for them. scan photos. or 95. email. view PDF files. Examples I've seen include a writer who uses an old Windows computer in her second bedroom as a word processor.
you'll have to add the hardware.● ● ● ● ● Perform more than a single task at a time Smoothly run web video (like YouTube) Store many multimedia files Web surfing might be slower. Puppy runs entirely from memory if the computer has just 256 megabytes. Old memory is cheap and Puppy Linux is designed to leverage it to overcome the processor limitations of old computers. garage. or to perform specific tasks. This eliminates slow disk access and speeds up all operations. depending on the speed and consistency of your Internet connection and the presence of graphics in the web pages you view If you want features based on hardware popularized after 2000. as backup if your primary computer fails. Puppy Linux can turn an old computer in your basement. Use these computers for safe web surfing. The section entitled “How to Add Memory” tells how to do this. The main screen shows what you can do with Puppy Linux on an older computer . as an extra machine for the kids. Be sure to add as much memory as possible to any computer you revitalize with Puppy Linux. or attic into something useful. Wireless Internet connections and DVD's are examples.
Windows can not run without a valid Registry.A.4 Glossary You can find definitions and explanations of any technical term at Wikipedia. configuration. and the like.abbreviated G or GB –one million bytes or characters of data (officially 1. Restore Point – a backup of vital Windows operating information you create via the System Protection feature (called System Restore in XP) Service – a Windows program that is part of the operating system and provides services Start-up List – the list of programs that start when Windows boots Task Manager – a Windows component for measuring real-time performance. DVD. or CompactFlash. Uninstall – aka de-install -. Commonly used for measuring processor speed. SD card. Processor – see CPU ReadyBoost – a Windows 7 and Vista feature that allows you compensate for insufficient computer memory by adding a USB memory stick (or flash drive). licensing data.the process of removing a program from a Windows computer . Commonly used for measuring processor speed Memory – stores programs and data while the computer is in use. This information is lost when the computer is shut down.024. Memory consists of a number of semiconductor chips permanently mounted on a memory stick. Most drives today stores gigabytes.any program that has been installed on your computer without your knowledge or consent. Registry – storage maintained and secured by Windows that contains vital operational data. Backup – a copy of your disk data on some other media (CD. or billions of characters of data Dual-Core Processor – a computer with a dual-core processor has two CPU's Gigabytes -.abbreviated M or MB –one million bytes or characters of data (officially 1. Access it by CTL + SHIFT + ESC.024. such as settings. USB flash drive. Kilobytes – abbreviated K or KB --one thousand bytes or characters of data (officially 1.000 bytes) Megahertz – abbreviated mhz – one million times per second.024 bytes) Linux – a competing operating system to Windows that typically requires fewer computer resources and can coreside with Windows on a computer Malware . etc) that you keep somewhere safe away from the computer Bottleneck – a shortage of one resource that slows down computer performance Control Panel – the Windows panel that gives you access to all its tunable settings CPU – Central Processor Unit – the computer component that executes or runs programs or applications Defragmentation – making used disk allocations contiguous to speed data access Disk – A hard disk or disk drive permanently saves programs and data. You can not tune Windows until you remove any hidden malware first Megabytes -.000 bytes) Gigahertz – abbreviated ghz – one billion times per second.
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