How to Fix a slow computer

This article is for beginner to moderate PC users.  This does not require any great skill or knowledge of coding languages, but it does require some investigative work and patience so that you do not foul up your system by removing something vital.  This is a step by step guide on how to get a new or old computer optimized and running smoothly.  If you don’t know what kind of anti-viral software to use I can give you a couple great choices.  If you already have viruses and mal-ware all over your computer I can give you some nice removal tools that will get you cleaned up.

Let’s get right to it.

Step 1: Virus & Malware Removal

Before you do anything remove whatever crappy anti-viral programs you already use.  No, you don’t need Norton- it sucks and I can think of about 100 viruses it won’t stop.  REMOVE IT!  Download Avast! Anti-Virus for free here, then download Malwarebytes from here.  Once you have these both installed run a scan first with one and then the other.  Don’t run them both at once or you’ll be waiting hours for them to finish.  If you visit questionable websites quite often this could take awhile since you probably have all kinds of wonderful malware and spyware hiding on your hard drive just itching and ready to steal your identity and go shopping in Nigeria with their programmers.  Find something else to do while these are running as the first run can take an hour or more.  Once they finish remove all the garbage they find and move onto the next step.

Step 2: Removing Resource Hogs

You just installed Windows 7, or maybe you’re running an older copy of XP- either way this will work.  Let’s start off by eliminating some of the nasty things that are wasting precious system resources.

Go to your START menu in the lower left hand corner of the screen.  Click RUN or click in the white SEARCH area provided.  Type in “msconfig” and hit enter.  A window will open up with various tabs at the top.  This is the System Configuration Utility Tool.  Don’t touch any of the tabs except STARTUP.  Click STARTUP and you will see a huge list of items with check marks to the left of them.  This is all the junk that is loading up when your computer starts!  What a waste!  Some of this stuff is completely useless and wastes large amounts of system resources.  Slowly scroll through the list and take your time looking at each one.  What does it do?  What company is responsible for putting it on your computer?  Is it really needed?  Don’t just start un-checking everything under the sun.  You need to make sure that you aren’t disabling vital system tools that load at startup.

One by one search for the names of these various items on  The other option is to just download and run this program: Security Task Manager.

Once you have found which programs are not necessary to start each time you load your computer uncheck them and exit the program.  It will prompt you to restart to make the changes.  Restart your computer and when you load back into Windows make sure everything is functioning as you need it.  If something that you utilize does not load or your get any strange error messages you might want to check your settings again by repeating the steps above and checking the boxes of anything you disabled that might have been a guess or incorrect choice on your part.  Most of this is very self explanitory.  There might be an executable that pre-loads Microsoft Office 2010.  All this does is makes it so that when you start your computer it pre-loads some of the files to start Office.  Then if you start Office it loads faster.  I frankly don’t care if anything loads faster since I use my computer for different uses every time I start it.  So I just uncheck almost everything so my computer as a whole runs smoother.

Step 3: Speed or Appearance?

The next step is to click on your start menu again and mouse over MY COMPUTER/COMPUTER.  If you’re using Windows XP Right click MY COMPUTER/COMPUTER and select PROPERTIES.  Next select PERFORMANCE.  If you’re using Windows 7 RIGHT click on COMPUTER select PROPERTIES, then select ADVANCED SYSTEM SETTINGS and finally PERFORMANCE.  You will see three options here, adjust PC for performance, appearance, or let Windows decide.  Windows will usually decide on appearance because it wants to show you a flashy show.  Unless you care about your graphical presentation select PERFORMANCE, click APPLY and OK.  You will notice that your Windows operating system immediately looks more primitive.  Don’t worry, try and out and I think you’ll stick with it.  Try opening up a program like Adobe Photoshop that usually takes a long time to load.  You should see that the program opens with blazing speed!

Congrats, you have sped your PC up and eliminated unnecessary programs that were hogging your resources!  I’ll continue with additional tutorials in the future so be sure and check back or visit JGN Web Development for more computer and web tools and tips for free.  That is my other blog where I delve deeper into all things computer & internet.  Thanks for reading!



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About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games /, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook.