I received a call the other night from a friend who was complaining that her PC was running horribly slow and taking forever to boot. Naturally this only became a real problem when her online games were so slow that she couldn’t keep up.
As is typical in these situation there were two questions running around in her head:
- Do I have a virus?
- Is my PC so old that I have to get a new one?
The answer to the first one is…possibly. But if you have an updated anti-virus installed (and see my earlier post here if you don’t!) then you are probably safe.
The answer to the second one is…it depends on what you are doing with it. If all you do is check in with your friends on Facebook then the chances are that there is plenty of life in the old dog yet.
So, if the PC is OK and we don’t have a virus then what could be causing such bad behavior? The most likely answer is the dreaded Bloatware! <cue organ music and loud scream>. Once installed bloatware sits there sucking the life out of your poor PC forever.
Let’s start by looking at that slow boot time.
When Windows starts it loads a number of programs during the startup. When you install software companies often add their own items to the list of programs that start every time you turn on your machine.
These can be helpful, such as a program to start iTunes when you plug in your phone, but others do nothing more than run regular checks on their software to make sure that you are running their latest version – but do you really need that running all the time? Finally others are much nastier and can do things such as monitor your internet traffic and pass information back to the mother ship.
One clue that you have too many of these things is to look in the bottom right hand corner of your screen. If you have a ton of little icons sitting in the tray near the clock then there is a good chance that you have too much junk in your computers startup. Just because they are there doesn’t mean they are bad, but you should know exactly what every one of those does and make a conscious decision to keep them.
Let’s start by getting rid of any startup programs that are not adding value. After all, once these things load they typically stick around in your computer’s memory and just get in the way. But which ones should you keep and which should you get rid of? A little detective work is necessary here, but don’t worry, it’s not that hard. In most cases simply typing in the name of the program (including the .exe) into Google will pull up search results that will tell you what it is, whether it is dangerous, and whether it should be there.
Once you figure out what to keep and what to get rid of, here’s a nice little article that covers how to remove things using the built-in msconfig.exe utility or, my favorite, ccleaner. http://www.howtogeek.com/74523/how-to-disable-startup-programs-in-windows/
Next, let’s take a look at that browser. In the case of my friends PC she had 5 browser toolbars running. I’m surprised she had any room to see any web pages at all!
So if your browser looks like this
then it might be time to consider getting rid of a few things. One way to do it is to go into your browser settings and disable them. That works fine if you think you might want it back one day, but if you aren’t using the darn things anyway then why is it even allowed on your machine? In those cases the better option is to to remove it completely.
Here’s a simple post that shows how to get rid of those pesky things entirely. So here’s another post that will help you take care of that:
In the case of my friend about 30 minutes work (plus about 15 minutes waiting for reboots) had her PC booting quickly and surfing like a Hawaiian native and I (naturally) was once again the hero.
If you can follow a recipe then you can clean up your PC and have it running like new, so why put up with a slow PC ?