TUCOWS ARTICLE

How to Increase Computer Performance

Learn about things you can do to keep your computer running smoothly. Find out about defragmentation, cleaning the Registry, getting protection against viruses and more.
Published: Oct 3, 2005
Author: Michael E, Callahan
Software that can help Good for Cow Rating
Rising Antivirus 2011 23.00
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PC Tools Spyware Doctor 2011 Build 9
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TuneUp Utilities 2012
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Download TuneUp Utilities Version 2010. Enjoy Your PC: fast, stable, customized!
Spybot - Search and Destroy 2.1
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Download Spybot - Search & Destroy detects and removes spyware, a relatively new kind of threat not...
Registry Mechanic 9.0
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Advanced System Optimizer 3.0
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Vexira Antivirus for Windows 2
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Download This is a virus defense system designed for easy and dependable virus prevention on...
Registry First Aid 9.3
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Download This program cleans the registry to speed up your computer and stop program crashes.
F-PROT Antivirus for Windows 6.0.9.6
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System Mechanic 11.0.5.2
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This question submitted by Alicia James, Martin Faulkner, Betty Sims, Alex Court, Bill Gray and numerous others.

Back in the days of DOS computers were relatively easy to take care of.About the biggest thing you had to worry about was a hard disk crash or perhaps corruption of the File Allocation Table or FAT. Yes, disks got fragmented, but then back in the early days disks were small. For years (from about 1985 to 1991) I had a 20 megabyte, that's megabyte, hard disk. Then Windows became more prevalent, computers started to evolve and everything got faster. Computers got smaller, hard disks got bigger and overall everything got cheaper.

Even today, however, a computer is a substantial investment and you want to take care of that investment. With just a little care you can make a computer last a long time. It's easy to do and doesn't take much time or effort. And, in the long run, if you take care of your computer you'll be able to enjoy it more. So, lets take a look at some things you can do to keep your computer happy, healthy and running smoothly.

Defragment

There's no complex explanation needed - hard disks get fragmented! The process of installing and uninstalling software guarantees it. In the near future there'll be a "Tell Me About..." article on hard disk fragmentation, but for now just know that your hard disk is destined to get fragmented. Fragmentation concerns the way files, from programs and data, are laid down on the hard disk. It isn't like your hard disk becomes physically fragmented, but if the disk becomes too fragmented it may seem like your disk is cracked.

When you hard disk becomes fragmented it makes the hard disk work harder. That makes your computer seem slower. Sometimes it makes it seem a lot slower. Unlike some categories of software, the number of titles that handle disk fragmentation is relatively short. My personal choice is DiskeeperProfessional by Executive Software. The link points to their server edition, but they also have Home and Professional versions. What I like about Diskeeper is that it has a feature to Set It And Forget It! On all my computers Diskeeper comes on every night around 10:00p.m. and it can run until 4:00 a.m. I like the program because it can run when I'm not working and perhaps more importantly, I know the defragmenting gets done. It can't be forgotten when I get really busy.So, no matter how you do it, keep your hard disk defragmented. It will make your computer run faster and smoother. It will also make your hard disk last longer.

Virus Protection

There are lots of computer viruses out there in circulation.There are also worms, trojans, and bombs. For our purposes here I'm going to lump all these things under the term "viruses." One of the fastest ways to destroy your computer is to not protect it against virus infections. While some viruses are primarily just an annoyance, many can be very destructive. They can ruin your files and data, and even trash your hard disk. To keep your computer in the best of health it only makes sense to have anti-virus software running and to keep it UPDATED! It does no good to have anti-virus software if you don't keep it updated. It's like having a life insurance policy and not paying on it. There are a number of anti-virus programs you can check out, including:

I personally use McAfee VirusScan and I have an on-going subscription for it for each of my computers. I like it because it updates itself while I'm online, which is all the time. It does an efficient job, it's fast and also thorough. Whatever anti-virus program you use remember that the most important thing is to keep it updated.

Spyware Protection

Spyware and Adware have been big topics recently. People are concerned about their privacy and rightly so! Both spyware and adware can work to slow down your computer and they can cause lots of other problems as well. To find out more about "Adware" check out this article entitled, What Is Adware? You can also find out more about spyware in another article, entitled What Is Spyware?. The key thing is that you protect yourself and your computer by running software that will eliminate these threats.Just a few of the available programs include:

I personally use GhostSurf Platinum 2006 because it's a combination product that protects against adware/spyware and protects my privacy on the Internet. Whichever program you decide to use make sure you keep it up-to-date!

Registry Cleaning and Repair

The Windows Registry contains the sum of everything that is on your computer. Unfortunately, it also often contains a bunch of things thatused to be on your computer that weren't properly removed. This junk and clutter enlarges the size of the Registry and makes it less efficient. Kind of like a fragmented hard disk. So, to keep your computer running at its top performance, I'd suggest using a program to clean up the Registry. Just a few of the programs available include:

Combination Programs

There are several excellent programs that can perform multiple functions and help to keep your computer running smoothly. The programs can clean the Registry, remove junk files, alter the way Windows looks and acts,and lots more. A few of my favorites include:

I personally use TuneUp Utilities 2006, which was just released. It cleans up junk files, cleans and defragments the Registry, analyzes programs that load on startup and lots more.

Summing It Up

Your computer is an investment that you want to take care of. If youtake care of your computer your computer will take care of you and last longer. By defragmenting the hard drive, protecting against viruses and spyware, cleaning the Registry and removing junk files, you can keep your computer running like it should.

I'd like to thank Alicia James, Martin Faulkner, Betty Sims, AlexCourt, Bill Gray and numerous others for asking this question.

If you have a question on how to do something on the computer you can submit it via e-mail by clicking HERE. You will not receive a reply, but all topics will be considered.


About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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