The following three ways mainly applies to computers running Windows operating systems like Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista and XP. Rlated: 5 Things You Can Do With Your Old Computer
Remove Spyware and Viruses
One of the biggest culprits of a slow and sluggish computer is spyware and viruses. Many spyware and virus programs collect on computers as people browse around the Internet or unsecured networks. Computers with anti-virus programs are not immune to getting them either. However, if a computer has no sort of anti-virus program they are exponentially more prone to getting infected.
Many virus and spyware programs are simply a nuisance. They will get inside the computer and run, show unwanted advertisements or a range of other annoying things. They will, however, not do any direct damage to the computer. On the other hand, there are viruses and spyware programs that will do a great deal of damage to the PC by erasing files, sending personal information to nefarious people and spreading around a network or among your contacts. There are ways to protect a PC from both of these scenarios, however.
One good free tool to use is Microsoft Security Essentials. It is free for home users and acts as a barrier to virus and spyware programs. The program is installed on a computer and a process will run in the background acting as a shield for the computer. If it senses anything trying to be installed on your computer or notices a suspicious file it will block the action. Furthermore, it will update on regular intervals. Since there are new threats released every day that is important feature. Without regular updates, a computer is only secure as its last update.
Not only will it protect the computer from future threats, it will also scan the computer for anything that may already be present on the system. It is a good idea to run a full scan after installation if no other anti-virus program was previously installed on the computer. If it catches anything it can be set to delete the threat or place it in a special quarantine location away from other important files.
Run Disk Defragmenter to Speed Up File Access
Over time a computer will have a harder time accessing files on the hard drive. This is primarily due to disk fragmentation. As new files are created, pieces of the file are placed on the hard drive in free spaces that are found. They are not necessarily in contiguous spaces. Therefore, the operating system may have to search across several parts of a disk to find all the pieces before rendering it.
Running the disk defragmenter with Windows will put all the fragmented pieces in contiguous places. This will speed up writing to and reading from the disk.
Running disk defragmentation can take a fair amount of system resources to run and can make working on the computer difficult while it is occurring. One can still work during the process, but it will need to be understood that working during this process will be slower. It is a good idea to run the process after hours when the computer will not be used. The process can take hours to run if it has not been done in quite some time.
Get Rid of Unneeded Files
A computer will also slow down if the hard drive gets low on disk space. It is a good idea to regularly clean up unneeded files from the hard drive or archive them to another location. There is a tool in Windows called Disk Cleanup that can make the process easy to identify files that need to be removed. It will scan through standard places on the computer that tend to accumulate unnecessary files. This will include anything from temporary Internet files to installed programs that are rarely used. It reports back in an easy to read format that lets one decide what should be removed. The files it shows are all safe to remove, and it is up to the user if they want to keep them or not.
These three ways will help any sluggish PC get back to its former self. There are many other optimization tips that can be done to make a PC perform even faster, but they are a bit more advanced or can require a small investment. It is hoped that anyone looking for a free and simple way to optimize their PC will find some use from the three ways outlined here.