5 Essential Windows Housekeeping Tips

5 Windows Housekeeping Tips BrushEasy Steps To A Faster, Cleaner Windows XP, Vista or 7!

I guess we’ve all noticed all to often how Windows slows down gradually over time and eventually comes to a halt.

A friend of mine recently replaced his old PC and it was only after he started using the new one did he realise just how slow the old one was!

Well it doesn’t have to be this way and you shouldn’t have to replace your PC to optimize and speed it up.

By following these 5 simple steps about once a month your PC should continue at a fairly good pace for longer.

1)  Update Everything That Matters

That mean’s update the important files and programs such as:

  • Update Windows: Run Windows Update service by opening Internet Explorer and going to the URL https://windowsupdate.microsoft.com.
    You can also update Windows by doing the following:
    • Windows XP: Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > Windows Update or you can configure XP to install updates automatically by clicking Start > All Programs > Control Panel > Automatic Updates
    • Windows Vista/7: Click Start > Control Panel > Windows Update > Install Updates (using Classic View) or Click Start > Control Panel > Security > Check for updates
  • Update your Anti-virus & Other Security Software – Most of these programs update themselves as long as you’re paying that is!  If your antivirus has expired and keeps reminding you to update then either renew it or check out a free anti-virus such as Avast.

2)  Remove Unused Programs

You put ’em in there now take ’em out again!  If you take a look down the list of installed programs on your PC can you honestly tell me that you use them all regularly?

OK, so it’s fun downloading and installing programs. And it’s fun using them once or twice and forgetting about them or deciding they weren’t for you or letting the 30 day trial run out!

The reality is, every program you install chips away at the speed of Windows.  They clog the registry, fill your hard disk and often add something that automatically starts with Windows.  Some of them also add unwanted toolbars and plugins to your web browser which can be frustrating.

Take a look an your installed programs by following the below instructions.  You can then uninstall a bunch of them that you don’t use:

  • Windows XP: Click Start > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs
  • Windows Vista or Windows 7: Click Start button > Control Panel > Programs and Features

If you’d prefer to use a third party uninstaller then check out QuickClean from McAfee.  It’s not free but it’s very effective.

3)  Delete the Junk

This step is easiest and probably most effective.

Windows has a built in tool called Disk Cleanup but I find it to be clunky and ineffective.  I recommend downloading  the following tool which is free and highly effective.  It’s called CCleaner from Piriform and is totally free.

CCleaner: Download Piriform CCleaner

4)  Stop Startup!

Did you know that there are a ton of programs that load their own little piece of binary into your PC’s memory when Windows starts up?  A lot of them are represented by those tiny icons down beside the clock but many of them don’t show up at all and are simply running in the background.

Usually these programs are harmless and actually have a legitimate function but more often than not you just don’t need them starting with Windows and can safely remove the command that makes them start automatically.

The easiest way to do this is to open up CCleaner again (from Step 3) and then click the Tools button on the left navigator following by Startup.  Be careful what you remove.  Try removing only programs you know you don’t need to start automatically.  For other’s either Google it or post a comment below to see if it’s safe to remove.

5)  Defragment

And finally defragmenting. This often takes a while (maybe an hour) but it is well worth doing once a month. I tend to start it and go to bed so it can run without interruption.  You shouldn’t use your PC while this is running.

Defragmenting or defraging your hard disk basically moves pieces of data into contiguous order so that they your hard disk doesnt have to go to different parts of the disk when reading a single file.

I could go into shocking detail about this but instead you can just read more on this very comprehensive Wikipedia page if you’re that interested.

All I need to tell you for the purposes of this article is that it’s good for speed!

  • Windows XP: Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter > Select a Disk > click Defragment
  • Windows Vista/7: Click Start button > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter > Select a Disk > click Defragment Disk

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