Desktop performance tuning tips

Written by michael roennevig Google
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Desktop performance tuning tips
Tweaking your OS could boost your desktop's performance. (Getty Thinkstock)

If your desktop computer's behaving sluggishly and you can't afford to shell out for a new one, taking some time to tune up your operating system and tweak your hardware could dramatically improve its performance. You can improve the speed of your PC without spending any money, but could see even better results if you're willing to loosen the purse strings a little.

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Start up

If you've got a lot of programs launching automatically when you start your computer, it could slow your boot time and put unnecessary pressure on your CPU. You can close down background programs by selecting them individually from your system tray, but you'll be better off stopping them from launching automatically . Download "Autoruns for Windows" to identify and stop software that launches automatically when you start your machine (see Resources).

Disk Cleanup and Defragmenter

Disk Cleanup deletes temporary files from your hard drive that could be slowing your computer's performance. Disk Defragmenter makes sure all your program files are in the right place. If your program files are fragmented, your computer will have to work harder to find them, which can slow it down. Click "Start" and search for "Disc Cleanup" and follow the instructions to delete your temporary files. Then search "Disk Defragmenter" and analyse your hard drive to see if it needs defragmenting.


As well as stealing your personal information and making your computer do things you don't want it to do, viruses and malware can seriously slow your system down. Regularly run a full scan of your hard drive with an anti-virus program and delete any malware you find. Avoid opening suspicious emails, visiting "rouge" websites and downloading content from torrent sites. These activities will increase your computer's chances of becoming infected.

Random access memory

Top up your device's random access memory, especially if you have an older machine with low memory. You can buy additional memory from your computer's manufacturer or online from RAM specialists relatively cheaply. You'll usually be able to fit it yourself, but will need to consult your machine's user guide before you do so, making sure to follow any safety instructions to the letter.

Unused programs

Getting rid of programs you never use can free up space on your hard drive and make your computer run more efficiently. Click "Start," go to your "Control panel" and select "Uninstall a program" under "Programs." Review your installed programs and delete anything you no longer use by highlighting it, clicking on "Uninstall" and following the onscreen instructions. Don't uninstall anything you don't recognise. Doing so could adversely affect the performance of your computer and cause other programs not to work properly.

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