(Originally posted 12 Sept 2007)
I am often asked how to fix a computer that seems to run slower than normal. Typically barring physical problems with the computer’s hard drive or viral infection routine maintenance will keep a good computer running for many years.
1) Clean the Temp File – Windows is notorious for storing a large number of files in a Temp directory. Cleaning these out tends to speed up system responses. Find these by doing the following:
Restart the computer, make sure all programs are closed before proceeding.
Open Start -> Run
Type in c:\docume~1\%username%\LocalS~1\Temp
From the window that opens select all the files in the Temp directory and delete them. You will get some files that do not delete, you should deselect these and continue until all (as many) files are removed.
2) Clean the Recycle Bin out.
* Note: Before proceeding you may wish to open the Recycle Bin and examine the files in here. It might be time to permanently take out the trash.
From your desktop right mouse click on the Recycle Bin, select Empty Recycle Bin from the menu.
3) Defragment drive
This is a good step to do monthly or whenever system performance seems to fall. Ensure all windows and programs are closed on the computer.
1)Open Start -> Run
Type in defrag c: -f -v
Allow the black window to appear. Note: This step can take minutes to hours to run. Plan accordingly. It can be canceled at anytime. You will know it completes when the window disappears.
Note the line Average fragments per file. A general rule of thumb (my thumb) is when this number exceeds 1.3 you will benefit by allowing this entire process to finish.
Another interesting note will be to examine the Percent free space at the top of the report. Numbers below 10% suggest a larger hard drive is need for your existing files.
4) Rogue Programs
This is difficult to assess without a thorough interview of the user(s). Sometimes programs like WeatherBug, file sharing software or others downloaded from the internet can be running in the background. Enough of these and the computer can seem to slow.