Slow Computer?

Do you remember when you first got your computer, how fast it was! It was great! But little by little it got slower and slower and you don't know why!

Do you perform all the recommended maintenance on a regular basis? I mean the things like deleting your Temporary Internet files (TIFs) and running Scandisk (For Windows 9x) and Defrag (all versions of Windows) and keeping your Window Temp file cleaned. If you don't do these simple maintenance chores, Windows will slow down and may just choke on all the stuff that accumulates with time.

If you are running low on disk space, remove (uninstall) old programs you no longer use. Run the Disk Cleanup utility found in Programs/Accessories/System Tools.

Ok, so you do all of these things and your computer is still running oh so slow! Well, maybe you have too many things loading up at Startup and running in the background. Nearly every software program you have installed is probably doing just that. For some reason the programmers of every program seem to think you want their programs to Startup and/or run all the time! Unless it is a virus scanner or your firewall there is no reason for this behavior! These programs will start just fine whenever you decide to open them, so lets see if we can't stop them from starting up.

If you are using Windows 98, 98SE, ME, and XP, you have a nifty little utility built into your version of Windows called MSCONFIG. Using MSCONFIG, you can find out just what is loading up when you start Windows and you can stop everything you don't want to start.

Here's how:
Click on your Start button and select Run. Type MSCONFIG into the Open field. (Figure 1 on the side panel)

This brings up a dialog box with a lot of tabs across the top. Click on the tab named Start. (Figure 2)

This opens a dialog box with a lot of stuff in it and everything you see with a checked box is loading up into Windows every time you start your computer! (Figure 3)

Most of this stuff doesn't need to load, but there are a few things Windows needs. Those are:

  • ScanRegistry
  • TaskMonitor
  • SystemTray
  • LoadPowerProfile
  • Your antivirus program
  • Your firewall program

If you don't see one or two these items in your list of startup items, that's ok. You may not have a LoadPowerProfile while others may have two. If you have one, don't uncheck it. You may not have a firewall, but you really should. And if you don't have a virus scanner, shame on you!  (Only one, please!)

So you can uncheck just about all of the other stuff and Windows will load faster and run better. If you find that you really want something to load, you can always go back to MSCONFIG and put the check mark back. And don't for get to press the apply button!

Windows 95, Windows NT and Windows 2000 don't come with MSCONFIG. But not to worry, you can download a utility that will work called Startup Control Panel. Windows 2000 users and Windows NT users can download the MSCONFIG for Windows XP from the TechGuide. (It's the last download listed)

Once you make a change in MSCONFIG and press 'Apply', you will get a notice that you have to restart your system for the changes to take place. When you do restart (and you don't have to right away), you may have a dialog box (the System Configuration Utility) come up telling you that you have made selective changes to your system. To keep from seeing this dialog every time you reboot, just put a checkmark in the box in the lower left corner before you click the ok button to close the dialog.

If all of this doesn't help your computer, you probably have (shudder) spyware slowing your computer to a crawl. Just go to the spyware section on this site to find out how to remove spyware.

There is one other thing to consider, your security programs could be causing the slow down. Some of the more popular Internet Security Suites use a 'LOT' of system resources. If you have tried everything else, and your computer is still running too slow, try disabling your anti-virus and use one of the free anti-virus scanners as a test to see if you can tell the difference. However, please be aware, some security suites are VERY hard to remove. Norton and McAfee come to mind, with Norton (Symantec) being the most difficult. And if you are using more than one anti-virus scanner, Bingo! That probably is the problem! Never use more than one antivirus scanner at a time!

PC Maintenance