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You’ve had your computer for some time now and it’s been a match made in paradise. That is, until you noticed that your computer no longer runs like it used to. What took a couple of seconds to load now takes a couple of minutes, and you need a change.

I have good news and bad news. The good news is, it’s surprisingly easy to speed up your PC How to Speed Up Windows 10 From Boot to Shut Down How to Speed Up Windows 10 From Boot to Shut Down Registry tweaks and ominous cleaners rarely fix a slow computer. We have compiled a list of tried-and-true methods that will give your Windows 10 computer an instant performance boost. Read More . The bad news? It takes a while to wade through the false methods and cheap tricks found online before achieving actual results.

Plenty of online resources promise to speed up and boost your computer speed. Unfortunately, these product rarely if ever have an effect on PC performance. Use this list to scope out the real from the fake!

1. Performance / Gaming Optimizers

Countless software packages considered optimizers or boosters promise to optimize your PC for gaming or general use. Unfortunately, they will rarely if ever provide a performance boost.

razer_booster

The main issue with PC boosters are their methods of “boosting your computer”. Instead of overclocking your hardware or optimizing your RAM usage Everything You Need to Know About RAM & Memory Management Everything You Need to Know About RAM & Memory Management RAM is your computer's short term memory. Hence, memory management has a significant impact on system performance. Here we explain how RAM works and whether you can do anything to increase its efficiency. Read More , boosters only shut down background processes and services. That’s it. Furthermore, they may drag down performance by running in the background themselves.

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Task Manager 10 Windows Task Manager Tricks You Didn't Know 10 Windows Task Manager Tricks You Didn't Know If the only time you open the Task Manager is when an application is frozen and needs to be killed, you're overlooking some of its more powerful features. Read More provides the same functionality as performance boosters without the need of a third-party application. Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC on your keyboard to open Task Manager.  Click on the CPU tab to order the programs by % of CPU usage. Then right-click any unnecessary running programs and click End task. Programs like Microsoft Autoruns will give you even more control over your running processes How to Manage Windows Startup Programs with Autoruns How to Manage Windows Startup Programs with Autoruns Every power user has wrestled with their Windows startup at one point or another. We show you how to speed up your boot time, either manually or with Autoruns, a tool from Microsoft. Read More .

end_task_manager

Afterward, select the Startup tab and begin disabling unnecessary programs Remove Windows Startup Items to Fix Your Slow Computer for Free Remove Windows Startup Items to Fix Your Slow Computer for Free Programs launching at boot can affect both the Windows startup speed and your computer's overall performance. Fix your slow computer by removing applications from auto-start. We show you how to catch them all. Read More . This will prevent nagging startup programs from hindering PC performance. Then, configure the services running on your computer. Press WIN KEY + R on your keyboard and enter msconfig into the prompt. Select the Services tab in the System Configuration window and check Hide all Microsoft entries. Go over the entries list and uncheck unnecessary programs like toolbars and background scanners. Apply the settings and restart your PC.

You can also use task manager to set program priorities as well, which boosts program performance. Right-click an item from the list and select Go to details. Right-click the item again and Set priority to Above normal or High.

set_priority

2. PC Cleaners

PC cleaners Use This PC Cleaner Software To Keep Windows Running Smoothly Use This PC Cleaner Software To Keep Windows Running Smoothly Overzealous PC cleaning can break things, but some cleaning will help you free up space and keep your system running quickly. Read More differ from PC boosters. PC boosters stop certain processes on your computer. PC cleaners promise to clean your registry, delete your Internet cache, and free up disk space — all methods that do not contribute to computer speed How To Really Speed Up Your Computer - Common Myths & What To Do Instead How To Really Speed Up Your Computer - Common Myths & What To Do Instead Suffering from a slow computer? You might not know why and maybe you're trying to fix it in all the wrong ways. Let us help you with tips for a real speed boost. Read More .

pc_cleaner_pro

PC cleaners typically wipe three key areas 7 Hidden Windows Caches & How to Clear Them 7 Hidden Windows Caches & How to Clear Them Cached files can take up a lot of bytes. While dedicated tools can help you free up disk space, they might not clear it all. We show you how to manually release storage space. Read More : browser caches, browser history, and your recycle bin.

Temporary Internet files and browser history accumulate from browsing the Internet. Over time, you could develop several GBs of these files on your hard drive. Cleaning these files may seem useful, but will not contribute to PC or website load speeds, unless you’re running out of space on your system drive.

Browsers caches actually work to load pages faster Everything You Need to Know About the Browser Cache [MakeUseOf Explains] Everything You Need to Know About the Browser Cache [MakeUseOf Explains] Whenever you have an issue with a website, one of the first suggestions you will hear from IT support is "try to clear your browser cache" along with "and delete your cookies". So what is... Read More , so this process may end up making slow Internet connection issues worse.

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CCleaner is a popular and highly regarded cleaning application The Best Windows Cleaning Tool Gets A Disk Analyzer The Best Windows Cleaning Tool Gets A Disk Analyzer You can now clean crap more efficiently with CCleaner v5. The new disk analyzer feature reveals what files are hogging space. See how it complements CCleaner's proven junk removing tools. Read More which will clean your PC as much as any other PC cleaner on the market for free. Run the cleaner to delete temp files, browser history, Internet caches, and more.

If you aren’t satisfied with CCleaner’s cleaning performance, try installing the CCEnhancer addon. CCEnhancer is a CCleaner addon which adds functionality to the original CCleaner. It allows users to clean program caches and system folders otherwise inaccessible to CCleaner. If you are unsure of what you are cleaning, uncheck the paths located on the left-hand side of the window to prevent issues.

To clear your browser caches individually, follow the instructions below.

  • Firefox: Menu > History > Clear Recent History. Change Time range to clear to Everything and select Clear Now.
  • Chrome: CTRL + H > Clear browsing data. Change Obliterate the following items from to the beginning of time and select Clear browsing data.
  • Opera: Menu > History > Clear browsing data. Change Obliterate the following items from to the beginning of time and select Clear Browing data.
  • Internet Explorer: Settings > Internet Options > Browsing history > Delete. Select your settings, preferably all of them, and select Delete.
  • Microsoft Edge: Menu > Settings >  Clear browing data > Choose what to clear. Select your settings, preferably all of them, and select Clear.

This covers most of what PC cleaners do, and you won’t receive any annoying popups on your computer.

3. CPU Core Unparking

CPU core unparking promises to boost FPS and decrease latency in PC games. It’s a relatively rare process, so it’s surprising to see a program like CPUCores in the Steam Store.

steam_core_unparking

CPU cores, by default, “park” or become inactive when not in use. That means certain cores will stop functioning to save power. When your computer is under heavy use, your CPU cores unpark automatically. Certain programs also allow users to unpark their cores in case their PC ‘forgets’. To charge for this service is selling snake oil to unsuspecting victims.

Core unparking, as a practice, fluctuates in utility. Some swear by a 10-20 FPS gain in their games, while others claim results from core unparking are negligable. In any case, core parking and unparking will not harm your PC if you’re in an experimental mood.

Furthermore, core parking is a feature more notably occurring in Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2. It’s rumored to have been deactivated for Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, though not much official documentation exists on the subject.

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Unparking cores reserves power, so you can achieve the same general effect by changing the power options on your PC. You can access your power options in your Control Panel by using the Windows key + X keyboard shortcut. Open System Security and then Power Options to customize your power plan. Choose High performance and you should be set. This setting won’t lower CPU speeds when idle, simulating the process of core unparking.

power_plan_windows

Alternatively, you can use the free application CPU Core Parking Manager to unpark your cores. Download and follow the instruction on the Coderbag website to achieve the desired effect.

4. RAM Drives

RAM drive software allows you to store programs on your RAM modules and turns your sticks into actual drives.

Storing programs on your RAM can be problematic. For one, RAM is much more expensive — per GB of space — than both hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid state drives (SSDs) 5 Things You Should Consider When Buying An SSD 5 Things You Should Consider When Buying An SSD The world of home computing is moving towards solid state drives for storage. Should you buy one? Read More . RAM is also an example of volatile storage, which erases its contents every time you shut the PC down.

dimm_drive

Even a fix-all solution like the Dimmdrive — available on Steam — has several issues. Dimmdrive runs software from your RAM module and speeds up program loading times. Yet, running your entire Steam library off of your RAM modules is next to impossible when you consider the cost and motherboard space required. Also, this program will not run games faster or at a higher quality as that’s the job of your graphics processing unit (GPU) What Is the Difference Between An APU, A CPU And A GPU? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is the Difference Between An APU, A CPU And A GPU? [MakeUseOf Explains] Over the last five or more years, there have been a number of different terms swirling around to describe computer hardware. Some of those terms include but aren’t limited to APU, CPU, and GPU. But... Read More .

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A 32 GB RAM kit will cost ~$120, four RAM slots, and a motherboard capable of utilizing 32 GBs of RAM, all without including the cost off Dimmdrive.

Ballistix Sport 32GB Kit (8GBx4) DDR3 1600 MT/s (PC3-12800) CL9 @1.5V UDIMM 240-Pin Memory BLS4KIT8G3D1609DS1S00 Ballistix Sport 32GB Kit (8GBx4) DDR3 1600 MT/s (PC3-12800) CL9 @1.5V UDIMM 240-Pin Memory BLS4KIT8G3D1609DS1S00 Designed for enthusiasts and mainstream users Buy Now At Amazon $189.99

A 32 GB SSD, on the other hand, costs ~$50 and a SATA connection.

SanDisk ReadyCache 32GB 2.5-Inch 7mm Height Cache Only Solid State Drive (SSD) With Upgrade Kit- SDSSDRC-032G-G26 SanDisk ReadyCache 32GB 2.5-Inch 7mm Height Cache Only Solid State Drive (SSD) With Upgrade Kit- SDSSDRC-032G-G26 ReadyCache is compatible with desktop PCs running Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating systems Buy Now At Amazon $74.01

Both provide similar loading speeds and only the SSD works as a regular HDD would. Save the money you would have spent buying a Dimmdrive and invest it in an SSD. You won’t regret it.

5. ReadyBoost

ReadyBoost is a Windows feature that turns your regular flash drive into a hard drive cache to improve disk read performance. ReadyBoost works alongside SuperFetch 4 Tips to Fix 100% Disk Usage & Improve Windows Performance 4 Tips to Fix 100% Disk Usage & Improve Windows Performance Slow performance can't always be blamed on a lack of processing power or memory. Sometimes your system drive is the limiting factor. Windows 10 and 8 have disk usage issues, here's how to fix this. Read More — a memory manager which pre-loads certain program files on your hard drive for quicker access. Flash memory speeds are faster than mechanical hard disk drive (HDD) speeds. For this reason, ReadyBoost should theoretically help programs run faster on your PC with the assistance of your flash drive. But only if your system is installed on a HDD.

readyboost

Although ReadyBoost will affect the performance of older and RAM starved PCs, most computers do not benefit from the program. The main issue with ReadyBoost is that RAM does what ReadyBoost can do Need A Memory Upgrade? Outsource RAM & Speed Up Your Computer With ReadyBoost Need A Memory Upgrade? Outsource RAM & Speed Up Your Computer With ReadyBoost If you're looking to give your computer a quick & free speed boost, try ReadyBoost. The Windows feature adds additional memory to your system. All you need is a compatible flash drive. Read More at a larger and faster capacity. Furthermore, you can only write data on a flash drive so many times before the flash drive fails. If you activate ReadyBoost with your flash drive, you may be sacrificing the drive for no tangible reason.

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Modern computers only requires 8 GBs of RAM to run intensive games and programs How Much RAM Do You Really Need? How Much RAM Do You Really Need? RAM is like short term memory. The more you multitask, the more you need. Find out how much your computer has, how to get the most out of it, or how to get more. Read More . Increasing RAM capacity by a few gigabytes will have a larger effect than using ReadyBoost and save your flash drive from failure. If a RAM upgrade doesn’t speed up your PC, look to speed it up elsewhere 5 Simple Habits to Stop Your Computer From Running Slow 5 Simple Habits to Stop Your Computer From Running Slow Only three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and slow computers after hours of Internet browsing. Let us show you habits to keep your Windows computer as fast as new. Read More .

Be Alert!

In the past, I’ve tried every trick on the market to squeeze as much juice as I could from my PC. But some options just won’t work. Programs that promise to speed up your computer with a single click sound too good to be true because they are.

You should never have to settle for a slow computer, and there are methods to speed up and optimize your PC for heavy use 7 Methods to Optimize Windows 10 For Gaming 7 Methods to Optimize Windows 10 For Gaming A growing number of gamers are using Windows 10. With these simple tweaks, you will be able to enjoy the best gaming experience Windows 10 has to offer! Read More . You don’t have to settle for the various forms of snake oil online.

Which of the snake oil tactics described above have you seen? Would you add any other to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

  1. Justin Cram
    August 20, 2016 at 5:26 am

    *Agreed with @Bruce Epper & @Mr.Know-It-All RAMDrives are superior period.com in any case i've compltely given up on trying to migrate chrome to ramdrive anymore though cause chrome isist on utilizing HDD user app local google directory in every effort ive tried to remove chromes SSD disk activity it next to impossible. I use cmd mklink /j or /d or even hard links to ramdrive google chrome works for bit but finds its way back to SSD its awful! What is the ramdisk app your using? I used Ramdisk by cenetek for years part of the beta etc.. even used it before cenetek bought it. tried so many ramdisk apps or ram tweak apps none really work well anymore with 32GB DD3 because everything on windows these days is so memory intensive!

    DimmDrive sucked to say the least! Bought it was heavily disappointed but may be cause i want to load and unload what goes into that memory space etc dimmdrive doesn't really give you that full control i was fatigued and board by the minimum abilities it actually gives us users.

    Any tips or suggestions or just communications on your methods would be great.

    Justin Cram
    DyingJedi Hi5

  2. Justin Cram
    August 20, 2016 at 5:25 am

    *Agreed with @Bruce Epper & @Mr.Know-It-All RAMDrives are superior period.com in any case i've compltely given up on trying to migrate chrome to ramdrive anymore though cause chrome isist on utilizing HDD user app local google directory in every effort ive tried to remove chromes SSD disk activity it next to impossible. I use cmd mklink /j or /d or even hard links to ramdrive google chrome works for bit but finds its way back to SSD its awful! What is the ramdisk app your using? I used Ramdisk by cenetek for years part of the beta etc.. even used it before cenetek bought it. tried so many ramdisk apps or ram tweak apps none really work well anymore with 32GB DD3 because everything on windows these days is so memory intensive!

    DimmDrive sucked to say the least! Bought it was heavily disappointed but may be cause i want to load and unload what goes into that memory space etc dimmdrive doesn't really give you that full control i was fatigued and board by the minimum abilities it actually gives us users.

    Any tips or suggestions or just communications on your methods would be great.

    Justin Cram
    DyingJedi Hi5 http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-false-computer-speed-tweaks-revealed-instead/

  3. Grumpy Old Man
    July 30, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    After looking at literally thousands of machines, the things that I have found which cause slow performance are:
    1. Not enough RAM. This is less of an issue on newer machines which tend to come with 8GB or more which is plenty unless you do heavy things like video editing, CAD, etc. Many of the old Vista-based machines were sold with only 512MB of RAM which was utterly hopeless.
    2. Budget processor. A lot of people buy a computer and tell the salesman that they don't need it to do that much - hoping to spend less money. What they don't realise is that every computer does exactly the same things, the only difference being the speed at which they do it. So when they ask for a "simple" machine, they are actually asking for a "very slow" machine. A Celeron-based machine won't really be in the same league as one with a Core i7. Don't expect the impossible.
    3. Failing hard disk. I've seen any number of hard disks which are on the way out and when they begin to fail, they get very slow before they give up completely. Even when the hard disk is working properly, the best way of rejuvenating a slow machine is to replace the existing spinning hard disk with an SSD.
    4. Full hard disk. Hard to do but some people manage to acheive this. Over 75% full and a hard disk will become sluggish to respond.
    5. Berserk process. This tends to not be a frequent problem anymore but there are still some security products which will occassionally start to use all available system resources. These will show in the task manager (discussed above). This will often be indicative of an update process or scan but a proper security product will not kill the machine while it goes about its work.

    File cleaning, registry cleaning and even process cleaning is generally useless. Any product that claims to speed up your PC will not do it, at least to any perceptible degree. Look instead to your hardware.

  4. Mr.Know-It-All
    July 29, 2016 at 6:20 am

    Hello, all.
    Some of this "info" seems to be out of date.
    I have 12GB RAM, so it's no big deal to set aside 4GB in a RAM drive [largest 'free' RAM drive].
    I have installed my browser into the temporary RAM drive.
    It really speeds up the browser to do that, although it's not that big of an improvement since I migrated to a SSD.
    The main reason I stopped doing it was because of the hassles, & sometimes it just didn't work right [think software problems].
    But compared to a HDD the RAM drive screams.
    Just my 2¢ worth.

  5. Bruce Epper
    July 24, 2016 at 11:05 am

    "Cleaning these files may seem useful, but will not contribute to PC or website load speeds, unless you’re running out of space on your system drive."

    You don't need to be running out of space on the system drive for this to be a factor. The size of the cache is controlled by the browser and if it is nearing its limit, the browser will start to weed out the oldest cached material which can be a time consuming process especially if it sits on a mechanical drive. This can happen when you still have hundreds of gigabytes or even terabytes free on the system drive.

    "Browsers caches actually work to load pages faster, so this process may end up making slow Internet connection issues worse."

    It will only be a problem until the cache is rebuilt with the commonly accessed elements of the websites the user consistently visits. Even then, it isn't much of a problem unless they are still using dial-up.

    RAM drives can be beneficial. I have 32 GB RAM installed in my primary system. When it boots, it creates a 4 GB RAM disk and redirects the Windows temp folders, and the IE temp folders to it (even though I only use IE on specific MS pages since it is the only browser that works with them). When installing programs, compressing large(ish) file sets, and other tasks that use these folders heavily, there is a measurable difference in performance. If I need to work with even larger temp files/folders, I will increase the size of the RAM disk up to 16 GB if necessary.

    For my uses, the RAM disk does not need to be persistent so every time I reboot the machine, all of the temp files are automagically gone. If I was using it for anything but temporary files, I would make it a persistent drive so its contents get written out to a file on a physical drive in the system and reloaded upon restart.

    They can also be useful for games that have a large amount of big resources it is constantly referencing during gameplay. The difficulty with this comes from a few different areas.

    First, the entire game must fit in the RAM disk. This is the biggest issue for some games on many systems. For example, Hitman occupies over 25 GB of space in my Steam Library folder. All of this, plus the additional space required for any checkpointing and game saves needs to be considered. Even on my system, I couldn't play this from a RAM disk since it requires 8 GB of RAM and my RAM disk would need be be greater than 26 GB pushing the minimum system RAM to more than 32 GB. PAYDAY 2 would require 32 GB of space just for the game files.

    Second, persistence becomes a bit of an issue. You don't want to lose saved games so, at a minimum, the saved games need to be put onto a physical drive after you quit the game. You could persist the entire drive, but it would be quicker if just the saved game files were written out on exit.

    Third, you don't need your entire Steam library to be put into the RAM disk, only game you currently want to play.

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