Yesterday I looked at three tools which you can use to tidy up and speed up your computer.Today I want to put the emphasis more on speed because that is really the most important function of all isn’t it? If you have DSL broadband internet, then you want the speed of DSL, not the speed of a 56k modem. But over time, your computer will start to slow down as you install more and more stuff, download security and upgrade patches and handle files. So on a regular basis, say once a week, you should use the following two tools :
Winpatrol is a very robust and impressive program and I love it. Its main appeal lies in taming your start-up menu but it also has other features which I will also get into later.
When you install a program on your computer, more than likely it will try to wriggle its way into the start-up menu. By “start-up menu”, I mean the programs which automatically load when you switch on your computer and Windows starts loading. If you have too many programs loading at start-up then it will take forever for your computer to fully boot up. Now with a lot of programs, there is normally an option in the program settings to disable the program loading at start-up, but if you have a program without such an option then WinPatrol can disable it for you.
Note however that this does not disable the program from working altogether – it only disables a program from starting up when Windows loads.
All you have to do is find the program in the “start-up programs” tab, highlight it, click the “disable” button and it is instantly disabled. To enable it again, just highlight the program and click “enable”. Easy, nothing to it.
WinPatrol also analyses your system to show you your currently active tasks, what file associations you have, what cookies you have, scheduled tasks and hidden files. You can then use WinPatrol to delete them, disable them or change them. Everything is reversible later.
But the best part of all is that WinPatrol runs silently in the background and if a program later tries to covertly install something on your computer, WinPatrol instantly lets you know with a pop-up window on your screen and it gives you the option to either allow the program or kill it.
I use the free version of WinPatrol but there is also a Plus version for $30. As yet, I haven’t felt the need to upgrade as the free version does everything I need it to do.
So if it takes forever for your computer to boot up, give WinPatrol a go, disable unneeded programs from start-up, and then watch a dramatic decrease in computer booting up time.
Defragmenting your hard-drive is an essential part of keeping your computer running smoothly but the Windows defrag tool makes the job last for hours (I have to run it overnight when I am in bed) and you can’t do anything else with your computer while it is running. There is however a tool called Auslogics Disk Defrag which partly defragments your files, does it quickly and you can continue to use your computer while it is running.
Notice how I said “partly defragments”. Auslogics doesn’t do a complete job and this is NOT a replacement for the Windows defrag tool. This merely keeps on top of the defrag problem, keeps your files in generally good shape and when you finally do run the Windows defrag tool, you’ll notice that the job will go much faster because Auslogics Disk Defrag did some of the work already.
Just install and run, and then minimise to the status bar. Leave it to do its job and eventually it will be finished. The second time I used it, I then ran the Windows defrag tool immediately afterwards, and the defrag task was cut short by a little over 2 hours presumably because Auslogics already took care of some of it.