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Windows users know all too well that over time, your system starts to slow down. Whether you’re facing long boot times 5 Tips to Fix Slow Boot Times in Windows 10 5 Tips to Fix Slow Boot Times in Windows 10 If your Windows 10 boot time is slow since the Anniversary Update, your're not alone. We have compiled the most common solutions to help you fix this issue fast. Read More or waiting ages to switch between programs, poor performance is frustrating 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 and detrimental to your productivity.

Thankfully, there’s plenty of software out there to speed up your computer. Let’s take a look at some programs that can bring your system back to its former glory.

MSConfig / Task Manager

In theory, having lots of software on your computer probably isn’t causing a slowdown by itself. When you have two dozen programs all trying to run when you first start the system, though, that’s where problems occur. The built-in utility MSConfig can help you cut down on the amount of programs that run automatically.

To access it in Windows 7, type msconfig into the Start Menu to open the System Configuration window. Click on the Startup tab to view everything that starts running when you boot into Windows. If you’re on Windows 8 or 10, this tab will instead refer you to the Startup tab of the revamped Task Manager.

Once in the Startup menu, you can start unchecking boxes (on Windows 7) or right-clicking and choosing Disable (on Windows 8 or 10) to prevent items from running at boot. Be sure that you know what a program does before disabling it. You don’t want to stop your antivirus or backup software from running at startup, since you need those active all the time.

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If you’re not sure what to disable here, take a look at our top ten items that don’t need to run at startup Make Windows Start Faster: 10 Non-Essential Startup Items You Can Safely Remove Make Windows Start Faster: 10 Non-Essential Startup Items You Can Safely Remove So your computer has been booting slowly lately? You probably have too many programs and services trying to start up all at once. Are you wondering how they got there and how to remove them? Read More . For a lot of people, common culprits might include Spotify, Steam, iTunes, and Skype.

Disk Cleanup / CCleaner

You might already know, but a lot of files on your computer aren’t necessary for any program. From leftover Windows Update files to temporary data used by your web browser, you could have several gigabytes of junk just sitting around. If this is filling up your hard drive, it could affect performance.

Your best two options for cleaning up temporary data are the built-in Disk Cleanup tool and CCleaner. We’ve already discussed how to use these and other tools to completely clean your PC The Best Way to Clean Windows 10: A Step-by-Step Guide The Best Way to Clean Windows 10: A Step-by-Step Guide If your Windows 10 PC needs cleaning, here are the tools and a step-by-step process to get it squeaky clean again. Read More , so have a look at that guide for everything you need to know.

Revo Uninstaller

While it helps to prevent non-critical software from running at startup, it’s even better to uninstall programs you don’t use. This will free up space and save resources. You can always use the Programs and Features menu in Windows to uninstall software, but going a step further with Revo Uninstaller is a good idea.

Revo allows you to obliterate every trace of a program on your system. After running the built-in uninstaller, it scans for extra pieces. However, don’t fret about the items that Revo finds in the Registry during the uninstall process. Cleaning the Registry is useless Don't Believe The Hype: Registry Cleaners Don't Make Windows Faster Don't Believe The Hype: Registry Cleaners Don't Make Windows Faster Much advice has been given on how to keep your computer running smoothly, as well as how to fix it when it has become slow. We have even published a Windows on Speed guide, written... Read More and you’re better off leaving it alone to avoid damage. Paired up with our other tips, Revo is one part of a great offense against troublesome software 4 Steps To Completely Remove Troublesome Or Bad Software [Windows] 4 Steps To Completely Remove Troublesome Or Bad Software [Windows] We’ve all had that one program that no matter what we’ve tried, it wouldn’t go away. Or perhaps you didn’t even know what to try and thought you were simply stuck with this annoying program... Read More that might be slowing down your system.

Disk Defragmenter

While solid state drives (SSDs) are becoming more popular, traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) are still widely used. If you use an HDD, regular defragmentation can help keep the drive performing at its best.

The built-in Disk Defragmenter / Optimize Drives tool in Windows is all most people need for defragmentation. Simply click Analyze to find out how fragmented the drive is, then Defragment / Optimize to begin the process. Modern versions of Windows perform this process on a schedule automatically, so you won’t need to manually run this utility.

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If you have an SSD, you should not defragment your drive! Windows 7 and above actually perform trimming on SSDs Why TRIM is Important to Solid State Hard Drives? [Technology Explained] Why TRIM is Important to Solid State Hard Drives? [Technology Explained] Read More from this menu, and won’t even let you defragment an SSD. So if you see one listed, all is still well.

Malwarebytes

Often a slow system is caused by lack of maintenance, but sometimes the problem actually comes from malware Viruses, Spyware, Malware, etc. Explained: Understanding Online Threats Viruses, Spyware, Malware, etc. Explained: Understanding Online Threats When you start to think about all the things that could go wrong when browsing the Internet, the web starts to look like a pretty scary place. Read More . Having rogue programs running on your system can impair performance in many ways, such as browser hijackers that get in the way 3 Essential Steps To Get Rid Of Chrome Hijackers In Minutes 3 Essential Steps To Get Rid Of Chrome Hijackers In Minutes Have you ever opened your browser of choice and been greeted with a bizarre-looking start page or an unsightly toolbar glued to the top of the page? Restore your browser to tip-top shape. Read More or programs that spawn endless pop-ups Let's Put A Stop To Pop-Up Browser Ads Once And For All! Let's Put A Stop To Pop-Up Browser Ads Once And For All! Pop-ups can catch you off guard, and if you're not careful they can create problems. Learn how to avoid them and how to handle them if they do come up. Read More on your system.

Running a solid free antivirus 5 Best Free Internet Security Suites for Windows 5 Best Free Internet Security Suites for Windows Which security suite do you trust the most? We look at five of the best free security suites for Windows, all of which offer anti-virus, anti-malware, and real-time protection features. Read More will help prevent these infections in the future. When you’re suffering from infection, however, download Malwarebytes Free and run a scan to sniff out anything malicious. As this junk wastes system resources and your time, purging your system of malware will get your computer running quickly again.

Consider Lighter Alternatives

In some cases, you can replace slow software with a speedier alternative to keep things running quickly. One example is Google Chrome, which is notorious for hogging RAM and running slowly Why Is Chrome Using up So Much RAM? (And How to Fix It Right Now) Why Is Chrome Using up So Much RAM? (And How to Fix It Right Now) But why does Chrome use up so much RAM, especially compared to other browsers? And what can you do to keep it in check? Read More on low-end systems. If you can break out of Chrome’s trap I Hate Google Chrome But I'm Trapped In It. Here's Why I Hate Google Chrome But I'm Trapped In It. Here's Why In the Chrome vs. Firefox war, I'm siding with the Google users. But I don't want to. Chrome is my browser of choice because it has features that I can't live without. Read More , speed up your browsing by using Firefox or giving Opera a try 8 Opera Features You Should Start Using Today 8 Opera Features You Should Start Using Today Let's explore eight of the best Opera features that will make browsing smoother and more convenient for you. We bet you'll want to start using them right away. Read More .

Other software you use might be slowing down your experience. If you regularly work with massive PDFs, try a lighter alternative to Adobe Reader 6 Light Alternatives to Open Office & PDF Files 6 Light Alternatives to Open Office & PDF Files Don't clog your system down with superfluous bulk. For the occasional viewing of PDF and Office files, you can use compact apps and you might not need any additional software at all. Read More . Don’t use the awful, bloated µTorrent The uTorrent Mining Scandal: Charity or Cash Grab? The uTorrent Mining Scandal: Charity or Cash Grab? Is µTorrent distributing Litecoin mining malware? Read More ; replace it with a BitTorrent client that’s light as a feather Beat the Bloat! Try These Lightweight BitTorrent Clients Beat the Bloat! Try These Lightweight BitTorrent Clients Guns don’t share illegal files. People share illegal files. Or, wait, how does it go again? What I mean to say is, BitTorrent shouldn't be dissed based on its potential for piracy. Read More .

How Do You Keep Your Computer Speedy?

This isn’t an exhaustive list of tools, but using these applications wisely should keep any computer running well enough 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 . You don’t need expensive, shady software or Registry cleaners to make your system fast. By ridding yourself of malware, deleting old programs and files, and using light software, you can feel like you have a new system again.

Don’t forget that software can only do so much to speed up a system. Check out the hardware upgrades that will boost performance Which Upgrades Will Improve Your PC Performance the Most? Which Upgrades Will Improve Your PC Performance the Most? If you need a faster computer but aren't sure which component would be most beneficial to upgrade, then here are the guidelines you should follow. Read More and lesser-known specs that can have an impact on your PC 5 Little-Known Specs That Could Be Slowing Down Your PC 5 Little-Known Specs That Could Be Slowing Down Your PC We'll take a look at five lesser known factors that affect your computer's performance, and show you how you can always get maximum bang for your buck when upgrading. Read More .

What’s your favorite software for maintaining PC performance? If you’ve got something to add to the list, we want to hear it in the comments!

Originally written by Angelina on October 26, 2009.

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