Besides downloads, how can I speed up and improve my computers performance. I use a HP laptop with Intel Pentium Dual Core and Windows Vista.
I highly recommend reading our latest guide on this.
Windows on Speed: Ultimate PC Acceleration Manual
There is CCleaner and Smart Defrag to improve performance. You can also use Game Booster 2 to shut down background processes if you are doing something system intensive like HD video editing or gaming.
Hello, that is a loaded question. The links posted by Mike will point you in the right direction. Windows comes with tools installed by default to keep your system running in good shape. Granted, you can find better tools than the ones provided by Windows but if you have nothing else they would do.
The first thing I will like to mention is the clean up of your start up menu. The fewer programs you have starting up with your system, the faster your system will be for startup. There are many programs that install extra entries in your start up menu and are not needed. Some applications known for it are quicktime player, adobe reader, java and real player. The applications mentioned work ok without having entries in your startup. If you follow the first link provided above it will show you how to disable this entries. Before disabling any entries in startup, make sure you research what they are because you do not want to disable something you need. This can also be accomplished by using third party software like crapcleaner.
Another thing you want to do is make sure you keep the browsing history of your browser clean. Your browsing history includes things like temporary files, cookies, history, search history, cache, etc. You can accomplish this in several ways. If you use windows tools, the first thing you can do is set up your browser to clean your history as soon as you exit your session.
Also, Internet Explorer is not the safer browser around. If you want to improve your internet experience by getting a browser that is more secure, you can install some of the following choices:
http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/ -- mozilla firefox, lots of extensions
http://www.google.com/chrome -- fast browser, extension added recently
http://www.opera.com/ -- fast browser, support extensions in new version
Tools included by windows to keep your computer clean can be reached in the following area:
start >> all programs >> accesories >> system tools >> disk cleanup >>
When you use this tool you can clean old compress files, temporary files, temporary internet files, downloaded program files, etc. When this tool opens, it shows you all the things you can clean. Check mark what you want clean and click ok. If you click in the more options tab, you can also clean old restore points to recover some space. You can also use crapcleaner to accomplish some of this:
What you do is, open the program, click analize and then click clean and that is it. Crapcleaner does a good job with default settings, you do not have to change anything unless you know what you are doing. You can even setup this program to do and automated clean up and then restart or shutdown your computer.
Also windows includes a defragmenter. If you want to keep your computer in tip top shape, make sure you defragment your drive. If you install a lot of programs, move files a lot and there is a lot of disk activity it is recommended to defragment often. To reach the defragmenter do the following:
start >> type defragmenter in search box >> click enter >> pick the drive >> defragment
If you want to check how fragmented your drive is or if you need defragmentation, click the analize button. Of course, better tools could be found. Try Defraggler, a defragmenter utility made by the same group that makes crapclear. Of course there are many good free tools that can do this.
Also make sure that you check your disk for errors every few weeks. To do this you can do the following:
click start >> computer >> right click drive you want to check >> properties >> Tools >> error checking heading >> check now >> check mark automatically fix file system errors >> click start >> click yes when it ask you to do it at restart
Another thing to do, is to minimize the number of icons on the taskbar, right next to the system clock. A lot of programs are going to install their icon on the taskbar. For example, try to keep only the icons for you firewall and antivirus. Another icon you can keep is the volume but that is a personal preference. Most times you can disable this icons from within the program by checking the preferences/options. Open the preferences of the program and try to find a section that says something like, start program when windows starts or show icons on taskbar. Only you know what icons you want to keep. If there is no option like that you can use msconfig to disable the icons at startup.
Also make sure to keep your system lean, what I mean by this, is try to keep only programs you need. If you have programs in your system that you do not use, uninstall them. You can use the add/remove program that comes with windows or you can use a really good tools like revo uninstaller which is free. Revo uninstaller does a really good job of removing program from your computer because not only removes the programs, but depending on how it is configured, it also removes all the entries that the programs leave in the registry.
Also very important is to have an antivirus and firewall installed. You said you are running vista, so you are covered with regards to a firewall. The vista firewall protects incoming and outgoing communications. Make sure that you install and antivirus and keep it updated all the time. There are many good freeware options around, here are a couple of options:
[Broken Link Removed]
Also with Vista you can use windows defender as antispyware. If you install security essentials, it will disable defender because defender is part of windows essentials. If you want a third party antyspyware program you can get this one:
Malwarebytes is a really good program. Get the free version and make sure to keep it updated all the time. You will have to do the updating manually with the free version.
Another addition to the list is to update your Hardware Drivers!
Updated drivers not only improve compatibility and reliability but also the performance of every single component.
Don't rely on Windows Update to update your drivers! The drivers offered by WU are often 6-12 months older than the one directly from the manufacturer! In some cases the drivers are also more generic to cover more hardware while manufacturers offer more hardware specific [tweaked] drivers.
Yes, I forgot that and I also forgot to mention common sense when using a computer. Thanks for reminding me. Also I forgot to write down about using services like Secunia to check for versions of programs and vulnerabilities.
I second to give Secunia OSI a try ~ good tip!
Read about it on one of my favourite blogs just a week ago.
First gather some info regarding your windows
1)Windows Experience Index
2)Install BootRacer and find out your results
3)Install Soluto and find out which services you can stop
Run registry cleaners
Clean up and defrag the disk
increase the cache on your hard disk
Here are 3 MUO Guides that cover pretty much everything that will help you gain performance:
Not the beauty under the pages but very good information:
This page covers all that is to know, settings, tweaks and everything about the Services.
Please be careful with the Windows Services. Even if 10 guides tell you it's safe to disable ~ set it to manual and reboot your system. There are some that will be started although you might not need them but better safe than sorry.