Top Programs That Can Make Your Computer Run Faster

Ben Stegner 16-11-2016

Windows users know all too well that over time, your system starts to slow down. Whether you’re facing long boot times 6 Ways to Fix Slow Boot Times in Windows 10 If your Windows 10 boot time is slow, you aren't alone. We've compiled the most common solutions to help you fix slow startup on Windows 10. Read More or waiting ages to switch between programs, poor performance is frustrating 100% Disk Usage in Windows 10 Fixed With 15 Tricks Got 100% disk usage in Windows 10? Here are several potential fixes! One is bound to help you fix this vexing Windows issue. 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.



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 10 Startup Programs You Can Safely Disable to Speed Up Windows Computer booting slowly? You probably have too many programs running at startup. Here's how to disable startup programs on Windows. 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 Don't know how to clean Windows 10? Here's a clear step-by-step guide to getting your PC nice and tidy 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 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] 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.



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] Read More from this menu, and won’t even let you defragment an SSD. So if you see one listed, all is still well.


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 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 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! 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 The 5 Best Free Internet Security Software for Windows Need antivirus, anti-malware, and real-time security? Here are the best free internet security software for Windows. Read More will help prevent these infections in the future. When you’re suffering from infection, however, download Malwarebytes 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 Google Chrome Using So Much RAM? Here's How to Fix It Why does Google Chrome use so much RAM? What can you do to keep it in check? Here's how to make Chrome use less RAM. 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 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 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 and 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? 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 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 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? Need a faster computer but aren't sure what you should upgrade on your PC? Follow our PC upgrade checklist to find out. 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 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.

Related topics: CCleaner, Computer Maintenance, Defragmentation, Uninstaller, Windows Task Manager.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Anonymous
    March 12, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    My Compaq laptop is horribly slow with Windows 10 (upgraded from Windows 8), to the point it is unusable. With Manjaro Linux it runs pretty well.

  2. BLAKE
    September 6, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Your like my twin, agree with every piece of software on this article! <3

  3. XxMasterxX
    January 25, 2010 at 12:39 am

    my dad has a computer and he has Firefox and he dosent know how to unistall stuff and he dosent care

  4. 1fastbullet
    January 17, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I have an old Dell Dimension 3000 (WinXP) that came with a lot of AOL and Roxio crap pre-installed. Unfortunately, far too much of it remains on the machine, in the Registry. CCleaner doesn't touch it and Revo can't see it. Ultimately, the only recourse I've found is manually un-installing more and more as it is found.
    The machine, now that much of the Dell and other garbage has been removed, outruns a number of Vista machines I've come across, but maybe that should come as no surprise...

  5. Tony
    January 16, 2010 at 12:07 am

    I use Firefox, it works far better than MSIE. I also use Auslogics Disc Defrag which works very well, and Glary Utilities for getting rid of temporary files and cleaning up other parts of the system. Both of these are excellent freebies.

  6. Anonymous
    January 3, 2010 at 9:51 am

    There's a difference between making your computer faster and making Windows faster. Windows is NOT your computer, thanks.

    Also note that a good way to make a PC faster is to just get rid of Windows and install a better operating system (Windows is far from the best.).

    • Atoz
      November 22, 2016 at 12:38 am

      Please be more specific. Thank you.

  7. GekiDan
    January 2, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    From my point of view, Auslogics Disk Defrag is very much better than Defragler since I have experience lots of lags on Defragler. And Ausogics Dis Defrag is even faster.

    • jimmie e roan
      July 10, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      thanks for the comment, i have been searching by worn out brain for that name for days, i had it on my first computer the va gave me and i loved it. back then the entire program was free download but when i got a newer computer they were charging for each part of it. i loved it , simple and functional. im told now by the va tech that my windows 7 and now they have forced me to have windows 10 has the same capability built in, i find it hard to believe because nothing is easy with 10, its shuts firefox down several times a day, and i can hardly watch a stream without it stopping or shutting down. but anyway thanks

  8. noname
    December 20, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Another good defragging tool is SmartDefrag. It defrags whenever the system is idle.

  9. Mike
    November 29, 2009 at 1:03 am

    wow ! this is exactly what my computer needed right now. I also like perfect uninstaller as an uninstaller and bs player for a window media trade off. please note that the free version of bs player installs with a spyware toolbar, so make sure to un-check that option.

  10. fdt
    November 25, 2009 at 9:01 am

    @ linuxfak ROFL, its you? [url][/url]
    get a life!!!!!

  11. Human Bagel
    November 18, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    I prefer myDefrag to defraggler, although both programs are fantastic.

    I also use PC Decrapifier, just because its so easy to use and so fast at eliminating bloatware.

    There are a few memory managers that help too, during periods of prolonged use.

  12. Amit Kumar
    November 14, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Yeah, CPU usage.

  13. Priya
    November 13, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    I have seen Chrome taking up lots of memory and hanging on my system lately.

    firefox resent releases keep crashing my firefox but fortunately it recovers on restart.

    Still both are much better then IE in any case.

  14. Scott
    November 11, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I'd like to add Mozilla Songbird to this list as a replacement for iTunes as well.

  15. foobar sucks
    November 8, 2009 at 1:48 am

    FOOBAR SUCKS! the only good thing about it is the customizable shortcuts

  16. george
    November 8, 2009 at 1:14 am

    you all should get a mac and use safari.


  17. linuxfan
    November 4, 2009 at 3:45 am

    Those programs can not make your computer run faster but they can make your windows os.

  18. Contrarian
    November 2, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    I wonder sometimes why all you guys keep writing the same article over and over. There is absolutely nothing new here.

  19. kissmo
    November 2, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Delete temp files, avoid installing unnecessary softwares,delete other startup programs This may help you a bit..

  20. Robert Plant
    November 2, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I find deleting my system32 folder speeds my machine way up.

  21. nawoa
    November 1, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    I would recommend using a very clean codec pack in conjunction with Media Player Classic over VLC or WMP 99 times out of 100.

    VLC will play almost anything but it does it often in a very hackish way, and it virtually always wrecks subtitles.

    Instead try the CCCP codec pack, it includes Media Player Classic. It will still open virtually any video file, but it does it in a much more compatible, customizable way.

    Also get QTLite to avoid needing to have Quicktime (and all its included goodies...) on your system.

  22. Nabil
    October 31, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    run faster, tuneup firefox ;DD

  23. Indrek
    October 30, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    My suggestion would be to ditch Windows and replace it with Linux (Ubuntu for instance). It makes even older and slower computers work like new.

    Or if you have some extra money laying around buy a Mac.

  24. zac philix
    October 30, 2009 at 11:39 am

    ASC is better than CCleaner

  25. Jeremy
    October 30, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Actually, ( Pidgin does support video chat. (I've used it, and it's not as good as Skype or Empathy, but it's getting there.)

  26. t
    October 29, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    or buy a mac

  27. najt
    October 29, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    You want lightweight IM ?? Ditch Pidgin for Miranda. It's not that user-friendly but at least ten times faster than Pidgin on my Win system. And it doesn't get bugged every second release...

  28. virus cyrus
    October 29, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Not, top 8 programs that can make your wimdows computer run faster, but, The top 8 PROGRAMS that can make YOUR COMPUTER run FASTER.

  29. Dean
    October 29, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Sorry, but i woundnt touch any of them with a 1000ft barge-pole.

    90% of what i need and use is included with Windows. Why spend time and effort downloading something u already have.

    Use the time to learn to use what you have properly..

  30. Jennifer Abej
    October 29, 2009 at 5:54 am

    Good article... I have downloaded some of this Softwares N it works...

  31. dtc
    October 28, 2009 at 11:00 am

    why defraggler, i already have a defragmenter.

    i have lebron james in fantasy woot!

  32. Quano
    October 28, 2009 at 3:04 am

    jajajajajaja, software to make windows faster.... jajajajajajajajaj, , , this software is unneeded with .... fedora, ubuntu, etc, , etc

  33. LMx
    October 27, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Well the only software I need to make my PC faster its Ubuntu ;)

  34. tim7423
    October 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Not every computer is a windows machine.

    "Top 8 Programs That Can Make Your WONDOWS Computer Run Faster"

  35. Ben l Awesome Wallpapers
    October 27, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Great list! I use all of them:)

  36. manu
    October 27, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    hello k-meleon browser :P

  37. Andreas yo
    October 27, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Lol poor windows users, still need to defragment the file system? This is so last century

  38. ralph
    October 27, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    or you could just buy a mac and avoid having to worry about any of this.

  39. Mike O.
    October 27, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    I have researched speed issues myself, and generally agree with your recommendations, with one caveat. Many users identify slowness with web interaction. What is slow, in most cases, comes down to their wireless connection. The best fix I've found for that is to use a USB connector that can be moved around the room for better reception. Beyond that, you can get a USB extendor. In my case that gives me 18 ft of USB cord to play with in placing my receiver wherever I want (currently outside a window). I use Hawking for USB wireless, with the USB extension, and "slow" is not a problem anymore.

  40. st1xnst0nes
    October 27, 2009 at 11:46 am

    how about everybody just get a mac?

  41. felisha
    October 27, 2009 at 11:43 am

    I love this article and I will share it with computer is slow!...I wont do what is suggested myself but I will have a friend who is computer savvy do it for me! Thanks again!

  42. ted
    October 27, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    I never tried foobar2000 but I've been happy and will stick with aimp2.

  43. Andy
    October 27, 2009 at 11:28 am

    You of course mean Digsby instead of Pidgin, but that's forgivable since you haven't heard of Digsby yet. Now you have, so go get it.

    • Angelina
      October 27, 2009 at 3:26 pm

      I actually have used Digsby before, but i'm not a HUGE fan. I use Astra myself, but for users that are wary about Ram consumption, I would definitely recommend Pidgin, because it is much more lightweight than either Digsby OR Astra.

      • Bob
        December 9, 2009 at 8:24 am

        Gee, has anyone used Trillian? I have been using it for over four years now. More customizable than all others, pro supports good video, and works great!

  44. uma mahesh varma
    October 27, 2009 at 11:06 am

    nice post which helped lot to know about more things ....

  45. Robomaster
    October 27, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Great article! I use many of these programs and love 'em. Keep it up!

  46. Adderly
    October 27, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Pues Si, Esta Bastante Bien, Todo Es Cierto, Pero Te Falto Uno Muy Importante, Que Es Tune Up Ut., Por Que Si A mejora De Rendimiento Nos Referimos, Tune Up Es Lo Mejor Que Hay, Ya Que Tiene Todo Lo Que Hacen Esos Programas Y Mucho Mas.

    Lo De Foxit 100% De Acuerdo.
    Lo De VLC Contro WMP, Pues Estoy 50% Ya Qye Voy Con VLC Por La Cantidad De Formatos Que Te Permite Reproducir Sin Dificultad Ni Codecs Adicionales, Pero Tambien Voy Con El Media Player Ya Que Es Una Completa Biblioteca Musical, Y Me Obsesiona Tener Toda Mi Musica Organizada, Los Albunes Completos Con Sus Portadas Y Todo Lo Demas.

    Pero El Post Esta Muy Bueno.

    • jclemens
      October 27, 2009 at 1:09 pm

      MMMMMmmm... si puede que le halla faltado en Tune Up Ut. pero es porque parece que solo se estan mencionando freeware o openSource y el Tune Up Ut. es de paga

  47. Dams Junior
    October 27, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Amazing point outs. Not to hate IE, but with its excessive blockages of even genuinely known addons, makes FF the smart one to operate with. :)

  48. ele
    October 27, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Crap Cleaner is definitely a good one. However sometimes this stuff isn't enough and a good old fresh os install is the way to go.

  49. PC Repair Joe
    October 27, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Great advice. I dont know how many times I have to tell people the very same things. Glad I’m not the only one.

  50. Bob
    October 27, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Lame article. If someone wants their computer to run faster, why would they be running Windows? And why wouldn't you just suggest they run Linux? I recommend Debian, but you should recommend your favorite distro.

    • Romeo
      October 27, 2009 at 10:31 am

      Lame comment Bob...the lady took the time to offer tome tips to the novice pc users.

    • zac philix
      October 30, 2009 at 11:53 am

      bored? i'm, too is a Linux user but i am not bored. i bought UBUNTU training and i am very glad to make my Linux OS (copy cut) hahaha

  51. John
    October 27, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Good stuff; however...

    CCleaner is all you need because CCleaner can remove startup items like MSConfig and uninstall programs right from CCleaner under the tools menu. I would use Revo Uninstaller if I was worried about space, but with cheap hard drives a couple of megabytes is nothing now a days.

  52. Amit Kumar
    October 27, 2009 at 9:28 am

    CCleaner, Mozilla Firefox, VLC Player, Adobe Reader Lite, MSN, Windows Default Disk Defragmenter!!!

    • daddy
      October 27, 2009 at 9:30 am

      MSN?? I hope you are kidding lol.

      • daddy my as
        October 28, 2009 at 11:09 pm

        @ daddy u look like ****head, msn fan here.

  53. Oaken
    October 27, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Running XP Home with only 512mb ram, and my machine is as fast/faster as friends with 2Gb ram.

    CCleaner is a must, and it helps to add further programs to the cleaning process (winapp2.ini), via the Piriform forum download/s. Getting rid of countless restore points (tools > system restore) can free up a good deal of space if you are often adding/removing programs, etc.

    CleanMem ( is a tiny little app which runs as a scheduled task, wiping down memory leaks, as opposed to most optimizers which seem to use as much resource as they claim to liberate.

    Digsby is the superior IM client in my experience, with an average footprint, although be sure to opt out of all the crapware during the installation process. PLUS disable the default "Support Digsby" found in the help menu, otherwise Digsby will use your processor when idle and access the Internet.

    Defragging the hard drive is another key factor in keeping your PC running well. Personally though I didn't like Defraggler as it used a great deal of CPU, and have kept with the Windows tool since.

    I wouldn't be without 'Revo' and VLC at all.

    • zac philix
      October 30, 2009 at 11:47 am

      Have you tried installing Digsby with NOD32 already installed in your computer?

  54. Josh
    October 27, 2009 at 7:16 am

    Hmm interesting. I actually switched back from Foxit to Adobe's reader. Adobe feels more polished to me. I'm a student as well, so I open up huge PDFs too. Still, Reader loads up in a blink of an eye.

    Might be my Core i5 though.

  55. Andrea
    October 27, 2009 at 6:41 am

    Great stuff... thanks for the info!

  56. uer
    October 27, 2009 at 6:25 am

    VLC sucks

    • Josh
      October 27, 2009 at 7:18 am

      Agreed. I really dislike VLC as well. I only use it in cases of emergency. In most other cases I use SMPlayer. MPlayer rocks.
      Oh, and Mediaplayer Classic is very good too! Just combine that with FFDShow and you're set. Both applications are much better than VLC.

  57. Helper
    October 27, 2009 at 10:47 am

    It's not recommended according to Microsoft to use MSConfig to disable startup items.

    The program that Microsoft recommends to use for disabling startup programs is Autoruns available here:
    Microsoft | Autoruns

    • Helper
      October 27, 2009 at 10:48 am

      Last link did not work for some reason.

      Autoruns ---->

  58. bakasan
    October 27, 2009 at 5:45 am

    thanks for sharing all these. i personally tried foxit and thought it is a good software. it even offers pdf editing, but is limited to editing text and making annotations. wondering if there is a way to get a full version (obviously the foc way).

  59. Misterangry
    October 27, 2009 at 4:54 am

    Mmm, having problems with simple addition it seems. You title the piece "Top 8 programs that can make your computer run faster" then list only five and pad the rest of the article with alternatives to installed programs.

    This is really lame and I therefore bury it.

  60. Tim
    October 27, 2009 at 4:37 am

    I always find it funny that all tools for fixing issues are not required by Linux because it sorts that stuff out automatically. Also most of the replacement applications like Firefox and Pidgin are the defaults on Linux. What you are really saying is to move over to linux :-P

  61. How to Speak japanese
    October 27, 2009 at 3:20 am

    where do i find msconfig on my HD? when entering the filename it says that it cannot locate the file.
    Or .. .where is it hidden on the installation CD of XP-Pro?

    Thanks for your help. Its much appreciated.

    • Angelina
      October 27, 2009 at 3:50 am

      It should be in C:\Windows\System32, but as for where it is in the installation CD, I unfortunately have no idea :[ Sorry!

    • Bob
      October 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm

      Try clicking Start, then Run then type msconfig

  62. Sprachreisen
    October 27, 2009 at 3:15 am

    Used defraggler for some time but found it funny that even though files that I don't access anymore (e.g. retired outlook file) were identified as fragmented by the next run two weeks or a month later. Made me change again ...

  63. Travis
    October 27, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Auslogics Speedboost is better than CC Cleaner, Revo and Defraggler, because it does all 3 within the same piece of software and it's faster. It's not free - but it's easily worth it's money. Duplicate file finder, memory defrag, regular degrag, Force your PC and CPU to use it's L2 cache, the list goes on and on.

  64. sax0nNZ
    October 27, 2009 at 1:34 am


  65. Laemo
    October 27, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Just a quick point about Defraggler. NEVER use it on an external hard disk. I have used it twice with catastrophic results. My HDD nearly died the first time, and the second time it died for good. I have lost faith in using Defraggler since that unfortunate incident.

  66. cupcake
    October 26, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    Decent list, Definitely go with Foxit over Adobe.
    But I prefer Media Player Classic with the codec packs over VLC.
    And MediaMonkey over foobar. Much nicer audio manager.

    Chrome is definitely quick to start and use, but it cant compare with the customization FF can handle, makes it unusable if you're used to FF.

    I'd also suggest YXplorer or Xplorer2 over the built in Windows Explorer. Tabbed views, highlighting, customization, etc etc.

    • CrAsian
      October 27, 2009 at 1:30 pm

      I definitely agree with Media Player Classic over VLC.

      Specifically, I use CCCP which also installs MPC.

      Then, I normally also install QuickTime alternative.

      Generally, MPC+CCCP seemed to take less resources than VLC for my computer. Though, I'll admit it was awhile ago since I tested it.

  67. Teri Greene
    October 26, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Alek Davis - Minutes? Firefox really shouldn't be taking even one minute to start, if you don't have lots of extensions. I'd suggest the freeware SpeedyFox. It defrags the SQL database Firefox uses and thus speeds up the start. This could easily be your fix; I've seen it work in similar situations.


    One of the biggest timesavers I know is Everything, the freeware file search. Unlike waiting forever for Windows Find, Everything finds files literally instantly. Often before you finish typing the name. The extra advantage is that not using Windows Find means you get to turn off Windows file indexing.

  68. Joe
    October 26, 2009 at 10:09 pm is a Microsoft site that has several extremely useful tools crafted by the windows developers themselves. Two of them that are very handy are AUTORUNS.EXE and PROCEXP.EXE

    AUTORUNS is a much expanded version of MSCONFIG, and PROCEXP is a souped-up version of TaskManager.

    PROCEXP even has an option to even hook in to ctrl-alt-delete that brings up TaskManager.

  69. Chrom
    October 26, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Chrome makes Firefox look like IE.

  70. Freelance Lens
    October 26, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    I agree with the above comment. Firefox is becoming a hell for power users. I would suggest Chrome or less known Opera.

  71. xeno
    October 26, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing...Defraggler is what I am looking for...

  72. pceasies
    October 26, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Firefox leaks memory like a sieve. I leave it running all the time (which is sucks at flash and always crashes at night when I leave Facebook flash games going). Also, after opening and closing 20 tabs without closing Firefox, Firefox decides it's OK to take 1GB of RAM and every time I view a page with flash and let the browser idle, it's ok to use 20-30% CPU usage, idling. This is a 6GB with an AMD Athlon 64 +4200 x2 so it should not be raping my computer's resources like it always seems to want to. Funny how Chrome never has this problem although there are only a couple addons =(

    • Angelina
      October 27, 2009 at 3:45 am

      HAha maybe the solution would be to play Facebook games in Chrome, and use Firefox for normal browsing? ^__^

  73. katnip
    October 26, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    I see you recommend ccleaner, but recently I was advised to use Glary Utilities as a better alternative. What is your opinion on the differences between these programs?

  74. Terence Boylen
    October 26, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Fox-it is not a good alternative to Acrobat. There is a large variety of PDF types and beyond a somple text document no other reader works well. Try submitting PDF forms of opening PDF folios!

    • Angelina
      October 27, 2009 at 3:44 am

      I think for the average users that deal mostly with PDFs, Foxit is adequate. Of course, if you need much more functionality out of your Reader, then you might have to trade speed for features.

  75. matzahboy
    October 26, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    For Revo Uninstaller, be very wary of the deepest uninstall (the most thorough that takes the longest). I once screwed up my computer by using the deep uninstall for Office 2007.

  76. Anonymous
    October 26, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    To those who care, another great disk defragger is Auslogic's Disk Defrag.

  77. Roger Wehbe
    October 26, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    You could of course just run Ubuntu instead.. you don't have to worry about any of the programs above.. and it starts up months from now the same way it starts today.

    • RougeCrown
      October 27, 2009 at 11:22 am

      How i wish ppl dont start "JUST USE LINUX/MAC/WATEVER OS"

      this is an article about WINDOWS, ppl. GET A LIFE.

  78. tony
    October 26, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    great stuff, I would replace opera (chrome or safari) for web browser, Firefox is awesome with no script for secure browsing, I would also throw in one more free utility the search everything app available from it replace the sad windows search that takes forever with an instant search, check it out!

  79. Keith
    October 26, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Excellent list of recommendations, although I have to agree with rofl (above) that the title is a little misleading. Some of them may not necessarily speed up the computer.

    However, I have to admit some of the recommended programs are used by me and that they have shown to be better than some other compatible ones.

    • Angelina
      October 27, 2009 at 3:36 am

      The programs do keep your computer in good shape, though, which is a crucial part of retaining your computer's speed, no? ^__^ The main concept is, if you can continue maintaining your computer, then theres no reason it should be slowing down significantly at all :D

  80. rofl
    October 26, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    i can't stop laughing i have all these programs like cleaner and vlc and good old msconfig heh i guess i can't speed up my comp with this article lolz

    • rolf2
      October 26, 2009 at 8:33 pm

      me too; I was hoping to discover something new to tweak a bit more performance out of my old Dell LapTop. I have all of these and can I just say that the this article is excellent; I have discovered each of these over a number of years and they're terrific. VLC rocks; CCleaner is great - excellent for when you change jobs and you want to clear out personal data on your work devices; and I agree - clear out your startup files - amazing how much crap will be in there after a couple of years!

    • Angelina
      October 27, 2009 at 3:34 am

      I think the main point is really - you can't speed up your computer unless you take stuff that's bloating it down off it. If you run ccleaner, run virus and malware scans, delete your temp files, and defrag on a scheduled basis, your PC shouldn't get too bloated down. Switch out slow loading apps with ones that eat up less ram. Turn down visual effects on your GUI. If you really can't get it to speed up and you have less than a gig (or even, two, depending on the ram consumption of the programs you're running), then consider upgrading your Ram. If you know what you're doing, you can go into Services.msc and block certain unnecessary services from auto starting (but that's more advanced than the average user can handle without screwing up something major, which is why I left it out of the article).

      yeah. Hope that helps :]

  81. Noah
    October 26, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Or Linux, the free and better OS.

  82. tony
    October 26, 2009 at 9:46 pm runs in the ntfs partition and only takes 8 gigs of space, an easy way to upgrade to linux without wiping out your machine, if nothing else it provides a good alternative way to boot and run a check that all the hardware is working fine

  83. Neil Smith
    October 26, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Get a Mac!

    • Lisa
      October 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm

      There's always one in the crowd. In this case, he's right!

      • Andrew Lim
        October 26, 2009 at 8:41 pm

        If you're a Windows user considering switching to a Mac, please note that:

        - Unless you dual boot or maintain 2 machines, your PC gaming days are practically over.
        - Try to take a screenshot. It's not as obvious as hitting Prt Scr.
        - The Mac GUI is radically different. You can only resize your windows from the bottom right and close your window from the top left. Windows allow you to resize from any corner and close from either top left or top right.
        - Forget about folder thumbnails. Mac doesn't support them.

        All these annoyances I learned first hand after I switched to a Mac at work. IMHO, Ubuntu and Windows are still better.

        • Erik
          October 27, 2009 at 9:27 am

          Literally every point you make is wrong here, and some of them are actually the inverse of the truth -- for example, Mac screenshots are much better; you can take selections, save them to memory, or save them to a distinct PNG file with transparency enabled. The most egregious point you made however is the folder thumbnails; one of the features in Leopard was a thumbnail of literally everything in your computer, called "Quicklook".

        • Andrew Lim
          October 27, 2009 at 9:47 am

          I stand by my points.

          Mac screen shots may be "better", but they're not intuitive to take! Can you tell me the easiest way to screen capture the entire screen? I recall it's some funky keystroke. CTRL+3 or something like that.

          To use QuickLook you have to select the file first. And it previews it at full size. What I want is Windows folder thumbnails. It's convenient for to see what subfolders contain, without clicking on them.

        • Michael Schwager
          October 27, 2009 at 12:43 pm

          I'm a 26-year UNIX veteran (not 26 years old, but I've been using it since 4.1BSD on a Vax 11/780). Off an and since the first Mac I have been using Macs in that time. My main computer at home is a MacBook Pro, my wife has a MacBook Pro; I also have a dual-boot PC (WinXP/Fedora 10) and a Solaris 10 box.

          All that said, I think that Andrew is basically right. Moving from PC to Mac is... different... not better, in a GUI sort of way. I like some of the GUI shortcuts on the PC and I miss them. I use a PC at work and I like they way it does some things- don't like the way the Mac does those things. ...Now, THAT said, I still think the Windows platform as a whole is inferior. It's true that you have to clean the damn thing out after a while because it gets old and crufty. I've never had a PC last longer than a year-and-a-half without a rebuild. :-( I'm used to a year and a half of *uptime*, for petessakes. Now THAT is a computer!

        • Romeo
          October 27, 2009 at 12:47 pm

          Mike your comments are not relative to the blog...simply google "Mac FanBoy Forum" and you'll see much more relevant places to post your comments.

  84. bruno
    October 26, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    If you want a clean uninstall use ZSoft Uninstaller. It scans file system a registry before and after install and computes difference. A rather brute force way but definitely effective.

  85. Trevor
    October 26, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    One utility I did not see mention is HijackThis.
    Its EXTREMELY effective when used properly.

    • bruno
      October 26, 2009 at 10:12 pm

      HJT is not for system optimizing (and not for noobs). It´s a malware cleaning tool and a rather old one.

  86. Elvin
    October 26, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    I think IE launches faster than Firefox and at the same time with Chrome. I use all 3 but mostly Chrome with plugins.
    VLC beats all in terms of media playing.
    And Pdgin is mostly a good linux player.
    Using an uninstaller is a good thing but it is also risky. Same as CCleaner.

    BTW. Formatting twice a year? Huh..I wish i had so much time..:)

  87. Steve Ollis
    October 26, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    I'd agree with most of this. I'd add a couple of suggestions tho.

    Defrag - I personally use and recommend MyDefrag ( It has built in configurations for standard defragmentation runs (Monthly, Weekly, Daily, Free Space, USB drives), and also comes with a screen saver option to allow your computer to automatically start defragging when you're not using it.

    One other tool, although not free but IS inexpensive, is eBoostr ( For as little as USD$19, you can use a USB key or SD/MMC card as additional caching memory for your PC. Of course, you do lose the use of a USB port, but the performance improvement more than makes up for this.

  88. libeco
    October 26, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I never use Crap Cleaner. I used to use all kinds of registry cleaners and boosters, but they just don't do any good. I'll delete my temp. files every once in a while, but I leave the registry untouched. WHat really makes a PC faster is formatting it at least twice a year.

    I do use Revo uninstaller and Defraggler, both great apps.

    As for web browsers, I use Maxthon for surfing and firefox for web development because of its plugins, but fast? No way, it's an incredibly slow browser, which is not as customizable as Maxthon.

    Next to VLC I would also nominate Media Player Classic, although I must say I'm impressed with Windows 7's Windows Media Player when it comes to clear image and speed.

    I have used foxit for about a year before I switched back to Adobe reader, somehow it seems like Adobe Reader isn't as slow as it used to. And the ad in foxit was annoying.

    One more tip for notebook users: remove the apps that come installed with a pre-installed notebook, it will make a huge difference!

    • Angelina
      October 26, 2009 at 1:43 pm

      The problem with formatting it twice a year is , with users who legitly buy software there couldbe problems with reusing software keys, and having "multiple computers" registered with the same key. Also, if you likehaving tons of programs installed, it is a HUGEEEE hassle reinstalling all those programs.

      I completely agree with you on deleting preinstalled apps, though. There's a great utility called PC Decrapifier

      • Dan
        October 26, 2009 at 7:15 pm

        What you do is format, install everything you will need and then ghost the whole thing (aka backing up the current disk state // whatever its called now) That way 6 months down the road you just reinstall from that and now you have a fresh system with everything set up the way you left it.

        • Damocles
          October 26, 2009 at 8:22 pm

          cat /dev/sda1 | gzip > sda1_backup.gz

          gunzip sda1_backup.gz > /dev/sda1

          If you use a Linux Live CD and have another partition (or server you can connect to) to dump the compressed disk. Completely free solution.

  89. AriesWarlock
    October 26, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Good article. I'd change Defraggler for Auslogic Disk Defrag.

    Why I don't like foobar:

    Does foobar2000 sound better than other players?

    No. Most of “sound quality differences” people “hear” are placebo effect (at least with real music), as actual differences in produced sound data are below their noise floor (1 or 2 last bits in 16bit samples). foobar2000 has sound processing features such as software resampling or 24bit output on new high-end soundcards, but most of the other mainstream players are capable of doing the same by now.

    Why AIM? I am using Digsby right now and it's great, facebook, myspace, twitter, and other messengers from a single application.

    I'd also throw in Advance System Care 3, its Memory Optimizer tool is very handy.

    • Jon
      October 27, 2009 at 8:44 am

      I don't understand your reasoning for disliking foobar2000. Because its audio is no better than other players?

  90. Alek Davis
    October 26, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    I'm not a fan of IE (mostly use FF), but to say that "Firefox [...] trump[s] IE when it comes to [...] start-up times" is a bit silly. Start-up time is my major complaint about FF.

    • RougeCrown
      October 26, 2009 at 12:57 pm

      IE starts with Windows, so obviously it starts faster. But well, just let the ol' fox warm up for some seconds and it will run like a charm.

      Or try chrome. I'm just too used to my Fox to even consider using it. Tried it and was impressed with its start up speed though.

      • Alek Davis
        October 26, 2009 at 1:04 pm

        IE does not start with Windows; it's a stand-alone process that starts exactly the same way FF does. And FF takes several minutes (not seconds) to start on my machine (I use a handful of add-ons, but not that many, and I recreated my profile/defraged the drive/etc, which helped initially, but after some use it went back to the slo-o-o-ow start-up). I tried Chrome a few months ago and I did not like it (it was fast and clean, but several things did not work well for me).

        • ray
          October 26, 2009 at 10:31 pm

          unfortunately I'd have to ff but it takes about 5 mins to start up on my pc. Explorer isn't an option. Chrome is the lightest and has fastest startup but is by far the buggiest. I've settled with the horribly slow ff.

        • hudz
          October 27, 2009 at 7:30 am

          Isn't it IE is prefetch on windows startup?

        • WiseGuy1020
          October 28, 2009 at 2:46 am

          Loved FF 3.5 till I tried Chrome. Fast but spartan, if I want to sacrifice capabilities for speed I'll go with epiphany-webkit. Installed Opera 10 and I am never going back.

    • Victor Vasconcelos
      October 26, 2009 at 12:59 pm

      True, most new tests using IE8 show Microsoft's browser has better startup times than Firefox, even without extensions. Chrome, while faster, has even less extensibility than IE itself (although their developers wouldn't like you to think so)

      I still use Firefox, basically because I can handle the ridiculous memory waste and startup times only to keep my extensions :3

      • Alek Davis
        October 26, 2009 at 1:50 pm


  91. ciastek
    October 26, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Firefox and small memory footprint? LOL!

    • RougeCrown
      October 26, 2009 at 12:55 pm

      LOL. sire, i think YOU are the one who should be loled at. Firefox triumphs everyone when it comes to memory usage. If your firefox is bloated, cut down your porn surfing.


      • Josh
        October 27, 2009 at 7:11 am

        Wha? Are we talking about the same browser here? :') Firefox is well known to be a resource hog. There is no denying this. It is a simple fact.

        Also, high memory usage due to porn surfing only happens to Internet Explorer.

    • AriesWarlock
      October 26, 2009 at 1:26 pm

      Like RogueCrown said, the new version of Firefox trumps the other browsers according to tests.

    • Angelina
      October 26, 2009 at 1:37 pm

      its true that firefox does have memory leaks, but the latest build has been much more efficient. Also, if you just close it every once in a while and restart it,it shouldn't suck up too much memory at all :]

      • Realist11
        October 26, 2009 at 11:11 pm

        THAT's a great solution, close the browser all the time to make up for its crappy memory management. Firefox 3.5 so far has been a memory disaster, IE8 is actually (surprisingly) doing better at the moment.

        • RougeCrown
          October 27, 2009 at 11:16 am

          I said already, if your firefox is a memory hogs, check your add-ons.

          Some add-ons suck up a lot of resources, like Down-Them-All, even the RSS live feed.

          Cut down on these add-ons, and you will see the improvements.

        • Anonymous
          January 3, 2010 at 9:53 am

          You made me laugh. IE which has shown itself to be slow, insecure, and far from standards compliant? You Microsoft fan boys are that thick?

  92. Noah
    October 26, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Yes, start-ups solve a little bit of the problem - but if you turn off the un-needed services run by Windows to begin with, you can have a great system. I got my Vista to run on as low as 400MB, while still being stable and secure. The common users also tend to have non-sense like quicktime or java running at start up. These aren't needed at all.

    • Angelina
      October 26, 2009 at 1:17 pm

      That's definitely true, particularly if you get rid of indexing and most of the visual effects. However, I'm of the opinion that the average user shouldn't be messing around with Services, unless know EXACTLY what they're doing (and most people tend to just disable things without really thinking about the repercussions)

    • chris
      November 9, 2009 at 5:26 am

      msconfig hold some system files, better before doing any tweak on msconfig read more info about the program that are on the list, in that case you'll know what to unchecked and what should stay "check",DON'T dare to unchecked if you doesn't know it's function.

  93. Noah
    October 26, 2009 at 11:28 am

    For most Windows users, it isn't the start up programs - it's the mix of programs and malware they have. Suggesting msconfig to beginners is a very bad move on your half. They'll try and turn off the kernel (seen it happen), or other things.

    • Angelina
      October 26, 2009 at 11:38 am

      Although you do have a great point (it is possible to disable some pretttty important stuff... although for the MOST part I'd say anything that you KNOW is unnecessary, for example, Itunes, can be disabled, and malware is definitely a part of the problem, for many users) I've seen my fair share of bogged down computers, and having way too many programs running at once is DEFINITELY a problem. Most users aren't even aware of how to disable start up problems, and when someone has Yahoo, MSN, AIM, AND Skype Messengers, Antivirus, a whole bunch of unnecessary, manufacturer installed add ons (Sidebar? or, for example, EEEPc makes a quicklaunch bar that is all too unnecessary), a whole bunch of the user's OWN unnecessary add ons, itunes, windows media player, and other junk starting up all at once, booting up and running the computer is a very very painful experience. That's why, when I'm performing speed optimizations and clean ups on people's computers, the first thing I usually tackle is start ups. Of course, that's not a universal solution, but it's one thing to look at when trying to speed up a computer.

    • Victor Vasconcelos
      October 26, 2009 at 12:56 pm

      Oh, I'll disagree. If they keep to the "startup" page they can't do any harm. If they actually go to other pages do some harm, they'll learn a lot with it.

  94. MUOFan
    October 26, 2009 at 11:25 am

    I agree with anything written in this article. I use Firefox, Foxit and VLC, and it's much better than any similar program.

    VLC and Foxit are new one for me though. I used to use Windows XP + Windows Media Player and Adobe Reader Lite before i started using Windows 7. I must admit that VLC and Foxit are lots faster than Windows Media Player.

  95. Chris
    October 26, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Firefox 3.5 has the smallest memory usage of just about any modern browser.

    • Alek Davis
      October 26, 2009 at 1:52 pm

      I wonder why this test did not cover IE (not that I'm an IE fan, but still).