Do you find that your PC isn’t as fast as it used to be? You’re not alone. One reason for this disparity is that the older your PC is, the more likely you are to have encountered newer and faster technology, whether at work or elsewhere. Because computer technology advances at such a rapid pace, after just a few months the hardware you bought could become redundant. This is the nature of the technology market, and is not something you can guard against. The second reason that your PC seems slower, though, is that your use of it has an effect on the installed hardware. However, with the correct tools, it is simple to correct some of these inefficiencies and restore some of your computer’s old performance.
When you first got your PC, its hard disk was almost completely empty. It probably had only the operating system and a few basic programs on it to start you off. As you installed new programs and introduced files such as text documents, music, and photos, your hard disk was able to store them in efficient blocks. When you delete or uninstall any of these things, though, you leave ‘gaps’ in the hard drive. This means that when new data is created, it has to be forced into the available gaps instead of in one continuous block. This makes reading the data more difficult. Defragmentation programs act to maximise hard drive efficiency by rearranging data into blocks, closing the ‘gaps’ and allowing your computer to more easily move between files. All Windows PCs have a built-in defragmenter, which is very straightforward to use. It’s a good idea to schedule the program to run on a regular basis so that you don’t need to worry about this again.
Temporary Files and Caches
As you use your computer, it constantly stores information to improve your experience. For example, it will remember the documents that you most recently opened, making it easier for you to find them again. Similarly, web browsers will usually save an image of the sites you visit, meaning that when you return the page can be displayed more quickly. These files are small, but can mount up rapidly and create a great deal of useless data. A program such as Piriform’s CCleaner will automatically locate and delete these files. The program is free, so download it and give it a try – you’d be surprised how much junk it will find!
The computer’s registry is its central database, where you can find everything from pointless kernels of data to important system settings. With regular use, your PC will accumulate registry entries which are no longer needed. For example, when you delete a file, an entry may still appear in the registry even though the data itself no longer exists. This redundant information is not automatically deleted. It’s not recommended that non-experts attempt to modify the registry, as it contains such crucial files, but CCleaner or other free programs can perform the task of removing invalid entries automatically. Removing this clutter can improve your PC’s efficiency.