Speed Up Windows 7 in Seven Neat Steps

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Ever asked yourself, what happened to my new PC that used to run so well, but now it takes it’s own sweet time. In this article, we show you a few neat tricks to turn your favorite piece of hardware running like it was half its age. 

1. Removing Unwanted Software So, few years ago you brought yourself a new PC or were gifted one (Lucky You!) and in all your excitement, like the most of us, installed a bunch of programs that you never used since then and even forgot it existed. Some of these programs might have also been installed in plain oversight, while installing other programs you needed by just excepting the default options. While some others might have come bundled up with your PC. What ever the reason, there is a chance these programs might be slowing down your PC by adding itself to your “Startup” applications making your PC boot-up time longer, or by running in the background hogging vital CPU (Processor) cycles and your computer’s RAM (Memory). So, it is advisable to get rid of programs you do not use any more.

To uninstall a programs, go to START > CONTROL PANEL > PROGRAMS AND FEATURES,  select the unwanted programs and click uninstall. Repeat this step till you are rid of all your unwanted programs.

Note: Do not remove device driver programs, these programs usually have “Driver” in their name and are required to keep your hardware running. If you are unsure what a program does, it is usually a good idea to leave it alone or alternatively you could look it up in Google.

windows 7 program and features

2. Turn Off  System Restore – Windows by default creates a bookmark of the current state of your operating system and files every time there is a significant change or when you manually create a restore point. Even though this is a great feature if something bad were to happen, it makes your PC a bit slow.

To turn this feature off, go to START > CONTROL PANEL > SYSTEM > SYSTEM PROTECTION > SYSTEM PROTECTION TAB and click on the “Configure” button,   then select “Turn off system protection” and hit “OK”.

Note: Please make sure to take regular backup of your system if you do decide to turn this feature off and have a good antivirus program installed, which you should  be doing anyway.

windows 7 system restore

3. Scan For Viruses And Malware - Virus and Malware can significantly slow down your PC. Make sure to scan your PC at least monthly with a reliable Antivirus and Malware detection program. This will not only speed up your PC by getting ride of nuisance programs but also will keep your information and personal data safe from prying eyes. This can be done easily by right clicking your antivirus program icon in the system tray (bottom right conner) and selecting “Complete System Scan” (or something similar in your corresponding AV program) from the pop-up menu options.

4. Stop Programs From Starting Up By Default - Some programs are launched by default every time you turn on your PC and continue to run in the background once it is on. A typical example of such type of an applications are Instant Messengers. If you do not use these programs everyday, it may be a good idea to stop them from launching by default and considerably speed up your boot time. You can find a list of these programs by navigating to START > PROGRAMS > STARTUP. If you find you have programs here that you do not use on a daily basis, then launch that program and in the “Menu Bar” find “Options” or “Preferences” in the drop down menu and click on it. Now, in the new dialog box find the setting which says “launch at startup” (or something similar) and uncheck that option.

Note: Please, do NOT stop your antivirus program from launching at startup.

5. Turn Of Unwanted Visual Effects - Simple tweaks to your system properties can boost the performance of your computer. To do this, go to START > CONTROL PANEL > SYSTEM > ADVANCED SYSTEM SETTINGS > PERFORMANCE > SETTINGS,  here under the “Visual Effects” tab select the “Custom” ratio button and then in the selection box below check only the options shown in the screen shot and then click “OK”.

Note, doing this will make some of the visual appearances look less prettier, but the performance gain is worth it.

windows 7 system properties

6. Defragment Your Hard Drive - All your personal files (documents, pictures etc) along with your operating system (Windows) files and programs (Word, Excel, Adobe Reader etc) are stored on your computers hard drive. Over a period of time they tend to get scattered all over the place on your hard drive due to the underlying design of  the hardware (explanation for another day). This can significantly slow down your PC. Hence, it is a good idea to defragment your hard drive at least once in six months.

To defragment your hard drive, double click “My Computer” icon on your desktop and right click the “Local Disk C:” in the Windows Explorer window and select “Properties”, then under the “Tools” tab click the “Defragment Now” button and select the “Defragment Disk” button in the new dialog box. It is highly recommended to leave your system idle till the process is complete.

Note: This takes a significant amount of time, so make sure to run this when  your system is idle for at least 6 hours. Also, make sure to backup your data before you start disk defragmentation, in case something goes wrong.

windows 7 disk defrag

7. Add More Memory - Programs are getting more and more complex day by day and  if your PC is more than two years old you might just need more memory. Recommended memory for windows 7 is at least 4GB, if you have anything less, it may be a good idea to upgrade. Normally your computer’s memory (RAM) is located on the bottom of your laptop or next to the CPU fan inside your desktop and is easily upgradable by following the owner manual ( or stay posted to read about it in one of our next blogs).

Above steps should help you speed up your PC quite a bit  and save some mulla for other better things :). Good Luck!!!

Please see disclaimer.

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About Vijay

Computer junky for 20 plus years and still obsessed with it. I enjoy exploring and tweaking popular operating systems and tinkering with computer hardware. Professionally, I work as a Storage Systems Administrator. When not on my computer, I love to travel, shop, read and hang out with my family and friends.