Improving the Performance of Your System. Grant Fleming Lake Monticello Computer Users Group January 10 th, 2008. What We’ll Cover…. Clean Ups and Updates Performance Tuning (Tune Ups) Upgrades Reinstalls Utilities. Getting Started - Clean Ups and Updates.
Improving the Performance of Your System
Lake Monticello Computer Users Group January 10th, 2008
Always start with a clean and stable system.
Malware and Spyware
Increase Free Disk Space
Unnecessary data files and programs waste space and reduce performance.
The most common ways of increasing free disk space are:
In XP, click start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup, and select a drive to clean. Disk Cleanup will show a list of of files that can be deleted. The More Options tab offers you several more cleanup choices. The System Restore cleanup option, in particular, can clear lots of disk space by erasing old restore points. In Vista, you can just type Disk Cleanup in the search window and it will locate the application for you.
The default Recycle Bin size is 10% of hard drive capacity, a waste of space that should be reduced. To adjust the Maximum Recycle Bin Size, right-click the Recycle Bin, click Properties, and set the Maximum size of Recycle Bin (percent of drive). One or two percent is adequate on larger drives.
Remove Unwanted Software and Programs
Whether it’s the result of malware, forgetting to uncheck a box when installing an application, trying out applications, or bundled packages, all kinds of programs get installed on your system – and often there are many that are unneeded or even unwanted.
BE CAREFUL – Only remove software you do not need or want.
IF YOU ARE NOT SURE - Look up the program online or ask someone for help and advice.
Close all running applications, disable any screen saver and click start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter. Select the drive to defragment and click Defragment.
You may need to run Defrag more than once to get optimal results. In many cases, the best idea is to set Defrag to run as a scheduled task. Microsoft describes how to automate the process here:
At this point, your machine should be clean, updated and already running better.
Consider making a backup or creating a restore point. Then you can begin tuning and tweaking for greater performance.
Getting the most out of your system
This is one of the more complicated aspects of working on your computer and it takes a lot of study and knowledge to excel at this. There are many books and websites devoted to the subject matter and what is presented here, is simply a basic introduction.
This is often the IT Pro’s favorite part of a System Tuning and all have their own tips, tricks and preferred methods…
Eliminate Unnecessary Startup Applications
ONLY RUN WHAT YOU NEED.
Ways to Disable Background Applications:
Eliminate Unnecessary Windows Services
Windows comes with a number of services enabled by default that many consider superfluous. Unnecessary services can reduce system performance, compromise security and consume memory.
Microsoft’s Services Guide for XP (and Server 2003) is here:
The Microsoft Whitepaper on Vista Services can be downloaded here:
A good Guide for handling services in Microsoft Vista can be found here:
These service startup types are acceptable for most systems:
To change the startup type, open the Services console, start > Run… > Open: services.msc. If Started, stop, then modify the Startup Type of these services by double clicking the service, and selecting the desired Startup Type from the drop-down menu on the General tab.
Consider Disabling the Indexing Service
The Indexing Service creates a catalog of the contents and properties of documents on local and shared network drives. The service, Cidaemon.exe, usually generates a susbstantial increase in CPU utilization, disk read activity, and swap file use.
Adjust Visual Effects settings
Windows provides several options to set visual effects including enabling all settings (for best appearance), or none of the settings (for best computer performance). The effects settings can be customized to improve performance while retaining the more helpful effects.
In XP, to improve system performance, click start > Control Panel > System > Advanced tab, click Settings in the Performance section, select the Visual Effects tab, click Custom: and uncheck:
In Vista, click Start > Control Panel > System then select Advanced System Settings and then Performance.
Adding New and Improved Hardware
Sometimes simply cleaning and tuning your system still does not provide you with the performance you want. You may actually need to improve the hardware of the computer to run the applications you need or to have the speed you desire.
Things You May Be Able To Upgrade:
Additional or improved hardware such as a newer modem, faster network card, additional or faster optical (CD/DVD) drive, etc can also to many systems.
When All Else Fails…
If cleaning, tuning and upgrading your system do not provide you with adequate performance, you have one last resort before deciding to purchase a newer and more powerful computer.
Reinstalling the system sets the OS (and perhaps any bundled applications) back to the factory settings. There are many methods of doing this which all have different effects and impacts.
You should only make a backup before doing a reinstall IF YOU EVER WANT TO SEE YOUR DATA AGAIN.
Think you have a good backup? Test it to be sure – IF YOU EVER WANT TO SEE YOUR DATA AGAIN.
While in some circumstances this can be time consuming or tricky, it is a good practice.
I tend to do a complete reinstall about once a year.
Types of Reinstalls
Types of Reinstalls