NEWS AND RESOURCES

What's New in Technology for December 2006

Technology: Jump-Start That Sluggish PC

If you are spending more time at the keyboard waiting for programs or files to open, it may be time to perform a simple "jump-start" effort to see if the problem can easily be resolved.

    1. First, run your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. (If you don’t have any updated programs, install some without further delay.) Run a full system scan to see if viruses, adware or other nasty uninvited guests are diluting your PC’s performance.



    1. Check to make sure you have installed all the updates and patches provided by Windows. Don’t forget to look for updated drivers for your PC peripherals - printers, scanners, etc., too.



    1. If your PC is still slow, and there’s no indication of spyware or other insidious types of malware, you might want to check your start-up protocol. Often unnecessary start-up items get activated when you start up other programs - and you may be totally unaware that these are up and running, sucking up the very same resources you need for the programs you’re trying to run. You can find out what programs might be launched at startup by checking the Command column in the startup tab of the System Configuration Utility. If the name of a startup program doesn’t mean much to you, use any search engine to find out what it does. If you decide to disable any of the startup items, check its deselect box and click on "OK." If you are not sure what a particular item does, don’t deselect until you’ve searched (via any search engine) for some information on its functions.



    1. If your PC is still too sluggish, you might want to turn your attention to your hard drive. If you haven’t cleaned out old documents or uninstalled programs you don’t use any more, you may have an overloaded hard drive. It’s easy to let outdated documents and other useless data hang around taking up space. If a general "clean up," which includes emptying the recycle bin, doesn’t do the trick, you may need to "defrag"the hard drive. Defragmenting (or "defragging") the drive means collecting all the bits of data for various files together - ensuring they’re not dispersed (or fragmented) across the drive. Defragging allows the operating system to find files and information faster. Windows provides some tools to help you run a defrag effort. You can find them in the start menu. Click "Run" and then type: "cmd." A window should pop up after the "cmd" prompt and you can type: "defrag c:" at the command prompt and hit "enter." This should start the defrag process on your PC’s hard drive.



    If none of the steps listed above have had much beneficial impact on your PC’s performance, you may want to get some expert technical advice to identify the problem and determine the most cost-effective solution. Before you do this, you might give DIY one more shot and reinstall Windows. Sometimes this will do the trick.

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