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How to fix Poor PC performance

Our PC’s performance is not satisfying us although it has 1GB RAM. Its working speed is not much better and it has been attacked by viruses.

Celeste StewartPC Performance Tips

Even with one GB of RAM installed, if your PC is running Windows Vista, you may find one gigabyte is not enough. My daughter and I have nearly identical laptops running Vista. Hers has one gigabyte of RAM, mine has two. The difference is dramatic.

However, your PC may not be able to take more memory. If you can't add more memory, you can still take proactive steps to squeeze out more speed. Let's take a look at the options available.

Combat the Viruses and Spyware

You mentioned that viruses have been a problem, so let's tackle that issue right away. If your computer has been attacked in the past, there's a good chance that you have quite a few viruses and other forms of malware on your computer. Not only can these malicious programs damage your computer and steal confidential data like account numbers and passwords, they sap performance. Plus, vulnerable systems beget more malware, which compounds the problem. Your PC may have dozens of hidden programs all running at once - each taking up its fair share of available memory. In addition, many malicious programs called "downloading Trojans" actually invite other spyware and viruses into your PC.

Obviously, you'll need a solid defense and a way to clean these infections. Check out our reviews of anti-virus applications here. Several of the products that we reviewed are available for free for "personal use" while others require a yearly subscription. Unfortunately, in this connected environment, these products are an absolute must.  

Remove "Start Up" Programs

After removing spyware and viruses, you should notice an immediate boost in performance. After all, if you had numerous hidden applications running without your knowledge and now they're gone, they will no longer be gobbling up your computer's memory. Now, let's stop all of the legitimate programs from doing the same.

When installing software, many of us just click the "OK" and "Next" buttons without giving it much thought. By doing so, we often allow the software to set itself up for automatic startup each time Windows boots up. Unless you use these programs each and every time you use your PC, there's no need to load them because they're just taking up memory that you'd most likely appreciate having available for other tasks.

You can prevent programs from automatically loading by going to the Start button and typing msconfig into either the Search bar (Windows Vista) or the Run dialog. Once launched, click the Startup Items tab. Remove the checkmark from any programs that you would prefer to load on demand only. For example, if you rarely use QuickTime, remove the checkmark from the QuickTime box. In the future, you can launch QuickTime by using its icon or shortcut found in the Programs list.

Vista Performance Center

Vista includes an entire section dedicated to performance, the Performance Information and Tools center. This section is found in the Control Panel. Spend some time exploring this area and making adjustments to your PC. For example, you can adjust startup items, visual effects, indexing, and more - all of which can improve your computer's performance. The Advanced Tools section is particularly useful with detailed performance reports and specific suggestions offered for improving your computer's performance.

Other Tips

There's so much that can affect performance ranging from having too large of a desktop image set as your background wallpaper to errors residing in your Window's registry. Spend some time looking through our PC Performance section where you'll find loads of advice for speeding up sluggish computers.

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