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Easy Ways to Keep Your PC Fast and Trouble Free

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You have just purchased that brand new computer. After powering it up and getting everything configured, you have that great satisfaction of your computer working exactly as it should. Everything is fast. There are no annoying pop-ups asking for updates slowing down the process of starting the machine. Everything is in its proper place.
Jump ahead about a year, and more than likely, you are having a lot of those same problems you had with your old computer that finally drove you to buy a new one. This is a very common problem, and don't worry; it's not your fault. This is the sort of thing that will happen over time. Programs pile up, organization slowly but surely goes out the window, and software you never knew you had keeps asking for you to update it every time you turn your computer on. Worst of all, the computer is suddenly very slow.

There are a lot of things that can be done to speed up your computer, but the best option is to be proactive, and take a few simple steps to ensure that you never have to deal with a slow computer in the first place! Below are some very easy practices that, if done regularly, will help to keep your computer quick and trouble free.

Be Careful When Installing Programs

When you go to install software on your new computer, take your time! Whatever you do, don't just check all of the boxes and click next to proceed through the install as fast as possible. Oftentimes, software will come packaged with other programs which you don't want. You are by no means required to install these programs, but if you just keep clicking the next button, they will almost certainly end up on your computer. These programs will do nothing but fill up hard drive space and slow your PC down.

Avoiding these programs is simple. When installing new software, read through every page of the program's installer carefully. Sometimes these unwanted programs are more obvious than others. Some will have an entire page of the installer dedicated to it, formatted as an advertisement. These are easy to spot, and all you have to do is ensure that the box asking if you want to install the software is not checked. Other times, the hidden software will be less obvious. To ensure that you are not installing anything which you don't want, be sure that you know what it is that you are trying to install, and that you read everything in the installer, keeping an eye open for anything different.

Empty Your Recycle Bin Regularly

One of the best things that you can do to keep you PC running quick is to keep plenty of space on your hard drive open. A big part of this is deleting files and folders that you no longer need. However, just moving something to the recycle bin doesn't mean it isn't still there to clog up your hard drive and slow you down.
It is a common misconception that moving a file to the recycle bin on your desktop is the equivalent of deleting it. This is most certainly not the case. The recycle bin serves as a sort of halfway point between a file existing on your computer and it being removed from your system entirely. By using the recycle bin, you can recover any files you delete accidentally or come to the sudden realization that you still need. The fact that those files are still there, however, means that they are still taking up space on your hard drive.
To permanently remove files from your computer, and open up a significant amount of space on your hard drive, you need to empty the recycle bin. This is very easy to do. Open the recycle bin, and look either on the top of the newly opened window or off to the left. You should see an option titled "Empty Recycle Bin". Before doing so, take a quick look through your recycle bin and ask, "Will I ever need any of these files again?" This is important to do, because once you empty the recycle bin, the files within it will be gone forever. Select the option to empty the recycle bin, confirm that you wish to permanently delete the files within, and you're done.

Use a Fast, Clean Browser

It seems that now more than ever, most of our time on the computer is spent on the internet. To access the internet, one uses an internet browser. This is often one of the first things that you will notice slowing down, simply because of how often it is used. However, it may not even be the computer that is slowing this down. To instantly speed up your browsing, try a new web browser.
Most Windows PCs will come with Microsoft's Internet Explorer pre-installed. Because of this, it is a very popular browser. However, it is also a notoriously slow one. While more recent versions of Internet Explorer have been getting faster, the alternatives that exist remain faster, often less troublesome options. Additionally, if you are very used to Internet Explorer, it is always a good idea to ensure that you have the most recent version installed, as any updates that are available will likely help to speed things up. Installing one of these faster web browsers from day one can often make surfing the internet a much faster, easier experience.
Recommended options for a faster or more up to date web browser include:(Clicking each link will take you to the page where you can learn more about and download that browser)
Other options exist, however these four tend to represent the most popular choices, with Google's Chrome having recently surpassed Internet Explorer as the most widely used web browser.
All of these browsers will offer a fast experience at first, however it is up to you to keep it that way. Loading any browser with lots of add-ons and toolbars will hurt its performance, and it will be easily noticeable. Firefox and Chrome especially offer a large number of additional programs you can install to allow your browser to do different things, but if they cause the browser to run painfully slow, they aren't being of much help. By only using a few necessary, truly useful additions to the browser, and uninstalling any that you don't use, you will ensure that you are able to browse the web painlessly and quickly.

When Asked to Update, Do It

Everyone who has ever used a computer has experienced this. You go to turn your computer on, anxious to begin using it, and as soon as you log in and see your desktop, you are bombarded with pop ups and messages from programs asking that you update them.
When we are first turning on our computers, it is usually because we have something in mind that we want to do. Because we have better things to do than sit around waiting for updates to install, and then letting the computer restart if the update requires it, we tend to ignore these updates. The problem with this, however, is that with all of those programs starting up and needing to prompt you for an update, the actual process of starting your computer so that you can use it takes longer.
The best way to keep your computer's initial startup process as quick and painless as possible is to cut down on all of those pop ups. The best way to do this is to simply take the time to update the software that needs it. When you see a notification that a new update is available for software you have installed, simply let it update. If the need to restart is your problem, there is usually an option for waiting to restart on your own time. It may seem like a hassle to go through all of the updates, but doing so will mean that most of the time when you start your computer, you won't have to deal with any of them.
If you do happen to encounter an update prompt for a program which you have no interest in keeping updated, chances are that is because you no longer have an need for that program. If that is the case...

Remove Unneeded Programs

Over time, the number of programs that are installed on a PC will slowly start to build up. After a few brief uses, many of these programs are no longer of any use. They simply sit on your hard drive and take up space.
The more space that you can keep open on your hard drive, the better. It is also of benefit to uninstall programs that you no longer use simply in the interest of keeping your computer organized and free of clutter. If you see prompts to update a program that you have not used in years, it may be good to just uninstall it.
Uninstalling programs is a fairly easy process. The first step is to reach your computer's control panel. Under Windows 7, clicking on the Windows icon in the lower left, the start button, will open the start menu. Clicking on the option for Control Panel on the right side of that menu will take you there. From the control panel, find the option called "Add or Remove Programs". When you open this, after taking a short while to load, you will be met with a list of every program which has been installed on the computer.
A word of caution before you begin uninstalling software. The items in this list include drivers for hardware and various other ambiguous and important programs. Just because you do not recognize a program does not mean that it is not important. Only remove programs that you know what they are and know that you no longer have any use for them. If you see a program that you are unfamiliar with, yet you are unsure what it is or what it does, it is best to simply leave it alone.
As you go through the list, look for programs that you remember installing, and that you know are no longer of use to you. You will often be surprised by how many programs you have installed that you have completely forgotten about. If you forgot about them, they are likely programs you don't need. When you find a program to uninstall, simply click on it, and then look for the option to remove that program, which should either be to the side of or above the window containing the list of programs. This will launch the programs uninstaller, which should be easy to follow along with. When the program has been removed, it will disappear from the list.
It is a good idea to go through and remove unneeded programs every few months. If you remove programs from your computer regularly, there will not be a very noticeable difference in performance immediately after doing so, unless you have a relatively small hard drive. However, if you never do so, it will cause your computer to run slower, as well as induce headaches and confusion when you come across tons of programs that you have which are of no use to you.

These are only a few very quick, very easy practices which, if done regularly, can help you keep your computer easy to use and running fast in the long run. By following these tips, you will hopefully be rewarded with a computer that runs smoothly and continues to run smoothly for years to come.

Posted by Omkarr singh on Wednesday, December 26, 2012. Filed under , , , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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