When we buy a shiny new computer it boots up so fast, runs our programs even faster and everything is just crusin’, then as the months go by and the gigabytes pile up we find our computer was not as fast as it once used to be. Why does this happen and what can we do about it fixing it?
1. The Windows Registry
The most common cause of computer ‘slowness’ is a damaged or fragmented windows registry. Over time as you add and remove programs data is written to the registry to record program information such as version, install path and other information the program needs to run. When an application is removed a lot of the time some or all of this information is not cleanly removed resulting in ‘orphaned’ registry hives. Every time you start-up your computer it tries to execute the instructions in the registry that have been left behind and as the program can no longer be found it causes an error to occur. Having said this, your computer is usually doing a lot more work than it should be and this is the main reason for a slow PC.
How do we fix this? Well, there are a number of applications out there that can scan a windows registry and look for orphaned keys and data that references files that no longer exist. One such app I’ve liked to use in the past is CCleaner. No only can this repair damaged registries but it can also search for spyware, cleans internet browser history/cache/cookies, etc and depending on the version you have, it can also do disk defragmentation.
2. Spyware and Viruses
Spyware and viruses are pieces of software that find their way onto your computer usually without you knowing it. They are installed when you install a legitimate piece of software as a means for people to track what software you like, you have installed, type of operating system you’re using, etc. Spyware can also do other things like change your default search engine in your default browser, track web surfing history, can use your computer to send spam email and also steal your personal information.
Now, it sounds like spyware is doing quite a lot and, you would be right. Because its doing stuff that you would usually not want your computer to be doing, it can slow down various parts of your computer adding to the problem. Again, there are pieces of software out there that do a very good job of removing spyware such as Spybot search & destroy. Anti-spyware should be apart of your computer security software just as your anti-virus and firewall software as it plays an important part in not only providing security for your computer, but it can stop your computer from receiving malware from the beginning.
Spyware usually lives in software like screensavers and other free software. This is how they catch unsuspecting users. You should stay away from this type of software unless you are sure of the origin of the software.