Slow PC, Start Here

PART 1

Use CCleaner to Remove Temp Files:

  • CCleaner from here and save the installer to your desktop.
  • Close all open internet browser windows
  • Double click on the ccsetup file to start the installation of the program.
  • Select your language and click OK, then click Next.
  • Read the license agreement and click I Agree.
  • Click Next to use the default install location. Click Install then click Finish to complete installation.
  • Double click the CCleaner shortcut on the desktop to start the program.
  • On the Windows tab, under Internet Explorer, uncheck Cookies if you do not want them deleted. (If deleted, you will likely need to reenter your passwords at all sites where a cookie is used to recognize you when you visit)
  • If you use Firefox or any other Mozilla browsers, the box to uncheck for Cookies is on the Applications tab, under Firefox/Mozilla.
  • Click on the Options icon at the left side of the window, then click on Advanced.
    uncheck Only delete files in Windows Temp folders older than 24 hours.
  • Click on the Cleaner icon on the left side of the window, then click Run Cleaner to run the program.
  • Caution: It is not recommended that you use the Registry feature unless you are very familiar with the registry as it has been known to find legitimate items for removal, which can cause issues with other programs.
  • After CCleaner has completed its process, click Exit.

Clear Temp Files Using ATF Cleaner:

  • Please download ATF Cleaner by Atribune from here and save the file to your desktop.
  • Close all open internet browser windows
  • Run ATF Cleaner by double clicking it.
  • Once the program opens, click the box next to Select All

    • Note: this will delete all cookies saved by sites that you have visited so if you need to keep any cookies for automatic logins etc then uncheck the Cookies option
  • Once that’s all set click on the Empty Selected button and it will remove the temporary files from your system.
  • If you use Firefox or Opera browsers then click the appropriate button at the top of the program and delete the temp files from them as well following the same procedure.

Run TFC by OldTimer to clear temporary files:

  • Please download TFC from here or here and save it to your desktop.
  • Close any open programs and internet browsers.
  • Double click TFC.exe to run it and once it opens click on the Start button on the lower left of the program to allow it to begin cleaning.
  • Please be patient as clearing out temp files may take a while.
  • Once it completes you may be prompted to restart your computer, please do so.
  • Once it’s finished you may delete TFC.exe from your desktop or save it for later use for the cleaning of temporary files.

Step 3: Configure System Restore to use less space:

Configure System Restore in Windows XP:

  • Click on START and right-click on My Computer and choose Properties
  • Click on the System Restore tab
  • Under Disk space usage move the slider to 3%
  • Click on Apply and click on OK
  • Restart your computer

Configure System Restore in Windows 7:

  • Click on the Start Posted Image button and right-click on Computer and choose Properties
  • Click on System Protection on the left and click Continue if prompted
  • Make certain that the hard drive that Windows is installed on is highlighted in the list (usually C:) and click on Configure…
  • Under Disk Space Usage move the slider to 3%
  • Click on Apply and click on OK
  • Restart your computer

Note: You cannot configure the amount of space used by System Restore in Windows Vista.

Step 4: Defrag your Hard Drive and run CHKDSK:

Defragment your Hard Drive:

  • Please copy and paste the following text in the Code box exactly as written into notepad (not wordpad or any other text editor):
    defrag "%systemdrive%"
    del /f /q %0
  • Once you’ve done that click on File and select Save As…
  • In the Save dialogue box click on the drop down menu next to Save as type and select All Files
  • Name the file defrag.bat (the .bat extension is very important)
  • Save the file to your desktop and double click it to run it if running Windows XP. If running Windows Vista or Windows 7 you must right-click on the file and choose Run as administrator.

Run a Disk Check on your C: drive in Windows XP:

  • Click Start and open My Computer
  • Right-click on C: and select Properties
  • Click on the Tools tab
  • Under Error-checking click the Check Now… button
  • Mark the box next to Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors
  • Click on the Start button
  • When the message box pops up, click the Schedule disk check button and restart your computer
  • Once your computer restarts it will check the drive, don’t press any keys so that it is allowed to do so

Run a Disk Check on your C: drive in Windows Vista or Windws 7:

  • Click the Start Posted Image button and select Computer
  • Right-click on C: and select Properties
  • Click on the Tools tab
  • Under Error-checking click the Check Now… button and click Continue at the User Account Control prompt
  • Mark the box next to Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors
  • Click on the Start button
  • When the message box pops up, click the Schedule disk check button and restart your computer
  • Once your computer restarts it will check the drive, don’t press any keys so that it is allowed to do so

 

Use NTREGOPT to Optimize your Registry:

  • Please download NTREGOPT from here and save it to your desktop.
  • If using Windows XP, double-click on ntregopt-setup.exe to begin installation and follow the onscreen instructions to install it. If using Windows Vista or Windows 7 you must right-click on the file and choose Run as administrator.
  • Once it is installed UNCHECK the box next to Show documentation but leave the Launch NTREGOPT box checked and click Finish.
  • Once the Welcome! box appears click OK. You will now see it starting to optimize your registry. Please be patient as it can take a while.
  • Once it completes you will be prompted to restart your computer. Save anything you were working on and click Yes.

Note: You may see an error while optimizing the first registry hive on Windows 7, this is normal, just click Yes to allow the optimization to continue.

PART 2

 

Poor performance and other problems can be the result of disk fragmentation, disk errors, corrupt system files, too many startup programs, unnecessary services running, not enough RAM, dirty hardware, etc. As your system gets older it becomes filled with more files/programs and has a natural tendency to slow down so cleaning and regular maintenance is essential.

Listed below are a few things you can do to improve speed and system performance. Many of the these suggestions will apply if you’re using Windows Vista but may be done a bit differently. Near the bottom of this thread there is a section specifically devoted to Vista Users.

For browser problems, see:

If your having connectivity issues or errors such as Page cannot be displayed see

If you’re using Vista or Internet Explorer 7, see

If you have a lot of toolbars and add-ons attached to Internet Explorer, you could try improving performance by disabling those which are unecessary. See:

Vista users see:

Clean up your hard drive by removing unused programs and transferring old data, pictures, music files to a CD or an external hard drive.

When you have moved/saved the files you want to keep, run Disk Cleanup and let it scan your system for files to remove. Don’t clean out the Prefetch folder – This is a common myth that will not improve performance.

You may be instructed to remove prefetch files if you had experienced some virus/malware issues otherwise removing prefetch files is not really necessary. Although the prefetch folder can become quite bloated in time, removing old prefetch data as a matter of routine is not recommended. Your boot time immediately after clearing the prefetch folder is much slower…but it will speed up after the first reboot when windows begins to put back some of the files that you removed.

As an alternative to Disk Cleanup you can download and scan with CCleaner.
(Scroll to the last one and click the “CCleaner Slim”…it has no toolbar that comes packaged with it)

After installation, see see the CCleaner Tour: Using and Understanding CCleaner
Make sure you go to Options–>Advanced and uncheck the box to Only delete files in Windows Temp folders older than 48 hours before running a scan
An added benefit of using CCleaner is the Issues scan which allows you to clean the registry
Always back up your registry before making any changes

Check for any unnecessary running services

If you have a typical installation, many services are configured as “automatic”; that is, they start automatically when the system starts or when the service is called for the first time. Use Black Viper’s “Services Configuration” to help fine tune this area.

Check for disk errors by running CHKDSK in “SAFE MODE” or from the Recovery Console

In the Check Disk dialog box, select the “Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors” check box, click “Start” and have it repair anything it finds. As you use your hard drive, it can develop bad sectors which slow down hard disk performance and make data writing difficult. Check Disk scans the hard drive and verifies the logical integrity of a file system by checking for system errors, lost clusters, lost chains, and bad sectors. When encountering logical inconsistencies in file system data, it will perform the necessary actions to repair the file system data.

Check for damaged, altered or missing critical system files by running the System File Checker

If SFC discovers that a protected file has been damaged, altered or missing, it restores the correct version of the file from the cache folder.
You must be logged on as an administrator or as a member of the Administrators group to run sfc and it may ask you to insert your XP Installation CD so have it available.

Defrag your system

Disk fragmentation slows the overall performance of your system. When files are fragmented, the computer must search the hard disk when a file is opened. Disk Defragmenter consolidates fragmented files and folders on the hard disk so that each occupies a single space on the disk. This speeds up reading and writing to the disk. Read
The Importance of Disk Defragmentation” for instructions.

Note: It is recommended to shut down all applications (including your Anti-virus) before running Defrag to ensure that no programs attempt to write to the drive while it is being defragmented. Not doing so may cause you to have to restart the entire process. If you have disabled all running programs and still find that the defrag routine is constantly interrupted, you can defrag from “SAFE MODE”.

Check for any unnecessary applications loading at startup when Windows boots by using MSConfig

Some startup programs are necessary so be careful what you disable. If you are unsure what any of the startup entries are or if they are safe to disable, then search one of the following Startup Databases:

Note: MSConfig.exe is a troubleshooting utility used to diagnose system configuration issues. Although it works as a basic startup manager, msconfig should not be used routinely to disable auto-start programs. It is a temporary solution and not a good practice for several reasons. When uninstalling programs while disabled with msconfig, they may not be uninstalled properly and orphaned entries often will be left behind. When used to switch back to normal startup mode, these orphan entries can result in boot up errors. Further, msconfig does not list all applications loaded in all possible startup locations (some entry points are hidden and unknown to the user) and does not allow the complete removal of disabled entries from its list.

You should not use msconfig to disable startup applications related to a running service. Doing so alters the registry and there are services that are essential for hardware and booting. When you uncheck a service in msconfig, you completely disable it. If you uncheck the wrong one, you may not be able to restart your computer. You should only disable services using Control Panel–>Administrative Tools–>Services.

A better alternative is to use a startup manager. If you have Spybot S&D installed, launch it, go to Mode and select Advanced. Then go to Tools, select System Startups. You will be provided with a list of programs that load when Windows starts. If you untick an entry it will no longer run at startup. This will allow you to experiment and see how your system performs with any of them disabled. Other startup managers you can download and use for free are:

Remove any third party “Memory Manager” or “Optimizer”

Windows XP memory management was designed to make the best use of Ram and these memory management utilities defeat that purpose. They push applications out of RAM into the pagefile, creating holes in the RAM and slowing down your computer’s performance by doing so.

Disable some visual effects

While visual embellishments may be attractive, they don’t do anything else for you. Disabling some of them frees up system resources and makes the operating system perform better.

Right click My Computer, choose Properties–>Advanced then click on Settings
In the Visual Effects tab, select Adjust for best performance or uncheck all the visual effects, except for the last three
Click “Apply”, then “Ok”, then “Ok” again
Then right click your Desktop and choose Properties–>Appearance–>Effects
Uncheck the first two boxes and hit “OK”


Add more RAM

This is a quick solution that can have a dramatic affect on your system’s speed and responsiveness. You can check how much RAM you have by going to Start–>Program Files–>Accessories–>System Tools–>System Information and look at your System Summary. For more info see Understanding, Identifying and Upgrading the RAM in your PC“.

For more suggestions and performance tips read:

“Restore Your Computer’s Performance with Windows XP”
“XP Performance Tweaks”
“Performance Boost for XP”

For Vista Users:

Vista Features Explained: Performance
Vista Features Explained: SuperFetch
SuperFetch & ReadyBoost
Tips to boost Vista performance
Windows Vista Performance Tuning
Top 12 Tweaks To Improve Vista Looks and Performance

When you are all done be sure to Create a new Restore Point to enable your computer to “roll-back” to a clean working state keeping all the changes you just made. Then use Disk Cleanup to “remove all but the latest Restore Point”.

Vista Users can refer to these links:

Microsoft DOS cmd and command

An A-Z Index of the Windows CMD command line

How to use Regedit

XP-Registry Editing

Vista /Win 7- Registry Editing

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