08 August 2012
Supercharge Computer Performance: 8 Tips to Get More From Your Computer

Even if you don’t know anything about computer technology, there are lots of steps you can take to increase computing speed and lower the chances of problems with computer viruses, spyware and other malware.

Streamlining computer performance can increase personal and workplace productivity, letting you accomplish more in less time. Improving performance may lessen the likelihood of a hacker attack. And, by eliminating the cookies and other trash that collects on the computer’s hard drive as you surf the web, you’re more likely to enjoy computing more. Watching that hourglass icon spinning as you wait for a download just isn’t fun.

1. Eliminate the “freeware” that comes with your new computer. Today’s computers come pre-loaded with trial offers for security software, tracking software, cloud computing software and other applications you may not want or use.  It’s simple to remove these truncated programs when you first boot up your new system. Start by checking to see which boxes pop up on your desk top. Each of these boxes is an offer – an offer you can refuse.

Click on the “control panel” icon or link when you start up your computer. Next, click on the “uninstall” link. Your computer will go through all the programs and applications currently loaded on your system’s hard drive. Review the list.  If it’s a program you won’t use, uninstall it with a simple click. To eliminate a long wait each time you log in, limit the number of applications and programs that automatically load on start-up.

2. Check your browser for cookies. Your browser is the application you use to surf the web.  Each time you visit a site, there’s a good chance that the site will deliver a tracking cookie to your hard drive.  As these cookies increase in number, your system performance may be degraded, or even slowed to a crawl.  Each browser has a settings feature. Click on “settings,” then choose “delete cookies.” You should immediately see an improvement in system performance.

3. Eliminate temporary Internet files. You’ll find the link to eliminate temporary Internet files in your browser’s tool box. Some browsers use a gear or a wrench as an icon to access the settings feature. Temporary Internet files are placed on your system to enable you to get back to a site you previously visited.  If you don’t plan to re-visit sites, clean out your temporary Internet files folder at least once every two weeks – more often if you spend a lot of time online. This one step should boost computing power and speed, and it won’t cost a penny.

4. Add some RAM. A new computer may set you back a lot of money – especially one with blazing fast speed. You can increase computing speed without the expense of a new computer by adding more RAM to your older system.  RAM stands for “random access memory.” The more RAM you have, the more multi-tasking you should be able to do. Adding more RAM may let you keep several windows open simultaneously and still enjoy the speed you want. RAM chips are measured in gigabytes – a measure of computing power. The more “gigs” you have, the faster your computer runs.

If you’re not familiar with computer hardware, you may need to ask an experienced technician to install the new RAM chips. However, it’s likely to cost a lot less to add some RAM than it will be to purchase a new system with extra RAM already installed. Purchasing a few gigabytes of RAM may let you supercharge that older system with new power and a longer, more useful life.

5. Add security software. Hackers gain access to your computer system in lots of ways. When you open an email, for example, you may unleash a virus that slows your computer system to a crawl. If you visit untrustworthy web sites, your system may become infected with a computer virus, spyware, a Trojan horse or some other form of hacker-ware that slows down computing performance.  It may even provide unauthorized access to your system – the system that may house your account numbers, passwords and other sensitive data.

You can purchase security software and pay a monthly fee, or you can download open source software (OSS) security programs that keep most hackers out of your business. Be sure to regularly update your security software. Hackers are always developing new tricks, and security software needs to be updated to address those new forms of system attacks.

6. Scan your system for malware every week. The more frequently you log on, the more likely you are to pick up viruses and other system-clogging malware, so use your security software to scan your hard drive often.  The software is designed to isolate the hacker attack in a “vault” that keeps it from spreading or slowing down system performance.

7. Defrag your hard drive. Computers don’t always store programs, applications and files in one location. This fragmentation can slow computer performance considerably because your computer has to search your entire hard drive to find all the “parts” of a program.  “Defragging” your computer reorganizes stored information and streamlines access to files and programs.  You can defrag your computer by using its “system tools.” Your security software may also have a defrag option.  Cleaning up your hard drive can allow you to enjoy better performance at no additional cost.

8. Upgrade your operating system. Your operating system (OS) is the program that underlies all computer activity, from web surfing to document creation.  Software manufacturers upgrade OS software frequently in a highly competitive market.  An upgrade to a new OS may cost a few dollars, but it’s usually money well spent. You’ll probably notice the difference in computing speed the first time you reboot your updated OS.

You don’t have to buy a new computer to enjoy better performance and a more enjoyable computing experience. Simply update and upgrade using your current system to save money and boost productivity.  Keep your computer in tip-top shape and enjoy your desktop, laptop, or tablet even more.

 

The information contained herein may not represent the views and opinions of Nevada State Bank or its affiliates.  It is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.

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