How to speed up your slow computer?

How to make your computer work faster? How to optimize your computer?

Computers work faster when they are brand new. However, as you keep using it, it “slows down” progressively. Does this mean you have a ‘bad’ computer in your hands? No. This is just one of those things you got to live with when you buy a computer.


  • Run the Disk Cleanup utility.
  • Remove unwanted programs.
  • Defragment your hard disk drive.
  • Make sure your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are properly updated and scan your computer with them.
  • Adjust computer for ‘Best Performance“.
  • Disable unwanted start-up programs.
  • Add more RAM if necessary.
  • You can also manually set the page file size to at least 1.5  & 3.0 times your initial & maximum  physical memory.

Speed up your computer – in more detail:

In course of time, your computer accumulates a lot of unwanted files – these are temporary operating system files, temporary internet files, temporary program files, downloaded files, files left over in the recycle-bin etc. Though the individual files themselves may be very small, the sheer numbers of these files occupies a lot of hard-disk space and cause your computer to slow down. That’s why we need to get rid of these files.

How do we do it?

Windows XP has a tool just for this purpose called Disk Cleanup. You can access it from the Start button -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Cleanup. Close all other applications before you run this program.

Disk clean up utility to speed up a slow computer

After you start the Disk Cleanup tool, you will have to specify which drive you wish to clean up. That screen will look like this:

Disk clean up utility to speed up a slow computer

Once that is done, the tool will show you what you can delete and how much space you will regain by deleting those files. If you do not wish to delete any of these files, you also have the option of keeping them. Refer to the image below:

Disk clean up utility to speed up a slow computer

After you have selected the files you want to cleanup, just click on the OK button and your computer will take care of the rest.

The second thing you can do to make your computer work better would be to uninstall old and unwanted software. You may not realize it, but you might have programs you probably wouldn’t have used more than just a couple of times. You may think these programs are harmless because they just sit there in a corner of your computer – but you are wrong.

These programs also bloat up the registry, and occupy hard disk space. So, better go ahead and uninstall them. You can do that by going to the Control Panel (from the Start Button) -> Add/Remove Programs and then select the program you wish to uninstall and click the “Remove” button. After that, restart your computer and then start using it.

The third thing you can do is to Defragment your hard-disk drive. You can ‘Defrag‘ your Hard Disk drive by starting up the tool from the Start button -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter.

Disk defragmenter utility to speed up a slow computer

Here you can select the drive which you would like to ‘defrag‘ – but before you do that ‘analyze‘ the drive. Windows XP might tell you that you do not have to defrag the drive. But if you have not defragmented the drive in the last 30 days or so, you better do it anyways.

The fourth thing you can do to keep your computer working well is to install a good anti-spyware program like Spybot (Search & Destroy) or Ad-Aware from Lavasoft. Make sure you update these programs regularly and scan your computer at regular intervals.

The Fifth thing you can do is to add more RAM (Memory) in your computer. I would say, add as much RAM as your computer can carry (and as much as you can afford to!)

Having done all this, is there anything else you can still do to speed up your computer?


You can still configure your computer to for best performance.

In order to do this, go to the Control panel (from the Start button), then select ‘System” icon then click on “Advanced” Tab. Now, Click on the “Settings” button under Performance.

You will now get the “Performance Options” dialogue box which will look like this:

Windows XP adjust for best performance

In the Performance Options dialogue box, click on the radio button which says “Adjust for Best Performance“. Your computer will take a few seconds to readjust itself – and then you will see that it looks a bit ‘different”. But it will definitely start working much faster than before.

Another thing you can do would be to disable unwanted start-up programs. Its pretty simple to do – Click on the Start button and select Run. Then in the Run dialogue box, type ‘msconfig‘ and click on OK.

That will start up the system configuration utility (see image below). Here, click on the “Start-up” tab and un-check the programs you think you will not need at start-up. You will then have to restart your computer.

Windows XP system configuration utility

Have a regular system maintenance schedule so that your computer works at its peak efficiency all the time (or at least most of the time!)