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How to Keep Your Computer Running Smoothly

We all know how frustrating it can be when your computer runs too slowly. At Phone Medics Plus, there are plenty of steps we can take to help get you back up to full speed. Hardware upgrades like new RAM, a faster processor, and a bigger, faster hard drive can all give your computer a major speed boost. But we also know that sometimes you’re not quite ready to invest in hardware upgrades. For those times, there are a few tools we can give you to help you keep your computer running more smoothly until you’re ready to upgrade.

Clearing Out the Junk

Lots of things can impact your computer’s speed, and a couple of them have to do with your hard drive - the place where your computer’s data is physically stored. One of the simplest things you can do to improve your system’s speed is by simply cleaning up your hard drive. The more full your hard drive is, the longer it takes your system to retrieve data from it, which can slow your system way down. A nearly full hard drive will often slow your entire system down to a crawl. Most of us have a lot of files on our hard drives that we don’t really need - old applications we don’t use, duplicate files, extra photos, temporary internet files, and more. Simply by clearing these off, you can free up a surprising amount of space on your computer, which can give you a noticeable speed boost. You can clear these files off your computer manually, or you can download a software tool like CCleaner that will help you identify junk files and get rid of them. A word of caution, though: CCleaner is pretty good at finding junk files on your computer, but you should avoid using its built-in registry cleaner unless you really, really know what you’re doing.

Defragmenting Your Hard Drive

Another way you can improve your speed is by keeping your hard drive defragmented. A traditional hard disk drive (as opposed to the solid state drives - SSDs - that you find in phones, tablets, and many computers) works by storing data on a physical disk inside your computer. When you need to access a file, the disk spins until the reader is over the sector where the information is stored, then moves on to the next sector. Unfortunately, these sectors aren’t always close to each other on the disk’s surface. Sometimes they’re scattered - or fragmented - across the entire surface of the disk. That means that accessing a single file takes longer, because the disk has to do a lot more spinning to get all the pieces of the file. Defragmentation, or defragging, is a process whereby your computer takes all the little pieces of all the files on your hard drive and moves them to sectors that are closer to each other on the disk. That means that your hard drive can access files more quickly, because it doesn’t have to spend as much time spinning around to all the sectors where the data is stored.

Windows 10 is pretty good about keeping your hard drive defragmented on its own, but it’s not a bad idea to check up on it occasionally, just to make sure. That is, of course, unless your computer uses an SSD instead of a traditional hard drive, in which case you should never try to defragment it.

Cleaning Up Startup

Apart from defragging and keeping your hard drive clean of junk files, there are ways that you can reduce the overall strain on your system’s resources. One easy way to do that is to declutter your computer’s startup folder. Every computer has a few applications that start up as soon as the computer boots. While many of these are applications that you want to be running while your computer is on, some of them aren’t necessary, and the more of them you have running, the longer your computer will take to start up. Plus, once they’re all up and running, they’re all sitting on your computer using RAM and processing cycles, even if you aren’t actively using them. By closing out some of those programs and removing them from your startup folder, you can free up a surprising amount of system resources, which will make your computer boot up faster, and run faster once it’s booted up. To declutter your startup folder in Windows 10, right-click on Start, click on Task Manager, then click the Startup tab. That will show you a list of the programs that are set to start when your computer starts. To disable a startup program, click on the program you want, then click Disable.

A Healthy Computer is a Faster Computer

Another way to keep your computer running smoothly is one we’ve actually covered in a previous article: make sure your system is free of malware. One of the main symptoms of malware is slow system performance. Malware isn’t usually written with efficient resource usage in mind, so it tends to take up a lot of RAM and overtax your system’s processor. By getting rid of malware, you can eliminate a harmful drain on your computer’s resources. To eliminate malware, you can run scans with your primary and secondary antivirus programs. Once your system is clean, you should notice a significant improvement in performance.

If you follow these steps, your computer should get a noticeable boost in speed. If it still isn’t fast enough to suit your needs, though, that’s where we come in. The skilled professionals at Phone Medics Plus will help you decide which upgrade options are right for you. You can give us a call, book an appointment online, or bring your PC to our facility at 91 E. Merritt Island Causeway in Merritt Island.


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