Remember when you turned on your computer for the first time and it was fast? (Even that wasn't fast enough for me.) Over time, most computers slow down. The reasons are usually software related in some way, shape, or form. The good news is you can get that speed back, and probably more!


Tips to keep your rig moving at warp speed:

  • If possible, turn the page file off. What's the page file? When a computer runs out of available memory (RAM) by default it uses free hard drive space to act as extra RAM. This is known as the page file, or swap file. Typical RAM is strictly electronic and involves no moving parts. Having the page file enabled slows your computer down because of the time involved with RAM reading from and writing to the hard drive. Needless to say, this also wastes hard drive space. I began disabling the page file back in ye olden days when 512MB came with my machine. Haven't had a problem since. With 16GB of RAM today, I feel pretty safe without the page file slowing things down.
  • Add RAM.  More RAM = More gooder (sic). RAM memory gives more breathing room to your programs, allowing them to operate more freely, and thus, faster.
  • Uninstall useless programs. Useless programs can start unnecessary processes and services in the background, wasting valuable resources. Tell them to hit the bricks!
  • Clear your Startup folder. Many programs like to start with Windows. They sometimes hide in the Startup folder in the Start menu. If you don't need anything starting with Windows, delete it.
  • Kill unnecessary services and processes. Once you've removed your useless programs and cleared your Startup folder, you still may have unnecessary processes and services running. I cannot tell you which ones you should terminate, but I will tell you how to do it:
    1. From the Start menu, type msconfig
    2. Navigate to both the Services and Startup tabs. For safety, you may want to check the Hide all Microsoft services box, as shown below:
      msc2.png
    3. From these tabs, determine which processes and services you can uncheck. By doing so, you are telling Windows not to run these programs once you reboot, thereby using fewer resources.
  • Optimize your internet connection. By default, your internet connection settings are not maximized. To make life easy, a free program called TCP Optimizer was created to achieve just this. There are many settings you can tinker with, or you can just use the program's recommendations. A great deal of good documentation is on their website for those of you who enjoy this type of stuff.
  • Get rid of the viruses and spyware. An obvious realization to be sure. I prefer Spybot - Search and Destroy and CCleaner.
  • Ensure your Antivirus solution has a small footprint. There are several AV programs out there that are resource hogs. I've removed them from my computers for just that reason. I prefer something that is lightweight as far as resources go. Do a little investigation and see which one is right for you. I prefer AVG and Avast. They're free, have a small footprint, and can be set as to not interfere with your surfing.
  • Defragment you hard drive and registry. Over time, data can become fragmented, meaning that the way data are arranged on your hard drive is not optimal for reading and writing by said hard drive. Defragmenting will ensure everything is where it should be and that hard drive reading and writing is optimal. Windows does come with a basic hard drive defragmenter, but has nothing for the registry. Personally, I prefer the free defragmenting program from Auslogics over the Windows version.
  • Clean your registry. You'd be surprised how many junk registry entries your computer has. Last time I checked, I had over 3,000, all useless junk. Again, Auslogics offers a great free tool for just this purpose.
  • Update everything. Windows, and most other vendors, offer regular updates to their software. Getting the latest and greatest just may help speed things up.
  • Reboot once in a while. If you're like me, you keep your computer on 24/7. To a computer, a reboot once in a while is like you or me stepping out of the shower and putting on brand new clothes. It just feels nice and fresh.
  • Grab an internal Solid State Drive. Read about the benefits here.


You want more speed.

The aforementioned tips were designed to add a bit more pep to your computer. In fact, I use them all the time. Now you're thinking, "What more can I do? I still want more speed."

 

The next logical step would be to speed up your individual programs. Being a writer, you would think I would suggest reading the manuals for all of your software. (Actually that's a good idea.) I would also suggest navigating to the Settings or Preferences menu of your software and visiting each option provided. Usually, there are settings available to help make the software run more efficiently, or at least suit your needs. Take Server & Application Monitor (SAM) for instance. SAM is a great program with many settings and a large database attached. Here are some SAM optimization tips:


Let's get SolarWinds SAM up to speed.

Use these tips to help keep SAM happy:

  • Make sure to regularly re-index tables.
  • Try not to have the polling interval set to below 300 seconds on non-critical monitors.
  • Avoid using RAID 5 for your SQL Server. RAID 10 is recommended.
  • Make sure nightly database maintenance runs.
  • Do not increase the retention settings beyond what your server is capable of handling.

Hopefully you'll incorporate as many of these tips as possible. Remember, if we wanted slow computers, we'd all still be running a 386. Yikes!