It is inevitable. Computers slow down. They get bloated, and bogged down with viruses, spyware, and programs that are hungrier for resources than a pack of hippos for marbles. Sometimes, even when you delete programs and run virus scans, the damage has already been done. Luckily there’s a surefire way to get your computer back into shape. It’s like getting high-school skinny, but without the risk of heart attack! I’m talking about reformatting that hard drive, and re-installing Windows fresh.
Posts Tagged ‘Optimization’
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Don’t run away! I know you’re scared, but there’s nothing to worry about, okay. I mean sure, just like losing weight it can take some time and discipline, but with the right knowledge you can have your computer reformatted and back up to maximum warp in a couple of hours. In fact, I format my computer once a year just so I never experience the bogginess. Back, Back, Back it Up! The first thing we need to talk about is backing up all of your information. Don’t make a new copy of your hard drive, that’s completely counter-intuitive. Hopefully you’ve done your digital spring cleaning, and already tossed out the stuff you don’t need, right? So make sure you get all the documents you need copied onto another drive of some sort. I just so happen to have a very large external hard drive specifically for back up and transfer. Its massive capacity means I never have to worry about space, and USB 3.0 means I barely have enough time to get an iced tea before the transfer is finished. Clean Install When you’re ready to run your fresh install, insert the disc and follow the instructions. You want to do a clean install no matter what version of Windows your using. A clean install is going to remove the existing operating system completely, and replace it with a fresh installation. Now, a lot of what happens next depends primarily on what type of disc you use to reinstall Windows. If you are using a restore CD that came with your PC, you’ll want to keep reading. However, if you’re using a normal Windows installation disc, you can move on to the optimization section. Manufacturer’s CD Normally when you purchase a PC, you get an operating system CD from the manufacturer. These discs make it really easy to get your computer back to the way it was when you first got it. However, the discs also come with software that will preload onto your system, and there’s usually no way to stop it. This software is always completely unnecessary, and it needs to go. Luckily, with the fresh install you won’t be too bogged down, so all it will take is a quick uninstallation. I normally just use the add/remove program functionality built into Windows to take care of this. It’s quick and easy. Optimization Primer Okay, so now that you’ve successfully executed a clean install on your PC, we’re going to talk about optimizing your system so it stays fast as long as possible. The first thing I would do is make sure your PC is secure from the very beginning. For me this means switching out Internet Explorer for Firefox or Chrome, and then downloading Ad-Aware’s Free Antivirus. Enable Windows Firewall and get Windows Defender because they’re free, and they’re better than nothing. Now that you have security locked down, go ahead and run those Windows updates. They’ll help you get your computer as bug free as possible. Now that you have all of that done, go ahead and clean up your services and start-up programs. This is going to keep your boot times low. Drivers These days, especially with Windows 7, drivers are automatic so you probably won’t have to worry about them at all. However, if you have lots of third party peripherals such as trackball mice, microphones, graphics cards, customizable keyboards, etc. You may have to use the discs that came with those accessories to get the drivers. I run a little program called DriverMax. It’s completely free, and way easier to access and use than Windows’ device manager. KYSS (Keep Your Software Simple) The best advice I can give you is to find the cleanest, simplest software you possibly can. This is going to keep your PC running fast for a while so take this very seriously. Here’s a short list of resource light programs for productivity and fun. Pictures – Editing photos is going to take a workhorse like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP, but to simply manage and view photos, use Google’s Picasa. It’s clean, simple, and feature-rich. Best of all it’s really small so your computer won’t be sweating the use. Chat – If you like a chat client, as I do, go with Pidgin. It’s my favorite, and you don’t have any ads to worry about. It has massive integration for nearly every online chat protocol I can think of. PDF – We’ve mentioned before how much we dislike Adobe Reader. It’s clunky, slow, and it sucks. I like Cool PDF Reader, but if you’re a fan of this blog you already knew that didn’t you?