Tune Up / Speed Up Your Computer With These Suggestions!

With many new people signing up each week for these Freebie Fridays, every once in a while I like to run an oldie but goodie. The post below received great feedback and I want to share it again for all the new readers, and to you, new readers, “Welcome!”

The other day the whole family was outside. My 8 year old son was riding his bike up and down the street. Looking at his bike I could easily see that the two tires were very low on air and running kind of flat.

So we plugged in the handy-dandy compressor in the garage and filled up those tires plumb full of air.

What was so cute was when Austin hopped on the bike and took it for a test-drive. He said “Daddy, I feel like I’m floating on my bike now! How did you do it?”. :-)

Yep… Dads are miracle workers! (hee hee hee)

Sometimes a little tune-up can make a BIG difference. If it makes that much difference for a toy, it’s a HUGE difference for a tool that you use to make a living!

If you have an eBay / Internet based business then there is no more important tool then your computer. Lately, I’ve been battling gremlins that have been slowing down the computers in my home office.

Now not to brag (but I’m gonna anyway), I’m not your normal computer newbie person. I’ve been programming computers since 1979. My Dad bought our first computer, a Tandy /Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1. This computer was so old (You say… ‘How old was it Mike…’), it used a cassette recorder to save it’s programs. (That’s a whole blog post in itself :-)) It also had no lower case letters, just uppercase. Fortunately though, there was a hack where you could open it up, solder 16 legs of a memory chip to another chip, drill a hole in the keyboard and install a push button to serve as a “Shift” key.

Really… I kid you not. Ok, let’s get back on track.

I also built an IBM-XT compatible from pieces in 1984 without actually seeing one before.

So, the GOOD thing is I’ve been battling with computers for almost 30 years.

The bad news is that I think I’m cursed.

That’s right cursed!

I’m the guy who always stumps the tech support people. “Hmmmm….. Sorry Mr. Enos, I’ve never seen that happen before. Why don’t you try reformatting your hard drive and installing a fresh copy of Windows XP”

Grrrrrr…. Yeah right….

First you need to see if there is a simple solution. When your computer is running slow you need to see exactly which (and how many) different programs / services are running.

Below I’ll show you the steps to try to see what is going on.

Step #1 : See how many programs / processes are running in memory.

A common problem with Windows XP and many Windows programs is that they “leak memory”. That means that they start out using a small amount of computer memory, but as time progresses the application greedily gobbles up more and more of this precious resource.

I’ve put together a  video  to show you how to do that.

If you want to know what programs are currently running in your computer, what they do, and whether or not you want to keep (or whether to un-install it) you can use this FREE TRIAL nifty tool shown below:

You can download it from here

You’ll probably be surprised at how much useless stuff is running in the background on your computer. You’ll also be amazed at how much memory “tiny little cute” programs use.

Try uninstalling applications that you don’t really need to give you back precious memory.

Step #2 : Add More Memory To Your Computer

This is a biggie. If you don’t have enough memory your computer is going to run SLOWWWWWW…..

Some PCs are sold with only 256Meg of memory. This should be illegal because it makes the computer practically unusable.

Do you know how much memory you have in your computer?

Here is an easy way to find out:

- Click the [Start] button, [Programs] ,[Accessories],[Paint]

- Once Paint is loaded, Click on [Help] ,[About Paint]

You will then see a screen like:

If you only have 256Meg of memory, then you MUST MUST MUST put more memory in your PC. It will SERIOUSLY run something like 5X faster!

Really, adding memory is the most “bang for the buck” method of speeding up your computer. Memory is weird though. The price goes up and down like a yo-yo depending on supply and demand.

Here is my favorite site for buying memory. You’ll like it because you simply tell it the manufacturer and model of computer or electronic device and the website will show you exactly what you need. No brain work or guessing necessary.

Step #3: Memory Hog Programs.

I’m probably risking getting death threats from corporate hit-men, but the truth must be told! ;-)

A lot of programs are HUGE memory hogs! (oink oink)

Here are some things I uncovered.

Memory Hog #1: IM (Instant Messengers)

Before I was using both MSN Messenger & AOL’s messenger. Thank goodness that I didn’t need Yahoo messenger too! Together these programs were not only using about 250Meg of memory but were also using a lot of CPU time.

Solution? Trillian. This FREE program ROCKS! It combines the main IM tools into a convenient, fast, and fairly memory efficient (about 87 Meg) of memory. Just switching to that saved me about 160Meg of memory.

Memory Hog #2: Memory Leaking Programs.

Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, Frontpage, Access) as well as many other programs are full of leaks. That means that the longer they are running, they keep using more and more memory.

The Solution? .. Buy a Mac. (Ha Ha) –Laughs from the 2 people using reliable Macs.

(Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha ….) — Laughs from the 6 billion people using memory leaking Windows XP PCs

Question:Why don’t Macs have memory problems?

Answer: Because they don’t have any programs to run on them.

Ha…Ha.. Ha…. (I’m sure I’ll get some nasty comments for that one)

Ok… back to the story.

Seriously, either reboot your system on a regular basis, or usually just closing the program and reopening it will cause the application to use less memory to improve the situation. Watch the video above to review how to do that.
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Memory Hog #3: Virus Protection / Scanning Programs.

Ack.. This is a major problem. PCs (but not Macs —brownie points) are required to spend a ton of CPU power and memory to protect us from the nasty world of viruses, trojan programs, and other hack attack attempts.

Some VERY popular programs are big time HOGS!

I was using McAfee (annual online version), but it was a pig that kept getting fatter. They recently updated their Security Center and it just killed us.

We switched to an extremely highly rated solution that is a free / fee based application called AVG from Grisoft.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Another popular but FAT program is Spy Sweeper. It has the habit of jumping in and scanning your system in the background which can seriously slow down your PC. We’re still using it, but I’m thinking of getting rid of it.

If you are using Spy Sweeper or some other virus programs, be sure to check it for memory and cpu usage using Windows Task Manager. (See video above)

You also may be able to tell it when to scan your system. Select a time like 3am, so it doesn’t start running in the middle of your work day and slow your computer down to a crawl.

Memory Hog #4: Desktop Indexing Programs Like Google Desktop

In the past I have recommended two programs that index your email and other items on your hard drive to make it FAST and EASY to locate any information in just a second or so.

We previously used X1.com, but it became unstable and tool CPU hungry.

We have since changed to Google Desktop

This is an INCREDIBLE program. It makes it so fast and easy to find anything on your hard drive. It can even remember web pages that you visited so you can find the info later.

The negative side is that it CAN use a lot of memory. Google Desktop uses about 100 Meg of memory on my system, but it is sooooo… worth it.

When someone calls about a question on their order, we simply enter their invoice number, email address, zip code, or their name, and we can INSTANTLY see all emails we have sent and received.

Although technically qualifying as a memory hog, this is worth buying memory for. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Conclusion:

Your computer is an extremely valuable tool. It’s worth taking time to make it run as fast as possible.

Try the above methods and you should see a major difference.

When you do, please leave a comment below.

..Mike








2 Responses to 'Tune Up / Speed Up Your Computer With These Suggestions!'

  1. Windows Vista Tools - March 19th, 2008 at 4:38 am

    Adware Alert - No Spyware…

    I suggest you to take a free scan and remove dangerous spyware and adware from your computer. Even if you think your computer is clean, you should scan and you will be surprised….

  2. Joyce - March 22nd, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Hi Mike,
    I just recently bought myself a new compute for my birthday, and it is already getting slow (enough that I notice it already). Of course I have a ton of programs and email on here, but wanted to use your suggestions to make it faster again. Then I realized you were talking about WIN Xp and I have Win Vista on this new one. Will these same suggestions work on Vista also??
    Thanks,
    Joyce

    P.S. I also had one of those Tandy computers that used the tape to put your information on. I don’t even remember when I got rid of it, but sure wish I had it back now. I heard some place that collectors will pay alot for them..


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