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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Computer Performance (part 2)

In my last post I recommended the first two steps to fixing computer performance issues. Once you've determined that your computer performance is not suffering due to internet connection or malware you are almost ready to move onto the hardware part. I say almost because I forgot to mention one step that I usually do when I check for malware.

I didn't go into detail about malware detection and prevention. There's so much to discuss on that topic that I should probably start another blog just for that. But one important step is to clean up any junk on your computer that can slow it down.

The main tool I use for this is CCleaner. It has a free version, and it's not difficult to use. You can download it here: download CCleaner

There is one option when using CCleaner that I do not recommend, however, and that is the registry cleaner. Making any changes to the registry should only be attempted if you're certain you know what you are doing, to avoid damage to the operating system.

This should really part of step 2, maybe the first part of step 2, because just cleaning the junk from your computer might solve performance issues. If you need more details on step 2 please let me know in the comments and I will start a malware blog where I can take you through the whole process. Otherwise, you are ready for the next step:

Step 3: Check your system to make sure you have enough memory. I'm talking about RAM here, not your hard drive, because upgrading your RAM is one of the most affordable and easiest upgrades to do for your system, once you have determined it is a hardware issue. You will definitely want to do this before you go out and buy a new computer! There are different ways to check your system RAM. You can do it in Windows, but it is going to be slightly different depending which version you are using. You can also use free tools like System Information Viewer, which shows you detailed information about your computer in one place:
The screen is kind of small, and has a lot of information in it, but over on the right side I can see that I have only 2Gb of RAM, and it doesn't appear I have any free slots for more RAM either. Plus, you can see that my CPU is only a dual core, but more on that later. Tools like System Information Viewer are good for checking most of your hardware information all at once. When I mouse over the RAM it tells me more details about it, so I will know what kind of memory to buy if I decide to upgrade. You can download this tool at I didn't post the link because there are separate versions for 32 and 64 bit Windows.

Now, most of us probably know that only having 2Gb of RAM  these days could cause slow performance. But if my computer had more memory, I might not know if was the RAM slowing it down. So the easiest way to check if your RAM is the problem is to open up your task manager:

In fact, when you first notice your computer is running slow, you may want to take a look at the performance tab in task manager. You can see in the above screen shot that my cpu was not doing much at the time. But it shows that it has reserved just over 1Gb of RAM. However, if I started running more things that would increase. So this would be one way to take a look at how much memory you are using, and see if you're using up all your memory. If you would like to know more about choosing memory for your system or installing it, please leave me a comment. I will post more information tomorrow about computer performance, because I think there are at least 2 more steps to determining what your performance issue is (assuming that you didn't find it in the first 3 steps) and then we can continue to look at cost-effective solutions. Sometimes it is better to upgrade, and sometimes it is better just to buy a new computer.

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