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Tips for Good PC Performance

Posted on May 14, 2011
One of the nicest things about getting a new computer is seeing how fast and efficient it performs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to take much time for this speed and efficiency to slowly slip away as new software programs are installed and the hard drive starts to fill up with documents, photos, and other files.
Instead of just accepting progressive PC sluggishness as a fact of life, there are things you can do to combat that problem. Many of these measures are fairly simple and require a minimal input of time. Here are some tips you can use to keep your PC performing just as well as it did on the day it was first taken out of the box.
1. Find and use a solid antivirus program.

Viruses, spyware, malware, and other unwanted programs are a major cause of poor PC performance. A lot of people believe that when you contract one of these threats, it will cause so much harm to your computer that the infection will be obvious. Quite the opposite is true. For many of these threats to carry out their intended tasks, it’s important for them to go undetected for as long as possible so they’re often hidden very well and their presence is far from obvious. Still, over time, they can have a very adverse impact on PC performance, so it is important to get rid of them as soon as possible or, preferably, prevent them from taking root on your computer in the first place.
If you have a good, solid antivirus program installed on your PC, you can prevent these threats from getting a hook into your system. When shopping for such a program, look for software that updates often and has an established reputation. Also, be sure that the product has a built-in scheduling utility so that you can set up a regular scanning routine without having to manually direct the software as to when and how it should check your entire system.
2. Maintain a clean hard drive.
Another major contributor to poor PC performance is a bogged down hard drive. Try to keep your primary hard drive as clean as possible by only installing software that you actually use and moving rarely used data files to another storage device. In addition, it’s important to clean up and delete temporary files on a regular basis.
Almost any task you perform on a computer has the potential to increase a temporary junk file. It doesn’t take long for these unnecessary files to accumulate and take up a sizable portion of your hard drive which, in turn, slows down your computer.
You can delete these files manually or enlist the help of a PC cleaning software application. Since manual deletion can be quite time-consuming and boring, cleaning utilities provide great value for their inexpensive price. Many of these utilities even have a scheduling option so you can set up the program to automatically delete temporary files on a daily or weekly basis, in order to keep your PC in peak condition.
3. Defrag your hard drive regularly.
In conjunction with the previous tip, it’s important to defrag your hard drive on a regular basis. When your hard drive is fragmented, it takes longer to access software and files, and this time lag translates to poor PC performance. A fragmented hard drive is also more likely to freeze up or crash, which could lead to even more serious problems.
If you haven’t defragged your hard drive in a while, the process could take quite a bit of time. However, if you continue to defrag your drive on a regular basis, the amount of time it takes for the process will steadily decrease – especially if you are using software with “smart” defragging capabilities.
4. Keep all of your software up to date.
Sometimes the problem isn’t with your PC – it’s with your software. However, reputable software distributors recognize when there is some problem with their product that is causing poor PC performance and will look for ways to fix the issue. When a solution is found, they will generally release an update or patch that you can download and install to correct the problem.
Check regularly to see if any recent patches or updates have been released for all of your software applications. If the program has an “automatic update” feature, make sure that capability is enabled. This feature will let the software automatically check for updates on a regular basis, so you don’t have to search for such information manually.
5. Protect your computer from smoke and dust.
When smoke and dust manage to get into your computer casing, the pollutants rarely make their way back out on their own. Instead, these particles build up on the motherboard and other hardware components. This can cause these components to perform at a sub-optimal rate or even fail altogether.
Better Performance and a Longer Life
With these tips, not only can you keep your PC running at peak performance, but you can also greatly prolong the life of your computer. Also, spending a few minutes a week performing routine PC maintenance can help prevent problems that could take hours, or even days, to fix. It’s definitely worth the effort.

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