This article gives a list of things that you can do to improve the performance of your computer. First, run the Performance troubleshooter by clicking through “Start > Control Panel”, searching and selecting “Troubleshooting”, and clicking “Check performance issues” under “System and Security”. This will automatically scan your computer and fix any problems that might be affecting your system’s performance. If you still experience problems, use this list to help.

Visual Effects

You can reduce the visual effects on your computer to salvage the speed and reliability of your system. Click though “Start > Control Panel”, search and click on “Performance Information and Tools”, then click “Adjust visual effects” to get to the settings area for this feature.

Check your hardware

Run Windows Experience Index to find out the performance rating of your computer. The program tests your hardware and gives you a rating of 1 up till 7.9. Anything less than 2 or 3 suggests that you may need to upgrade your hardware or change your computer all together.

Random Access Memory (RAM) determines the number of processes and programs a computer can run at any point in time. Increasing your RAM will increase the performance of your system and enable you to multi-task better.

Check your running programs

Your computer will become slower if more tasks that its hardware can handle are running. Changing your computer habits by only keeping programs you need running might help you realize increased performance. Also, check that only one antivirus program is running.

Viruses and spyware are programs that run silently and perform tasks that are unauthorized or undesired by you. A good antivirus/anti-spyware program can protect you from these infection. Programs that run silently use up RAM and reduce the speed of your computer.

Startup programs automatically run when you start your computer. Many of these programs and are designed to do so by default. They often run silently in the background, take up RAM and slowdown the speed of your computer. Stopping some of these programs will also speed up your system start-up. To turn off startup programs by downloading and running this free software from Microsoft.

Clean up and organize your computer

It is good to get in the habit of knowing every program that is installed and running on your computer. Newly bought computers normally have either manufacturer software or third party software already installed. Uninstall any program that you do not use. Some programs run in the background silently and use up your computer resources without your knowledge.

Every time you access it or run a program, your hard disk becomes slightly fragmented. It is similar to slightly displacing objects in your room every time you are in it. Over time, it will become increasingly difficult to find things in your room, or to put new things. The same effect occurs in your hard disk. Defragmenting your disk ’organizes’ the fragments, allowing your system to access your files faster.

Run Disk Cleanup to free up space on your hard disk. This utility will find files on your computer that are no longer necessary. The files normally deleted are the obsolete system files, items in your Recycle Bin, and temporary files no longer needed.

This list covers the main aspects of your computer that affect your systems performance. You can use them to optimize Windows for speed and performance. It is also important to shut down your computer at least once every week if you use your computer extensively. This will clear the memory and stop background processes that have been running which you could not stop.