Speed It up! A Non-Technical Guide for Speeding up Slow Computers

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Overview

Speed It Up! A Non-Technical Guide for Speeding Up Slow Computers

Does your PC perform like grandma on a cold winter morning? Does it limp along slowly through everyday tasks, such as starting up, shutting down or just opening an email? Are you wondering if your PC’s get up and go has got up and left? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this is the book for you.

Sure, there are uber-geeky guides out there that provide tweaks and ...

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Overview

Speed It Up! A Non-Technical Guide for Speeding Up Slow Computers

Does your PC perform like grandma on a cold winter morning? Does it limp along slowly through everyday tasks, such as starting up, shutting down or just opening an email? Are you wondering if your PC’s get up and go has got up and left? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this is the book for you.

Sure, there are uber-geeky guides out there that provide tweaks and customizations appealing to the pocket protector nation, but there is no other book that addresses these common problems at the everyday consumer level. We think it’s time for a book that covers all of these topics in a way that appeals to real humans, like you. Let us help you keep your PC running like it did the day you brought it home from the store.

• Troubleshooting–We show you how to diagnose the cause of your PC’s dawdling behavior. We help you determine whether the culprit is your hardware, software, the network, a cluttered registry, or even a virus.

• Software–We show you dozens of easy, non-techy things you can do to speed up Windows, your applications, your Internet apps, and more.

• Hardware–We show you easy upgrades you can do yourself. The solutions we provide are easy to implement.

• Network–We show you how to easily fix network issues that are robbing you of precious time.

• Buyer’s advice–If it’s time to put your beloved PC out to pasture, we offer some tried and true advice for choosing a new PC and keeping it in tip-top condition.

CATEGORY: Windows Operating Systems

COVERS: Windows XP, Windows Vista

USER LEVEL: Beginning-Intermediate

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789739476
  • Publisher: Que
  • Publication date: 3/1/2009
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 1,018,143
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Miller has written more than 80 non-fiction how-to books over the past two decades, including Que’s Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Computer Basics, Easy Computer Basics, Your First Notebook PC, Wireless Networking with Microsoft Windows Vista, and How Microsoft Windows Vista Works. Mr. Miller has established a reputation for clearly explaining technical topics to non-technical readers and for offering useful real-world advice about complicated topics. More information can be found at the author’s website, located at www.molehillgroup.com.

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Read an Excerpt

IntroductionIntroduction

In this Introduction

  • What’s in This Book
  • Who Can Use This Book
  • How to Use This Book
  • There’s More Online...
  • Speed It Up!

Can you help me out? My computer is running really slow.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this complaint over the past several months. First it was my stepdaughter with a slow PC, then a friend, then another friend, then my wife, and it kept on coming. It seems that just about everyone I know is coming to the conclusion that their computers are running too slow. It’s an epidemic!

Of course, it’s possible that not all these PCs are actually running slow; it’s likely that some of this slowness is perceived rather than real. But even perceived sluggishness is still annoying when you’re trying to get something done and are forced to wait... and wait... and wait for your PC to respond.

The point is, we all get frustrated when our computers take too long to do what we want them to do. Whether that slowness is caused by insufficient memory or power, whether it’s caused by viruses or spyware, whether it’s caused by a sluggish Internet or network connection, or whether it’s simply a matter of trying to make an old computer do new things it’s not capable of doing, you want to give that pokey PC a kick in the electronic pants so that it runs just a little faster, if it can.

The bad news is, even a fast PC can slow down over time, for a number of different reasons. The good news is, there are things you can do to speed up even the slowest of computers. These are the things I talk about in this book.

Speed It Up! A Non-Technical Guide for Speeding Up Slow Computers is, as the title implies, a guide that anyone can use to make their computers a little less sluggish. You don’t have to be a tech geek to speed up a slow computer; anyone can make these simple changes to put a little more “oomph” behind their day-to-day computing.

Want to speed up your computer’s startup process? I show you how to do it. Need to clean up unnecessary programs or remove a virus or spyware program? I show you how to do it. Want to power up your computer when you’re editing digital photos or videos? I show you how to do it. Need more memory to run your favorite applications? I show you how to do it. Want to upgrade your computer so that you can run the latest PC games? I show you how to do it. Want to turn a listless Internet connection into a lively one? I show you how to do that, too. Heck, I even show you what type of new PC to buy if your old computer can’t be speeded up enough. (That is sometimes the best solution, unfortunately.)

That said, this book isn’t a highly technical guide for tweakers and speed freaks; if you want to turn your PC into a customized high-tech hot rod, you’ll have to turn elsewhere. This book is more like a guide to tuning up your family sedan, or the computer equivalent of it. The instructions are easy to follow and don’t require you to get your hands too dirty.

So if you think your computer is running a little slow, you’ve turned to the right place for some quick and easy solutions. Spend a few hours reading this book and I guarantee you’ll learn more than a few ways to de-pokify even the most sluggish of machines.

What’s in This Book

As promised, this book shows you how to speed up your Windows-based computer. The book presents software-based speedups, hardware-based speedups, and Internet- and network-related speedups—a little something for everyone.

This book contains 18 chapters, divided into 6 major parts. Each part walks you through a different aspect of the speedup process, from initial diagnosis to various types of solutions:

  • Part I: Quick Diagnosis for Sluggish PCs is the place to start if you think your computer is slower than it used to be (or than you want it to be). You’ll learn how to troubleshoot what might be slowing down your computer, as well as how to back up your data before you start implementing potential solutions.
  • Part II: Simple Speedups Anyone Can Do walks you through some of the easiest-to-achieve performance improvements for your PC. You’ll learn how to identify and remove harmful computer viruses and spyware, clean out unnecessary programs from your computer’s memory and hard disk, optimize your PC’s hard disk, and make Windows start up and run faster.
  • Part III: Power Speedups for Power Users is for the more adventurous user. These speedups require a bit more effort than the previous solutions but can result in significant performance improvements. This is where you learn how to clean up and tweak the Windows Registry, as well as perform a “clean install” of Windows—which lets you reinstall Windows from scratch and create a like-new machine.
  • Part IV: Upgrading Your PC for Speed presents hardware-based solutions for sluggish systems. You’ll learn how to prepare for a computer upgrade and then how to add more memory and hard disk space, install a faster video card, and even upgrade your PC’s CPU (central processing unit).
  • Part V: Internet and Network Speedups recognizes that it’s not always your computer that’s slow; sometimes it’s your Internet or network connection. You’ll learn how to make your web browser go faster, how to reconfigure a sluggish Internet connection, and how to wring the most speed out of your home network.
  • Part VI: The Ultimate Speedup: Buying a New PC is for those users who just can’t get their old PCs to go fast enough, no matter what they try. (It happens.) You’ll learn when to throw in the towel, what types of applications require newer and faster PCs, and how to tell what type of new PC you need.

I’m guessing that you probably won’t read all of this book or perform all the speedups suggested—because you probably won’t need to. I’ve presented the easiest and most effective speedups first, both in the book and in each individual chapter. So work your way through the various suggestions and feel free to stop when you’ve achieved the performance you’re looking for.

Who Can Use This Book

You don’t have to be a technical expert to use this book; many of the solutions offered require nothing more than a few clicks of the mouse. It helps if you know your way around the Windows desktop, of course, and there are a few more advanced solutions that require some simple hardware upgrades. But in general, just about anybody can perform most of the solutions presented here.

One thing, though: The solutions in this book are for computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system, either the newer Windows Vista or the older Windows XP. If you have an Apple Mac, that’s a whole other world of problems and solutions that I’m not equipped to address, sorry.

How to Use This Book

I hope that this book is easy enough to read that you don’t need instructions. That said, a few elements bear explaining.

First, this book contains several special elements, presented in what we in the publishing business call “margin notes.” There are different types of margin notes for different types of information, as you see here.

Because many of the solutions presented in this book involve third-party software utilities or new hardware devices, lots of web page addresses in the text accompany the mentions of these products. When you see one of these addresses (also known as a URL), you can go to that web page by entering the URL into the address box in your web browser. I’ve made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the web addresses presented here, but given the ever-changing nature of the Web, don’t be surprised if you run across an address or two that’s changed. For that matter, some of the products and prices presented here are likely to change by the time you read this text. I apologize in advance, but that’s the way the world works.

Note - This is a note that presents information of interest, even if it isn’t wholly relevant to the discussion in the main text.

Tip - This is a tip that might prove useful for whatever it is you’re in the process of doing.

Caution - This is a caution that something you accidentally do might have undesirable results.

There’s More Online...

When you need a break from reading, feel free to go online and check out my personal website, located at http://www.molehillgroup.com. Here you’ll find more information about this book and other books I’ve written. And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me directly at speed@molehillgroup.com. I can’t guarantee to respond to every email, but I do guarantee I’ll read them all.

Speed It Up!

With all these preliminaries out of the way, it’s now time to get started. Put on your reading glasses, fire up your mouse, and get ready to Speed It Up!

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

What’s in This Book

Who Can Use This Book

How to Use This Book

There’s More Online

Speed It Up!

Part I: Quick Diagnosis for Sluggish PCs

1 What’s Slowing Down Your Computer?

Signs That Your Computer Is Getting Slower

It Takes Longer for Your PC to Start

It Takes Longer to Do Familiar Tasks

Your Computer Gets Sluggish When You Have Two or More Windows

Open at a Time

Your Computer Pauses for Long Stretches at a Time–or Freezes Up

Signs That Your Computer Really Isn’t Getting Slower–Even if You Think it Is

New Programs Run Slowly

Your Computer Has Trouble Running the Latest Games

You Upgrade to Windows Vista and Your PC Gets Sluggish

Internet Sites Take Forever to Load

It Takes a Long Time to Copy Files Across Your Network

Quick Fix: Five Quick Steps to Improve Your PC’s Performance

Quick Step 1: Reboot Your Computer

Quick Step 2: Delete Unnecessary Files

Quick Step 3: Remove Unused Programs

Quick Step 4: Defragment Your Hard Disk

Quick Step 5: Add More Memory with ReadyBoost

The Bottom Line

2 Before You Start: Protect Your Data

Potential Problems: What Can Go Wrong When Speeding Up Your PC

The Wrong Programs Are Uninstalled

Valuable Data Gets Deleted

A Registry Edit Goes Bad

You Have to Reformat Your Hard Drive (and Reinstall Windows)

Hard Disk Maintenance Fails

A Hardware Upgrade Doesn’t Take

Backing Up and Restoring Your Valuable Data

Choosing a Backup Device

Backing Up in Windows Vista

Restoring in Windows Vista

Backing Up and Restoring in Windows XP

Protecting Your System with System Restore

Setting System Restore Points

Restoring Your System

The Bottom Line

Part II: Simple Speedups Anyone Can Do

3 Removing Spyware and Viruses

Dealing with Computer Viruses

How Computer Viruses Slow Down Your System

How to Catch a Virus

How Do You Know If a Virus Is Slowing Down Your System?

Preventing Virus Attacks with Safe Computing

Protecting Your System with Antivirus Software

Speeding Up Your System After a Virus Infection

Dealing with Spyware

How Spyware Slows Down Your System

How to Become Infected with Spyware

Is Spyware Slowing Down Your PC?

Avoiding Spyware-Infested Websites and Programs

Speeding Up Your PC with Antispyware Programs

Removing Stubborn Spyware Programs

The Bottom Line

4 Cleaning Out Unnecessary Programs

Removing Unwanted Programs and Files from Your Hard Disk

Why a Crowded Hard Disk Slows Down Your System

How Much Free Space Do You Need?

Discovering All the Files Stored on Your Hard Drive

Understanding Bundleware

How to Free Up Valuable Hard Disk Space–and Speed Up Your PC

Deleting Bundleware with PC Decrapifier

Deleting Unwanted Files with the Disk Cleanup Utility

Deleting Files Manually

Emptying the Recycle Bin

Archiving Little-Used Files

Uninstalling Unwanted Programs

Removing Unwanted Programs and Processes from Your Computer’s Memory

How Too Many Programs in Memory Slow Down Your PC

Discovering Programs That Load Automatically–Without Your Awareness

Which Startup Programs Should You Delete?

How to Get Rid of Autoloading Programs

Deleting Startup Programs from the Startup Folder

Deleting Startup Programs from the Registry

Deleting Startup Programs with the System Configuration Utility

Deleting Startup Programs with Windows Defender

Removing Programs That Slow Down Your PC

Speeding Up Microsoft Outlook

The Bottom Line

5 Optimizing Your Hard Disk

Defragmenting Your Hard Disk

Understanding Disk Fragmentation

How Disk Defragmenting Works

Using the Disk Defragmenter

Checking Your Hard Disk for Errors

How ScanDisk Works

Using ScanDisk to Speed Up Your PC

Using Other Disk-Optimization Tools

Diskeeper

Fix-It Utilities Professional

Norton SystemWorks

PC Tools Disk Suite

PerfectDisk

System Mechanic

WinUtilities

The Bottom Line

6 Making Windows Go Faster

Speeding Up Windows (XP and Vista)

Install the Latest Drivers

Delete Unused Fonts

Turn Off System Sounds

Don’t Look for Bootable Media on Startup

Optimize Windows’Display Settings

Reconfigure Processor Priority

Eliminate Background Services

Disable File Indexing

Optimize Virtual Memory

Turn Off System Restore

Speeding Up Windows XP

Reboot Often

Don’t Browse Network Folders

Improve Windows XP’s Swap File Performance

Speeding Up Windows Vista

Disable Windows Vista’s Aero Interface

Remove Windows Vista’s Sidebar

Turn Off Windows Vista’s User Account Control

Turn Off Unnecessary Windows Vista Features

Use ReadyBoost

The Bottom Line

Part III: Power Speedups for Power Users

7 Cleaning Up the Windows Registry

Understanding the Windows Registry

How the Registry Works

Organizing the Registry

Editing the Registry

Launching the Registry Editor

Editing and Adding Keys, Subkeys, and Values

Cleaning Up the Registry for Faster Performance

How Registry Cleaners Work

Choosing a Registry Cleaner

Using a Registry Cleaner

Tweaking the Registry

Speed Up Windows’Menus

Close Programs Faster on Shutdown

Disable Low Disk Checking

Move the Windows Kernel into Memory

The Bottom Line

8 When All Else Fails: Reinstalling Windows from Scratch

When Extreme Measures Are Called For

What’s Involved in a Clean Install

Before You Reinstall…

Obtain the Windows Installation Disc

Locate Program Installation Discs

Back Up All Your Files

Performing a Clean Install of Windows XP

Performing a Clean Install of Windows Vista

After the Clean Install: Reinstalling Programs and Data

Restoring Files and Settings in Windows XP

Restoring Files and Settings in Windows Vista

Reinstalling Your Favorite Programs

The Bottom Line

Part IV: Upgrading Your PC for Speed

9 Preparing for a Computer Upgrade

Before You Upgrade: Getting to Know Your Computer System

What’s on the Back

What’s Inside

Does an Upgrade Make Sense?

What Can You Upgrade?

The Bottom Line

10 Adding More Memory

Understanding Different Types of Memory

Random Access Memory–Your PC’s Main Memory

Read-Only Memory: Permanent Storage for Important Instructions

Flash Memory–External Memory Storage

Virtual Memory–Supplemental Memory on Your Hard Disk

How Memory Affects PC Speed

How Your PC Uses Memory

Using Virtual Memory

How More Memory Speeds Up Your PC

How Much Memory Do You Need?

Adding Instant Memory to Windows Vista with ReadyBoost

How ReadyBoost Works

Speeding Up Your PC with ReadyBoost

Adding More Memory to a Desktop PC

Choosing the Right Memory Module

Choosing the Right Type of Memory Chip

Choosing the Right Memory Size

Shopping for Memory Upgrades

Performing the Upgrade

Adding More Memory to a Notebook PC

Shopping for Notebook Memory

Performing the Upgrade

The Bottom Line

11 Adding More Disk Space

How Hard Disk Storage Affects Your PC’s Speed

Supplementing RAM with Virtual Memory

Enabling Access to Programs and Data

Understanding Hard Drive Capacity

Viewing the Capacity of Your Hard Drive

Determining the Ideal Hard Disk Capacity

Shopping for a New Hard Drive

Internal or External?

Capacity

Spin Rate

Data Transfer Rate

Access Time

External Connection Type

Internal Interface Type

RAID or Not to RAID?

Disk Drive Manufacturers

Adding a New External Hard Drive

Connecting the New Drive

Freeing Up Space on Your Existing Drive

Upgrading an Existing Internal Hard Drive

Planning the Upgrade

Getting to Know the Hard Drive

Replacing the Drive

Upgrading Hard Disk Storage on a Notebook PC

The Bottom Line

12 Upgrading to a Faster Video Card

How the Wrong Video Card Can Slow Down Your PC

Shopping for a New Video Card

Resolution

Memory

3D Acceleration

DirectX Support

Connectors

Slots

Video Card Manufacturers

Making the Upgrade

Configuring Your Display Properties

The Bottom Line

13 Upgrading Your System’s CPU

Understanding the CPU

What a CPU Does

Factors That Affect CPU Speed

Shopping for a New CPU

Compatibility Is an Issue

Determining Your Current CPU and Motherboard

Finding a Compatible CPU

Performing a CPU Upgrade

Preparing for the Upgrade

Performing the Upgrade

Replacing Your Entire Motherboard

Preparing for the Upgrade

Making the Upgrade

The Bottom Line

Part V: Internet and Network Speedups

14 Cleaning Up Your Web Browser

How to Slow Down a Web Browser

Cleaning Up Your Cache and Cookies

Clearing Your Cache

Clearing Your Cache Automatically

Changing the Size of Your Cache

Deleting Cookies

Avoiding Cookies

Reconfiguring Key Settings

Don’t Display Graphics

Disable ClearType

Turn Off the Phishing Filter

Disable RSS Feeds

Uninstalling Unnecessary Add-Ons

Remove Third-Party Toolbars

Remove the SSVHelper Class Add-On

Remove Other Add-Ons

Browsing Faster with an Alternate DNS Service

What Is a DNS Server–and How Does It Affect Connection Speed?

Choosing a Third-Party DNS Service

Configuring Your System for an Alternate DNS Service

Increasing the Size of Your DNS Cache

Enabling More Simultaneous Connections

The Bottom Line

15 Reconfiguring Your Internet Connection

How Fast Is Your Internet Connection?

Dial-Up Versus Broadband Connections

Measuring Your Connection’s Speed

What to Do If Your Speeds Are Low

The Simple Speedup: Upgrading to a Faster Internet Connection

Choosing Your Broadband Plan

Making the Switch

The Bottom Line

16 Speeding Up Your Home Network

Troubleshooting a Slow Wireless Connection

Check Your Signal Strength

Move Closer to the Router

Don’t Hide Your Adapter or Router

Move Devices That Might Cause Interference

Upgrading to a Faster Wireless Network

Understanding Wi-Fi Protocols

Choosing a New Router

Installing a New Router

Upgrading Your Wireless Adapter

Extending Wireless Network Range

Adding an External Antenna

Adding a Wireless Extender

Switching from a Wireless to a Wired Connection

Tweaking the Windows XP Registry for a Speedier Network

The Bottom Line

Part VI: The Ultimate Speedup: Buying a Faster PC

17 When Do You Need a New PC?

How Do You Know When Your Old PC Is Beyond Fixing?

You’ve Tried Everything Else–and Nothing Seems to Work

You’re Not a Technical Wizard

Upgrades Are Too Expensive

It’s a Notebook PC–You Can’t Upgrade It

It’s Just Too Old

What New Applications Might Demand a New PC?

Video-Editing Programs

Photo-Editing Programs

PC Games

Upgrades to Existing Programs

Multitasking

Windows Vista

A Few Other Reasons to Buy a New PC

Your Old PC Is on Its Last Legs

You Want to Switch from a Desktop to a Notebook

You Want a Smaller/Lighter/More Efficient Notebook

You Just Want a New One

Benchmarking PC Performance

The Bottom Line

18 How Fast a PC Do You Need?

Understanding Key Components

CPU

Memory

Hard Disk

Video Card

Windows Version

Choosing a Form Factor: Desktop Versus Notebook

Notebook PCs: Pros and Cons

Different Types of Notebook PCs

What Kind of Computing Do You Do?

Choosing the Right Features for Your Needs

The Home/Office Computing PC

The Digital Music and Movies PC

The Digital Photography PC

The Video Movie Editing PC

The Gaming PC

Getting Rid of Your Old PC

The Bottom Line

PC Performance Resources

General Performance Suites

Benchmarking

Startup Optimization

File Cleaning

Specific Program Removal Tools

Registry Cleaners

Hard Disk Optimization

Disk Imaging

Internet Speedup and Browser Optimization

Startup Program Databases

Internet Speed Tests

Free DNS Services

Index

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Preface

Introduction

In this Introduction

  • What’s in This Book
  • Who Can Use This Book
  • How to Use This Book
  • There’s More Online...
  • Speed It Up!

Can you help me out? My computer is running really slow.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this complaint over the past several months. First it was my stepdaughter with a slow PC, then a friend, then another friend, then my wife, and it kept on coming. It seems that just about everyone I know is coming to the conclusion that their computers are running too slow. It’s an epidemic!

Of course, it’s possible that not all these PCs are actually running slow; it’s likely that some of this slowness is perceived rather than real. But even perceived sluggishness is still annoying when you’re trying to get something done and are forced to wait... and wait... and wait for your PC to respond.

The point is, we all get frustrated when our computers take too long to do what we want them to do. Whether that slowness is caused by insufficient memory or power, whether it’s caused by viruses or spyware, whether it’s caused by a sluggish Internet or network connection, or whether it’s simply a matter of trying to make an old computer do new things it’s not capable of doing, you want to give that pokey PC a kick in the electronic pants so that it runs just a little faster, if it can.

The bad news is, even a fast PC can slow down over time, for a number of different reasons. The good news is, there are things you can do to speed up even the slowest of computers. These are the things I talk about in this book.

Speed It Up! A Non-Technical Guide for Speeding Up Slow Computers is, as the title implies, a guide that anyone can use to make their computers a little less sluggish. You don’t have to be a tech geek to speed up a slow computer; anyone can make these simple changes to put a little more “oomph” behind their day-to-day computing.

Want to speed up your computer’s startup process? I show you how to do it. Need to clean up unnecessary programs or remove a virus or spyware program? I show you how to do it. Want to power up your computer when you’re editing digital photos or videos? I show you how to do it. Need more memory to run your favorite applications? I show you how to do it. Want to upgrade your computer so that you can run the latest PC games? I show you how to do it. Want to turn a listless Internet connection into a lively one? I show you how to do that, too. Heck, I even show you what type of new PC to buy if your old computer can’t be speeded up enough. (That is sometimes the best solution, unfortunately.)

That said, this book isn’t a highly technical guide for tweakers and speed freaks; if you want to turn your PC into a customized high-tech hot rod, you’ll have to turn elsewhere. This book is more like a guide to tuning up your family sedan, or the computer equivalent of it. The instructions are easy to follow and don’t require you to get your hands too dirty.

So if you think your computer is running a little slow, you’ve turned to the right place for some quick and easy solutions. Spend a few hours reading this book and I guarantee you’ll learn more than a few ways to de-pokify even the most sluggish of machines.

What’s in This Book

As promised, this book shows you how to speed up your Windows-based computer. The book presents software-based speedups, hardware-based speedups, and Internet- and network-related speedups—a little something for everyone.

This book contains 18 chapters, divided into 6 major parts. Each part walks you through a different aspect of the speedup process, from initial diagnosis to various types of solutions:

  • Part I: Quick Diagnosis for Sluggish PCs is the place to start if you think your computer is slower than it used to be (or than you want it to be). You’ll learn how to troubleshoot what might be slowing down your computer, as well as how to back up your data before you start implementing potential solutions.
  • Part II: Simple Speedups Anyone Can Do walks you through some of the easiest-to-achieve performance improvements for your PC. You’ll learn how to identify and remove harmful computer viruses and spyware, clean out unnecessary programs from your computer’s memory and hard disk, optimize your PC’s hard disk, and make Windows start up and run faster.
  • Part III: Power Speedups for Power Users is for the more adventurous user. These speedups require a bit more effort than the previous solutions but can result in significant performance improvements. This is where you learn how to clean up and tweak the Windows Registry, as well as perform a “clean install” of Windows—which lets you reinstall Windows from scratch and create a like-new machine.
  • Part IV: Upgrading Your PC for Speed presents hardware-based solutions for sluggish systems. You’ll learn how to prepare for a computer upgrade and then how to add more memory and hard disk space, install a faster video card, and even upgrade your PC’s CPU (central processing unit).
  • Part V: Internet and Network Speedups recognizes that it’s not always your computer that’s slow; sometimes it’s your Internet or network connection. You’ll learn how to make your web browser go faster, how to reconfigure a sluggish Internet connection, and how to wring the most speed out of your home network.
  • Part VI: The Ultimate Speedup: Buying a New PC is for those users who just can’t get their old PCs to go fast enough, no matter what they try. (It happens.) You’ll learn when to throw in the towel, what types of applications require newer and faster PCs, and how to tell what type of new PC you need.

I’m guessing that you probably won’t read all of this book or perform all the speedups suggested—because you probably won’t need to. I’ve presented the easiest and most effective speedups first, both in the book and in each individual chapter. So work your way through the various suggestions and feel free to stop when you’ve achieved the performance you’re looking for.

Who Can Use This Book

You don’t have to be a technical expert to use this book; many of the solutions offered require nothing more than a few clicks of the mouse. It helps if you know your way around the Windows desktop, of course, and there are a few more advanced solutions that require some simple hardware upgrades. But in general, just about anybody can perform most of the solutions presented here.

One thing, though: The solutions in this book are for computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system, either the newer Windows Vista or the older Windows XP. If you have an Apple Mac, that’s a whole other world of problems and solutions that I’m not equipped to address, sorry.

How to Use This Book

I hope that this book is easy enough to read that you don’t need instructions. That said, a few elements bear explaining.

First, this book contains several special elements, presented in what we in the publishing business call “margin notes.” There are different types of margin notes for different types of information, as you see here.

Because many of the solutions presented in this book involve third-party software utilities or new hardware devices, lots of web page addresses in the text accompany the mentions of these products. When you see one of these addresses (also known as a URL), you can go to that web page by entering the URL into the address box in your web browser. I’ve made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the web addresses presented here, but given the ever-changing nature of the Web, don’t be surprised if you run across an address or two that’s changed. For that matter, some of the products and prices presented here are likely to change by the time you read this text. I apologize in advance, but that’s the way the world works.


Note - This is a note that presents information of interest, even if it isn’t wholly relevant to the discussion in the main text.



Tip - This is a tip that might prove useful for whatever it is you’re in the process of doing.



Caution - This is a caution that something you accidentally do might have undesirable results.


There’s More Online...

When you need a break from reading, feel free to go online and check out my personal website, located at http://www.molehillgroup.com. Here you’ll find more information about this book and other books I’ve written. And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me directly at speed@molehillgroup.com. I can’t guarantee to respond to every email, but I do guarantee I’ll read them all.

Speed It Up!

With all these preliminaries out of the way, it’s now time to get started. Put on your reading glasses, fire up your mouse, and get ready to Speed It Up!

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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