42 Ways To Speed Up Your Computer

If you want to speed up your computer again you need to read this. In this extensive guide, I would like to present 42 methods to get rid of junk and make your PC fast again! Why 42 and not 50? Because 42 is the answer to everything!
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(Image Credit: Touchstone Pictures, Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy)

Our site turns 6 years old in October and this month we are celebrating our 50th million visitor. One of the topics a lot of you were interested in the past few years was how to make your computer faster, so we included a lot of links to our most useful guides.

Slow Hard Drive

Fixing a slow hard drive is easier than you think, all you have to do is follow a few simple rules

Step 1 Make use of advanced copy programs (RoboCopy)

Robocopy and Xcopy are both very robust and fast command line tools to copy files a lot faster. Don’t rely on your Windows explorer to copy files, instead get used to cmd.exe and learn the syntax of xcopy.

Step 2 Consider an upgrade

If you can afford an upgrade, SSD’s are extremely fast and will greatly improve your read/write speed. Read our SSD buying guide

Step 3 Increase size of paging file for regular HDD

If you still have a regular hard drive and not a solid state drive, you should consider increasing your virtual memory

Step 4 Check your PC for malware

We recommend you run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware from your command prompt. Read this guide and you can be sure that you will have no / few malware running in the background.

Run Malwarebytes From Command Prompt

Step 5 Consider using defrag software

SSD users can skip this, but regular hard drives require defragmentation unless you’re on Linux. Defraggler is a free defrag software that works on Windows 7 and Windows 8

Step 6 Check the current health of your hard drive

There are tons of hard drive benchmarks out there. Also, many tools can give you an approx. evaluation of the health of your hard drive. You have to use those programs with caution, but generally speaking they can identify possible problems and let you know when it’s time to upgrade.

One of the tools you can try is hdtune or ssd-life

S.M.A.R.T stats can be very helpful in identifying a dying hard drive.


Chkdsk is a great utility. It’s very possible your hard drive is slow due to corrupt sectors and you need to repair them.

Want To Scan.png

You can read our guide on how to run chkdsk to check for drive errors. It often helped me fix a great deal of problems. It’s one of the first things you should do when encountering computer problems

Step 8 Run a disk benchmark

Benchmarks area a great way to figure out how well your disk is performing. Look up the original read/write speed on the manufacturer website and then compare it with your own benchmark:

DiskMark is a great utility for performing disk benchmarks

Step 9 Check your hard drive power settings

If the disk in question is not your primary hard drive, it is quite possible that your power settings are incorrect and that you currently allow Windows 7 or 8 to turn of your drive. Changing power settings is explained in this guide

Step 10 Avoid heat, overclocking. Check your cables

Hard drives are very robust but the lifespan of your hard drive will decrease if it’s constantly too hot in your PC. A 5 degree increase in temperature will reduce the life of your hard drive by up to 2 years. Also, high temperatures CAN affect your hard drive performance. If you keep overclocking your CPU, it can have a dramatic effect on your hard drive performance. So, the performance gain will be lost if you don’t reverse that.

Here is a great article on heat and hard drive performance from icydock.com

11. Step User hard drive cleaning tools

Also consider using tools such as CCleaner to free your disk from all the clatter to keep your hard drive clean and tidy

Faster Video Games

Making video games faster is the easiest issue on this list. There are so many tweaks you can apply, it really allows you to increase your FPS significantly

Msft Npdmarch1 100X100

Step 12 Disable Vsync

A lot of video games support a graphic card feature called Vsync, short for Vertical synchronization. You can either open your graphic card panel (Nvidia / AMD Control Center) and force it to turn off Vertical sync or you can turn it off within your game.

Step 13 Lower your rendering quality

Most video games allow you to change the rendering quality

Step 14 Turn off background services and programs while you play

There are quite a few services that allow you to disable background programs ONLY while you play. If you have a decent firewall (Agnitum, AVG,etc) you can also tell it to not annoy you while you game. Download IObit’s Game Booster from iobit.com

Step 15 Check your Windows tray

Always make sure the tray is relatively small! Close and/or uninstall programs you don’t need.
Shut Down Tray Programs

Step 16 Try Beta drivers

Many manufacturers like Nvidia and AMD offer beta drivers that may enhance your performance for certain games.

Step 17 Install drivers manually

If you have an old rig you will have a hard time finding a good driver that Windows will automatically recognize. It is a good idea to see if you can install a driver manually

Step 18 Identify bottlenecks via resource manager

Each rig has a bottleneck. For most systems it’s the hard drive. Regular hard drives have a poor I/O disk performance and can be quite overwhelmed by modern video games. We suggest you invest into a SSD, but before you do that identify how bad your disk is doing right now

Step 19 Check your game ini and config files

A lot of games such as Skyrim have config files that allow you to tweak your game far beyond what the in-game settings allow. We have a couple great guides to make video games faster that you may want to read. Here are the links:

  • Speed up Skyrim
  • Diablo 3
  • Far Cry 3
  • Planetside 2
  • Step 20 Turn of tessellation and lower texture filtering quality

    AMD’s Catalyst Control center allows you to lower the texture filtering quality in 3D applications even if your game does not allow you to change this settings. So, yes, a lot of settings you will not be able to change in-game. Instead check your grapic card control panel for more specific settings and test what performance impact each setting has, which leads me to point 10

    Step 21 Watch your FPS closely:

    Whenver you change something, it is important you can actually verify that the change improves your FPS. If you change a lot of settings at the same time you will not be able to figure out what had the biggest impact and that may prevent you from tweaking your system again in the future should you run into the same issue again (Happens more times than you can imagine!

    I recommend fraps for this (enable FPS in corner)

    Faster Downloads And Videos

    Video buffering and file downloads can be significantly enhanced.
    How To Speed Up Internet Connection In Windows 7.Jpg

    Step 22 Check your video buffer size

    The buffer size determines how much your browser can store on your disk when buffering a video. So, if your buffer size is really low, you will have freezes, hangs whatever you want to call it. And it’s bloody annoying, so make sure you have correctly set your buffer size – this guide is for Internet Explorer, but you should also make sure your Chrome and Firefox buffer sizes are set correctly.

    Step 23 Make use of buffering accelerator

    There are quite a few tools that can improve your buffering speed. Speedbit Video Accelerator for example. Basically, the accelerators try to build up multiple connections to accelerate the buffering process. This works quite well

    Step 24 Use a download manager

    I’ve been using download manager for a long time. Some of the best pull the download from additional mirrors and start multiple download connections. That’s how you can easily speed up your downloads

    5 Download Managers

    Step 25 Get off that slow WiFi network

    Wired networks perform a lot better – don’t use a Wifi network! It will slow down your downloads significantly. If you can’t follow this tip, try step 5

    Step 26 Broadband over Powerlines

    A new technology allows you to share an internet connection over powerlines. Howstuffworks.com explains this quite well. This is a great idea if you want to get rid of a slow Wifi connection

    Step 27 Clean your browser history

    It is a fact that a bloated internet history, favorites, extensions and more can slow down your browser. It may not slow down your actual download speed but it will slow down the speed until the download commences.

    Step 28 Download from a server close to you

    When downloading files, always make sure to select a server close to you. This is common sense, but a lot of times you will just click continue and miss the download options. The servers are often called mirrors and there may be a mirror closer to you than you think

    Step 29 Use a VPN

    VPN’s can speed up your download speed. How it works? If you can connect to a European VPN to download a file from a European website it may speed up the download because the server will be closer than your home connection. However, this greatly depends on the quality of your VPN provider, free providers will NOT speed up the download transfer.

    Preview How To Set Up Vpn In Windows 8.Jpg

    Setting up a VPN in Windows 8

    Step 30 Accelerate Torrent Downloads

    If you use uTorrent, there are many tools that allow you to accelerate your downloads.

    Faster Torrent Download

    Step 31 Replace your Antivirus

    Many antivirus solutions are very strict and may interfere with your downloads and video buffering. It is a good idea to test a few firewalls and antivirus solutions. My recommendations are usually a combination of Agnitum Outpost, AVG, Panda and Malwarebytes Antimalware

    DNS Lookups

    DNS lookups can significantly slow down your internet. If you use a different DNS providers it can often improve the loading speed of websites.

    Set Up Opendns Windows 7.Jpg

    Step 32 Flush Your DNS Cache

    A stale DNS cache might prevent you from properly loading your favorite websites. Flushing your DNS cache might help if you are experiencing connectivity issues too. Here’s a guide for Windows 8 that works on Windows 7 too

    Step 33 Speed Up DNS via OpenDNS

    OpenDNS is a great way to speed up your DNS lookups. DNS lookups basically convert the domain you enter into a browser into IP addresses that are linked to actual web servers. This happens via so called name servers and root name servers.

    Get OpenDNS and make your websites load faster

    Improve Latency

    A high latency in video games is common, but if you’re a competitive player you need to lower it:
    How To Improve Latency In Wow Windows 7.Jpg

    Step 34 Use our latency fix

    MMO’s and web services that you use have a so called latency. Latency is the time it takes for two systems to interact and exchange network packets. If your system is busy confirming ACK (acknowledge packets) requests you latency may be higher than it has to be. Our latency fix can prevent your system from sending an ACK packet for EVERY package and dramatically lower your latency. We explained how this works here

    Fix Bloated Registry

    Windows 7 Registry Tweaks

    Step 35 Uninstall programs

    In theory, you can get rid of a bloated registry by uninstalling programs. However, many programs do not fully remove all registry entries, personal settings and other entries. Still, if you want to speed up the registry, you should consider using one of the following 5 tools to remove programs

    Step 36 Use free registry cleaners if you must

    There are a bunch of free registry cleaners that you can use. In general we do NOT recommend the use of registry cleaners, but if you insist that it will help you, try this

    Step 37 Use our registry tweaks

    Registry tweaks can help you to make your computer faster. We have a very long list of useful registry tweaks for Windows

    Step 38 Dig into the registry manually

    Advanced users may want to dig a little into the registry itself. After creating a backup of your registry and knowing how to restore it from a command line you can delete registry keys that may interfere with your hardware. For example the “upperfilter” registry keys that may prevent your DVD drive from being recognized


    Speed Up Windows 7 Netbook 100X100

    Step 39 Prevent overheat

    Laptops, due to their size, can quickly overheat. Heat can have a dramatic performance impact. The hotter your CPU is, the slower it will become.

    We have 5 tips for you how you can prevent overheat

    Step 40 Disable startup programs

    Startup programs will significantly slow down your booting time AND if they remain idle in the Windows tray they may be more active than you think. Always turn off all Windows startup programs you don’t really need

    Need more instructions? Read our guide on turning off startup programs

    Step 41 Disable visual effects

    Although, additions like DeskScapes and Windows themes can be a great addition, they may slow down your laptop. On a desktop PC it’s usually no problem, but I wouldn’t recommend installing too many programs on a laptop and that includes fancy customization tools

    Step 42 Turn Windows features off

    We have previously explained how to turn Windows features on or off, you may want to check out the list of features and decide what you don’t need

Published: Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 Last Modified: January 12, 2015

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