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!
(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.
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.
S.M.A.R.T stats can be very helpful in identifying a dying hard drive.
Step 7 CHKDSK IS YOUR FRIEND!
Chkdsk is a great utility. It’s very possible your hard drive is slow due to corrupt sectors and you need to repair them.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Step 30 Accelerate Torrent Downloads
If you use uTorrent, there are many tools that allow you to accelerate your downloads.
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 can significantly slow down your internet. If you use a different DNS providers it can often improve the loading speed of websites.
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
A high latency in video games is common, but if you’re a competitive player you need to lower it:
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
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
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