10 Ways To Tune Up Your Pc . . . .

10 ways to tune up your PC

Everything needs a tune-up: cars, pianos—even your computer! Here are 10 ways for you to tune up your PC to help keep it running smoothly and efficiently.

What you'll need:

Windows-based PC

USB drive (1 GB minimum)


1. Keep your PC up to date

One of the best things you can do to protect your PC is also one of the easiest: Make sure you are set up to get automatic updates from Microsoft. If you use Windows and other Microsoft software, such as Microsoft Office or Windows Live Essentials, then you should use the Microsoft Update service. You'll also get notices about new Microsoftsoftware that you can download for free.

So how do you turn on automatic updates? Simple: Go to the Microsoft Update website. If you don't have automatic updates turned on, we'll help you through the process.


2. Performance
Next, you should “look under your PC's hood” to see how efficiently your computer is operating. To check your PC's performance in Windows 7, click the Start button , typePerformance in the search box, and then click Performance Information and Tools in the search results.

Your system's processor, memory, graphics handling, and your hard drive are rated according to their capabilities. If you need more information on what these ratings mean, click the What do these numbers mean? link found under your base score.

Running Windows 7 or Windows Vista? Find out how you can optimize performance.

Running Windows XP? Check out these maintenance tips.


3. Action Center

In Windows 7, Action Center is a central area for messages and warnings about security that need your attention. When there is nothing to report you won't even realize it's there, but when something occurs that you should know about, you will see an Action Center flag notification on your taskbar.

When you click the warning you can choose to resolve the issue from there. You can also open Action Center itself to see other notifications and actions you can take to help keep your PC running smoothly.

Running Windows Vista? Learn how to use Windows Security Center.


4. ReadyBoost

If you have a USB drive with at least 1 GB to spare you may be able to make your system faster using ReadyBoost. ReadyBoost uses available storage space on a removable device to boost your system speed. Most flash drives and flash memory cards can help speed up your computer.

Running Windows Vista? Learn about using memory in your storage device to speed up your PC.


5. CPU utilization

Your Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brains of your computer. It organizes the processes in your computer to help keep it running smoothly. If you're wondering if an application may be slowing down your system, you can check the Performance tab inWindows Task Manager to see if the online movie you are watching is taking more than its fair share of power.

Windows Task Manager provides details on each process running on your computer, allowing you to find those programs affecting your PC's efficiency.

Running Windows 7? Learn more about how to view CPU utilization.

Running Windows Vista? Learn more about how to see details about your computer's performance.


6. Check for viruses and spyware

Has your computer really slowed down since you bought it? Are windows occasionally popping up or programs starting independently? Is your hard drive constantly spinning? These and other problems may be caused by viruses or spyware.

Be sure your computer has protection against viruses, spyware, and malware. DownloadMicrosoft Security Essentials (it's free) or see recommended consumer security software providers for Windows.

Running Windows 7? Check out the security checklist.

Running Windows Vista? Learn more about security and safety.


7. Clean up your hard drive

Just like your closet needs a good cleaning occasionally, your hard drive does, too. To unclutter your hard drive, use Disk Cleanup. When you use Disk Cleanup you will toss out those old unneeded temporary files, all the trash in your Recycle Bin, and many other bits and pieces that are no longer needed.

Run it on a regular basis and you will be amazed at your computer's efficiency.

Running Windows 7? Learn how to use Disk Cleanup.

Running Windows Vista? Learn how to use Disk Cleanup.


8. If you don't use it, uninstall it

Even a brand-new computer has programs that you never use and don't need. If you don't use a program, uninstall it. This goes for pre-installed software, trial software you decided not to purchase, or software that you've replaced with an updated version.

Many unwanted programs run in the background upon startup whether you are using them or not. They take up disk space and memory. If you don't need the program, uninstall it. One warning: If you don't recognize a program name or know what it does, don't uninstall it until you've checked to see if it's software essential to running your PC.

Running Windows 7? Learn how to uninstall or change a program.

Running Windows Vista? Learn how to uninstall or change a program.

Running Windows XP? Learn how to uninstall or change a program.


9. Defragment your hard drive

Over time, files on your computer are moved around the hard drive. Eventually it takes your computer longer to find various parts of the programs which have been moved or fragmented. To boost your computer's speed and overall performance, defrag your hard drive on occasion. In Windows 7, Disk Defragmenter rearranges fragmented data, making your computer operate more efficiently.

Running Windows 7? Learn how to defragment your hard drive.

Running Windows Vista? Learn how to defragment your hard drive.

Running Windows XP? Learn how to defragment your hard drive.


10. Try troubleshooting for performance

Your PC may also have some simple or more complex issues that Windows 7 can repair for you. Try a troubleshooting program to automatically fix those issues.

In Windows 7, the maintenance troubleshooter fixes problems, such as cleaning up unused files and shortcuts, so your computer can run faster. The performance troubleshooter checks specifically for performance issues. Both are quick and easy to use and may provide you with some useful suggestions.

Running Windows 7? Learn about troubleshooting programs.

Running Windows Vista? Check out these troubleshooting tips.

Running Windows XP? Learn about maintenance tasks that improve performance.

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