Remember back when you got your latest computer? It seemed so fast, so much faster than your previous computer. Now, if it doesn’t seem to drag, it just doesn’t seem as peppy as it used to…
Part of that effect is our memory — not the computer’s memory but the memories stored between our ears. We tend to remember the past with fond thoughts and rose-colored glasses. We also become used to the faster speed and expect it. Fast today is faster than it used to be <grin>.
There are some real aspects of computing, though, that affect our computer’s speed as we continue to use Windows.
The clean, fresh installation of Windows has little in the way of superficial extras that take up CPU cycles, that take up memory and that clutter the hard drive and the Windows Registry.
Well, if you have a computer from some of the big-name manufacturers, they’ll install all sorts of miscellaneous junk that they think you might want (or for which they get a commission if you buy/register the product), but you can always remove those. You can also use programs like WinPatrol to prevent the "junk" from starting. What’s junk and what’s not? That’s where you can search Google to find the answer — or buy WinPatrol Plus to get access to their database of information.
The bottom line is that you can prevent the clutter from running. You can also uninstall those programs, and with the right tools (I use Optimize 3.0), clean up after them.
Memory, the computer kind, this time, is another way that you’ll lose performance over time. I’m not saying that computer memory slows down — the problem is that we have to have bigger and more effective anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall and anti-spam programs each year. That means, they’ll consume more of your memory and more of your CPU cycles.
You can’t really do anything about speeding up your CPU (except to buy a new computer). You can, though, add memory easily to most computers. Adding memory to your computer is one of the cheapest, effective things you can do to speed up your computer.
Crucial Technologies, a respected manufacturer of computer memory, has a great selection tool on their web site to identify fo ryou the kind of memory you need (and the memory they make that will work in your computer). Their system has data on many, many computer manufacturers and motherboard manufacturers and their memory needs.
Now, let’s think about changes to Windows itself.
Since you’re been using Windows for a while and are more familiar it, you may be ready to trade "cute" for better performance. You can adjust some of the performance settings in Windows to give you a peppier system. Do you really need those fading or sliding menus? Or, would you rather they pop into view?
Read more about Windows performance settings in my article Speeding Up Your Windows Computer, parts 1 and 2. (Find both parts in the dropdown navigation menu under Computer Tips, Operating Systems, Windows XP, or under About This Site, Site Map.