My Laptop is running Slow

It’s something we’ve all asked: how do I make my Laptop run faster? After all, a slow laptop puts a hamper on user productivity. The common instinctive solutions are to buy additional memory (RAM), play with the computer’s settings (which can cause more harm than good), or to just give up and decide it’s time for a new laptop. But these may only be short-term solutions and cost money when spending might not even be necessary.

When a computer’s performance becomes noticeably slower, the first thing to look at is the hard disk. A computer’s hard disk is a non-removable area that holds all the information available from the computer; over time, it loses its ability to store data efficiently. Performing a few tasks some regularly, some when necessary it can boost the speed of Laptops running on Windows® 7 and keep them performing at their best. You have probably already tried Disk Defragmenter; here are four other tasks to build into your routine, so that you stay efficient and productive:

1. Free up disk space.
Don’t go on a deleting spree. There is a systematic way to freeing up space on your computer. Computers accumulate temporary files over time from any number of sources (mostly from Internet browsing). After a while, these temporary files will affect the computer’s speed. The Windows Disk Cleanup tool helps you to free up space on your hard disk to improve the performance of your computer. The tool identifies files that you can safely delete and then enables you to choose to delete some or all of the identified files. Disk Cleanup should be run about once per week.
To run Disk Cleanup: Click Start, then All Programs, Accessories, System Tools (this is also where you will find the Disk Defragmenter), and then click Disk Cleanup. If several drives are available, you might be prompted to specify which drive you want to clean.
When Disk Cleanup has calculated how much space you can free up, in the Disk Cleanup for dialogue box, scroll through the list of Files to delete. Clear the check boxes for files that you do NOT want to delete, and then clic OK When prompted to confirm that you want to delete the specified files, click Yes. After a few minutes, the process completes and the Disk Cleanup dialogue box closes.

2. Detect and Repair Errors.
Whenever a program crashes or you experience a power outage, your computer may create errors on the hard disk. These errors will eventually slow your computer to a crawl. The Check Disk program identifies and corrects these types of errors, improving the PC’s performance. Check Disk should also be run ideally once per week.
To run Check Disk: Click the Start button and then click Computer. Right-click the hard disk drive that you want to check, and then click Properties Click the Tools tab and then under Error-checking, click Check now
1. To automatically repair problems with files and folders that the scan detects, select “Automatically fix file system errors. Otherwise, the disk check will simply report problems but not fix them.
2. To perform a thorough disk check, select Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors. This scan attempts to find and repair physical errors on the hard disk itself, and it can take much longer to complete.
3. To check for both file errors and physical errors, select both Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors. Click “Start ” Depending upon the size of your hard disk, this may take several minutes.

3. An external performance jolt.
ReadyBoost can speed up computers by using storage space on most USB flash drives and flash memory cards. For ReadyBoost to effectively speed up a computer, the flash drive or memory card should have at least 1 gigabyte (GB) of available space. For best results, use a flash drive or flash memory card with at least twice the amount of available space as the amount of memory (RAM) in your computer.
To turn Ready Boost on or off: Plug a flash drive or flash memory card into your computer. In the Autoplaydialogue box, under General options click Speed up my system. In the Properties dialogue box, click the ReadyBoost tab, and then do one of the following
1. To turn ReadyBoost off, click Do not use this device.
2. To use the maximum available space on the flash drive or memory card for ReadyBoost, click Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost. Windows will leave any files already stored on the device, but it’ll use the rest to boost your system speed.
3. To use less than the maximum available space on the device for ReadyBoost, click Use this device and then move the slider to choose the amount of available space on the device you want to use. Click OK
4. Remove viruses, spyware and other threats.
Viruses, spyware, adware and other malicious software unknowingly installed on PCs can compromise your personal information and damage precious files. At the same time, they slow down PCs and cause unwanted behaviour. It is important to install and/or run the necessary protection software that scans and rids your PC of such threats.
Before throwing your Laptop out of the window or spending money on upgrades, go through these simple tasks to optimise your Laptops performance. And then, make sure you continue to do so at regular intervals to ensure optimum Laptop speed.
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Seven Good Computer Habits to Have
You’ve always been taught to cultivate good habits and avoid bad ones. The same applies to your computer use, where habits are good, bad or ugly. Good habits can maximise your IT investment and optimise your operational efficiency, while bad ones can cost you money and slow you down. The ugly ones can lead to disaster and an ugly mess. Here’s a list of computer habits you should kick start into your regular routine to keep you going – in the right direction!

Save frequently. To avoid any data loss in case of software or system freezing, regularly save your changes to documents. Doing so only takes a second and won’t interrupt your productivity groove. Use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + S”, or click on the “Save” icon – the old floppy disk in the toolbar. Don’t rely on “AutoSave”, as it’s not a feature on every program.

Backup. Don’t risk losing your files by not having them backed up. With damage, loss and theft all possible, no hard drive is guaranteed to be functional forever. Recovering data is often impossible and more costly and time consuming than people think. Tireless efforts on work-related documents can be preserved by simply copying files to a few DVDs, USB drive or portable hard drive, at regular intervals.

Think before you print. A hard copy is required sometimes, but not every time. So before clicking “Print”, determine if you really need to hold a copy of the document in your hand. And if you do, do you really need the entire thing? Use “Print Preview” and the option of selecting a “Page range” to print only the pages you actually need. And use the double-sided printing feature where available – to print multiple pages onto only one sheet of paper. It would also be helpful to set your printer to print in black and white by default, manually choosing colour prints only when necessary. All of these printing habits will have a positive impact on your environmental initiatives and can save you money by using less ink and paper.

Structure folders. Where do you save your files? Is everything scattered all over the desktop or stuffed into the “My Documents” folder? Maintain some order by creating folders and subfolders while giving your files appropriate names. It will only take a few extra seconds to do so, but will save you much more time in the future by being able to easily find and sort through files.

Store software keys. Make a note of software licence keys and store them safely. In the event of your needing to re-install or activate a program, having its corresponding licence key handy can be the difference between completing a simple re-installation and having to go out and purchase a new one.

Invest in security software. Protect your IT investment, your hard work and yourself! Viruses, spyware, adware and other malicious software are topics in the news for a reason. These threats can infect your computer without your even realising it. But do you know what kind of damage they can cause? They can delete or damage files, track your online activity, steal personal information and just outright annoy you by having a poorly performing computer. Take action before they do by investing in sufficient security software. When you do, keep the software up to date and scan your computer regularly to maintain optimum performance and productivity.

Blink. Yes, with your eyes! Staring at a computer screen for extended periods of time can have a negative effect on your precious eyesight. Computer users tend to blink less frequently, so make it a habit to blink more often. Why? Blinking produces tears that coat the eyes, keeping them lubricated and moist. Other habits to preserve and protect your eyesight include focusing on distant objects every 15 minutes to relax your eye muscles, and to just take a break every hour or two to reduce eyestrain. Your eyes will thank you. Where each of these habits ranks on a scale of importance is up for debate. However, it’s essential that you incorporate them into your daily routine, to prolong the life of your computer, save time, hassles and money, and free yourself to focus on the business that really matters.