Feb 022013

Perhaps part of the challenges that sabotaged your efforts and productivity in 2012 was a slow PC. Nobody likes to wake up in the morning only to get his plans stopped halfway by a slow, unresponsive PC  If you work online, like I suppose most of us do, chances are you really want to start 2013 with the right foot. Many people have made plans for this New Year, some have purchased new tools and materials in readiness for their businesses, but how many of us have actually remembered to take the necessary actions that will restore the smooth performance of our PC? Think that those occasional scan is enough? I think we really need to get involved in a thorough pc tune up in order to flush out all those tiny files, programs, and folders that are consistently eating up the memory of our pc and sabotaging our productivity.That said, what actions do you need to take that may restore the smooth operation of your pc? I’d say you should start from:

Deleting Unused Files and Folders

pc tune up

Getting rid of files and folders that you are no longer using will help free up more space on your hard disk.  On the other hand, if there are files you may not be using now but think there may be need for later, your hard disk is definitely not the right place to store them. You should have a backup or an external storage device for this instead of bugging down the performance of your pc with a bunch of files and folders that you hardly use.

Check Your Hard Drive for Errors

check hard driveWhen was the last time you checked your hard drive for errors? If left unchecked, this can build up to pose a heavy threat on your PC  Occasionally checking the status of your hard drive will help you find and fix file system error and also aid in recovering bad sectors. For those using Windows, you can do this by opening “My Computer” from the start menu. Right-click on your local disk volume, and select “Properties”. Select the tools tab and click on “Check now…”. Your system should now start checking the hard drive for errors.

You can also use freeware products like HDD Scan or Ariolic Disk Scanner.

Defragment Your Hard Drive

defragmentDo you know that as you use your pc, files can get broken into disparate parts and scattered around your hard drive? This in-turn doubles the route your system has to go through to fetch the contents of a file. For instance, when you request to open one of the files that have been broken, your system will have to visit different parts of the hard drive to fetch the contents of the files and this, my friend, drags you down to the sluggishness you don’t want in 2013.

To fix this problem, you have to defragment your hard drive. Defragmenting will rearrange each file pieces into a single continuous block where it can be easily accessed and processed. On Windows, open “My Computer”. Then  right-click your local disk volume and select “Properties”. Click on the tools tab and then on “Defragment now…”

Get Rid Of Spyware Programs

You may be surprised that despite how heavy you are paying for a security suite, spyware programs still find their way onto your system. This is not uncommon, and we are not going to waste our time recounting the ways through which such programs can victimize our system. So whichever way they got in, we want them out and possibly keep check of them throughout 2013. If you don’t have a license to a paid anti-spyware program, then use a free program like Spybot Search & Destroy, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware or Ad-aware.

Increase Memory

The Random Access Memory (RAM) is a very vital component in any pc in that it holds programs and data that the computer is currently processing. In a case where the RAM is not sufficient enough to hold all the tasks, it may lead to sluggishness as the computer will begin to page. Paging is a case where the computer pages data and programs out to the hard disk due to insufficient RAM, and excessive paging can lead to too much time wastage without getting any real task completed. To help fix this or ensure it doesn’t stand in-between you and your productivity in 2013, you can easily increase your RAM. If you don’t know how to do this, take it to a computer expert.

Install Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Applications

If you have been using free antivirus and internet security tools in the past, may be its time to upgrade to a paid version. Believe it or not, there are several functionalities that a free anti-malware or antivirus program can never provide you and the only way to get fully protected with all the features from a security suite is to pay for a license. Also, if you have been using a particular program in the past and think you are not getting enough protection, it’s time to make a switch and test another service. If you have been getting the best protection from the ones you have been using since last year, then go check if the subscription is still active, an if not, renew it.

When you have finally decided on and purchased and installed a program that matches your need, update its database and scan your system thoroughly. Then for the rest of the year, you can setup an automatic system scan that will run daily, weekly or as you choose. The idea is to consistently find and get rid of any spyware, virus, Trojans and adware that may have found their way onto your computer.

If you take these actions, to optimize and tune-up your system, there is no doubt you will have a smooth running and fast performing PC to accompany the New Year resolution you made about your business and productivity.

Steven is a tech specialist who writes for various blogs like dragonblogger, where he shares technology news and tips. He focuses on internet security and cloud storage issues. You can see more at his blog.

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