I have been developing software for over 15 years and in a software development environment, nothing aggravates me more then when I am on a PC that runs slow. You might have experienced this yourself. You click on a few things and it sounds like someone is grinding away your hard drive with a hacksaw.
Before you pick your computer up and throw it out the window there are some steps you can take to speed up your machine and get it running like new.
For starters, before you do anything else, you should install am anti-virus piece of software and firewall software. I use Norton, but there are a number of companies out there that carry these products. Also I recommend that you obtain both pieces of software from the same company. Chances are they talk to one another and that is good for you because they work diligently to keep the files on your computer safe.
Once you have taken steps to securing your computer then go out and get yourself some more memory. No not for you, but for your computer. The internal memory called RAM is the place where the computer will store things internally until it is needed. For example let’s say you are using a word processing piece of software. Until you click the save button and actually save it on your hard drive, the data you see on the screen has to “be” somewhere and that somewhere is in memory. More memory means more space and that means less grinding on your hard drive to use it as temporary space.
Invest in an external hard drive for your non essential files. Your non essential files are any that you create such as a Word doc or an Excel spreadsheet, the podcasts you download from iTunes etc. Your internal hard drive should only contain the necessary components it needs to run the operating system and the software you install. I saw a 1 TB (that’s Terabyte) hard drive for sale at Best Buy for $134. Now that is a great deal.
Remember to keep your hard drives clean. You can do this with the free system utility that comes with Windows called Disk Cleanup. You get to it on your computer by clicking start then clicking programs, then clicking accessories and finally system tools. This piece of software will sweep your computer looking for files that taking up space that are no longer needed. After the analysis you will see a list of files that the computer wants to get rid of. You can pick and choose which ones to keep and which ones to get rid of. This will keep your hard drives clean.
Finally defrag your hard drives. When you permanently delete a file it just removes it from the spot where it was living. However, it creates a blank spot, or hole if you will, that your hard drive reader must jump over when searching for things on your hard drive. Create enough “holes” and the speed of your machine will slow down. Defragging organizes your hard drive in such a way to eliminate those holes so files can be read faster. Defragging every other month is plenty for the home user, but if you find yourself creating and deleting quite a bit, then go with once a month.
Before you run out and spend a few hundred bucks on a new computer, follow some of the tips above to get your PC running in tip top shape.