Over time your PC slows down. Files accumulate in the wrong places, disk errors occur and data starts to fragment.

All of this is a natural consequence of using your computer. But you don’t have to live with it. There are three easy things you can do to make your PC run faster.

Defragment Your Disk

With use, some files become fragmented. This means that rather than the file being nicely contained in a single space on the hard drive, it becomes scattered across a number of spaces on the disk. Every time you use one of these fragmented files your PC has to piece it back together. Doing so burns resources and slows the computer down.

There’s an easy fix – just run the Disk Defragmenter

Running the Disk Defragmenter

Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter

  • Select the drive you want to defragment.
  • Click the Defragment button – the utility will first analyse your drive and then defragment it.

The process can take several hours and it is essential that you do not turn your computer off or interrupt its power supply while the utility is running. Defragging your PC is best done when you aren’t using it for anything else.

Note: if you want to separate the analyse and defragment functions, you can click the Analyse button first – the utility will analyse your disk and tell you whether or not it needs defragmenting.

Clean Your Desktop

Windows has to use operating memory for all files on the desktop every time you start up. If you have a lot of files on your desktop your computer won’t have enough operating memory to deal with them all and has to engage in an ongoing process of swapping memory back and forth with the hard drive. Both the consumption of operating memory and the swapping process cause your computer to run slower.

To fix this problem, take all those photos, mp3s, videos and any other type of file you have on your desktop and put them in your My Documents folder. It’s fine to leave shortcuts on the desktop, though, as they use up very little memory.

Disk Errors

As your computer ages, your hard drive can develop bad sectors. Bad sectors are areas on the disk that are permanently unusable due to physical damage. They make the process of saving files much slower than it needs to be as the PC may have to try multiple times across various sectors to save a single file.

Fixing Disk Errors with the Error Checking Utility

The Error Checking Utility can identify and mark bad sectors so that your computer ignores them and does not try to save to them. To run it:

Start > My Computer > Right click the drive you want to check > Properties

  • Select the Tools tab.
  • Click the Check Now button in the Error Checking section.
  • Check “Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors”.
  • Click Start.

If any bad sectors are found the utility will present you with the option of fixing them.

Computer Maintenance

Keep your PC running fast and error-free by following a regular maintenance schedule that includes the three easy steps outlined in this article.

Learn more about making your PC run faster with this video.

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