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How to speed up an old/slow PC, in 5 simple, free steps!

This Tutorial addresses:
Hi all!

As a performance freak, I can't stand it when I know my PC is underperforming for one reason or another, whether it's due to viruses, old hardware or under optimised filing. And so every month or so I undertake a ritual that ensures my rig is kept at peak performance, as well as helping to extend its overall life!

In this tutorial I will explain how you too can revive an underperforming PC and breathe new life into it! While most of these operations are easy and require basic skills, some are slightly more advanced and should only be undertaken if you have the knowledge to know what you are doing. I shall highlight these particular tasks when applicable.

FYI, if you have a PC that you don't mind losing all data from, and you have the appropriate OS installation disks, please only carry out steps 1 and 5, as all other steps would be rendered irrelevant.

Also, If you do not have access to the internet, simply download the files (Where applicable) in the links to an external storage device from another PC that does have internet access, or ask a friend to download them for you, and install them onto the PC to be cleaned from the storage device.

STEP 1

One of the first things you should do is give your PC/Laptop a physical clean, i.e. take the side/bottom off and give it a damn good dusting. Believe it or not, by doing this simple task you can improve performance by a noticeable amount. Dust clogs up heatsinks and fan bearings and makes them less efficient, and therefore decreases their cooling capacity. This, in turn, decreases the performance of the hardware that they are cooling, as the hardware will sense that it is getting hot and will decrease the amount of work it does. By getting rid of dust you increase the cooling capacity of the heatsinks and fans, leading to an increase in performance! It's that simple!


Image credit: pcwarehouseltd.co.uk

WARNING! Dusting should only be done when the PC is powered down and is switched off at the wall.

Anti-static precautions should be used during this task. Anti-static wrist bands are preferable, however if you do not have one of these handy just make sure the PC is plugged into the wall (With the socket switched off, obviously) and you can earth yourself to the chassis by touching an exposed piece of metal, which will remove static electricity from your body. This will protect your PC from ESD damage.

Also, use a lint-free, non-static cloth for dusting, and never use a vacuum. Compressed air is extremely effective at getting into small areas, however only do this once the worst of the dust has been removed, otherwise you will simply create a cloud of dust that will settle back onto the components.

STEP 2

Boot up your PC and download the following program:

Advanced System Care –

http://www.iobit.com/advancedsystemcareper.php

This is a useful program that contains all sorts of handy tools and utilities, and you may want to consider purchasing it in the long run, but it isn’t necessary. What we are after here is the uninstaller. This can be found by first selecting 'Expert Mode' from the drop down menu at the top of the window, and then selecting 'Tools'. Now select 'IObit Uninstaller' and wait for it to download. It will open automatically after it has downloaded.





Alternatively, if you do not want to install the entire program, you can download the standalone uninstaller here:

http://www.iobit.com/advanceduninstaller.php

Using this uninstaller take a quick look through all of the programs and uninstall any that you either don’t use, want or need, opting to use the ‘Deep Clean’ feature after each uninstall.





WARNING! Do not attempt to uninstall any obvious windows programs or features unless you know exactly what they are and the implications of removing them. If you are not sure, simply Google the program to see if it is safe to uninstall.

FYI, there are tabs on the left hand side of the uninstaller, one of which is the ‘Toolbar’ tab. You may want to uninstall any toolbars you have on your PC, as these can easily get automatically installed along with other programs you have installed in the past.



STEP 3

This is a relatively simple step, as all it involves is downloading and running a few pieces of software.
First of all, download and install the following programs:

AVG Antivirus -

http://download.cnet.com/AVG-AntiVirus-Free-2014/3000-2...

Malwarebytes Antimalware -

http://www.malwarebytes.org

CCleaner -

http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner

Ignore all requests to enter a key or purchase the software and run each program one after another, in the order shown above. Depending on the individual PC completion times may vary, but bear with it. Run full scans on both AVG and Malwarebytes, and run both the cleaner and the registry cleaner in CCleaner. You can also run Advanced System Care, if you have installed it.

AVG


Malwarebytes


CCleaner



After running these programs it is advisable to either set them up to run automatically once a month or make sure you run them manually once a month.

STEP 4

Now that you have removed all unwanted programs and run all the scans, it is time to optimise your storage device(s).

Disk Cleanup -

This feature can be found in windows as standard, however once again we shall turn to Advanced System Care for this tool.



Unfortunately there is no standalone application for this tool, so you will either have to download it from Advanced System Care, or use the standard Windows Disk Cleanup.

After downloading the tool will open automatically. Simply select the drives you want to clean, and then press 'Next'. After it has analysed your selected drive(s) you will be presented with a scan report. Select what files and folders you want to clean, and then press 'Next'. Now you will be presented with a window giving you the option to delete files directly or send them to the recycle bin. Change this is you want and then press 'Next' again. Once the deletion process has completed you can exit the tool.





Defrag –

This is a very important process for mechanical hard drives (HDD’s), as this organises and streamlines all the files and folders on your drive for more efficient filing and quicker access times.

While Windows has a defrag feature built in, (Also found in the same ‘System Tools’ folder as Disk Cleanup) I would strongly suggest you open Advanced System Care once again and download the defrag feature found in ‘Tools’.



Alternatively you can download the stand alone defrag tool here:

http://www.iobit.com/iobitsmartdefrag.html

Upon opening the ‘Smart Defrag’ tool, select which drive(s) you wish to defrag and select the small arrow to the right of the word ‘Defrag’ near the bottom. Now select ‘Defrag and fully optimise’.



This will take quite a while to complete depending on the size of your drive(s), so feel free to leave this running and return in an hour or so to see how it’s doing.

Once this has completed, it is advisable to set this to run once a month.

STEP 5

Re-installing Windows -

After rebooting your PC and checking how it is performing, if you see an improvement then there is no need to carry out this step. You have successfully cleaned and optimised your PC, and should be able to use it for years to come! If, however, you are still not happy with the performance, then carry out this next step, but ONLY AFTER reading the following statement:

This process will erase all data from your primary hard drive (C drive). This should only be carried out as a last resort. Make sure that you have made a full backup of all personal files and folders before carrying out this step. It is also advisable to make a list of all the programs that you have installed, as you may want to re-install these later. Please note that if you have more than one storage drive in your PC that also has programs and/or games installed on it, they may also not work after this step. If you live in area prone to power cuts or electrical surges, DO NOT carry out this process, as it may corrupt and/or damage your hard drive and render it useless. I accept no responsibility for any loss of data as a result of this process.

END OF STATEMENT


Before carrying out this process, ensure that you have your windows key and installation disks ready.

Open your disk drive and inert your Windows disk.
Reboot your PC, and ensure that windows boots from the disk. If it does not, then you will have to manually set the boot preferences in the BIOS. (For more information on how to do this, Google this along with your motherboard model, as it can differ.
Follow the on screen instructions until you get to a page that lists your drive(s).
Select your primary drive and select ‘Format’.
After formatting has completed, select the drive again and select ‘Next’.


Image credit: dedoimedo.com

Follow the on screen instructions and wait for the installation process to finish.
NOTE: - Your PC may reboot several times during this process. Do not attempt to manually switch on/off the PC, as this may affect the installation.
When prompted, enter your Windows key, and you wait for the activation process to finish.
You have now successfully re-installed windows to your PC!

This process may or may not speed up your PC, as it gets rid of everything on your drive, eliminating conflicting programs and settings, as well as residual viruses and malware. If this process does not improve performance, more likely than not your hardware is the limiting factor. Either it is simply too old, too worn, or faulty.

If this process is successful in speeding up your system, then you can go ahead and customise windows with your preferences and re-install all your programs!



I hope that this Tutorial helped you all!
If you have any suggestions to include, or any amendments to make, then please PM me and I shall make the necessary changes if applicable. =)

Thanks for your time!
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