This article explains on how to improve a slow PC and the various underlying causes of slowness
Here are some factors which may result in your PC slowing down. Not having enough RAM is a major issue followed closely by the build-up of temporary files on your hard disk. An infected PC or not having enough space on your hard disk a big enough issue to affect the speed of your PC. Last but not least is disabled Direct Memory Access. Deleting temporary files and defragmenting the disk space and updating your operating system are some of the ways you can increase the speed of your PC.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory and is used as a temporary storage memory by your computer. This memory is in use when tasks are being executed by different programs. You should have enough RAM memory to process all the tasks at hand. If you don't, this can cause a major slowing of your computer while it is booting up or processing tasks.
How to know if your computer has enough RAM
The programs installed on your computer usually have specified RAM requirements. If your computer has been running at normal speed before the installation of these programs, and has slowed down with time, you might need to add more RAM on your computer system. Also, if your computer slows down every time you are processing large files, or it freezes while performing several actions at once, you might need to add extra RAM.
Hardware can be just as guilty as software for slowing down a PC, although more often than not the software is blamed.
Temporary files have built up on your hard disk
Some tasks might require you to leave the system working for several days. This might cause temporary files to build up on your hard disk. This might be why your computer is slowing down and is taking some time to boot up, as these type of files tend to consume memory. Cleansing your temporary files, including your internet history - including cookies - gives you a larger amount of hard disk space to work with.
How to delete temporary files
1. Open "My Computer" and select your local drive (it is usually labeled as :\C)
2. Select the "Windows" folder and locate the folder labeled "Temp"
3. Use your mouse to right-click on the folder (not the contents) and in the "View" options, choose "Details"
4. Select all the files that are older than the current date and press the delete key.
5. When done, go to the Recycle Bin on your desktop and choose "Empty Recycle Bin"
You can also choose to delete the Temporary Internet Files that have accumulated on your system.
1. Go to your "Start" button and open "Control Panel"
2. Select "Internet Options" and in the section labeled "Temporary Internet Files" press "Delete Cookies" and "Delete Files" options.
3. You can also delete your history by clicking the option "Clear History"
4. When done, press "Apply" and "OK"
When you have finished removing the Temporary Files, reboot your computer.
Your computer has been infected
If your computer has been infected by a virus, malware, worm or Trojan, it might cause the system to slow down and even freeze several tasks. We suggest that you post your issue on the CCM Forum Virus/Security section where you will receive assistance.
Not enough space on the hard disk
Adding very bulky programs will automatically slow down your computer system. Users with a hard disk capacity of 2GB need to leave at least 250MB free, and those with a higher hard disk storage capacity need to leave at least 20% of the total capacity free. This will allow your computer enough room for both temporary files and file swapping.
Defragmenting your hard disk
Another option is defragmenting your hard disk, which gathers dispersed and lost space in order for it to be used by the computer again.
1. Go to your "Start" menu and list all programs
2. In the "Accessories" option, select "System Tools"
3. Choose "Disk Defragmenter" from the list
4. To start the process, click the "Defragment" button.
Your Direct Memory Access (DMA) is disabled
The Direct Memory Access will allow data transmission between your hard drive and CD drive without requiring the microprocessor's intervention. Those using Windows XP will not have this option set by default.
1. Click on the Start button and open "Control Panel"
2. Click and open the "System" icon
3. Select the "Hardware" tab and choose "Device Manager".
4. List the ATA/ATAPI options by clicking the + icon next to it.
5. Select "Primary IDE Channel"
6. In the "Primary IDE Properties" window, select the "Advanced Settings" tab
7. Check whether the "Transfer Mode" for "Device 0" enables DMA.
8. Also, check whether the "Transfer Mode" for "Device 1" enables DMA.
9. Click "OK" to confirm the changes
10. Click "Secondary IDE Channel"
11. In the "Secondary IDE Properties", select the "Advanced Settings" tab
12. Check whether the "Transfer Mode" for "Device 0" enables DMA.
13. Also, check whether the "Transfer Mode" for "Device 1" enables DMA
14. When done, click "OK" to confirm the changes
Update your operating system
Having the latest Windows updates will not increase system performance. However, patching up any security loopholes or performance-related glitches may be beneficial. In the long run, your system will be better off with the latest OS updates.