Give your computer a spa day

Having divided my afternoon yesterday between making some delicious chocolate cake and sorting out my flatmate’s computer, I thought I’d post a quick plan for helping with the latter, as I’d talked about the former. I’m not going to say much, and searching lifehacker will doubtless provide more specialised advice, but here follow a couple of quick points about what to do if your computer is going really slowly and freezing / crashing all the time:

  • Turn on windows update if it’s switched off – the computer I was on yesterday hadn’t been updated since December and had missed 17 updates including a whole new Vista service pack.
  • Check the proprietary software – yesterday’s computer was a Toshiba, and the “Tempro” software hadn’t been allowed to run since it was bought, meaning my flatmate had missed out on 2 years of firmware upgrades including a whole new BIOS release (I’m not sure exactly what that is, but it sounds pretty major and important 😉 )
  • Don’t just click ‘continue’ with the Java updates – actually follow through with the pop-up and install the update… rather than remaining on update 6 when the current one is 24.
  • Use CCleaner to clean out your hard drive, sort out “Registry” problems, stop programs like Skype and iPlayer automatically coming up when you turn your computer on, and to delete any programs which you don’t use any more (including any old versions of Java).
  • Download AVG if you’ve not already, and use your free shot at analysing your computer and downloading PC Tune Up for some extra cleaning-up (then use CCleaner to get rid of PC Tune  Up once it’s run).
  • Defragment the hard disk. Vista and Windows 7 computers are meant to do this automatically, but the Windows defragmenter is, to put it bluntly, pants. Defraggler is quite good, and free.
  • If you’re using internet explorer, consider switching to Chrome – you can keep all your ‘Favourites’ and saved/entered data, but it’s much faster… and prettier!

I’m by no means an expert on this, but following the above certainly sped up the 2-year’s-old computer that my flatmate was contemplating buying a whole new one to replace. Does anyone else have any tips?

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