Computer technology is advancing very fast. Some systems are now considered old or outdated just one or two years after release. There are also homes that contain functioning computers that are ten or more years old. These older systems are still good for many common uses such as web browsing or word processing. It is possible to improve the speed and performance of an older system by taking five easy steps.
5. Update Drivers
Older computers and operating systems might be using outdated drivers that contain errors or inefficiencies. Many manufacturers release new drivers every year or two. Drivers provide instructions about how the computer should interface with a piece of hardware. Updating the drivers that control the wireless internet card could increase download speeds. Similarly, drivers for the display or hard drive could improve performance as well.
4. Remove Startup Programs
Startup programs are applications that execute immediately when the computer is turned on. Some startup programs could be using phone lines to send information automatically across the Internet. Others might be processing or indexing data in the background causing the computer to slow down. Removing unnecessary startup programs that are never used will speed up a computer and reduce boot times. The programs are usually listed clearly in a folder named startup. They can also be disabled through system administration or configuration tools.
3. Clean the Registry
The registry is a large file that acts like a common scratch pad for the operating system and all applications. The registry stores data like recently opened files, program settings and file locations. Any number of issues could create registry problems or conflicts. Improperly uninstalled programs, write errors or changes to the file system can all create invalid registry entries. These slow down performance and boot time. Registry cleaning software will walk through the entries and repair or remove invalid items.
2. Delete and Defragment
Computers frequently use the hard drive to store information temporarily that cannot be kept in faster random access memory (RAM). Older computers will work faster if there is a large amount of free disk space. Deleting all unused files and programs will create space. Additionally, the drive should be defragmented with a system utility. This will align all files so that they occupy consecutive physical spaces on the drive. A defragmented drive allows programs to load and execute faster.
1. Increase RAM
It might not be possible or economical to replace most of the hardware components in an older computer. Many components are restricted by the limitations of the motherboard. RAM is one common exception. RAM is currently inexpensive and usually works in older systems. Increasing RAM will improve performance dramatically. Installing new RAM chips is very easy and only takes a few minutes.