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Windows Tweak Week: Day 1

31 March 2008 No Comment

Over time, all computers will begin to slow down. It’s a natural process, but with a few tweaks it can often be reduced. Some of the common reasons for these slowdowns are:

1. More demanding software using your system’s resources.
2. Programs performing uneccessary tasks.
3. Spyware, Malware, Viruses
4. Too many programs
5. Too little space to store files.

Unfortunately, some of these would require an upgrade of equipment. However, keeping updated with the appropriate files, and removing the ones that are hogging all of the space can do a lot. We’ll talk about these later. For now, let’s look at #4.

Having too many programs isn’t always a problem unless you have too little storage on your hard drive. The problem is when these programs are demanding attention at the same time. To cut down on this, we will take a look in a few places that show these running programs.

Task Bar

The first indication of too many programs rests in what is known as the Task Bar which resides next to your clock at the bottom of your screen. It isn’t a bad thing to see a few programs running alongside your speaker settings and battery meter, but too many can be chaos on slower machines. Programs create this option for running their program in the background without demanding the viewing space of your desktop, but it was never intended to keep every program you own running. And since most programs install with just that option, a lot of programs end up there.

If you need a program a lot, and it has to be running… keep it. Things like virus protection and commonly used application are good to have there. Most other things don’t need to be. And removing them from there doesn’t delete them. It just stops them from continually running. To stop one, try right clicking on it and finding the exit button. Most will have this feature. Again, things like virus protection, volume, battery, and your most commonly used and running apps need apply to be kept there.

Exiting out of a few of these programs will give you a bit of your system back, but you will notice that most will come back after you restart. We can fix that. Most programs will give you an option in the preferences section to startup when Windows does. You can deselect that. If that doesn’t work you will need to be a little more stern.

1. Start by hitting the Windows Start button and clicking on the Run button. If you can’t find the run button try hitting your Windows Key+ R.

2. In the prompt type msconfig.

3. You will notice a new box popped up with several tabs. Navigate to the startup tab and you will see all of the programs that run when you start your machine. See if you can locate the applications that refer to the ones starting in your taskbar and deselect them. Again, you aren’t deleting anything, just keeping it from starting. This doesn’t mean you should uncheck all of them… Just the ones that you don’t need.

4. Uncheck the ones that you don’t want to have automatically started, hit apply and you are ready to go.

The next time you restart, you will get a message referring to what you just did. It is just a reminder that you removed some items from the startup action. Just check the “do not tell me again” box and hit OK.

You should now have a bit more of your resources back, and hopefully get a little more performance.

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