Do you feel that your computer running Windows 7 is a lot slower than when you bought it? Fortunately, there are some things that you can do in order to optimize Windows 7 and speed up your system. As you install programs and accumulate files you’ll notice that your computer’s performance degrades. Most of the following methods of speeding up Windows 7 have been tested for years on hundreds of computers while doing my job as a System Administrator and will mostly apply to other operating systems as well. If you get to a point where something is unclear you can use the comments section to post a question.
Replace your Hard Drive with a Solid State Drive (SSD)
SSDs have been around for quite a while now but their rate of adoption is not great at all. This is mostly due to their cost. SSD drives can provide the most significant performance boost to a Windows 7 computer. Their sequential Read and Write throughput is 2 to 5 times greater than those of a mechanical drive (HDD) but they really shine when it comes to random Reads or Writes and the number of operations per second. Replacing your hard drive with an SSD will result in faster boot times, faster application launches and faster file transfers making SSDs one of the best ways when it comes to optimizing Windows 7.
Uninstall bloatware and unneeded programs
Most of the new computers have preinstalled software that provides no actual utility and drain your system’s resources. You can improve Windows 7 performance by uninstalling some of them. You can simply type appwiz.cpl in the Start menu search box and you will see a list of installed programs. Be careful not to uninstall any drivers or needed programs.
Clean up temporary files
Temporary files are created by programs for various purposes but in many cases these files remain on your hard drive even after the programs that left them behind are closed. Because of this, over time, precious hard disk space is wasted and the computer’s performance suffers a hit. In order to remove these files you can use the Disk Cleanup utility that’s included in Windows 7 (type Disk Cleanup in the Start Menu search form ) or download a third party cleaner such as ATF Cleaner or CCleaner (Google them).
Scan your computer for viruses and spyware
The first thing that anyone should install on a new computer is a security solution. Hundreds of new treats (malware, viruses, spyware and others) appear every day. If you’re a home user, a free antivirus should suffice. I would recommend Microsoft Security Essentials (which checks if your Windows installation is genuine) or AVG Free Edition. You should also install Malware Bytes Anti Malware, update it and then do a full scan of your computer. All of the security solutions mentioned here are free for home use.
Add more memory (RAM) to your computer
Memory is cheap nowadays and adding more generally boosts your computer’s performance. A bare minimum for running Windows 7 optimally would be 2GB of RAM. If you’ve got the extra money I would strongly recommend going for 4GB or more. In conclusion, adding memory is one of the best ways to optimize Windows 7 for better performance.
Disable visual effects
If your computer doesn’t have the needed muscle to provide a fluent visual interface you can tune down the graphic effects. You can do this easily by following the next instructions:
- Right click on Computer and then click on Properties.
- Go to Advanced system settings and then hit OK if the security prompt appears.
- Click on the Settings button.
- Check the Adjust for best performance check box and then hit OK.
- After waiting about 30 seconds (on my test system) you should be able to see a simplified interface similar to the one in Windows XP.
Disable some of the apps that start with your computer
Some of the programs that most of us run should not start with Windows simply because they drain too much system resources. In order to overcome this you can prevent them from loading at startup and run them manually when needed. Here’s how you do it:
- Close any open programs and save the documents that you are working on (if any).
- Write msconfig in the Start Menu search box and hit Enter.
- Go to the Startup tab.
- Uncheck the programs that you want to disable. You should be aware that some of these programs might be drivers (don’t uncheck those).
- Click OK, check Don’t show this message again and then click on Restart.