Itís a common complaint I hear from users over and over again. My computer has gotten very slow! This degradation in the speed of a Windows computer is all too common and has a variety of possible sources and an even larger list of possible solutions. The most common sources of the problem are:


1) Loading More and Newer Programs


If your computer was purchased 4 or 5 years ago then it was equipped to run the software of the day. Over time more and more programs and upgrades have been made available that require more system resources.


If any of these programs is no longer required then remove them. Otherwise the only way to speed up these programs may be to upgrade available memory. Older computers often came with 256mb of Ram or less. Upgrading to 512mb or even 1gb will often help.


2) The installation of Unnecessary Software.


While downloading some necessary programs, such as Adobe Reader, users often accidentally download other optional software that they donít need. The most common of these culprits are Internet Toolbars such as the Google and Yahoo Toolbars. Assorted Messenger programs such as MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger may be downloaded deliberately but their usage is seldom business related and they may actually provide additional paths for Viruses into your company network.


The solution to most of these unnecessary programs is to just uninstall them. This is most commonly done through the Control Panel and Add/Remove Programs.


3) Windows Registry Problems


The Windows Registry is like a huge instruction manual that contains thousands of commands that different software programs load when they are first installed. When that software is unloaded, all of the folders and commands associated with that software should be removed as well, but that seldom happens. When Windows starts up and during normal operation it spends time looking for these programs and software options that no longer exist and this slows it down.


The best solution to this problem is to manually remove the folders associated with the program you have uninstalled and then to run a good Registry Cleaner to remove the traces of the old program from the Registry. This is also a good time to Defragment your hard drive which can help it locate files faster and more efficiently.


4) Disable System Restore


System Restore is an option built into all Windows XP systems and most industry experts agree that it is just about useless. They generally advise that you turn it off to free up Windows XP time and resources.


To do this you need to Right Click on My Computer, go to System Restore and select Turn Off System Restore.

5) Adware / Spyware programs


Many users accidentally install Adware and Spyware programs while browsing the Internet. These programs will generally slow Windows down as well as pop-up ads and possibly capture your personal information.


The best defence is to educate people to close all pop-up ads when they are on the Internet. Beyond prevention the best bet is to install an Anti-Spyware program like Spybot and scan your computer periodically for these invaders and remove them.


6) Windows, Hardware and Other Damage


Occasionally, if you have been infected with a Virus, Spyware or just a badly written piece of software Windows itself may become damaged. The nature of this damage is often variable and hard to diagnose.


Windows has a number of self correcting routines built in so that if a network card fails to send and receive a packet it just tries again. In some cases this repeats many times before proceeding. Imagine a conversation where you have to repeat everything 50 times. If this is the source of your problems replacing the faulty component may provide relief but diagnosis is difficult.


Going into Task Manager via <CTRL><ALT><DELETE> and viewing Processes while sorting on the CPU column may indicate which program is eating up your processing power. I have been able to research a few of these on Google and come up with a simple solution.


You can also try an Operating System Repair which may or may not remedy the problem. Ultimately, reformatting and reinstalling Windows on the computer may be the best solution, but this can be time consuming and is best done by a professional. You will need your Windows License and Driver Disks to accomplish this.


We do provide computer optimizations in the evening at a cost of $20-$30 per computer but we need all computers to be available simultaneously to do so.