Stop browsers ask­ing for your lo­ca­tion

Is your Win­dows PC too slow? Here are eight tips to give your com­puter a per­for­mance boost. LIN­COLN SPECTOR shows how

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

Your com­puter is slow. An­noy­ingly slow. You can add RAM, or buy a faster SSD, but that costs money. No, the first thing you should do is try to make Win­dows faster. Thus we present nine ways to speed up your PC with­out spend­ing a penny.

Be warned: There’s al­ways a trade-off. More speed may mean less bat­tery life, or even giv­ing up a beloved

pro­gram. You’ll have to de­cide what sac­ri­fices you’re will­ing to make in or­der to in­crease Win­dows’ speed.

Last spring, I bought a Len­ovo IdeaPad Miix 310 as a sec­ond, smaller PC. I found it so slow it was painful. I used that ma­chine for re­search­ing this ar­ti­cle. The Miix still isn’t fast, but it’s a lot faster.

1. Give it the re­boot

If your PC is be­hav­ing hor­ri­bly slow, try re­boot­ing. Yes, it’s an ob­vi­ous so­lu­tion, but peo­ple tend to for­get the ob­vi­ous. The sleep or hi­ber­nate set­ting will save power, but only a full re­boot clears out the cob­webs in Win­dows’ brain and gives it a fresh start. Do it every day if the PC is re­ally slow.

2. Turn on High Per­for­mance

Win­dows as­sumes that you want an en­ergy-ef­fi­cient com­puter. But you can trade elec­tric­ity for speed. Use this tip only if you’re will­ing to in­crease your elec­tric bill and de­crease your bat­tery per­for­mance.

Right-click the Start but­ton and in the re­sult­ing menu, se­lect Power Op­tions. In the re­sult­ing Con­trol Panel win­dow, pull down the Show ad­di­tional plans op­tion. Se­lect High per­for­mance.

Some low-end PCs, in­clud­ing my Miix 310, don’t have those op­tions.

3. Undo some ap­pear­ance op­tions

You can speed up Win­dows by turn­ing off some of its spe­cial ef­fects. The OS works hard to make the screen easy on the eyes. If your PC is un­der­pow­ered, you may want to sac­ri­fice aes­thet­ics and gain some speed.

Right-click Start, and se­lect Sys­tem. In the re­sult­ing Con­trol Panel win­dow’s left pane, se­lect Ad­vanced sys­tem set­tings.

This brings up the Sys­tem Prop­er­ties dia­log box, al­ready on the Ad­vanced tab. Click the Set­tings but­ton in the Per­for­mance box (the first of three ‘Set­tings’ but­tons on this tab).

This brings up an­other dia­log box. You can uncheck some of the op­tions, or sim­ply se­lect Ad­just for best per­for­mance.

4. Re­move un­needed au­toload­ers

A whole lot of pro­grams want to load au­to­mat­i­cally every time you boot. Each one slows down the boot process, and some con­tinue to slow down Win­dows af­ter­wards. Th­ese are not all bad. Your an­tivirus pro­gram should load when you boot and keep run­ning as long as your PC is on. Other pro­grams that need to run in the back­ground to work, such as OneDrive, should also au­toload.

But some pro­grams – even good ones that you use fre­quently – don’t re­ally need to run all the time. You don’t want to unin­stall those, but you may want to stop them from au­toload­ing.

To see how bad the sit­u­a­tion is, right-click the taskbar and se­lect Task Man­ager. Click the Startup tab. (If you don’t see any tabs at the top of the win­dow, click More de­tails in the lower-left cor­ner.)

The Startup tab will show you all the au­toload­ing pro­grams. As you ex­am­ine the list, think about what pro­grams don’t re­ally need to keep run­ning at all times. To stop one from load­ing au­to­mat­i­cally, rightclick its en­try on the Startup tab and se­lect Dis­able. If you don’t rec­og­nize the name of an au­toloader,

right-click it and se­lect Search on­line to help you find more in­for­ma­tion.

5. Stop hog pro­cesses

Your com­puter may be run­ning a poorly writ­ten process that’s hog­ging a lot of re­sources. To find out, right-click the taskbar and se­lect Task Man­ager. (Once again, if you don’t see any tabs at the top of the win­dow, click More De­tails.)

On the Pro­cesses tab, click the CPU col­umn header to sort by pro­ces­sor us­age. The top items will be the ones hog­ging the CPU. (If the top pro­cesses are all us­ing 0%, the pro­cesses are sorted in the wrong di­rec­tion. Click the col­umn header again.)

Don’t as­sume that the top process is nec­es­sar­ily a hog. Some big ap­pli­ca­tions are worth the CPU cy­cles. One way to man­age th­ese pro­grams is to close them when you’re done with them. An­other is to switch to a smaller pro­gram. You can close a process from in­side Task Man­ager. Se­lect the process and click the End task but­ton and con­firm your de­ci­sion. But this should be avoided. When you’re done, click the Mem­ory col­umn header and re­peat.

6. Turn off search in­dex­ing

When you search for a word across all the files in your Doc­u­ments li­brary, the re­sults come up al­most im­me­di­ately. That’s won­der­ful, but it comes at a price. When you’re not search­ing, the in­dex­ing needed to cre­ate those fast searches slows you down.

To turn off all in­dex­ing open Win­dows Ex­plorer, right-click your C: drive, and se­lect Prop­er­ties. On the

Gen­eral tab, uncheck Al­low files on this drive to have con­tents in­dexed in ad­di­tion to file prop­er­ties. In the re­sult­ing warn­ing box, se­lect Ap­ply changes to drive C:\, sub­fold­ers and files.

Win­dows may take some time turn­ing off the in­dex­ing. Get up and take a walk; it’s good for you.

There’s an­other op­tion that will let you turn off some in­dex­ing but not all of it.

Type in­dex­ing in the Cor­tana field. Se­lect In­dex­ing Op­tions. Click the Mod­ify but­ton near the lower-left side of the re­sult­ing dia­log box.

This brings up an­other dia­log box, with two sec­tions. And yes, it’s con­fus­ing. Start in the bot­tom sec­tion of the dia­log box, Sum­mary of se­lected lo­ca­tions. Click any of th­ese op­tions, and it changes the con­tents of the top sec­tion, Change se­lected lo­ca­tions.

Uncheck­ing items in that top sec­tion will stop in­dex­ing in those spe­cific lo­ca­tions.

7. Turn off Win­dows tips

Win­dows 10 oc­ca­sion­ally gives you tips about how you can bet­ter use the op­er­at­ing sys­tem. The prob­lem is that, in or­der to see what tips you need, it keeps an eye on how you’re us­ing your PC.

Yes, that sounds wor­ry­ing from a pri­vacy is­sue, but it also slows down your PC.

To turn it off, click Start > Set­tings. Se­lect Sys­tem, then se­lect No­ti­fi­ca­tions & ac­tions in the left pane.

At the bot­tom of the No­ti­fi­ca­tions sec­tion, turn off Get tips, tricks, and sug­ges­tions as you use Win­dows.

You might also want to ex­plore the other no­ti­fi­ca­tion op­tions, and turn some of them off, as well. I don’t

think any of the oth­ers slow down the PC, but they can get an­noy­ing.

8. Clean your in­ter­nal drive

If your in­ter­nal stor­age is al­most full – whether it’s a hard drive or an SSD – that could be slow­ing you down. But if your drive has plenty of free room, skip this sec­tion.

Start with Win­dows’ own Disk Cleanup tool. In the Cor­tana field, type disk and se­lect Disk Cleanup. Wait while Disk Cleanup ex­am­ines your drive. Click the Clean up sys­tem files but­ton (this time you’ll need an ad­min­is­tra­tor pass­word). Then wait again for an­other ex­am­i­na­tion. Ex­am­ine the op­tions. If you find one called Pre­vi­ous Win­dows in­stal­la­tion(s), you’re in luck. By check­ing it and click­ing OK, you’ll free up a lot of space. You can check other items to get rid of them, as well.

Some­thing else you might want to con­sider: Unin­stall pro­grams you no longer use.

Credit: iS­tock

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