Coly Computer Help

Slow Computer and Slow Start up

The three reasons for a slow computer (in order of importance):-

(i) Not enough RAM memory
(ii) Spies
(iii) Cluttered hard drive (storage)

To solve these problems:-
(1) Check the amount of RAM
Click Start-->Control Panel--> double click the System icon.
A grey panel with tabs will appear.
Wait until the RAM memory is shown in the lower part of the panel. You should have the following minimum amounts for a computer with on-board video:
          Windows XP:  1GB of RAM
          Vista and Windows 7:  2 Gigabyte of RAM

For maximum effect you can double those amounts. If you have the 64 bit  version of Windows 7 Home Premium, you can have up to 8GB of RAM. However, you won't notice much difference in speed after 4GB of RAM.

To increase the RAM memory go to the Crucial website at When Crucial's home page appears you should see a union flag on the top right, if not, wait a while and eventually you may be asked if you wish to pay in British pounds, say yes. If you know the make, type and model number of your computer enter the details and crucial will then tell you what extra RAM can be fitted and how much it will cost.
If you are not sure, let crucial scan your computer
, it will ask you to download a little program to run the scan, say yes. When the scan is complete it will tell you what RAM is already installed and suggest what additional RAM you need. It will give some alternatives and how much each costs. Scroll down to see even more possibilities. Delivery is free. When you have decided which of the suggestions is best for you, click the appropriate button to pay for the RAM module(s) by debit/credit card or PayPal. The RAM module will arrive within two or three days.

To install the RAM in a desk top computer is easy, to see the instructions, click Install RAM

(2) Spies. Spies are a major cause of computers slowing down. Anti-spy programs are absolutely essential for killing scam diallers, data miners and many other pests. Some spies can hijack Internet Explorer and cause it to run so slowly that it becomes useless.
Install the free anti-spy programs SpyBot S&D 1.6.2.
Also, install SuperAntiSpyWare, it is free and is effective against scareware
If you would like a more powerful anti-spy program, down load PC Tools Spyware Doctor from, this costs £15 per annum($30). Beware of programs with similar names (such as SpyDoctor) they can be very dangerous.

Scan your computer once a week without fail with each of your anti-spy programs. Also go online and update each program once a month to ensure you can kill the very latest pests.

(3) Check how much room is left on your hard disk?
Double click My Computer. Right click the hard drive (Local drive) icon, then click Properties. This will show you the space remaining on your hard disk. If you have used up 70% or more, it is time you had a clear out. Even if the drive is only 20% full, you will speed up your computer a little by clearing out the rubbish. The Windows XP virtual memory file alone needs 1.5 Gbyte of free hard disk space.
(1) Delete unwanted documents and spreadsheets.
(2) Delete old emails (look in each mail box, i.e, the Inbox, Deleted items, and Sent items.
When deleting emails use Shift plus Delete, otherwise you are simply moving emails into the Deleted items folder.
(3) Delete any unwanted or poor quality clip art (most of the clip art supplied with MS Office or Works is unusable anyway).
(4) Especially delete unwanted photographs, video and music files as these take up vast amounts of space.
(5) Next, run Disk clean up.
Click Start-->All Programs-->Accessories-->System Tools
--> Disk clean up
. Then Delete all the Temporary files and the temporary internet files. Be sure to un-tick the box next to Compressed Old Files.
(6) Defragment the drive: Disconnect from the internet. In the notification area (bottom right of screen) RIGHT click the AVG icon then on the pop-up menu click Exit. Ignore any warning that pops up, AVG will restart itself when you restart the computer.
Now click Start-->All Programs-->Accessories --> System Tools
-->Disk Defragmenter
In the next window click the Analyze button. When the window has finished analyzing click the Defragment
 button. You will see the program re-arranging the files on your disk, it could take anything from 1 to 8 hours depending on how badly fragmented your disk is.
When the process is complete, restart your computer using
Start--> Turn off Computer -->then click Restart

Now delete any programs you never use.
Click Start-->Control Panel-->
Double click the Add or Remove programs... icon. Click each redundant program in turn and click its Remove button.

Some programs create huge files which can clog your hard disk.
The Zone Alarm firewall stores log files and they grow like Topsy. You will find them in the Internet logs folder. To delete them you will need to turn Zone Alarm off first.

Windows creates a huge file called hyberfil.sys  If you wish, you can disable Hibernation to prevent this file from growing.

Broadband:   I have heard people say they are thinking of going on to broadband because their computer is slowing down. Broadband has no effect whatsoever on the speed of a computer; it only changes your telephone line so that it can carry more traffic.

Slow start up: Your computer at start up may be loading a whole bunch of unnecessary programs.
Find out what is being loaded:
Click Start-->Run--> and in the little field which appears type msconfig and click OK. On the next window click the tab labelled Startup . You will see a list of start up programs with ticked boxes.
Write down the names of all the start up programs except for the obvious ones which contain recognisable letters like avgcc, mc, hp. e_s because they  refer to a program you have on the computer. Look up the others on the internet by typing their names into a search engine . When you see the search results, beware of adverts claiming to remove the start up programs, they cost money and are usually dodgy. If the search results indicate that some programs do not need to run at start up, go back to the msconfig start-up tab and un-tick their boxes. Then close the window and restart the computer. When the computer has re-started, a grey panel will pop up, tick the box in the bottom left hand corner so that it will not show that panel again.

Is AVG anti-virus automatically scanning when you switch on? This daily activity is unnecessary and it seriously slows down the start-up process. I only scan my computer for viruses (manually) every two or three weeks or when odd things are happening. If you did not cancel the automatic scanning during your installation, you can stop this activity by double clicking the AVG icon on the Desktop. Then on the top menu click Tools--> Advanced Settings . On the left hand panel, click the plus sign in the box labelled Schedules, then click Scheduled scan. Un-tick the box labelled Enable this task and click Apply. On the left hand panel click Program Update Schedule. Un-tick the box labelled Enable this task to remove the tick and click Apply then OK.

Automatic updating: Most people do not like being interrupted by AVG's automatic update. Especially if they are on Dial-up. I like to update when it is convenient, not when AVG dictates. The new version does not let you change from automatic to manual  update, but there is a work-around. On AVG's top menu, click Tools--> Advanced Settings. On the left hand panel, click the plus sign in the box labelled  Schedules , then click Virus database update schedule. Find Run at a specific time and change the time to say 03.00am. Un-tick all the square boxes except under Task settings where Enable this task must be ticked. Click Apply and OK .

Slow shut down: the same start up programs may also be causing slow shut down. Spies are a common cause.

Warning: Immediately delete any emails offering free programs which say they will either remove spies and viruses, or speed up searches, or speed up the internet, these are spies; they will do the exact opposite of what they claim. Follow this golden rule:- if you receive an email from an unknown sender, or an email about a virus, or an email offering free programs, delete it (Shift+Delete). Make absolutely sure you have disabled the Preview pane in Outlook Express otherwise you are wide open to the latest type of virus. Click Remove Preview pane for instructions on removing the Preview pane.

Practical HTML5 ProjectsMy new book on web design is now available from Amazon Click this address: to go directly to the book.

A must for busy web designers

130 downloadable templates written in HTML5

Go to top of page Go to top of page
Adrian West  © 2007 computer help, computer problems solved
A West web design click here for an example

Jargon    Troubleshoot    How To...    About this site     Suggestion    Donation    Home Page