25 tips on how to make and use your computer faster

06/11/2012 — 2 Comments

There are lots of ways that can increase your computer speed usage. The most important one is actually yourself, if you type faster, multitask faster and do things faster certainly you will also use your computer faster. But besides this factor there are many more like how fast is your computer, what apps do you use and certain small optimizations that can help for that tiny portion of the second. With all this you can save your precious time and use it for – well, you’ll probably spend it on computer anyway.

Using computer faster can be divided in three sections, at least according to me. So that’s how I will write this post. Firstly I’ll mention things you can improve on yourself to use the computer faster, like learning shortcuts and typing faster. Then I’ll suggest you what software you should use to do certain things faster. Lastly you’ll have to optimize your PC to make your computer faster by either using some software, editing certain properties or your registry. The text in blue represents the impact of a tip, whether it will really speed up your PC usage or it’s neglectable change.

 

1. Learn to type faster: [very high]

I believe this effects the computer speed usage the most. It won’t make your computer faster, but you will surely use it faster if you learn to type faster. For example if you type twice as fast compared to how fast you type now, you can do lots of tasks twice the speed.  According to Wikipedia “an average professional typist types usually in speeds of 50 to 80 wpm. Two-finger typists commonly reach sustained speeds of about 37 and the fastest typing speed ever, is 216 words in one minute.” Even though I’m a two-finger typist, in a burst I do 100 wpm on standard qwerty keyboard. I believe I do type fast, but I could improve a lot if I started writing with all my fingers instead of just using four or five.

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You can check how fast you type here. Although it’s not relative because it’s burst typing, meaning that you probably can’t hold that much for a longer time period, it should give you a hint how fast you type.

To learn to type faster I used TypingMaster as a kid, you can try it out too. Although there are many new ways to learn typing faster, and most of them are online courses such as TypingWeb or TypingStudy.

 

2. Use Windows keyboard shortcuts [high]

I see many people around not using the most basic shortcuts, like copy/cut and paste. They save plenty of time no matter what you do and can be learned pretty quickly, depending on how often you use a certain app. And although there are many shortcuts available in the Windows, you can get even more by using shortcut programs. But if you don’t know the most basic shortcuts, you probably won’t need the more advanced either.

 

CTRL+C: Copy

CTRL+X: Cut

CTRL+V: Paste

CTRL+Z: Undo CTRL+A: Select All

ALT+TAB: Switch between open programs

ALT+F4: Quit program

SHIFT+DELETE: Delete item permanently

F2: Rename object

Windows Logo: Start menu

Windows Logo+R: Run dialog box

Windows Logo+E: Windows Explorer

Windows Logo+TAB: Cycle through taskbar buttons (Windows 7 only)

Windows Logo+D: Minimizes all open windows and displays the desktop

 

Also you’d like to learn keyboard shortcuts for your browser. If you use Chrome check this out, or this one for Firefox.

 

3. Trim your start-up [moderate]

One of the biggest reasons for PC starting slow is that too many programs are competing to start when the machine boots. Skype, Messenger, Antivirus, you name it are all trying to start-up at the same time. And these programs are common, there are many more that you probably never heard of before and yet they’re starting as soon as you turn your machine on. There are many ways you can check out what’s starting up on Windows boot, but the simplest one is System Configuration Utility. In order to open it, open run (windows logo + r as explained above, or through start menu) and type msconfig. Open Startup tab, and something similar to the picture below will appear.

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Now depending if you are a tech-savy or not you can see what things you can turn off and what you shouldn’t change. If you are not able to determine what to turn off or on I believe there are programs dedicated for this. I use TuneUp and even it’s not only meant for start-up programs, it has a great tool just for that.

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From here you can clearly distinguish between necessary and optional programs.

 

4. Clean up your hard drive: [moderate]

Over time your computer will become full of unwanted files, and this makes the computer turn slow. These files aren’t viruses, just junk temporary files left by certain programs that we don’t need or want on our computer. The first thing you can do is run Disk Cleanup (start>accessories>system tools) which will check your computer for temporary files. It will show an estimated value of how much junk you can eliminate. Just hit OK and run the cleanup.

Truth to be told it isn’t a powerful tool, but if you’re looking for such program CCleaner is the right thing for you, and it’s free.

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After installing the program, enable smartly detection of cookies and hit run. But you might want to analyze your PC to see how much junk files can be cleaned by hitting analyze. Be sure to run the program often, like once a month to keep your computer clean from all the junk files.

5. Get quicker access to system features: [low-moderate]

Windows 8 introduced a new keyboard shortcut, the Windows logo + X combination. By holding these two keys together, a quick access menu appears that lets you open system features faster like power options, device manager, command prompt and more.

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This app is called WinPlus X (win + x) let’s you even create shortcuts on your own. To add your own shortcut, go to WinPlus X options, and select add shortcut then choose the shortcut you’d like to add.

 

6. Uninstall programs that you don’t use [low-moderate]

If you are one of those that install software very often, you’d probably like to delete it too if you are not using it often as it’s a quick and easy fix that will make your computer faster. To start with you can open uninstall a program (start>control panel) and try to analyze what software you don’t use often. If you are using Windows Vista or 7, right click the Name Column (or sort by on Windows XP), click more and choose the details you’d like to see about each program. Be sure to check “last used”, and uninstall things you don’t use at all.

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If you haven’t used a certain program for a month, try getting rid of it. If you are not going to use it, it’s not supposed to be on your hard drive. Nowadays you can turn to clouds, cause many programs that are on your hard drive can be found there without a need to take your precious space on your computer. There are cloud versions if Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop which offer stripped-down functionality.

 

7. Uninstall programs faster [low-moderate]

Depending of how often you install and uninstall programs on your Windows, this can be a time-saving thing or the most unnecessary feature – ever. If you like the idea of uninstalling faster, you’ll probably like this program too.

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Menu uninstaller lets you do right that, right now. It allows you to uninstall software by just right clicking it’s shortcut wherever you found it.You can download menu uninstaller directly, or visit their website to check the premium plans

 

8. Manage your services [low-moderate]

Services are programs that are designed to run silently in the background by both Windows related programs and third-party applications. Services are responsible for wide range of uses, and depending on your needs you might need them – or not. For example there is a Windows Update service that monitors, guess what, Windows updates. It’s kinda essential, even though you can turn it off. Also there is a service for your Bluetooth adapter, and if you are not going to use it – remove it.

Services are usually draining your PC’s performance quite much. The safest and easiest way to remove those you don’t need is by using Smart.

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It automatically disables the services according to your needs. In the bottom right corner you choose service tweaks, either safety or performance level (three of them are available). It then disables those that you don’t need for common usage. If you set for highest performance it will probably disable your sound services. The good thing is that it will automatically create a restore point before applying changes, so if something me

 

 

9. Tab to applications faster: [low, win7 only]

If you know Windows shortcuts, you are probably using alt + tab (or win logo + tab on windows 7). But for this one I never heard before writing this article.

Hold down your Windows key (the one with Windows logo) and press numbers, one to ten, depending on what you would like to use. If the third icon on your taskbar is Google Chrome and you’d like to use it, hit win logo and 3. The zero represents number ten, so it will open the tenth icon.

10. Tab to applications easier: [low, win7 only]

The previous shortcut requires you to know the position on taskbar of a certain app you are running, or you have to count. Both of these tend to be boring.

Hold windows logo and press T. It selects the taskbar, and you can navigate through it by pressing arrow keys.

 

11. Find programs and files faster: [low-moderate]

The new search tool introduced in Windows 8 lets you search for your favorite programs or files right from your desktop. It might come really handy if your files are deep down in some folder or you just want to open that program faster.  To use this on your current Windows, use Launchy. It’s a tiny application that allows you to run things – faster.

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12. Delete things to recycle bin faster: [low]

To delete files faster on Windows, right-click the Recycle Bin, choose Properties and, on the Global tab, deselect the option ‘Display delete confirmation dialog’. Click OK and any files you delete will be sent straight to the Recycle Bin.

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13. Add file hosting services to explorer menu: [low]

If you are type of person that uses Dropbox or SkyDrive quite often, adding them to Windows Explorer menu would be a really good idea so you no longer need to open their folders or even browser.

To integrate SkyDrive with Windows explorer, download the official SkyDrive app This adds a SkyDrive option to Windows Explorer so you can drag and drop photos, documents and other files to and
from your online account with 7GB of space for new users.This works on Windows 7 only.

To integrate Dropbox,in Windows 7 and Vista, click Start, type %APPDATA% MicrosoftWindowsSendTo and press Enter. Hold down Ctrl and drag the Dropbox option from your Favorites list to the SendTo folder to create a shortcut. Now, when you right-click a file or folder, you’ll be able to send it directly to your Dropbox account.

In Windows XP, first go into the Control Panel, choose Folder Options (in the Appearance and Themes category) and click View. Select the option ‘Show hidden files and folders’ and click OK. Open the folder C:Documents and Settings
[User Name]SendTo, right-click and choose New, Shortcut. Select your Dropbox folder to add a shortcut to your ‘Send to’ menu.

 

14. Stop programs slowing your system [moderate]:

Usually when your computer starts being slow just at once it’s a program slowing it down that you can easily turn off. Open task manager (ctrl + alt + del or right click on taskbar), click on CPU tab and notice which one is using your processor the most. But sometimes this can be tricky, you can’t know exactly what eats up your computer performance and you are unsure whether you can turn certain process off.

Therefore using another programs for this is a great idea. One of them is Process Explorer, a program that looks similar to Windows 8 task manager.

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Process explorer lets you really see what is hogging your system, by either analytically or graphically. Yes, it’s even drawing graphs of processor usage. The best part is that it lets you know what is safe to terminate and what service you shouldn’t touch which will make your computer faster.

 

15. Use the High-Performance mode: [medium]

Changing the Windows 7 power options can make a real difference to your system speed. Open Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power options and ensure you have High-Performance selected. If you can’t find it there go to “make new power option” and select High-Performance mode.

But if you are using laptop and running low on battery you might consider changing the power options to low power mode, although it will slow down your system speed.

 

16. Run your apps from cloud: [low]

Turning to clouds is being popularized last few years. Windows 8 prioritizes apps over programs, and you can do that too with a free tool called Spoon. Yes, there is no spoon?

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Sign up for an account and you can choose from a selection of apps including Chrome, Firefox, VLC Media Player, LibreOffice and Skype. Click Run to launch a program from the cloud without needing to download it first. It saves the space on your hard drive and lets you start these programs faster. Also additional programs are available on paid plan.

 

17. Delete duplicate files: [low]

Did you know that you have lots, lots of duplicate files on your computer? Yes, you certainly do. Today I checked only my documents folder, which isn’t that big after all, and I found 3.68GB of duplicate files. Imagine how much I would find if I scanned my whole hard drive. Deleting these is a quite good idea.

Lots of programs are offering this, but I’m using Bytessence Duplicate Finder due to it’s simplicity and swiftness. You don’t even have to install it to find duplicate files.

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If you don’t want to install it, just download the portable version. choose the folder you want to scan and hit next. When scanning completes it will show every duplicate file in a drop down list and how much you can save by deleting those.

 

18. Turn of Windows features you don’t use [moderate]:

Did you see Windows 8 boot time? It blows off every other Windows OS booting time. One of the reasons Windows 8 boots faster than Windows 7 is because it has fewer extras enabled by default. These include elements such as Remote
Differential Compression, XPS Services, Windows Gadget Platform and other tools you’ll probably never use or even never heard of.

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To disable these unnecessary features in Windows 7, go to Start, Control Panel, Programs and click ‘Turn Windows features on or off’. Untick the boxes next to the options you don’t want and click OK. You can turn them on again later if you change your mind.

 

19. Improve your menu speed: [low]

The pause between sizing menus is located in registry and is by default 400 (0.4 seconds). So when you press maximize it will take Windows at least 0.4 seconds to do the task. A simple registry edit can speed this up.

Open run and inside the box type regedit, then hit enter. Inside navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER CONTROL PANEL DESKTOP, double click MenuShowDelay and change the default value from 400 to anything you like, I chose 200 or 0.2 seconds. You will surely notice this and you’ll be able to work faster for 0.2 sec every time you open or re-size a window.

 

20. Scale back visual effects: [medium]

Newer windows tend to look better, which is a good thing. But looking better has one drawback – system performance. On a really fast computer you probably won’t even notice this, but on a slower one scaling back your visual effects is a good idea if you want to make it faster.

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To change your visual settings right click on My Computer and select properties. Select “Advanced system settings” (Advanced tab in Windows XP) and under the performance click settings. Now click on the “Adjust for best performance”, apply the changes and give yourself a speed boost.

21. Defrag your disk: [medium]

One of the oldest tricks for speeding up a PC’s performance is the defregmantation of hard drive. Defragmantation works only on mechanical drives (or hard disk drives) so if you own an SSD (solid state drive) it won’t speed up your PC.

Defragmantation takes all the various fragments of data that get scattered across the hard disk and puts them in nice order

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If you are using Windows 7 or Vista, de-frags should occur automatically. To ensure defragmantation is enabled on your hard-drive open My Computer, right click the drive, select Properties then Tools and click the defragment now button. Besides running a defragmantation you can schedule it or make it repetitive, lets say every Thursday at 17:00. Another way to open Disk Defragmenter is by finding it in System Tools. There are many programs that are able to defragment your disk faster and probably better, but Windows Disk Defragmenter will get it’s job done.

 

22. Change your DNS server to a public one: [low-medium]

By changing your DNS server to a free, public one you’ll be able to browse the internet faster, and safer if it means anything to you.

One of the websites offering this is Open DNS, simply sign up for their free plan and enjoy safer and faster internet.

 

23. Clean up broken shortcuts: [low]

Some programs tend to leave shortcuts at various places even if you uninstall them. They don’t actually point to anything so they’re just cluttering your space and produce annoying error messages. You can get rid of them one by one, which is of course slow, or use a tool designed just for this, Broken Shortcut Fixer. What a name!

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Scan your hard drive for broken shortcuts and simply click delete. Done, they are gone. Also a program that I highly recommend is Tune-Up utilities, it does this for me (and many more) automatically, I don’t have to do anything at all.

 

24. Remove phantom hardware: [low-medium]

Every time you install a new piece of hardware, Windows creates a reference to it in your Registry. Sometimes the reference remains even if you have disconnected the device from your PC which slows it down. You can manually remove this hardware by opening Device manager, choosing to view hidden devices and uninstalling from there, but of course its much easier to use a program to do it automatically. A program like GhostBuster.

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This free tool lets you know which of your devices are ghosted (not connected at the moment) and lets you get rid of them with a single click. But since the program makes changes to the registry, be sure to tick the option create System restore point before deleting anything.

 

25. Remove empty folders: [low]

Over time you will certainly get hundreds of empty folders on your computer. Even though they take up little space and don’t really pose a threat to your system, these vacant directories have no reason to stay there.

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Remove Empty Directories will find and delete those empty directories in a second. You can review the result before purging the folders, exempt important directories and ignore system folders. These folders are sent to recycle bin instead of deleted so if you want you can easily get them back.

 

 

I’d like to hear from you whether any of these tips actually made your computer faster or you started using it that way. Also if you have great tips for hastening a PC, feel free to share it by commenting below.

 

 

2 responses to 25 tips on how to make and use your computer faster

  1. Great writeup, I think I will never encounter Carpal Tunnel After reading this. Touch wood!

  2. ABHosting (@AnurOfficial) 25/12/2012 at 19:22

    Good one.

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