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Speed It Up! A Non-Technical Guide for Speeding Up Slow Computers

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Speed It Up! A Non-Technical Guide for Speeding Up Slow Computers


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  • Copyright 2009
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Pages: 336
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-7897-3947-X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7897-3947-6

Speed It Up! A Non-Technical Guide for Speeding Up Slow Computers

Does your PC perform like grandma on a cold winter morning? Does it limp along slowly through everyday tasks, such as starting up, shutting down or just opening an email? Are you wondering if your PC’s get up and go has got up and left? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this is the book for you.

Sure, there are uber-geeky guides out there that provide tweaks and customizations appealing to the pocket protector nation, but there is no other book that addresses these common problems at the everyday consumer level. We think it’s time for a book that covers all of these topics in a way that appeals to real humans, like you. Let us help you keep your PC running like it did the day you brought it home from the store.

     •    Troubleshooting–We show you how to diagnose the cause of your PC’s dawdling behavior.  We help you determine whether the culprit is your hardware, software, the network, a cluttered registry, or even a virus.

     •    Software–We show you dozens of easy, non-techy things you can do to speed up Windows, your applications, your Internet apps, and more.

     •    Hardware–We show you easy upgrades you can do yourself. The solutions we provide are easy to implement.

     •    Network–We show you how to easily fix network issues that are robbing you of precious time.

     •    Buyer’s advice–If it’s time to put your beloved PC out to pasture, we offer some tried and true advice for choosing a new PC and keeping it in tip-top condition.

CATEGORY:  Windows Operating Systems

COVERS: Windows XP, Windows Vista

USER LEVEL: Beginning-Intermediate

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Making Windows XP and Vista Go Faster

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 6 and Index)

Table of Contents


    What’s in This Book

    Who Can Use This Book

    How to Use This Book

    There’s More Online

    Speed It Up!

Part I: Quick Diagnosis for Sluggish PCs

1 What’s Slowing Down Your Computer?

Signs That Your Computer Is Getting Slower

    It Takes Longer for Your PC to Start

    It Takes Longer to Do Familiar Tasks

    Your Computer Gets Sluggish When You Have Two or More Windows

        Open at a Time

    Your Computer Pauses for Long Stretches at a Time–or Freezes Up

Signs That Your Computer Really Isn’t Getting Slower–Even if You Think it Is

    New Programs Run Slowly

    Your Computer Has Trouble Running the Latest Games

    You Upgrade to Windows Vista and Your PC Gets Sluggish

    Internet Sites Take Forever to Load

    It Takes a Long Time to Copy Files Across Your Network

Quick Fix: Five Quick Steps to Improve Your PC’s Performance

    Quick Step 1: Reboot Your Computer

    Quick Step 2: Delete Unnecessary Files

    Quick Step 3: Remove Unused Programs

    Quick Step 4: Defragment Your Hard Disk

    Quick Step 5: Add More Memory with ReadyBoost

The Bottom Line

2 Before You Start: Protect Your Data

Potential Problems: What Can Go Wrong When Speeding Up Your PC

    The Wrong Programs Are Uninstalled

    Valuable Data Gets Deleted

    A Registry Edit Goes Bad

    You Have to Reformat Your Hard Drive (and Reinstall Windows)

    Hard Disk Maintenance Fails

    A Hardware Upgrade Doesn’t Take

Backing Up and Restoring Your Valuable Data

    Choosing a Backup Device

    Backing Up in Windows Vista

    Restoring in Windows Vista

    Backing Up and Restoring in Windows XP

Protecting Your System with System Restore

    Setting System Restore Points

    Restoring Your System

The Bottom Line

Part II: Simple Speedups Anyone Can Do

3 Removing Spyware and Viruses

Dealing with Computer Viruses

    How Computer Viruses Slow Down Your System

    How to Catch a Virus

    How Do You Know If a Virus Is Slowing Down Your System?

    Preventing Virus Attacks with Safe Computing

    Protecting Your System with Antivirus Software

    Speeding Up Your System After a Virus Infection

Dealing with Spyware

    How Spyware Slows Down Your System

    How to Become Infected with Spyware

    Is Spyware Slowing Down Your PC?

    Avoiding Spyware-Infested Websites and Programs

    Speeding Up Your PC with Antispyware Programs

    Removing Stubborn Spyware Programs

The Bottom Line

4 Cleaning Out Unnecessary Programs

Removing Unwanted Programs and Files from Your Hard Disk

    Why a Crowded Hard Disk Slows Down Your System

    How Much Free Space Do You Need?

    Discovering All the Files Stored on Your Hard Drive

    Understanding Bundleware

How to Free Up Valuable Hard Disk Space–and Speed Up Your PC

    Deleting Bundleware with PC Decrapifier

    Deleting Unwanted Files with the Disk Cleanup Utility

    Deleting Files Manually

    Emptying the Recycle Bin

    Archiving Little-Used Files

    Uninstalling Unwanted Programs

Removing Unwanted Programs and Processes from Your Computer’s Memory

    How Too Many Programs in Memory Slow Down Your PC

    Discovering Programs That Load Automatically–Without Your Awareness

    Which Startup Programs Should You Delete?

How to Get Rid of Autoloading Programs

    Deleting Startup Programs from the Startup Folder

    Deleting Startup Programs from the Registry

    Deleting Startup Programs with the System Configuration Utility

    Deleting Startup Programs with Windows Defender

Removing Programs That Slow Down Your PC

Speeding Up Microsoft Outlook

The Bottom Line

5 Optimizing Your Hard Disk

Defragmenting Your Hard Disk

    Understanding Disk Fragmentation

    How Disk Defragmenting Works

    Using the Disk Defragmenter

Checking Your Hard Disk for Errors

    How ScanDisk Works

    Using ScanDisk to Speed Up Your PC

Using Other Disk-Optimization Tools


    Fix-It Utilities Professional

    Norton SystemWorks

    PC Tools Disk Suite


    System Mechanic


The Bottom Line

6 Making Windows Go Faster

Speeding Up Windows (XP and Vista)

    Install the Latest Drivers

    Delete Unused Fonts

    Turn Off System Sounds

    Don’t Look for Bootable Media on Startup

    Optimize Windows’Display Settings

    Reconfigure Processor Priority

    Eliminate Background Services

    Disable File Indexing

    Optimize Virtual Memory

    Turn Off System Restore

Speeding Up Windows XP

    Reboot Often

    Don’t Browse Network Folders

    Improve Windows XP’s Swap File Performance

Speeding Up Windows Vista

    Disable Windows Vista’s Aero Interface

    Remove Windows Vista’s Sidebar

    Turn Off Windows Vista’s User Account Control

    Turn Off Unnecessary Windows Vista Features

    Use ReadyBoost

The Bottom Line

Part III: Power Speedups for Power Users

7 Cleaning Up the Windows Registry

Understanding the Windows Registry

    How the Registry Works

    Organizing the Registry

Editing the Registry

    Launching the Registry Editor

    Editing and Adding Keys, Subkeys, and Values

Cleaning Up the Registry for Faster Performance

    How Registry Cleaners Work

    Choosing a Registry Cleaner

    Using a Registry Cleaner

Tweaking the Registry

    Speed Up Windows’Menus

    Close Programs Faster on Shutdown

    Disable Low Disk Checking

    Move the Windows Kernel into Memory

The Bottom Line

8 When All Else Fails: Reinstalling Windows from Scratch

When Extreme Measures Are Called For

What’s Involved in a Clean Install

Before You Reinstall…

    Obtain the Windows Installation Disc

    Locate Program Installation Discs

    Back Up All Your Files

Performing a Clean Install of Windows XP

Performing a Clean Install of Windows Vista

After the Clean Install: Reinstalling Programs and Data

    Restoring Files and Settings in Windows XP

    Restoring Files and Settings in Windows Vista

    Reinstalling Your Favorite Programs

The Bottom Line

Part IV: Upgrading Your PC for Speed

9 Preparing for a Computer Upgrade

Before You Upgrade: Getting to Know Your Computer System

    What’s on the Back

    What’s Inside

Does an Upgrade Make Sense?

What Can You Upgrade?

The Bottom Line

10 Adding More Memory

Understanding Different Types of Memory

    Random Access Memory–Your PC’s Main Memory

    Read-Only Memory: Permanent Storage for Important Instructions

    Flash Memory–External Memory Storage

    Virtual Memory–Supplemental Memory on Your Hard Disk

How Memory Affects PC Speed

    How Your PC Uses Memory

    Using Virtual Memory

    How More Memory Speeds Up Your PC

    How Much Memory Do You Need?

Adding Instant Memory to Windows Vista with ReadyBoost

    How ReadyBoost Works

    Speeding Up Your PC with ReadyBoost

Adding More Memory to a Desktop PC

    Choosing the Right Memory Module

    Choosing the Right Type of Memory Chip

    Choosing the Right Memory Size

    Shopping for Memory Upgrades

    Performing the Upgrade

Adding More Memory to a Notebook PC

    Shopping for Notebook Memory

    Performing the Upgrade

The Bottom Line

11 Adding More Disk Space

How Hard Disk Storage Affects Your PC’s Speed

    Supplementing RAM with Virtual Memory

    Enabling Access to Programs and Data

Understanding Hard Drive Capacity

    Viewing the Capacity of Your Hard Drive

    Determining the Ideal Hard Disk Capacity

Shopping for a New Hard Drive

    Internal or External?


    Spin Rate

    Data Transfer Rate

    Access Time

    External Connection Type

    Internal Interface Type

    RAID or Not to RAID?

    Disk Drive Manufacturers

Adding a New External Hard Drive

    Connecting the New Drive

    Freeing Up Space on Your Existing Drive

Upgrading an Existing Internal Hard Drive

    Planning the Upgrade

    Getting to Know the Hard Drive

    Replacing the Drive

Upgrading Hard Disk Storage on a Notebook PC

The Bottom Line

12 Upgrading to a Faster Video Card

How the Wrong Video Card Can Slow Down Your PC

Shopping for a New Video Card



    3D Acceleration

    DirectX Support



    Video Card Manufacturers

Making the Upgrade

Configuring Your Display Properties

The Bottom Line

13 Upgrading Your System’s CPU

Understanding the CPU

    What a CPU Does

    Factors That Affect CPU Speed

Shopping for a New CPU

    Compatibility Is an Issue

    Determining Your Current CPU and Motherboard

    Finding a Compatible CPU

Performing a CPU Upgrade

    Preparing for the Upgrade

    Performing the Upgrade

Replacing Your Entire Motherboard

    Preparing for the Upgrade

    Making the Upgrade

The Bottom Line

Part V: Internet and Network Speedups

14 Cleaning Up Your Web Browser

How to Slow Down a Web Browser

Cleaning Up Your Cache and Cookies

    Clearing Your Cache

    Clearing Your Cache Automatically

    Changing the Size of Your Cache

    Deleting Cookies

    Avoiding Cookies

Reconfiguring Key Settings

    Don’t Display Graphics

    Disable ClearType

    Turn Off the Phishing Filter

    Disable RSS Feeds

Uninstalling Unnecessary Add-Ons

    Remove Third-Party Toolbars

    Remove the SSVHelper Class Add-On

    Remove Other Add-Ons

Browsing Faster with an Alternate DNS Service

    What Is a DNS Server–and How Does It Affect Connection Speed?

    Choosing a Third-Party DNS Service

    Configuring Your System for an Alternate DNS Service

Increasing the Size of Your DNS Cache

Enabling More Simultaneous Connections

The Bottom Line

15 Reconfiguring Your Internet Connection

How Fast Is Your Internet Connection?

    Dial-Up Versus Broadband Connections

    Measuring Your Connection’s Speed

    What to Do If Your Speeds Are Low

The Simple Speedup: Upgrading to a Faster Internet Connection

    Choosing Your Broadband Plan

    Making the Switch

The Bottom Line

16 Speeding Up Your Home Network

Troubleshooting a Slow Wireless Connection

    Check Your Signal Strength

    Move Closer to the Router

    Don’t Hide Your Adapter or Router

    Move Devices That Might Cause Interference

Upgrading to a Faster Wireless Network

    Understanding Wi-Fi Protocols

    Choosing a New Router

    Installing a New Router

    Upgrading Your Wireless Adapter

Extending Wireless Network Range

    Adding an External Antenna

    Adding a Wireless Extender

Switching from a Wireless to a Wired Connection

Tweaking the Windows XP Registry for a Speedier Network

The Bottom Line

Part VI: The Ultimate Speedup: Buying a Faster PC

17 When Do You Need a New PC?

How Do You Know When Your Old PC Is Beyond Fixing?

    You’ve Tried Everything Else–and Nothing Seems to Work

    You’re Not a Technical Wizard

    Upgrades Are Too Expensive

    It’s a Notebook PC–You Can’t Upgrade It

    It’s Just Too Old

What New Applications Might Demand a New PC?

    Video-Editing Programs

    Photo-Editing Programs

    PC Games

    Upgrades to Existing Programs


    Windows Vista

A Few Other Reasons to Buy a New PC

    Your Old PC Is on Its Last Legs

    You Want to Switch from a Desktop to a Notebook

    You Want a Smaller/Lighter/More Efficient Notebook

    You Just Want a New One

Benchmarking PC Performance

The Bottom Line

18 How Fast a PC Do You Need?

Understanding Key Components



    Hard Disk

    Video Card

    Windows Version

Choosing a Form Factor: Desktop Versus Notebook

    Notebook PCs: Pros and Cons

    Different Types of Notebook PCs

What Kind of Computing Do You Do?

Choosing the Right Features for Your Needs

    The Home/Office Computing PC

    The Digital Music and Movies PC

    The Digital Photography PC

    The Video Movie Editing PC

    The Gaming PC

Getting Rid of Your Old PC

The Bottom Line

PC Performance Resources

General Performance Suites


Startup Optimization

File Cleaning

Specific Program Removal Tools

Registry Cleaners

Hard Disk Optimization

Disk Imaging

Internet Speedup and Browser Optimization

Startup Program Databases

Internet Speed Tests

Free DNS Services



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