So, you have a computer that used to be fast when it was new and now it creeps along, taking forever to startup and run. When you install programs they tend to add themselves to your startup, to open automatically when you start your computer. Which programs do this? Almost all do: computer manufacturer’s functions, antivirus programs, messaging programs, and peer to peer sharing. Some of these need to run on auto, such as your antivirus protection software, but many others don’t. Even if you’ve just purchased that new computer, clearing the startup can boost the performance out of the box.
Here is a screen shot of a computer with speed issues, due to excessive programs in the startup. This laptop has a dual core processor and 4GB of RAM, so it should be pretty snappy. Unfortunately it is cluttered, running slow and not very enjoyable to use.
Let’s take a detailed look at what is making it so slow. First of all, you can see that this laptop has 92 processes running and is using 56% of the CPU. Second, the right side of the task bar is full of icons, representing programs running in the background using the system resources.
So how do these issues cause the computer to be slow? There are 2 messaging programs that auto-run. Any type of program that runs automatically at startup will make the computer slower to boot and operate. Also, any programs or widgets that connect to the internet to sign-in, get weather updates, or get news feeds will make it slow to boot and connect to the internet.
So how do you correct this issue to regain your sanity and help your productivity? Let’s walk through cleaning house in the startup. To access the startup in XP, click start and then Run. Next type in msconfig and click OK. With Vista or Windows 7 just click on the start button and type msconfig into the search bar, press Enter or click on “msconfig” in the search results.
Alright so you have opened the System Configuration, shown above. Click on the Startup tab. Warning: Do not change anything under any other tabs; it could have adverse effects on your computer. Under the Startup tab, click Disable All. Now you want to turn back on only the ones you need or want. With this laptop I checked the touchpad software and the anti-virus program. That is all that I want to run in the background or on startup. Now some computers may need some items on in order to function, like special media buttons or special keyboard functions created by the manufacturer. I recommend only checking what you know you want, if you find something isn’t right just re-open System Configuration and check the startup items to see if there is one you missed. Don’t worry about harming your computer in the startup, just don’t play with the other tabs. When finished click OK and restart.
After restarting the laptop it looks much cleaner and started up much faster. I am able to start working quicker and with a lot less hassle. The details show this laptop has 59 processes running and is using only 1% of the CPU. Huge difference in performance! So now you’ve taken control and told your computer to only do what you want. Enjoy!
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