Audience and Use Profile
The audience will be Windows 7 computer users. They will already have a basic understanding of how to use computers, but not how to do advanced functions and customizations. These users are likely to contact a vendor such as Geek Squad to handle technical issues that arise instead of their technically-inclined family or friend or to handle it on their own.
These instructions will aid users in speeding up their computers after they have been in use for some time. The users are not expected to do any physical upgrades or pay for any programs.
HOW TO MAINTAIN THE SPEED OF YOUR COMPUTER
Over time your computer will slow down unless there is proper maintenance. A computer is a machine and needs to be maintained, just like a car. Bringing your computer back up to speed might seem complicated, but is actually quite simple. All it takes is a few simple steps.
- Click the Start button
- Click the Control Panel
- Click Uninstall a program under Programs
- Uninstall programs you don’t use or need. Many computers come with programs added by the manufacturer. These slow down the computer and take up hard drive space. Removing them can help make your computer faster than it was when purchased. Caution: You can harm your computer by removing vital programs.
- Look up programs you are unfamiliar with. If looking up a program with a search engine does not clear up if it is important, then don’t delete it.
Remove Spyware and malware
- Download Spybot Search and Destroy from their website. The program is free, though they accept donations.
- Install Spybot.
- Go to Start>All Programs>Spybot-Search and Destroy. Right click the Spybot-Search and Destroy program and chose Run as Administrator.
- Click Yes on the popup dialogue.
- Update Spybot. Click the update button on the right margin. If there are updates, choose a server that is located in the same country as you and download the updates. Close the box once the downloads are complete. If there are no updates, close the box.
- Immunize your computer. Click the immunize button on the right margin. Spybot will automatically look for ways to make your web browsing faster and safer. Click the Immunize button to apply protection.
- Locate spyware. Click the Search & Destroy button on the right margin. Click the check for problems button. The program will go through your computer and look for programs that slow down your computer, steal your identity and invade your privacy.
- Click fix selected problems once the scan is complete. Spybot will remove the negative software on your computer.
Remove Unnecessary Files
- Download CCleaner from their website. The program is a more effective version of Window’s Disk Cleanup program. The program is free, but they accept donations.
- Install CCleaner.
- Open the CCleaner program. If a dialogue box pops up, click yes.
- Click analyze on the bottom of the window. The program will look for temporary files your computer no longer needs.
- Click Run Cleaner.
- Click the Registry button on the right margin.
- Click scan for issues. CCleaner will look for entries in the registry that are no longer needed or incorrect. This will allow the computer to run faster.
- Click fix selected issues. The program will ask you if you want to save changes to the registry, and you should in case an error is made.
- Click fix all selected issues.
Defragment your Hard Drive
- Download Defraggler from their website. The program is a defragmentation program that used to be included in previous versions of Windows. The program is free, but they accept donations.
- Install Defraggler.
- Open the Defraggler program.
- Click yes when the dialogue box appears.
- Select the Windows drive from the list. This is the drive that has your operating system installed onto it. The icon will have a Windows Logo on it. It is usually the C: drive.
- Click Analyze. A fragmented file is when all parts of a program are not physically next to each other on the hard drive, which causes using the file to take much longer than it would if the file was unfragmented.
- Click Defrag. Depending on the amount of fragmented files, this could take several hours. Leave your computer on during this time. The defragmentation will take longer if you use it, so it is recommend to run the defragmentation while you are at work or overnight.
Improve your Browsing Experience
- Install a new web browser. If browsing the Internet is taking longer than it used to, then a more modern web browser can improve this.
- Download Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari or Opera. All of these browsers are free and have different features and user interfaces. Do research on which one you want to use.
- Install your new web browser. Import bookmarks and favorites from your old browser if you so choose.
- Keep unnecessary files out of your new browser. Do everything you can to not install browser toolbars. These are generally malware and slow down your computer and keep track of your activities online. The few seconds it might save you is not worth the time it slows down your computer.
Maintain your Faster Computer
- Run Spybot, Defraggler and CCleaner at regular intervals. This can be as often as a week to every three months. Like changing oil in a car, a computer needs to have unnecessary files removed to keep it up to speed. Pick a schedule that works around you and how much you use your computer. The more you use it, the more often it should be maintained.
- Warning: Only install programs you trust. Be wary of unneeded programs. Only trust browser toolbars, extensions or programs from the web if they come with excellent reviews. When installing programs, read each screen to make sure that extra software isn’t being tacked on.
- Make sure your hard drive does not become over 90% full. At this point, there are so many files on a hard drive that it takes a long time to search for files. Back up files and videos on the internet or burn them on DVD or Bluray discs, or purchase a second hard drive to store your files on. This can either be an external or internal, though do the research for what is the best to chose.
Computers need to be maintained in order to have peak performance, and these steps will help with that. The programs in these instructions don’t need to be reinstalled each time, though Spybot should be updated to keep your computer safe. Defraggler and CCleaner will need to be downloaded and installed again if there is an update. Updating programs and Windows help keep you safe and your computer working fast.