Before you start the following tips, please make sure to save and close all your open files, applications, Internet windows, messengers...etc. Restart/reboot your system.
Here are a few tips to help you better maintain and speed up your systems' performance:
Tip 1: Using msconfig to disable unnecessary startup programs
Click on your "Start" menu, choose "Run", then type inside the "Open" field the word: msconfig then click on "Ok" button. A System Configuration Utility window should pop-up. Click on "Startup" tab, and you will see all the applications which start up automatically when you login to your windows every time. Uncheck any box which you believe is not necessary to start every time automatically (Ex: msn messenger, Update softwares, goto-meeting, Java, Windows desktop search, one note...etc). Make sure not to uncheck your Anti-virus Program.Once done, Click on "Ok" button, then restart/reboot your system. Once you log back into Windows, you should notice a slight change in speed.
Tip 2: Add/Remove Programs
Click on "Start" menu, then click on "Control Panel", then click on "Add or Remove Programs". Remove old programs which you no longer use by clicking on the program in the list, then by clicking on "Remove" button (If you get a prompt to restart the system, do not choose yes yet since we will be still removing more applications). If you have more than one Internet Explorer tool bar (Ex: Yahoo tool-bar, Google tool-bar, Smiley tool-bar...etc) Keep one and remove the rest. Some toolbars tend to conflict with others causing Internet Explorer to slow down at startup. Once done removing all unnecessary application, restart/reboot your system.
Tip 3: Configure Internet Explorer for best performance
Open Internet Explorer, then click on "Tools" (On top menu), choose "Internet Options", Click on "Delete Internet Temp Files", Then Check the box to delete offline folders, then Choose "Delete". This could take up to 5minutes if its been never done. Once done, Click on "Advanced" tab, then scroll down till you see the check-box for "Empty temporary Internet files folder when browser is close" and check it. Then hit "Ok" button. If you have Internet Explorer 7, use the "Reset" button under "Advanced tab to fully clean up add-ons and other unnecessary component installs from random websites.
Tip 4: Organize your Start Menu programs
Right click on "start" menu, and choose "Explore all users". Double click on "Programs" folder, now you should see all your program folders which usually shows up on your Start Menu. Create a new folder and name it "Utilities", drop all folders which you do not use often in there to minimize the amount of folders showing on main screen. You can create also another folder for all Microsoft applications, and so on. The less folders showing on your main Start menu Program folders, the faster your menu will start.
Tip 5: Windows task bar options
Right click on any blank area on your lower Windows task bar, and choose "Properties". A task-bar menu property window should pop-up. Uncheck "Hide inactive icons: checkbox, Uncheck "Auto-hide the task-bar", Check "Lock the task-bar", Check "Keep the task-bar on top of other windows". Now click on the "Start Menu" tab if you have WindowsXP, and choose "Start Menu" Radio button then click on "Customize" button next to it. In the field next to: "Number of programs on Start Menu" type in the number 0. Then click on the "Clear List" button. Click on "Ok" button to exit out of the Menu, and again Click on "Ok" button two exit out of the second menu.
Tip 6: Clean Desktop icons/files
Most people tend to leave all their documents and other files laying on their desktop, causing Windows refreshing to slow down. I recommend to move them into your "My Documents" folder, or create a new folder on your desktop and call it "Desktop stuff or whatever" and drop all in there.
Tip 7: Free up Harddisk space
Check your harddisk space by double clicking on "My Computer" icon on desktop, then right click on "Local Disk C:" and choose "Properties". If you think your used space is close to 80-90% of the harddrive, then you need to move Data from your system to an external backup device (Ex: USB external backup drive), and delete unnecessary files/data from your Documents folder. Mostly Movies, Videos, and Music consume alot of disk space. I recommend to start cleaning up there first and check to see how much space got cleared out after.
Tip 8: Run Micorosft Windows Updates
Double click on "Internet Explorer" icon on your desktop, click on "Tools" on top menu, and choose "Windows Updates". Accept Windows Installer application, then wait until it's complete. Choose "Express" updates. It will take some time checking your system for previously intalled updates, then will prompt you to start installation of all updates. I recommend that you install Internet Explorer 7, Windows Media Player 11, Root cetificates, which can be download and installed manually by choosing "Custom" updates instead of "Express". Reboot system once it completes downloading and installing all updates. Afterwards when you log back in to Windows, follow same process again to get the rest of the updates downloaded and installed.
Tip 9: Run Windows Defragmenter
Click on "Start" menu, Choose "All Programs", Choose "Accessories", Choose "System tools", choose "Disk Defragmenter". Disk Defragmenter Window should come up. Click on "Defragment" button, and let it run until it's complete.
Tip 10: Restart/Reboot system
Make sure to restart/reboot your system atleast once a day.
Tip 11: Clean the dust
Using a compressed air can, make sure to clean the dust off of your laptop/PC fan. This helps prevent your system from overheating which causes damage to your CPU, HardDrive, and Motherboard components. Cleaning the dust helps prolong your system hardware life span.
Tip 12: Minimizing HardDrive damage
One of the most common issues are damaged HardDisk blocks. The more you move your system while it's on, the shorter the HardDrive life span is going to be. Laptops are designed to handle the stress, but constant movement while system is on cause HardDisk block damage which shortens the HardDrive's life span. I recommend to shutdown the system before moving it around. For Example, leaving a laptop on while driving your car when not in use is not recommended. Make sure to turn off laptop or switch to sleep mode to prolong your HardDrive's life span.