I second. On Windows (haven\’t used anything else really) the chief reason for a gradual slowdown is installing more software. I tell this from personal experience. I\’ve lived on my Windows machine for some 5 or 6 years without a reinstall and very little degradation of snappiness. I have achieved this by being very picky about what I install. I very rarely install new programs and with great reluctance. I also take care that my startup contains no more than just the minimum set of programs that I want. The less programs are in your memory, the faster your computer. One particular category of programs that provide a HUGE slowdown are anti-viruses and 3rd party firewalls. I don\’t use a 3rd party firewall (the Windows built it one works just fine) and I don\’t use an anti-virus. This might seem a bit extreme, but I know my computer well, down to every last process, so I can just open up task manager and any viruses will be immediately apparent to me (except rootkits, of course). Also, During all these 8 years in which I haven\’t used an anti-virus, I haven\’t had any viruses on my computer. Luck? Maybe. As for the fragmentation and registry bloat – I\’m not so convinced. Fragmentation is definately there, and I do defragment my hard drives from time to time, but I haven\’t noticed any improvements in speed after doing that.
Also IMHO most of the registry keys are made by Windows itself, and 3rd party programs account for a very small percentage of that. I\’ve not data to back this up, so I might be completely wrong, but that is the impression I get when navigating the registry in Registry Editor. That said, there still is the intangible impression that the more software there is on my computer, the slower it gets. It might be because there is less space on my already small system drive (only 40GB, filled almost to the brim) so manging swap file becomes harder. It might be that some software hooks into system and is \”running\” as a plugin (for example shell extensions) although there are no processes of its own. Could be many things, and probably are too. But the bottom line – if you don\’t install more software, your computer doesn\’t get slower. The exception to this rule might be games which you install on another drive than your system drive. Added: Forgot to mention – drivers also play a role, although not as much in snappiness as in stability. I have found that the more you tinker with drivers, the more your system starts crashing for no apparent reason. This is especially true with graphics drivers. They have new versions every month, so there is a temptation to keep them up-to-date – but don\’t.
The best way is to install every necessary driver just once, when you install the whole OS, and then leave it. At that point of course take the latest drivers from the manufacturers webpage, but after that don\’t upgrade them if the manufacturer releases a later version. Of course, there are exceptions to this (like if the updated driver fixes some serious bug that you are suffering from), but most of the time you are better off with the original driver. And a last note – don\’t go wild tweaking Windows services and turning off the ones you don\’t like. That is a piece of bad advice that comes up now and then. This won\’t give you any noticeable performance increase, but it will make your system more unstable. I once tried that and after that had to reinstall my machine even though I re-enabled everything again. Microsoft knows how to write software that works well on Windows and their services are configured just the way things should be. Trying to be smarter here than Microsoft is plain asking for trouble.
Question from Michael S. : б I ve noticed that every computer I ve ever owned starts out running lighting fast when you first take it out of the box, but before long it starts getting slower and slower.
Why is that? Do the parts just wear out or what? And is there anything that can be done to prevent it? Rick s answer: Michael, the gradual decrease in apparent speed of a computer has nothing at all to do with the hardware inside the case. Well, if a hard drive is in the process of failing it can cause delays while the read/write heads are trying to access the data on the drive, but that isn t usually the case in the context of your question. PC s slow down over time for a number of reasons, virtually all of which are software related. Here are the two biggest culprits: 1 The hard drive gets clogged up with tons of digital clutter, much of which is spread all over the drive in fragments instead of in nice, contiguous blocks. This make the drive have to work overtime to find the data that it s looking for. 2 The Windows Registry (a massive database containing the details and settings for all of your programs and Windows services) gets cluttered up as programs and settings are added, deleted and changed. Minimizing the effects of the first reason mentioned above is relatively easy. All you need to do is uninstall all the programs that you never use, periodically clean out the areas where Windows stores temporary files (I use б to do this) and defragment your hard drive about twice a year (for this I use ).
There really isn t a lot you can do about reason number two. Some folks recommend running aб Registry optimizer utility (CCleaner has that capability built in), but I don t. I ve seen too many Windows installations trashed by monkeying around with the Registry. One thing that I do recommend is backing up your hard drive and then reinstalling Windows fresh about once a year. A fresh Windows installation will get your PC back into peak running condition, and once you restore your files you ll be back up and running as smooth as ever. One final recommendation: Make frequent backups of your hard drive just in case it does decide to go belly up on you. And trust me, at some point it will if you use your computer long enough. Failing hard drives often give subtle hints about their impending failure, but not always. Always having a recent backup on hand ensures that your precious files won t kick the bucket right along with the drive. The easiest way to back the hard drive on a Windows PC is to. If you have a Mac you can back it up with the awesome. Do you have a tech question of your own for Rick? б б and send it in! If you think your friends would like this post, IБd love you to share it! Thanks a bunch!