Slow Computers

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Here are some useful tips for cleaning up a windows computer that is running slow.

Defragment the Computer

Hard drives store data in pieces scattered throughout the hard drive. Defragging the computer will store the pieces of each file close together and contiguously. You can defragment the computer by going to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter. Once the screen pops up select the drive you wish to scan and then select the Analyze button. Once it is determined that your computer needs to be degfragmented select the Defragment button. More information on how to defragment a computer can be found here

Clean Up The Disk

If your disk has less than 10 of its total space free you should clean it. If you are unsure as to how much free space you have, open My Computer, right click on your hard drive (usually C:) and then select Properties. There it will tell you how much free and used space there is.
One useful program for cleaning a hard drive is CCleaner. The URI Help Desk does not support this software, however it can be a useful tool to use.
Other options for speeding up your computer include deleting unused or unwanted files and programs. Music and video files are usually very large, so it is important to delete the ones you do not use. You can also delete files from the Recycle Bin to free up space.

Remove Spyware/Malware

Malware and Spyware can significantly slow down a computer. The Help Desk recommends using Malware Bytes, Spybot Search and Destroy, and SUPER AntiSpyware. Once installed you should run these scans in Safe Mode. You can get into Safe Mode by starting your computer and pressing the F8 key. From there select Safe Mode with Networking, and run the most complete scans for each piece of software.

While in Safe Mode we also suggest running a full system scan using URI's version of McAfee. To run a full system click the M in the bottom right hand corner, click Virus Scan Enterprise, and click On Demand Scan.

Check the Disk for Errors

Checking the disk will see if any of the sectors on the hard drive have been corrupted. To do this open the command prompt and type chkdsk X: /f /r (Where X is the drive letter you want to check). The f switch tells the command to automatically fix errors and the r switch locates bad sectors and recovers readable data.

Clean the Registry

Important.png ATTENTION
This section is for experienced users ONLY. Do not attempt the following if you are unfamiliar with the material. If in doubt, please contact the Help Desk at 874-HELP.


A program that will help you clean the registry is CCleaner. Because of the nature of the registry we do not recommend working with it. However if you are experienced this is a good way to speed up a computer