The Hidden Ways to Speed Up Your PC

We all want a faster computer, but we don't necessarily want to spend any money on the problem. That's why we are investigating the hidden ways to speed up your PC

The Hidden Ways to Speed Up Your PC
However fast your computer is, there comes a time when you can't help wanting it to perform a little better. Maybe you need to squeeze a few extra frames out of a game. Maybe you just want it to run like it did on the day you bought it. Whatever your reasoning, we've compiled a list of all the ways you can speed up your computer (some easy, some not so easy, some drastic, some simple) without having to spend any money. If you've ever sat at your PC and thought 'What’s taking so long!?' or 'Can't this thing go any faster!?' this is where you'll find your answers...

Improve Hard Drive Performance 

Hard drives are frequently the system bottleneck that waste the most time. For optimum performance, you want a system with plenty of free space and a logically ordered drive. Here, we tell you how to achieve such things.

Defragment your hard drive

It may take a long time, but a properly defragmented hard drive allows quicker access times, which means better speeds in all aspects of Windows operation. Programs launch faster, because common files are placed on the fastest areas of the disk, while large files can be read and copied more quickly because the sectors are ordered sequentially.

However, if your hard drive is simply too large to defrag, don't just give up - you can still improve performance by using a program such as Defraggler ( to optimise individual files and folders, such as game directories or your inbox.

Delete temporary files

Old, unwanted files can collect in the temp directory, wasting space and getting in the way of virus scans and disk indexing. To find these files, type ' %TEMP%' into the start menu search box and press Enter. Everything in this location (On Windows 7, it’ll be something like 'C:\Users\yourname>\AppData\LocaMemp’) can be deleted. Some files may currently be in use, but don't worry, they can be deleted in the future instead.

Delete the hibernation file

When you set your PC to hibernate, it stores a copy of the RAM contents on your hard drive to reload when it wakes up. This file should be deleted automatically, but sometimes it hangs around by accident. If hiberfil.sys exists on your system, you can delete it and recover several gigabytes of space in the process.

Uninstall old and unused software

It might seem like a good idea to keep hold of programs you don’t use. but the reality is that the more you have installed, the slower your PC is and the more hard drive space is wasted. Although many programs have an 'uninstall' option in the start menu, you can also get rid of them by clicking 'Start' > 'Control Panel’ > 'Uninstall a Program'. This will tell you how big a program is and when it was last used - useful for distinguishing between what's worth deleting and what you should probably keep.

Improve Memory Performance

Improving memory access will give your PC the resources it needs to keep running smoothly. Here are some things you can do to help it along.

Defragment your pagefile

Instead of defragmenting your entire hard drive, you could just defragment your Windows pagefile. This is the multigigabyte file on your hard drive that is used as virtual memory - essentially extra RAM.

The reality is that the more you have installed, the slower your PC is

As with all files, defragmenting speeds up read and write access, but where defragmenting an entire hard drive takes ages for a comparatively small performance boost, defragging the pagefile will represent a much larger performance increase compared to the time spent on it. We recommend using UltraDefrag ( for the task!

Move your pagefile to another storage device

The speed of pagefile access needs to be as fast as possible, so you can actually speed up your PC by storing your pagefile on the fastest possible storage medium, whether that's a solid-state drive or a fast hard drive. If you have two physical hard drives that are the same speed, you can improve access times by storing it on the one you use least, because resources will be shared more evenly between the two drives. To move your pagefile, click on the Start menu, type ‘Advanced System Settings' in the search box and click 'View advanced system settings'. Under the 'Advanced' tab, find the section called 'Performance' and click 'Settings.' Again, under the 'Advanced' tab, find the 'Virtual Memory' section and click 'Change...'

Here, you can uncheck ‘Automatically manage paging file size for all drives’ then choose another drive for the pagefile to go on. You'll need at least as much space as you have RAM. so 4GB of space for 4GB of RAM. Once you've done this. Click 'set', then completely remove the pagefile from the original location (usually C: drive). Click 'OK' to exit on each dialogue until prompted to reboot, then do so.

Increase system memory with ReadyBoost

The built-in ReadyBoost feature available in some versions of Windows 7 allows it to use a nice, fast, solid-state USB drive for its virtual memory needs. It's not as good as adding more RAM. but it's better than nothing. To activate ReadyBoost. you should insert the thumbdrive, allow it to auto-run, and from the autoplay dialogue, click 'Speed up my system' (if you don't see it, then unfortunately your version of Windows doesn't have Readyboost!)

Now, on the ReadyBoost properties page, check the option for 'Dedicate this drive to ReadyBoost'. Move the slider to allocate the desired amount You need at least 235MB. but use the entire drive if possible.

Reduce Windows' Resource Footprint

Just because Windows looks like it isn't doing anything, it doesn't mean that it isn't. There's almost always something going on under the surface. Here we'll help you remove all the busywork and embellishments that get in the way so that Windows is ready to go as soon as you need it.

Load fewer programs on boot

We’ve all faced the irritation of a PC that goes all sluggish after it's just been switched on. The problem is usually that Windows tries to load a huge amount of background services as soon as you log in. To disable some of these, click 'Start' > 'Search', type 'msconfig' then press Enter to open the System Configuration tool. Have a poke around the 'Startup' tab to see what you can remove to keep your start-up streamlined.

Disable Aero

As much as we all love the transparency effects of the Windows Aero interface, it's hard to deny that the resources spent on these frivolities might be better spent on running your software. To disable the effects and recover valuable CPU cycles, right-click on your desktop and select 'Personalize'. Scroll down the 'themes' box and choose 'Windows 7 Basic' or ‘Windows Classic'. The new theme, without the effects, will now be enabled Your system resources are then free to concentrate on more pressing matters.

Disable unused program components

There are parts of Windows that, for whatever reason, you might never use. These can be easily discarded in favour of recovering the space and CPU time they take up. To find and disable them, click 'Start', then 'Control Panel', followed by 'Programs and Features'. In the pane on the left, click 'Turn Windows features on or off.' You can now go down the list and uncheck features you don't use, freeing up resources and generally deduttering your installation.

Disable search indexing

The Windows Search Indexer can spend ages reading file contents and storing them so that your searches run that little bit faster. However, if you don't run searches very often, or even use another program (such as Google Desktop Search) the Indexer is just wasting time churning up your hard drive for no good reason. Disable it by clicking 'Start' and typing 'services msc' into the search box. Press Enter to bring up the ‘Services’ dialogue, then in the list of services, find 'Windows Search’. Right-click on it and open the ‘Properties' dialogue. Choose 'Disabled' in the ‘Startup type' drop-down, then click ’OK'. Next time you reboot, the indexing service will be disabled, giving you back the resources it would otherwise be taking up. Note that you may get a warning that it is disabled whenever you perform a search in the future. To remove this warning, open Windows Explorer, click 'Tools' > 'Folder Options' > 'Search', then check "Always Search File name and contents' and 'Don't use the index when searching.'

Remove unwanted fonts

When certain applications (such as Word or Photoshop) launch, they can spend a significant amount of time reading in all of the different fonts on your system. Removing fonts can speed up the launch times, and free up resources while those programs are in use. To uninstall them, click 'Control Panel' > ‘Appearance and Personalization' > ‘Fonts', then select the fonts you want to get rid of and simply hit 'Delete'.