You fire up your Windows computer for work, school, gaming, or video chatting several days a week. The computer might boot up quickly, but it takes fifteen minutes before your programs seem to work right. We’ve all been here. Nothing is more frustrating than helplessly watching your computer slow to a crawl as you try to open Zoom for that meeting that starts in two minutes. Today’s newsletter will teach you how to fix one of the most common issues that affect the speed of your computer, especially when it’s starting up.
As you can imagine, we’ve seen our fair share of slow computers during our 16 years in IT. From our experience, most slow computers can fall into one of three categories: the old, failing hard drive, the slow/outdated hardware, or bloated startup items. We’re great at fixing all of these problems, but did you know that you could fix the last one by yourself? If it works, you’ve saved yourself a trip (although we’d love to see you and say hi!).
When you login to Windows, a slew of programs fire up, ready to fulfill their specialized purposes. Some of these are critical to the functioning of your system, while others are unnecessary fluff that slow down your system. It’s these programs that we’re going to teach you to eliminate to boost your performance.
The first step is opening Task Manager, the program that will allow you to view which programs open on your startup. You can open task manager by right clicking the Windows icon on the lower left-hand corner of your screen. For those of you that like keyboard shortcuts, you can also press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to launch the taskbar.
You’ll see an item that reads, “Task Manager” appear. Click on it. If this is your first time opening the Task Manager, click on the down arrow button next to “More details”. Once it opens, you’ll see a few tabs on the top of the window. Click on the tab that reads, “Startup”.
Once you’re here, you can view the programs that run when your computer starts. By default, they’re sorted by name. You also see the publisher, whether it’s enabled/disabled, and the estimated impact to your startup. What we focus on in this list are programs that are familiar, but that you don’t need running every time you start the computer. Some of the common offenders are Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Steam. If you see a program that you don’t want to start, click on it, and check the ‘Status’ column. If it says ‘enabled’, click the disabled button in the bottom right, or right-click and then click ‘disable’.
Repeat this process with any programs that you don’t need to clear up the slow startup. While you’re in the Task Manager, it’s a good time to make sure that your computer hasn’t been compromised by a hacker. One of the most common forms of hacking involves putting a “remote access” program in your startup items. If you see any of these programs in your startup list, be sure to disable them (unless you’re familiar with it and use it for work or school): Gotomeeting, RemotePC, ZohoAssist, TeamViewer, and Remote Desktop Manager. If you found any of these programs, it’s also a good idea to run a virus scan with your antivirus software. A good antivirus program will clear out any other damage that the hacker may have done.
Reboot your computer, and see if it runs faster. If it does, great! Otherwise, we would be glad to look at your computer and tell you what you can do to speed it up. We wish everyone a good and speedy time using your computers.
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