Breathe New Life Into Your Lagging PC
Deanna Glick - April 22, 2011
Computers can begin to lag just months after they’ve booted up for the first time. And the likelihood of physical problems with computer equipment goes up significantly after 24 to 36 months, according to an article in Precision Magazine.
From the various software programs you use every day to the proverbial dust that’s gathered as a result of Internet navigation and email correspondence, the hard drive on your computer can become akin to a cluttered closet.
Several factors can affect the speed of a computer after only a short time, including a full hard drive, outdated drivers, issues such as viruses and spyware and even surges and power drops.
Space and Time
While some of the applications and files on your computer might be invaluable, many could be debris that have collected over time – whether it be a few weeks or a few months -- via spam, viruses, malware and spyware or by installing and uninstalling programs.
Computers can also seem older than their age if the hard drive is reaching capacity or becoming fragmented, making it take longer to access files. Outdated drivers can cause computers to run poorly, too. Manufacturers routinely update drivers for components of your computer, yet your computer does not automatically update these drivers for you. If your drivers are outdated, your computer might not run optimally, or devices such as your printer might not work properly.
Fortunately, all of these problems can be prevented or resolved, helping your computer run as though it were brand new.
Repair, Replace or Renew
Simple fixes or additions can greatly increase the productivity of an aging computer. One Associated Content article suggests adding a second hard drive, monitor or graphics card.
Georgia-based computer expert Chip Reaves suggests using surge protectors for all computer equipment and replacing them every two to three years since their functionality can diminish over time. Surges and power drops can cause data loss and are damaging to sensitive components and reduce their lifespan, he told Precision Magazine.
Programs such as AOL Computer Checkup make the process simple. This program includes features that keep a computer’s drivers up-to-date, ensure the hard drive is operating at its maximum potential and keep operation smooth by scanning, identifying, cleaning, repairing and removing errors in the Windows registry.
According to Reaves, 80 percent of his service calls worldwide are from people with problems directly linked to issues such as viruses and spyware. Programs such as McAfee offer sufficient protection. In addition to that protection, Computer Checkup provides personalized performance and security recommendations for individual systems. The tool identifies vital security components, such as firewall and antivirus software, and system settings that can increase your level of security as well as analyzes and recommends steps to improve performance.
Finally, Reaves suggests replacing computer systems every three years. In the Precision Magazine article, he says: “Considering how inexpensive computers have become, one major repair bill could easily cost more than purchasing an entire new system.” But remember that a major repair may not be necessary. A little housekeeping and updating might be all that’s needed to restore a computer to its original glory.