Tech Matters: Improve Your Computer System Overnight

Image courtesy of epSos .de's photostream

Image courtesy of epSos .de’s photostream

We have all been there.  You have an important project with a close deadline and the clock is ticking.  You’re right in the middle of your sentence or spreadsheet and then it happens.

Your computer system freezes.

There are a number of reasons why this happens and nothing is more frustrating than when it happens repeatedly. The first thought is typically to plan to buy a new system.  It surprises me how many users are willing to toss a three or four year old system away because of performance issues not realizing that there are some simple things that can be done to stop the performance blues.  Here is a short list of steps that can be taken to do so:

•    Power off your system once in a while.  By all appearances your computer may look like it’s not doing anything when you’re not using it, but under the hood there is still a lot of information being stored, especially when a browser window (Internet Explorer, Safari, FireFox, Chrome) is left open with several tabs being used.  Overtime these processes use more and more memory and that will slow your browsing speed and overall system performances.  Shutting down your system properly will always give your system a fresh start and a chance to operate at full efficiency.

•    Time to upgrade your memory.  Memory, or RAM, temporarily stores instructions for the processor to carry out and is wiped totally clean (by design) when the computer is powered down.  The more memory your system has the more fluently it will handle multiple processes.   If you have Windows Vista or newer on your system it’s strongly recommended that you have no less than 4 GB of memory on your system.  To find out how much memory your system has you will need to right click on Computer and select Properties on the menu.  A window with system information will display the amount of memory is installed.

•    Think about replacing your hard drive.  Hard drives take a lot of abuse.  They have constantly moving parts that will eventually wear out.  When a hard drive gets older and starts to fail it really hurts the overall speed of accessing programs and files.  A new hard drive will breathe fresh life into your system.  Replacing it with a Solid State Drive (SSD) would be even better because SSDs are a lot like flash memory cards and read/write faster than normal drives.

Give those tips a try before considering purchasing a new system.  They may save you time and money and allow you to get more use out of your current system.

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