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How to improve your computer’s performance

Kristin Chessman is a freelance writer, editor and mom from Southern California with a passion for travel, fashion, Disney, the beach, Italian food and all-things celebrity. Follow Kristin on Twitter @KristinChessman.

How to speed up your PC

Frustrated with your computer’s slow, inconsistent performance? If you’re tired of playing the waiting game with your PC, it’s time to put on your tech hat and diagnose your computer’s ailment. Before you embark on your computer fix-up, back-up any important documents, pictures, and music to play it safe. Then follow these simple steps to improve your computer’s performance and increase its life span.

Woman frustrated with computerStep 1: Remove unnecessary programs, spyware, and viruses

Go into the "Control Panel" of your computer to remove unnecessary programs taking up valuable hard drive space.

Also, beware of viruses and spyware. Spyware collects information from you and builds marketing profiles while you're browsing online. Some of them can change your computer's configuration, resulting in slower performance. That's why it's important to install an anti-virus software and a spyware elimination program to keep your PC safe.

Step 2: Remove cookies and temporary internet files

A cookie is a piece of data used by websites to identify your computer and gather information about your surfing habits. To improve your computer's performance, it's important to regularly delete them. If you're using Internet Explorer, click on "Tools," then "Internet Options." Here, you also may delete temporary Internet files that slow down your computer.

Step 3: Empty the recycle bin

Get into the habit of emptying your recycle bin weekly to quickly free up hard drive space. To empty the contents, simply right click on the bin icon on your desktop.

Step 4: Limit programs loading at startup

If you have too many programs loading at startup, you'll notice a sluggish performance every time you reboot. Locate the "Windows Defender" to help you manage the programs that run at startup.

Step 5: Defragment the hard drive

Though it can take a few hours, regularly defragmenting will clean up your hard drive so you can access files more quickly. If you have Windows, defragmenting software is already included.

Step 6: Add more memory

If you upload lots of photos, videos, games, and software to your computer, you may need more RAM (random access memory). Click on the "Control Panel," then "System" to discover your existing RAM. To figure out the maximum amount of RAM your PC can handle, consult your owner's manual.

Step 7: Always install updates

Microsoft occasionally releases updates to make the operating system work better and become more secure. These updates also may impact important drivers, so don't neglect them!

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