It’s hard to be in IT and avoid being constantly asked for advice on computers – everything from operating systems – (should I be running Windows 7?); malware – (is the Internet really unsafe?); problems – (what’s wrong with my computer? It’s always…..); and maybe my favorite question – do I need a new computer?
Usually, the “do I need a new computer” question comes up because the user is fed up with slow, or unreliable performance. Since we (at least here in North America), live in a throwaway society, the simple solution to a slow computer problem is often – out with the old, and in with the new.
From one perspective, I understand this problem solving approach, since consumers are conditioned to behave in this way – conditioning which is constantly reinforced by the mass media.
The “keeping up with the Jones’ syndrome”, didn’t just magically appear out of thin air. It’s an insidious, and a reinforced greed concept that works for those who reinforce it – business.
I’m not here to write about the nutbars who lined up in the dark , for hours, to get there hands on the recently released iPhone 4, but people who behave in this way illustrate this mass manipulation principal taken to a new level.
Here’s the real deal on – do I need a new computer?
This answer is not all encompassing, but let’s take a look at some of the alternatives you have before you replace what may be a perfectly functional computer which meets your current needs.
PCs don’t slow down without a reason. All computers have characteristic operating patterns that lead to predictable, but preventable issues. Simple maintenance, practiced regularly, which is easy even for a non-expert, can keep an older PC running smoothly for years.
Slow Boot Time.
Boot times increase with a computer’s age – that’s inevitable. As more programs and devices are installed, the startup process gets longer. And these slow boot times can lead to a frustrated user. I’ve seen boot times as long as 10 minutes!
Soluto Anti- Frustration Software:
Soluto allows you to understand your boot, discover which applications are slowing it down, and allows you to significantly improve it.
Allows PC users to understand their boot
Discover which applications are slowing you down.
Cuts boot time
Improves on-going PC performance
Download at: Developer’s site
Disk fragmentation, especially on intensively used systems, will degrade performance over time. This is a good task to automate by using a third-party tool like Auslogics Disk Defrag. This application is free and it does a great job.
Auslogics Disk Defrag:
The program is extremely easy to use, does not require any analysis phase and is faster than most disk defragmentation software I’ve tested in the past, and it’s free. In my view, it’s one more maintenance process in helping me get the maximum performance out of my hardware.
Improve computer performance and stability
Increase your productivity – no more waiting for files to open
Defragment disks in minutes
Disk fragmentation map and detailed fragmentation report
Download at: Download.com
Your Hard Drive is full.
A full, or nearly full, Hard Drive will not function efficiently. Keep your Hard Drive lean and mean by uninstalling unused programs.
Revo Uninstaller is a superior program for uninstalling programs from your computer. This free program with its advanced and fast algorithm scans before, and after, you uninstall an application. After the program’s regular uninstaller runs, you can remove additional unnecessary files, folders and registry keys that are usually left over on your computer. This feature is a definite plus.
Fast algorithm scans before, and after uninstall
Removes additional unnecessary files, folders and registry keys
Download at: Developer’s Site
Running a Disk Cleaner will optimize systems by emptying the Recycle Bin, Temporary Setup Files, Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files, Old Chkdsk Files, Temporary Files, Temporary Offline Files, Offline Files, and so on. For a full and through cleanup, I highly recommend CCleaner. As well, you should consider copying archived files such as pictures and music, to CD’s or DVD’s to free space on the Hard Drive.
Frees up valuable hard disk space
Advanced features to remove unused and old entries
Comprehensive backup feature
System tray icon
Download at: Download.com
Your Internet is slow.
Even the fastest Internet connection is a lot slower than any relatively modern PC, so make sure your Internet settings are properly optimized. Ashampoo Internet Accelerator 3.2 is an excellent Internet connection optimizer.
Ashampoo Internet Accelerator 3.2:
A slow Internet connection costs time and gets on your nerves. So, taking the time to optimize the settings is considered a must. Ashampoo Internet Accelerator is a great little application that makes it easy to perform this simply task.
ISDN, DSL via LAN cable or cable modem, DSL via wireless LAN
Improvements in performance connection
Download at: Download.com
Note: This application is no longer free, but it does allow you to use it free for 40 days. With any luck, you’ll only need to use it once.
It’s possible of course, that the performance of your computer has been adversely affected by malware infections. If you believe that’s the case read my article on this Blog, Layered Computer Security – What Is It? Why Use It?
Once you have removed system-clogging clutter, ensured your Internet settings are properly optimized, are satisfied your system is not infected with malware, and performed the other simple maintenance, your old PC might just surprise you with its capabilities.
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