Home' LAPTOP Magazine : June 2011 Contents Laptop | June 2010
PROBLEM NO. 1
“It takes too long to boot.”
Remove unnecessary startup programs.
Your PC might be programmed to launch certain apps as
soon as your notebook boots. But chances are you don’t
need to use them all immediately. To whittle down this
list of programs, Windows XP users can select “Run” in
the Start menu and type “msconfig.” A box will appear
with a tab for startup programs; uncheck the unnecessary
ones, such as Adobe Reader, Google Talk, and Skype.
Then follow a prompt to restart your PC. If you have a
Vista or Windows 7 machine, you can access this menu
simply by typing “msconfig” into the search bar below
the Start menu.
Identify problem programs.
Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out which programs are
actually bogging down your computer. Enter Soluto (www
. soluto.com), a free, Windows-only program that automatically
perks up when it senses your PC is overwhelmed. Soluto
identifies which programs are causing your computer’s slug-
gish performance, dividing the possible perpetrators into
no-brainers, potentially removable startup items that on ly
a power user should consider nixing, and those that Soluto
can’t yet remove, such as McAfee SecurityCenter. It even
shows how much time each app adds to the total boot-up
process, which it calculates when you launch your PC.
PROBLEM NO. 2
Maybe you really do
need to use some
programs as soon as your computer is up and running.
But you can at least make sure that Windows finishes
loading first. Soluto, in particular, does this beautifully. The
app gives you the option of delaying programs, and also
shows neat pie charts breaking down what other Soluto
users did with these programs. Soluto also briefly explains
the implications of delaying each startup program, such
as Google Helper, which updates Google applications, or
Windows Media Player’s sharing feature. A nother option is
to download a third-party program such as Startup Delayer
(free; r2.com.au), a small 979.9KB app that works with every
Make tweaks to your BIOS.
Right after you press the power button on your Windows
PC, press F2 or another designated function key to enter
the BIOS menu. Here, you’ll see an option to boot faster
or, perhaps, skip tests. You can also stop your PC from
trying to detect CD and USB drives, which should speed
up the boot process. Make sure that you don’t have any
drives plugged in while you do this.
Soluto is a free Windows program that helps
improve boot time.
slower than it
used to be.”
Installing extra R AM, or memory,
in your PC is an inexpensive, tried-
and-true way of boosting its perfor-
mance. Retailers such as Best Buy
and NewEgg.com sell 2GB memory
sticks for about $25, with 4GB kits
costing about $50.
First, figure out how much memory
your PC can handle. If you own a PC
running Windows 2000 or XP, you
can install up to 4GB. People who
own notebooks running Windows
Vista and Windows 7 should check
the system information in the Control
Panel to see if the operating system
is a 32-bit or 64-bit one. 32-bit
operating systems can accommo-
date up to 4GB of memory; 64-bit
systems, up to 8GB. After you’ve
purchased the R AM, you’ll need
to open the back of your system
to install. The exact location of
the RAM can vary, so check your
notebook manufacturer’s support
site for directions.
Apple MacBooks can accept up
to 2GB or 4GB depending on the
model; MacBook Pros can handle up
to 8GB. There are detailed instruc-
tions on how to do this to various
models at support.apple.com.
Scrub your registry.
Install a registry cleaner such as Piri-
form CCleaner (free; www.piriform.
com) to remove extraneous files clog-
ging your system. In addition to old,
unused registry entries, CCleaner
will clear temporary system files,
web form data, recent documents,
cookies, your browsing history, and
items in the Recycle Bin.
Try a tune-up suite.
For a more complete cleansing,
tune-up software will clean your
registry and use other tricks to
breathe new life into your notebook.
Iolo System Mechanic 10 can turn off unused apps.
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