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Few things are as frustrating as dealing with a slow, sluggish computer. When a computer is brand new, it works wonderfully well. Over time, though, its performance can slowly begin to worsen. This happens for a number of reasons, but the biggest culprits are things like spyware, adware and other computer threats that are unwittingly downloaded along with other content while online. You don’t have to download thousands of MP3s, movies or other items to experience these problems, either – nobody is immune to them. Instead of accepting the situation, there are plenty of techniques and strategies that you can use to make it better – a few of the best ones are outlined below.

Clean Your Computer’s Windows Registry

The biggest cause of slow, sluggish PC performance is errors and problems within its Windows registry. Adware, spyware and other threats usually target the registry, damaging or misplacing important files within it. When it comes to PC cleaning, a Windows registry cleaning should be at the top of your list of priorities. However, this should never be done manually – there are too many opportunities for major errors that could seriously damage your PC’s operating system. Instead, you may want to pay a professional to cleanup your registry for you or purchase a high-quality Windows registry cleanup program. But beware, unless you are at least somewhat familiar with the registry and what it involves, you may want to steer clear of doing this yourself.

Remove Unneeded Files

Every time you log on to the Internet or otherwise use your computer, temporary files are generated. They are usually only needed once; however, they don’t disappear on their own. Instead, they accumulate over time until they are cluttering up your computer’s file system and affecting its performance. While it’s possible to remove these files one-by-one, it’s much easier and quicker to use a PC cleaning tool that’s designed for the purpose. Windows has Disk Cleanup as a standard program that cleans Windows programs. Other web browsers, like Google Chrome, have their own way to remove these files (such as Clear browsing data…). Ideally, this should be run at least monthly to keep your computer hummimg along with ease.

Remove Unneeded Programs

Like many people, you probably download and try out many different programs. How many of them do you actually end up using on a regular basis? Chances are, not very many of them. By getting into the habit of uninstalling unused and unneeded programs, you can keep your computer’s file system a lot less cluttered. In turn, your PC’s performance can improve dramatically. You can optimize your computer in this way by using Windows Add/Remove Programs feature. Its location varies by operating system, but you should be able to find it somewhere in the Control Panel.

Empty the Recycle Bin

When you click “delete” on a file or a program, it doesn’t go away for good – not immediately, anyway. Instead, it sits in a kind of purgatory in your computer’s Recycle Bin. As things pile up in the Recycle Bin, your computer can start exhibiting some very annoying problems. If sluggish startups and frequent crashes are occurring with increasing frequency – and your computer’s recycle bin is very full – go ahead and empty it. From then on, get into the habit of doing so about one time per week. This small but important strategy can make a huge difference.

Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup helps free up space on your hard drive. First, it searches your hard drive. Then it will display the temporary files, Internet cache files, and unnecessary program files that you can safely delete. You can select to delete some or all of those files. If you have only one hard drive or partition, Disk Cleanup will start running as soon as you select it. Otherwise a box will come up asking which drive to run (typically this will be drive C:, the main drive). After a while (which may be minutes to a half hour or more, depending on how often you run it), a window will open showing a list of file categories that can be deleted. Select the checkboxes of the categories you want to have deleted (usually you’ll want all the checkboxes checked), then select OK. Select Yes when prompted “Are you sure you want to perform these actions?”.

Perform a Disk Defragmentation

Windows isn’t very efficient when it comes to storing files. It actually splits them up, depositing them into whatever spaces are available. The more spaced apart the pieces of a file are, the harder your computer has to work to make them run. The Windows Disk Defragmenter utility works to piece all of those files back together again. The process is a long one, though, and only needs to be done periodically (monthly, if you use your computer a lot. Otherwise every other month should be enough).
Taking care of your computer ....

When it comes to keeping your computer running optimally, small but regular maintenance is the best way to go.

Protecting your PC only does so much; even the most careful Internet users in the world unintentionally download malicious software from time to time. By using basic system tune-up tools, cleaning your computer’s Windows registry regularly, performing regular file- cleaning maintenance and otherwise optimizing your PC, you should be able to keep it in like-new condition for a lot longer. Even if your computer has been performing slowly for some time, beginning this regimen is sure to produce results. In the end, you’ll be able to enjoy a computer that flies along – instead of one that spins its wheels.  
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