Speed It Up Buddy
By: Scott Hendison      Published: February 1999

I look at dozens of computers each month and the one thing that puzzles me the most, is how people can stand them being so slow. Sometimes I have been amazed at the huge number of programs that some users will have running all the time, slowing their computers to a crawl.

To see how your computer stacks up, and find out if you're using too many system resources, try the following in Win 95 or Win 98:
Reboot your computer.
Highlight the "My Computer" icon by left clicking once
Right click on it once
Highlight "properties" and left click once
Go to the Performance tab and click it.
You will see how much Ram you actually have, and you will see a percentage of system resources free. This percentage should not be any lower than the mid 80's when you first boot, and should ideally be in the mid 90's.
Why is yours so low? Look in the lower right hand corner of your desktop by the clock. All of those icons next to the clock are using part of your system resources.

Hit these three keys at the same time ONCE. "Ctrl" "alt" "delete". (Do not hit them again, this will reboot.) That will bring up a dialog box showing you what is currently running on your computer. The only two that must remain there for windows to operate are "explorer" and "systray". That's it. All the rest are using your memory. Try closing a couple of them by highlighting them, then clicking on "End Task". Now Cancel that box and check your free resources again. See the increase in the amount you have free?

Some items must remain there if you want them to run at all times, like a scrolling mouse button, or anti-virus software. The majority of them though, do not need to be there, and will only slow you up.

To get rid of some unwanted memory suckers, and keep them from coming back, go to - "Start " button - "Settings" - "Task Bar". Then go to "Start Menu Programs" and hit the "remove" button". Next find the "start up" directory with a + sign next to it, and double click it. Everything listed in that directory can be removed. Look carefully at the + and - sign that indicate what is in the "Start up" of the computer, and what is merely on the "Start" menu. The Start Menu items are only shortcuts, and do not need to be deleted.

You can still access any of the programs you delete, but you will have to do it manually. If you have an Office Suite shortcut task bar, or Microsoft Find Fast, get rid of them. The time you save in all of your other operations will more than make up for losing the shortcut bar. If you want shortcuts on your desktop, create them yourself. That uses no resident memory whatsoever. After deleting some or all of your "Start Up" programs, you should reboot, and check your resources again.

If you try all of these things and can not get above 90% free at boot-up then there is another possibility to consider. A peripheral such as a scanner or fax/printer/copier is loading lots of stuff at your startup and you need to change peripherals, add more RAM (always good), or edit your system configuration files manually, (which you won't read about here!).

Copyright 1999, All Rights Reserved