This is the English version of this post as requested by Nora.
I am not a Windows expert, nor am I certified. All the information I would share here are based from my experiences in fixing and maintaining computers of my clients, friends or family. Other information are based from my education. I would try to use very simple words so that more people would understand.
Tip # 1 – Know your specs
When we say “specs” (short for specifications), these are the exact numbers of the computer we are using. How can we know this? Let me share to you the most basic way to get these info.
Start > Right click My Computer (Computer for Vista) > Properties
In this window we would know the Operating System (OS) we are using, the processor speed and our memory (RAM) amount. The highlighted numbers are most important. We would not focus on processor speed because it will be more complicated to discuss. Our main focus is the RAM or memory because it has a direct impact on the speed of our computer. If you get this info, write it down on a piece of paper just so you wouldn’t forget. It will become handy later.
It is important to know our specs because we could not expect our computer to run fast if our specs are low. It would run according to its optimum speed only. If your specs are low then we need more patience.
Tip # 2 – Keep your taskbar clean
The taskbar is the long horizontal bar at the bottom (or any place you assigned it to) from the START button across the system clock, as illustrated in the picture.
If you want your computer to respond faster, keep it clean. There are programs that we need to have open at the same time but for the things that we don’t need at the moment, just close it and open it later. Computers multi-task alright but think of it as a human. It needs time to rest. The example above is a bad example. Do not copy.
Tip # 3 – Keep your system tray clean
The system tray is usually at the bottom right corner of our monitor next to our system clock. If there are lots of icons on your tray that means more programs are running in the background which can make your computer run slowly. Remove the things that you don’t need by right clicking on the icon, then clicking exit, close, or shut down. Keep your anti-virus or anti-spyware program icons on your tray. Do not worry that these would not work if they disappear on the tray. Once you restart the computer, all those icons would come back. If you want to permanently remove these icons then you need to follow the next steps.
Tip # 4 – Understand your Task Manager
You can open your Task Manager by pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL simultaneously or CTRL + SHIFT + ESC. The Applications Tab would list all the programs that are currently running. If our computer is not that fast, do not let this list get crowded. Close programs that are not needed.
However the more important tab is the Processes tab as shown in the picture. Click MEM USAGE twice to arrange the items from the highest to lowest usage of memory. The number you have written down on the paper, minus the sum of the highlighted numbers on the illustration (you don’t need to compute it though) can give you a hint why your computer is running slow (or fast). The lesser amount of memory remaining, the slower your computer would run. Do not end processes that you do not know. If you want to learn about a specific process just google the exact image name showing on the list. The more processes listed, the more work you give to your computer. Close programs properly by doing File > Exit functions or by clicking the “X” button ont he top right corner of the windows.
Tip # 5 – Understand MSCONFIG
Start > Run (on Vista just use the Search function on the Start Menu) > Type msconfig > Click OK
Click the STARTUP tab to see this screen.
You don’t need these things. The only items that should remain checked are your anti-virus or anti-spyware programs. The things that would remain here would be the only things showing on the system tray. This is the first and most effective way of making our computer boot faster. You can know what programs you are unchecking by expanding the Command tab above to lessen your worries about the programs you are disabling.
Click the SERVICES tab to see this screen.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: Please CHECK HIDE ALL MICROSOFT SERVICES as highlighted on the picture.
After you’ve done this the only things that needs to remain checked are your anti-virus or anti-spyware program. After these changes, click APPLY > OK > RESTART. You will notice that your computer would boot slightly faster after doing these things.
I repeat. These steps are not absolute fixes. It still depends on the situation, most specially if we are dealing with viruses or spyware.
So that’s it. I hope I was able to make my friend happy somehow and I was able to give information to the others. This is not a detailed post because the topic itself is broad. For more information consult your nearest (or closest) computer technician.