How to Make Your Computer Faster & Increase Performance in 15 Steps

We all have those times when, whether its downloading a ton of files for work or waiting for a funny Youtube video to load, a computer – supposedly a fast 21st century appliance, seems to be going slow while we, on the other hand, are rapidly losing our minds. Typically, there are 3 things you could do when in this situation: 1) be like this guy 2) forget your old computer and opt for an upgrade or 3) follow 15 easy steps to keep your sanity and keep your computer running fast…

(P.S. throughout the article, I attempted to add humorous but relevant pics for your enjoyment ;D)

1. Uninstall Unnecessary Programs and Applications

Over the years, a significant amount of programs – both native and third party – can eat away at your computer’s speed and memory. I’m mentioning this as step #1 because this is perhaps the easiest ways a computer can slow down to a crawl as well as the easiest to fix.

To resolve this, just go to the Control Panel’s Programs and Features page (Start>>type Programs and Features) and uninstall programs that you are sure you don’t use, if you are uneasy when it comes to deleting programs – ask a computer tech to guide you through removing unnecessary applications, they should be happy to help.

2. Delete Temporary Information

The recycle bin, all the stuff you thought you deleted may still be there waiting it’s turn to be erased for all eternity – and it may take a while.

To speed up the process, you could delete everything in the recycle bin (be warned! this may include stuff you may want later) or you could c0nfigure the recycle bin to permanently delete files instead of making them “wait”. Also, to save even more physical memory on your computer, you may want to delete temporary and cached files. To do so, just follow the steps outlined in the video below:

3. Update Often

Yes, I know, you don’t want to update every other week and when you do update, you really don’t want to restart your computer – but putting it off this “one last time” might be the reason your computer is going so slow, and can put it at risk.

For Windowcomputerfix-1s users, just go to the Start Menu > type Windows Update > and click to open the update page. From here, you could either run a manual update or check to see if your computer automatically updates – I mention this only because having automatic updates could slow down your computer or open it up to faulty system updates.

4. Configure Startup Programs

On startup, several different programs opening and running at the same time can slow down or delay more important system processes – leaving you waiting until your computer “warms up” to actually work (or watch Youtube vids of kittens, whatever floats your boat, bro).

To shorten startup time, you can decide which programs you want to open automatically by going to the Start Menu > typing msconfig > go to the startup tab > and disable or enable programs. Not only will this decrease startup time, but it’ll save you the trouble of loading and closing programs you didn’t need activated in the first place.

5. Remove Unnecessary Background ProcessesHow to Speed Up Computer Performance = CTRL-ALT-DELETE

Usually when people think of CTRL-ALT-DEL they think of the 3-key fix all. Today, that remains true and it can help you determine what’s eating up your processing speed and stop them from slowing down your computer.

If you want to locate hidden processes and programs that you may not be aware of, press CTRL-ALT-DEL and open the task manager. If you go to processes, you’ll see a list of system and user processes that are taking up disk space, CPU processing, and physical memory – all of which play an important role in how fast your PC is going. To be on the safe side, I’d only end the processes that pertain to the User and not the SYSTEM, because shutting down the wrong process can result in your PC crashing unexpectedly.

6. Increase Hard Drive Storage

If you have the cash to knock out two birds with one stone – skip to step 7 and think about investing in an SSD drive. If you’re content with sticking with an HDD, then the one thing to help increase computer performance is replacing your hard drive.

Even if you don’t fill your hard drive’s capacity to 100%, the more space you use, the slower your PC will be. Many people recommend 5-10% free space for adequate performance, but the numbers vary from computer to computer.  For the tech savvy, its as simple as backing up your data onto another computer and simply transferring the content of your “Windows” folder. For others it may be more difficult, and something I cannot explain in one paragraph, I either recommend trying the video below, getting a tech to assist you, or reading this article.

7. Use a Solid State Drive (SSD)

As mentioned in step 6, an SSD drive or Solid State Drive, can be used in place of the more traditional HDDs – all while giving a boost in performance and a decrease in startup time. In a standard HDD or Hard Drive Disk, a disk is used to navigate memory – taking time and adding to the loss in speed in your PC. An SSD, on the other hand, does not use a disk and is often How to Boost Computer Performance = SSD1st when it comes to less noise pollution, small size, and performance. Of course, there’s always a catch: as of recently, an SSD costs 60 cents per gigabyte while an HDD costs 8 cents. If price is of no object to you, however, adopt SSD drives to boost your performance and read this article for more information before you make your choice.

8. Install more RAM

Along with increasing hard drive capacity, increasing the amount of RAM (Random Access Memory) in your computer could significantly boost performance and processing speed. RAM is the temporary memory storage that each running program on your computer uses and is crucial to opening multiple applications at around the same time. If your PC runs slow or freezes when you try opening several programs, it may be a telltale sign of a limited amount of RAM. To remedy this, you need to determine how much ram your system can support and what type would go best with your PC. An excellent article can be found here.

9. Upgrade your Operating System

This  may be the one step that you can skip, however, if you’re an XP user, you might want to pay attention. Upgrading your OS can benefit your system in that it 1) has better security, 2) receives periodical updates, and 3) keeps up with complex software and third party applications.

If none of those things mean anything to you – you made a right choice choosing Windows. On the off-chance you do want to upgrade your OS, then you could either buy an OS boot CD and upgrade or completely wipe all your files by choosing a custom boot and starting from scratch with your new OS. I recommend doing some research before you order a new OS and weigh the benefits and the cost of going out of your way to do so.

10. Configure Your Computer For Best Performance

Many Windows PCs have the option to configure the computer for best performance or best appearance, though the default is to let Windows choose what’s best for the computer.

If you could care less about aesthetic appeal or enhanced graphics and would rather devote those resources to overall performance you can easily change the settings by going to Start > type Adjust the Appearance and Performance of Windows > and change the settings to your preference.

11. Clean the (blank) thing

How To Speed Up Computer = "Why would you not clean it!"Oftentimes, people choose to subject their computers to living conditions a machine can’t even live in. If your not one of those people, great. If you are one of those people, let me stop to give you a picard face palm – because your negligence could just be the reason your computer is suffering performance-wise.

If it comes to the point where there are cakes of dust accumulating inside the case and the internal components then its time to clean. The reason being because these clumps of dust – not fatal in themselves – can eventually lead to your PC’s internals being insulated and your PC having to adjust to these conditions and, hence, slow down. To clean your case a simple air spray or foam swab should do. A couple of precautions however: 1) make sure you take proper measures to avoid ESD (Electrical Static Discharge) before getting into the internals of your computer and 2) make sure that when you spray with compressed air that the nozzle or can is far enough away to not damage your fan or push dust further inside the case but close enough to still be effective. To read a more detailed set of instructions please refer to this article.

12. Assess Network Performance

On occasion, the issue may not  be hardware related at all. Determine if most of your problems stem not from slow startup or system performance, but from slow internet connectivity. If this is the case, a simple speed test could help you figure out if your network speed is up to par. If not, either contact your internet provider requesting technical assistance or try trouble shooting the problem yourself.

13. Manage User Accounts

Perhaps the simplest of the 15 steps is determining if there are unnecessary users created on your PC. Oftentimes, many PCs have 3 or more users when all users just use one account – creating multiple User accounts takes up memory – and if there are forgotten programs or files active on other accounts – it could wear away at your performance. To deactivate/delete accounts just go to Start > type “Add, Delete, and Manage other user accounts”.

14. Defrag?

The decision to defragment your hard drive is really up to you. Some users worry about condensing a weeks worth of read and write operations into a couple of hours while others agree that it benefits the system in the long run. As Windows already does consistent defrags by default there should be no need to defragment your drive too often – only every other month or when you delete or write a large amount of data onto your drive. Here’s Technet’s take on defragmentation.  To defragment go to Start > type defrag and click on icon.

Another aspect of Windows disk management is the disk cleanup tool. In short, it cleans up unnecessary system caches and temporary files that take up space. To use: Start > type disk cleanup.

15. Install Antivirus Software

A secure, lightweight, and discrete antivirus software could be the best thing when it comes to maximizing performance. As time goes on and you visit more and more websites you might end up with malware and viruses that could slow down your computer  by busily sending out spam emails, cracking cryptography, or searching for other systems to infect. And with the initial infection, it becomes increasingly easier for your PC to gather more viruses all doing the same thing. Though we recommend Malwarebytes, any anti-malware software that you feel comfortable with should do.

 

Extra! Extra!

Sometimes, computers that weren’t taken care of properly in the past should be put out of commission. If not, using them past a certain point can result in an insecure data environment, potential security breaches, physical damage, low performance, as well as financial burdens stemming from constantly buying old parts or trying to find old software that can run on your even older PC. When all of these conditions are met – such as what is happening with old Windows XPs – then give your computer a proper sending off and salvage what you can. For folks like these, here’s a tutorial on how to do so: enjoy 😀

Information Security and Disaster Recovery : How to Protect Your Business From Mother Nature

For many businesses, large or small, technology has been proven to boost productivity and make processing information easier and easier. And for many businesses, this reliance on tech can make facing a natural disaster a rude awakening.

Average Disaster Recovery Comix

In Florida, where our main headquarters is located, these natural disasters usually consist of category 3+ hurricanes with a small chance of flooding in a moments notice – giving us the “incentive” to take our information security and disaster recovery seriously. Wherever your from, however, this type of planning can save your business’ time, money, and even its life. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

1) As always, the key focus here is to develop a contingency plan. This plan should not only detail what management personnel should do in the case of an emergency but how and when. For a reference guide in making such a contingency plan, check out the N.I.S.T. and their whitepaper Special Publication 800-34 detailing what a business should do before the cost of downtime outweighs the cost to recover.

2) Whatever Disaster Recovery Plan you come up with, remember: always assess the dangers that may occur in your geographical area. This involves stepping back and determining the protection your company needs from an external and internal viewpoint. Always weigh the benefits of having a strong insurance policy and determine where pricey tech should be located. For example, a business within a heavily flooded area would think twice before placing their server room in their office’s basement just as a business with frequent blackouts would invest in consistent backup logs and generators.

3) In some cases, even the best of planners cannot foresee a disaster that could cripple or maim business operations. In these instances, however, you can still take precautionary measures to secure and recover your equipment until events have passed. In the case of a large-scale disaster, plan a business strategy that will determine if and when you can get back up and running – this involves letting your clients know if their services will or will not continue. Also, plan an alternate site location for your tech to be stored and secured – both from the elements and looters who can often take advantage of disabled and vulnerable businesses.

Bad Disaster Recovery Plan Comix

4) Above all else, make sure your employees have adequate preparation in the case of a disaster. Many businesses often overlook their workforce in times of plenty, but when all else fails, your employees can be the ones to bring your business back to its feet. Employ safety guidelines and develop a handbook especially in routine seasons when storms and temperature changes increase. All the effort you put into protecting your employees and your resources is what makes your business stronger and disaster recovery much more efficient.

For 4 Corner IT support pertaining to disaster recovery, check out our disaster recovery services page or contact us to talk to one of our business and technical administrators.

Top Benefits of VoIP and Office 365: Implementing a VoIP Phone System with Office 365

top benefits of voip and office 365 implementing a voip phone system with office 365

If you haven’t already made the switch, now may be the perfect time. A hosted VoIP Phone System for Office 365 can truly enhance your customer experience; providing your staff with the tools they need for highly efficient, streamlined customer service.

The power of Hosted VoIP coupled with Microsoft’s Skype for Business system will allow for even more flexibility in not only external, but also internal business communications.

Office 365’s Skype for Business offers a universal platform for instant messaging, video conferencing, voice communications, Exchange email, and a wide array of other Office 365 applications.

Top Benefits of VoIP for Office 365

  • The Office Experience Anywhere: Whether at the office, home, or overseas Skype and hosted VoIP allows staff to use Office features from virtually any location. Features like HD Video Conferencing can bring staff together no matter their location using their desktop, laptop, tablet, or other mobile devices.
  • Cost Effective Implementation: In most cases, you do not have to upgrade your current office equipment to begin using all of the features Hosted VoIP and Microsoft Office 365 have to offer. Hosted VoIP allows you to use your current office equipment, seriously decreasing start-up costs.
  • Mobility: By enabling VoIP on handheld devices, all the features provided by your office’s hosted VoIP services will be available for use.
  • Flexibility: Hosted VoIP services and integrated Office 365 services are completely scalable. So whether your company is experiencing a growth spurt or is in need of a scale-back; your provider can make the necessary changes to your account quickly and easily without service disruption.
  • Customized Service: Your subscription to Office 365 app features is completely customizable; therefore, you can take advantage of apps whenever they are needed simply by changing and adjusting available features with your provider.

If you are interested in learning more about hosted VoIP solutions, please contact the professionals with 4 Corner IT.

How Call Forwarding with VoIP Phone Services Gives Businesses Added Flexibility

how call forwarding with voip phone services gives businesses added flexibility

Several features of VoIP phone services are designed to make businesses more flexible. Instead of being trapped in an office waiting for hours on a single phone call, businesses can redirect their calls easily with VoIP. This is ideal for businesses that want to provide 24/7 customer service or for businesses that have remote employees.

Businesses can use call forwarding to redirect calls to mobile phones or other VoIP phones. With this feature, businesses can boast about their availability hours concerning their customer service.

This Tech Target article accurately describes call forwarding. The article explains how the feature can be used to give businesses flexibility:

“Call forwarding is a telephone service that automatically routes the user’s incoming calls to another number. The process may involve use of a virtual phone number. In a find me / follow me service, call forwarding may allow calls to be routed to the user at any location or to route calls through a number of different phone numbers or other applications, such as voice e-mail or text messaging.”

Offering 24/7 customer service makes a good impression on prospective clients. Not every businesses has the technology to offer this service, however. In addition, businesses are hesitant to hand out personal phone numbers as it compromises their professional reputation.

VoIP phone services solve this problem relatively easily. Businesses can simply redirect their phone calls and assign responsibilities to different employees. Certain businesses have to go above and beyond regular “business hours,” and this feature allows them to do just that.

At 4 Corner IT, we offer VoIP phone services that come with this added feature. In addition, we can assist you in setting up call forwarding to make your business’ customer support team more flexible.

If you would like more information about VoIP phone services, contact us.

How Does VoIP Relate to Disaster Recovery?

how does voip relate to disaster recovery

If you’ve never considered a cloud-based VoIP phone service, you’re missing out on advantages you probably never thought about before. Using on-premise phone systems might be something you’ve used for so long that you’ve become accustomed to the headaches they can cause.

But you shouldn’t be afraid of switching to a cloud-based VoIP system thanks to ease of setup and use. Because everything is internal, you’ll be saving yourself plenty of office space. You’ll also save money and time in various ways.

No More Focus on Phone Equipment and Maintenance

You may have years of bad memories taking care of your on-site phone systems when things went wrong. Likely, you can add the budget element and the wasting of time taking care of equipment that isn’t the focus of your business.

With a cloud-based VoIP system, everything is online and maintained by your provider so you don’t have to worry about taking care of a problem. This allows you to focus valuable time on your business and not on fixing technology that should already work efficiently.

The same applies to upgrades when you need them. You can eliminate the panic of needing to spend extra money to upgrade hardware.

The Mobility Factor

Thanks to being in the cloud, you can make your business as mobile as you want. Anywhere there’s an Internet connection, you can tap into your VoIP system and use it as your business phone line.

Being mobile is an essential part of business today when the need to travel is frequently necessary. At one time, routing calls from analog phones was very complicated if not impossible. Now you can be at a business meeting anywhere and be able to read messages and take or make phone calls in an instant.

This helps connect to another aspect many people don’t consider with cloud-based VoIP technology.

So How Does this Relate to Disaster Recovery?

The cloud has become a real game-changer in the realm of disaster recovery thanks to the capability of business data being stored there. What happens, though, when your physical business becomes destroyed during a natural disaster? Imagine your on-site phone systems being wiped out and being unable to make calls to customers to keep continuity going.

With cloud-based VoIP, your phone system is already online and ready to use immediately to help get back on your feet. As long as you have a recovery center somewhere and Internet service for business continuity, your phone system is there and ready to use.

Far too many customers have abandoned businesses during disasters due to business lines going down. You no longer have to worry about the dreaded fast busy signal.

After all, customers calling from other states won’t always understand why your lines are down and expect your phones to still be workable. Now you can prove to them that you thought things out technologically to help place them first.

Consider us here at 4 Corner IT for your cloud-based VoIP. We’re an established IT team with 14 years of experience in making sure the technology we offer is truly right for every business.

Contact us so we can analyze your business structure to see if cloud-based VoIP is the right choice for you.