Making Windows Run Faster
There are so many things that can slow a PC — excessive software, insufficient resources (hard drive, RAM, etc), bad drivers, rogue programs (viruses, spyware, etc), or just the cumulative bloat that Windows acquires over time. I hope that this becomes a good starting point for myself and others to create a comprehensive list of tips to speed our performance without having to completely reinstall Windows.
The best tip is probably: change your PC as little as possible. This means don’t install any unnecessary software. That being said, it can also happen that newer versions of software have fixed known problems in older versions. This usually isn’t the case, however as most programs get slower as additional features are added in later versions. This means that you should check with the vendor to see if there are known performance issues.
Scan for viruses and spyware. Uninstall unused programs. Clear your browser cache. If you have broadband, set your cache to less than 100MB. Defragment your hard drive. Remove programs from the Startup folder. Disable unnecessary programs from the System Tray.
If the above didn’t work, see if the slowness can be traced to a specific program. If so, reinstall that program.
This is a great article: What Kind of Maintenance Do I Need to Do on My Windows PC?
Here’s an older article, specifically for XP users: Making Windows XP Start Faster