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Old 11th April 2008, 15:19   #1
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Default Keep your PC up to Speed (A Basic Guide)

OK dudes,

So when your 'monster' of an old PC feels like its underperforming, the Hard Disk (Thats where you store your porn for the young PC-illiterate males. Or where you store your photos, music, videos and applications for the rest of the PC-illiterate population) is more often than not, to blame. Like most things on the planet from the minute your Hard Drive is born, it starts its journey down the long path to failure. While on the outside, it appears than the Hard Drive is the most robust component in your PC (How many people have acctually had to upgrade their hard drive due to Failure rather than storage space? - Not many) They do have a habit of just lingering on and on where as once most components just go kaput once they have had enough!

Before blaming your Hard Drive entirely though, there are some FREE things you can do to help your PC run smoothly. you should make sure you PC meets most, if not all of the following basic requirements. Its prbably also worthwhile noting that these requirements are based on my opinions and experiences, rather than fact (if that even exsists in computing terminology).

1. You PC is up to date with all the patches microsoft throw at you.
As much as you might hate microsoft and not want anything more to do with them, these patches are them trying to fix there mistakes, best to let them just do it!

2. If you are using Internet Explorer, stop, download Firefox!
While IE is starting to look and behave more and more like firefox everyday, it will never be Firefox and thus it will always be out of date!

3. AVG Antivirus, i dont care if you pay a monthly fee for your Norton/Symantec/McAfee updates. AVG Antivirus!
Depending how much you use your PC, you should try to run virus scans daily (or nightly). AVG can run a low priority scan while you work at the PC which shouldnt affect your productivity.

4. Defragment your Hard Drive (What the...?)
While you run programs, save photos etc etc data is constantly being shifted around the Hard Disk and where there is not space for a full chunks of data to be stored neatly in sequencem, it must be split into blocks and spread out as close together as it can be on the Disk... Hey presto, its fragmented and all you did was move a photo!

Windows has a build in Disk Defragmenter, it can be found in Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Disk Defragmenter or by clicking Start>Run and typing "defrag". You should make a point of runing the defragmenter every month or 2. It really does make a difference!

Also as a side note, you should have at least 15% free space to run the defragmenter and similarly you should try to keep that 15% free at all times for Windows run smoothly.

5. Adaware. If you use firefox and are behind a router then most of the harmful junk will never reach you, in the past few years i've only run a handful of scans with adaware and the only "threats" it has found have been harmless cookies! If however you are following this guide, then you should definatly run a full scan now!

Once your all kitted up though then do a scan every month or so just to make sure things are keeping clean!

Now that all that is done there is a benchmark program you can run called Crystal Mark. It tests your PC under various conditions and will give you a way of directly comparing your PC to someone elses rather than all of this "mines a 4Ghz quadcore doohicky and your is only a 3.2Ghz dualcore hyperthreader!" nonsense!

I touched on Hard Drives being the main fault above, which is what initially spurred me to write a little guide about benchmarking your Hard Drive and it soon turned into everything you have just read!
CrystalDiskMark will benchmark just your hardrives read and write speeds. I just bought some new Hard Drives for my File Server and noticed a massive improvement over the drives which were removed, dispite these drives only being a couple years old they only manage around a 40MB/s sequential read/write where as the new drives are pulling off 90MB/s. So in 2 years the draves have lost half their effieciency! Pretty poor tbh.

Well i know noone asked for this and i dont know why i wrote it but i did and its done, hopefully some people will benefit from it!


Heres a list of direct download links for the above, incase you struggle finding them on the websites, the Crystal mark website, especially is an awkward one!

1. Firefox
2. AVG Antivirus
3. AdAware
4. Crystal Mark
5. Crystal Disk Mark

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Last edited by barrett; 28th October 2008 at 13:34.
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