Speeding Up Windows 7

June 8, 2011, By Christian Cawley

There are plenty of reasons why your Windows 7 PC might run slow, from a lack of disk management (you still need to defragment your drives!) to poor storage of cookies and other Internet-related data.

At worst you might have picked up some sort of malware, but the chances are that at worse you have some cheeky adware slowing your PC down as you browse the web, and at best you have a few irritating shut down “hangs” that could do with being sorted out.

In order to overcome these issues there are various steps that you can take, using tools included in Windows 7 and third party utilities that can be instructed to tidy your PC up, resulting in an instant speed improvement!

Speed up Windows 7 for improved performance

Disabling Notification Alerts

Security settings and related information are regularly displayed in Windows 7, particularly when the settings are deemed unfavourable by the operating system. This in turn can lead to some lags on your computer, especially on low-end/low-spec devices.

You can disable these warnings in order to speed up various processes, although bear in mind before you do this that the security settings notifications are pretty useful and tell you whether your PC is protected from viruses and other threats or not.

To disable the notifications you will need to open the Action Center, either by right-clicking the flag icon in the system tray or opening Start > Control Panel > System and Security. Once opened, you will be able to choose to turn on or turn off messages about the various security-related aspects of the operating system.

Easy Windows Shutdown

After a few weeks of use, you might find that Windows takes a while to shut down. This is usually caused by running processes that refuse to be closed, and they can cause quite a delay. Even with the Windows notice offering you the chance to force-close any running processes, this can take a while.

Windows will by default give five seconds to any applications that have failed to close correctly, but this time can be altered in the system registry. Altering the delay can work either way – you could reduce it to one or zero seconds for a quicker exit, or extend it to ensure that your applications are exiting correctly.

To alter this, open the system registry (click Start and type regedit, then tap Enter) and browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop and right-click the HungApp Timeout string. Choose Modify and alter the value, which is stored in milliseconds (e.g., 5000 = five seconds).

Tidying Your Windows

One final method of speeding up Windows 7 is with the excellent CCleaner tool, available free from www.piriform.com/ccleaner. After downloading and installing this very useful utility, you can use it to clean your temporary files from any installed browsers, scan for issues in the Windows Registry and fix them, and even manage your startup items, a key cause of slow Windows 7 boots.

The benefits of using CCleaner cannot be stressed enough, and it is a perfect solution to many speed issues in Windows.

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