Windows Entropy and How to Stop it

June 20, 2011, By Christian Cawley

A slowdown in Windows might be related to elements beyond hardware, of course. The most common causes are the Windows Registry becoming bloated, DLLs and other temporary files are duplicated and hard disk drives become fragmented.

When combined with systems that have a lot of background processes running, all of this means that your computer is going to run at a snail’s pace.

This happens for various reasons. For instance as you install more applications, the registry will increase in size and may in turn load up more background tasks. With the hard disk drive required to store and run these tasks, you can see how one might affect the other.

Windows Entropy and How to Stop it

A Bloated Windows Registry

The Registry is essentially a database storing instructions for every single piece of software that is installed on your computer including Windows itself. S software is added and removed from your computer, the registry grows, and as it expands applications can take longer to load.

As a result, your computer will slow down.

The registry often acts as a reference point for applications; for instance, your preferred save location for a particular app might be stored in the registry, and as the database increases in size finding this reference will take longer and longer.

Additionally, the registry can be bloated by incomplete uninstalls, where odd references are left in the registry (and files and folders are left on the hard disk drive). Often this is done for efficiency, to make a reinstall quicker, but if you no longer need the software this can prove troublesome.

Registry cleaners such as CCleaner are a good option here to tidy things up and make the registry run more efficiently.

Application Extras and Frameworks

Something else that can slow your PC down is the requirement to have additional software installed to facilitate the running of a new application. Typical examples include the Microsoft .NET and Microsoft Visual C++ redistributables.

Both are vital pieces of software, but they’re both prone to duplication. Only one of each is required (perhaps two in a 64-bit architecture system) but a quick browse to Start > Control Panel > Uninstall a program might reveal various versions. Only one, the most recent, is required, so it might be worth spending some time removing older versions (for instance you might find Microsoft Visual C++ redistributables from 2005 and 2008, so keep the more recent versions).

Unnecessary Background Services and Tasks

Another cause of Windows slowdown is tasks that you don’t really need to have running. For instance, you might have a media server running on your PC so that you can stream content to your Xbox. However, if you’re currently on your PC and no one else is home, you could easily disable this service by closing it in the Windows Task Manager (accessed via CTRL+SHIFT+ESC in Windows 7) or the management console (Start > right click Computer > Manage > Services and Applications > Services) although this isn’t available in small scale versions of Windows 7.

There are many causes for a slowdown in performance in Windows 7, but they can all be resolved with the right treatment!

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