Computer Replacement Options Before you work to speed up your
computer, first consider whether speeding it up or replacing it is your best
option. If your computer has less than a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 chip and/or less
than a 4x200MHz=800MHz front side bus speed, you might
want to buy a better computer instead of sinking more time and/or money into trying
to upgrade and tune up a very old computer. Also, if you have plenty of
money, you can buy a newer computer that is much faster than an older
high-quality 3.0GHz Pentium 4 computer.
You have the option of downloading a free software
program that will provide you with a quick detailed description of your
computer's CPU, motherboard, BIOS, memory, front side bus speed, hard drives,
windows operating system, etc. You can also benchmark your CPU's speed vs.
CPU's that you could
buy. You can download
a free version 13.12 of Sandra Lite XII (13.12) from filehippo.com.
(If you download this software, do not
download a newer version unless you are sure that you are downloading a
32-bit CPU version, not a 64-bit CPU version, of this software. A
newer 64-bit CPU version of this software will presumably crash any 32-bt CPU
machine that it runs on.)
You could buy a refurbished 2.8GHz-3.0GHz Pentium 4
desktop computer with 1GB or more of RAM for around $100-$150 plus shipping at SurplusComputers.com.
If you have more money to spend, you could buy a new faster computer at TigerDirect.com
or another retailer.
Computer Hardware Upgrade Options
Computer RAM (i.e., computer memory chips) is much faster than computer hard
drives. If you have money to spend on speeding up your computer, first
you'll want to buy as much RAM as you can
afford, at least 1-2GB and possibly up to 4GB if you can afford it. Then
you'll want to configure your computer using memory management software to do as
much of your computing as possible using quick RAM memory chips instead of the
much slower file disk access on hard drives.
If you have less than 1GB of memory in a Windows XP
computer, you probably want to upgrade to at least 1GB of memory to speed up
your computer. Crucial.com is a good
resource to provide some more info. Caution: think twice
before paying money to upgrade your computer to more than 1GB or 2GB of RAM
total. You might want to save your money or spend it on some other
computer upgrade or a replacement computer instead. Also, you might be able
to find good memory chips recommended by the PC's or motherboard's manufacturer
for less money if you shop around.
A DVD+-RW dual layer drive
If you don't have a DVD dual layer read-write drive,
you can buy
one at NewEgg.com or another website or store. (You'll need to know
whether to buy an IDE or SATA drive.) While blue ray drives are being
sold, this technology is still expensive and still undergoing continual
A faster video card
Before spending money on a faster and nicer video card,
try the free options for speeding up your computer and see if this is
enough. I would also buy more RAM for the motherboard before spending much
money to upgrade the video card.
However, if you want
faster computer video monitor screen display, you can always buy a better video
card with more RAM at NewEgg.com
or eBay or another website or store. You
can also upgrade your video display by buying a dual video display card that can
display video on 2 computer monitors. There are some very specific
technical specifications that you would have to meet to get the correct video
card (for example, is it for an AGP, PCI-E, or PCI card slot, what AGP speed it
supports if it is an AGP video card, what computer monitor video cord connection socket is required,
etc.) Also pay attention to the amount of RAM on the video card and the
maximum video resolution supported by the video card.
Speeding Up Your Computer The best strategy for speeding up your computer is
to add more RAM and use more RAM in
your computer using a disk cache manager and/or
a RAM disk. If you have less than 1GB of memory, please consider spending the money to
upgrade to at least 1GB of RAM for your computer, and ideally at least 2GB.
Another key speed-up step is to not load or run unnecessary software and
services. And the final step is to tweak the registry to optimize Windows
XP to run faster by either using registry tweaking software and/or a good
1. First, I recommend that you install an optional free light computer
monitoring program called Performance
Monitor so that you can easily see what is happening on your
Monitor will monitor your CPU usage, memory usage, file read and write disk
access, and receiving data from and sending data to the Internet.
2. Reduce your boot-up time by not loading unnecessary software into RAM.
Run msconfig.exe (by clicking on
"start", then clicking on "run", then typing "msconfig.exe",
then clicking on "OK"), click on
the "startup" tab, and uncheck all unnecessary programs at
startup. This should:
1) speed up your program startup,
2) speed up your computer by not having unnecessary
programs running in your RAM, and
3) unclutter your system tray at the right side of the
bottom of your computer screen.
Whenever you install a software program, the program
often wants to load itself at boot-up and display an icon in the system
tray. If you don't need it, don't load it at PC boot-up.
3. Make the most use of your faster RAM instead of your slower hard drive by
downloading the free version of CachemanXP
for Windows XP or Cacheman7
for Windows Vista or Windows 7.
6. Consider your optional use of faster dns servers from dnsadvantage.com
public dns servers as backup dns servers. This should speed up
Internet access a little and make Internet access to dns name servers more
8. Consider your optional use of roboform
to keep track of your Internet passwords and bookmarks. The same roboform
software and data is also usable by multiple Internet browsers, including
firefox and Internet Explorer.
10. Tweak Windows XP to speed up windows. You could try Optimize
XP for free for 30 days to do this. However, this program costs $20 to
register after 30 days. Or you could research tweaking and speeding up
windows yourself in your spare time. If you tweak Windows XP manually, you
can easily edit the registry using the program Registrar
Registry Manager (but only if you know what you are doing in editing the
11. Defragment your
hard drive. Both the Windows XP operating system and Symantec System Works
have hard disk defragmenting programs, and there are many other hard disk
12. Make sure that you always have enough free space on your hard drives. Limited free
space on your main hard drive can slow down your computer a lot. Running
out of free hard disk space on your main hard drive can slow down your computer
and stop certain computer programs from running or even saving data until you
free up more hard disk space.
13. Longer term. Consider using smaller partitions with less data on each
hard drive partition. Your data could be divided into these multiple categories, placed in
a total of more than 1 hard drive partitions:
1. Windows operating system files.
2. Your pagefile.sys (ideally loaded onto a RAM disk).
3. Installed program files. (The
original ready-to-install program files.)
4. Downloaded ready-to-install uninstalled programs. (The
original ready-to-install program files.)
5. Your data, usually stored in the "My
Documents" directory. (This does not include your email data that is
stored elsewhere under application data.)
6. Your email data. (Your email data is
stored in a subdirectory under an "application data" directory.)
7. Your backup data. Also back this up to DVD.
8. Your system diagnostic data. (For example, data from sysinternal's performance