How to speed up Windows 7 and 8: Clean up Windows
Part of the reason why old PCs take so long to start is because of all the programs and utilities you’ve installed. Reducing the number of applications which start-up when Windows boots enables you to get to the desktop faster and increases the memory available.
At the right side of the taskbar, click the arrow to display the notification icons. Each is a program that loads with Windows. Some are essential – antivirus software for example – but others may not be. Right click each one and if there is a Settings menu, select it and turn off the option to start automatically with Windows. Some programs, such as Google Drive, can be manually started when they are needed instead of running all the time.
Press Windows+R and type msconfig and click Ok. Select the Services tab, tick ‘Hide all Microsoft services’ and see what’s left. There may be services you can live without and clearing the tick box prevents them from running. For example, Firefox works perfectly well without the Mozilla Maintenance Service. On the Startup tab (click Task Manager in Windows 8), are lots of programs that start with Windows. Knowing what to disable isn’t easy, but you can use Google to search for items and see if they are necessary, useful or neither of those.
Recent versions of Windows automatically defragment the disk, but Microsoft’s tool is basic and there are better defragmenters that boost performance even more. Programs including O&O Defrag (oo-software.com) are excellent, but IObit’s Smart Defrag 3 (iobit.com) is nearly as good and is free.
The ultimate speed up technique is to reinstall Windows. This removes all unwanted software that slows down the PC, erases adware and other malware, clears out junk files and so on.