Simple Speedup guide for XP/Vista/Win7/Win8

This guide is a small subset of the full guide, containing only those actions which're most important, simple to do, and which do not pose a risk of harming your machine. It should be fine for novice users, however caution is advised. Do not do anything you're unsure about.

Step One: delete stuff

  1. Go through your computer and back up old projects and data onto CD, DVD or external hard drive. Get rid of personal stuff that doesn't need to be on the hard drive anymore. If backing up onto DVD, (a) be careful when touching the underside of DVDrs as they can be made unusable extremely easily, (b) select a good media - either verbatim or taiyo yuden are pretty good bets.
  2. Download and run PC decrapifier. Remove any software you know you don't use. Do not remove anything you're unsure about, but remove any 'toolbar', 'anti-spyware' or 'pc speedup' types of software. If you're running a Norton, Mcafee or AVG antivirus, remove those as well (these are performance draining, problematic and will be replaced later on). If a program asks to reboot, deny it. Continue uninstalling all applications until all are finished, then reboot when PC Decrapifier says it's finished. If you had a Norton or AVG antivirus, after you've uninstalled them and rebooted you will need to also download and run the Norton Removal Tool or AVG Removal Tool's, respectively.
  3. If you're using internet explorer, install a better and more secure browser (internet explorer is the biggest target of malware) like Chrome or Firefox, and use that instead.
  4. Download and run Ccleaner Slim. In particular tick the boxes for "Hotfix uninstallers" (XP) and "Old prefetch data". Then click on 'Run Cleaner'. Also run the registry cleaner in this program.
  5. Run window's Disk Cleanup utility (programs->accessories->system tools) (Vista/7/8: Right-click the program and left-click on "Run as Administrator" in the drop-down menu that appears). Tick all boxes and then click 'Ok'. This may take a while.
  6. Download, unzip and run Wises Registry Cleaner. Run the registry cleaner and then clean. Also run the 'System Tuneup' section, reboot, and then finally the 'Registry Defragment' section after rebooting and reloading the program.

Step Two: prep and check

  1. Download and install Malwarebytes - let it update itself and then run a scan. If it finds something, let it clean it, then run your regular virus scanner on it's normal scan mode. If it finds and cleans any malware, make sure it's removed by rebooting and running the cleaner again on 'Full' mode. If the malware is still there, talk to a computer technician.
  2. Download and run HDDScan - click the 'SMART' button, and if you get any 'yellow exclamation mark' boxes next to any of the SMART values in the results, talk to a computer technician - your data and drive may be in danger of being lost.

Step Three: disable stuff

  1. Disable windows sounds.
    (XP) Go to control panel -> sound and audio devices -> sounds.
    (Vista/7/8/10) Type 'sounds' in the search box. Click the resultant icon.

    Change the sound scheme to 'No sounds'.
  2. Go to Control panel -> system -> advanced -> performance -> settings -> Visual effects and change to "adjust for best performance". Then tick "Smooth edges of screen fonts" and "Themes" and hit ok.
  3. Disable default screen saver.
    (XP) Go to Control Panel->Display->Screen saver tab and change screensaver to 'none'. Then click on 'monitor power' and make sure your screen turns off after 20 minutes or so. This saves on power and prevents long-term damage to the screen.
    (Vista/7/8/10) Go to Control Panel and search for 'Personalization' (without quotes). Click on the resultant icon. Click on 'screen saver' and change your screen saver to 'none'.

Step Four: defragmentation time...

  1. Download and install Mydefrag. Do not install the screensaver. Do install the scheduled tasks. Now, run Mydefrag and run "System Disk Monthly" on your system partition (usually "C:"). Once finished, close and run the application again, and if you have any other partitions visible ("E:", F:" etc), run "Data disk monthly" on them. Monthly defrags can take some time.
  2. If you are using any of the following applications - Firefox, Chrome, Epic, Iron, Opera, Palemoon, Skype, Thunderbird, Yandex, Cyberfox - download and run Speedyfox. This application defragments the profile databases for each of these applications, resulting in a much faster startup for each of them, particularly skype (please note that regular defragmenting will not affect the fragmentation of your databases).

Step Five: re-enable stuff

  1. (Win8) If you're like the majority of people and find the Windows 8 'Metro' interface a major waste of time and patience, switch back to any of the older-style start menus by installing Classic Shell. This will force Win8 to boot to the desktop interface like older versions of windows and restore the start menu. once you click on the new start menu, it will ask you which one you would like (XP/Vista/Win7-style). You're welcome.
  2. If you removed a virus scanner earlier, it's time to install one. You can either buy one (I recommend NOD32) or get a free one - either Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), Avira free (better than MSE, but pops up a suggestion to buy the full product every so often) or Avast Free (better for older computers than Avira in my experience). Whatever you install, install on default settings, and let it update itself and then scan your system. For Avira, you don't need to register it (untick registration box at bottom when prompted). For Avast, you need to register it with an email address.
    If you're running Win8, you already have MSE running by default if you don't have another virus scanner installed. Confusingly, this is called 'Windows Defender', but is completely different to what 'Windows Defender' was in previous versions of windows.
  3. Change your power settings:
    (XP) Control panel -> power options -> power schemes and change to "Home/Office" or "Laptop" (if you have a laptop).
    (Vista/7/8/10) Control panel -> Power options - either put on 'Balanced' or your manufacturer's "recommended" option.

Step Six: drink some tea

Or coffee, whatever, I don't mind. Congratulate yourself on how awesome you are, and pat yourself on the back. Feel better? Good.

All advice given without guarantee - use your brain - if anything dies/fries/stops/explodes, talk to a local computer technician (not me).

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