1. Stay up to date
Keeping your computer up to date is probably the most important thing you can do. If you are using windows, always use Windows Update. This will ensure that your browser is patched up to the latest version, and should help against malicous attacks through your browser. Also, make sure you have the latest version of your web browser. If you use Internet Explorer, you should now be using Version 7. If you use Firefox, you should now be using version 2. For users who are with ISP's that have their own built in browser, you should avoid using it, and instead opt for a mainstream browser like IE7 or Firefox. These non standard browsers are usually not kept as up to date, and dont often comply to the same standards as mainstream browsers.
2. Install Flash Player
Flash is now very common, and found all over the internet. If you do not have Flash Player installed, and can significantly slow down your browsing experience. You can download and install Flash Player here.
3. Cookies, History and Filters
When your history and cookies build up in your browser, it means it has a lot more work to do. Regularly clearing this lot will help your browser do what it needs to when loading pages much more efficiently. Some new browsers, such as IE7, have things like Phishing Filters. These cause quite a big delay in page load times. Disabling these often produces good speed increases.
4. Get Protected
A lot of people have computers that are infected with spyware or viruses, and most don't even realise this. Since spyware is always monitoring what you do, and sending this information out, it can end up using quite a lot of your bandwidth. You don't have to spend lots of money to get yourself protected. There are many free programs out there that do a fantastic job. Most notable in our experience is SpyBot, which is very effective, and also comes with a registry protector. There is another program call Ad-Aware, also free. You can also use a program called Hijack This, it will analyze your entire computer and produce a very detailed log file. This can then be given to someone with a good working knowledge of Operating Systems, who can then diagnose what your PC may be infected with. It's a good idea to run a scan of your computer with anti spyware software at least once a month. Once a week would be even better ;)
5. Do you need upgrading?
Modern computers don't really have this problem, but older computers, especially those without a dedicated video card, can often have a hard time rendering modern websites. There is a lot to load in most new websites, and a lot of information for the browser to render. If your computer doesn't have enough memory, processing power, or graphics power, it will most likely be a choppy experience loading, and even using websites. For a modern browsing experience, here is a decent, modest specification:
Graphics Card: 128mb+, preferably a dedicated card
Processor: Equivelent of an AMD Athlon 2800 or higher, or an Intel Celeron 2.8 GHz or higher
This is a very modest computer specification, and if you went out to buy a new computer, it's almost certain to have more than this specification.
6. Remove Redundant Software and Startup Options
If you havent freshly installed your Operating System in a long time, you most likely have alot of software installed that you do not use anymore. This has a detrimental effect on your computer, as it has less space to use, more work to do when reading the registry, sometimes more work to do when booting your computer, often alot of this software will have processes still running in the background, even though they are not being used. Removing this software should help your computer speed up considerably.
Take a look at what is automatically started with your computer - you will find a lot of software you rarely use. A lot of which can often communicate online with the software's servers. All of this can slow down your internet connection.
7. Defragmenting and Re Installing your OS
Defragmenting your computer helps your computer store data more effeciently. This often has a significant increase in performace. If you have not defragmented, and it's been a long time since your last re-install of your OS, and ALL of the above makes no difference, it can be a good idea to back up all of your data, and re-install the OS. This would also get rid of any spyware that may be proving difficult to remove.
Click here for a guide on defragmenting.
Click here for a detailed general guide on cleaning up your PC
Keeping your PC free of spyware and viruses, keeping your software up to date, and making sure you keep your hard drive cleaned up will do wonders to the way your computer works, and how you browse the net. If you have anything to add to this article, why not post a comment so that others can benefit too!
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