The number one reason why computers get slower and slower with each passing year is that users tend to install more and more software. Much of this software is unnecessary, provides little or no benefit and simply clogs up the computer. Probably the most compelling reason why the user installs the software is that it is FREE, but this is not a good reason at all.
There is one distinction that needs to be made before any further discussion of software takes place. In order to keep your computer running at an optimum speed, you need to be concerned about the software that automatically loads as soon as your computer starts. This type of software loads into the background, unseen, and takes up valuable computer resources. If, on the otherhand, the software does not load at startup but is accessible via your programs menu, then it is much less of an issue.
Let's look at some of the typical software that causes the problem.
Everyone wants to give you a toolbar these days that purports to be useful. Toolbars are unnecessary and largely not very helpful. They load into the background when your computer starts or when you startup your Internet Browser, and therefore take up system resources. You can uninstall Toolbars safely by going to "Add Remove Programs" in your Control Panel. Typical unncessary toolbars include Alot, Inbox, and the most notorious MyWeb Search. Ideally, it is best to have nust one or two toolbars.
When you purchase a printer you will generally receive a CD. When you load this into your CD Rom Drive you will generally install a software suite that provides you with capability to edit photos and create a photo album. This all sounds really nice. The problem is that this software loads components into the background of your operating sytem at startup, just in case you happen to plug your camera in, or use your scanner if you have one. Of course, most of the time this software just sits there unused but still taking up valuable system resources. Really all you need when you buy a printer is to install the printer driver, a small piece of software that enables your computer to communicate with the printer and to be able to print.
A phone is not just a phone anymore. It's a device for playing music, videos, sending and receiving emails, instant messaging, taking pictures, and searching the web. The software that comes with your phone enables you to attach your phone to your computer and store music on your phone, manage your emails and download pictures you have taken. This capability for some people is for enjoyable and useful, but others may have limited or no value. If you hardly or never use this softeare and yet it loads into the background of your computer on startup, you may wish to uninstall it.
Microsoft Messenger and other similar instant messenging software has an annoying habit of loading on startup and, if configured, will automatically sign you on. This announces to the world that you have just sat down at your computer and can now be messaged. However this is yet another piece of software that just sits there in the background of your operating system, whether you are using it or not. You can, of course, right click on the icon in the bottom right hand corner of your screen and exit messenger.
Other software that typically loads into the background and provides benefit for only a fraction of the time that you use a computer include:
All the above software is legitimate but there is also the very real possibility that your computer loads other nasty software at startup. Unfortunately there are just two many websites that will infect your computer with "Trojans". This is a form of software that can unleash really bad consequences for the computer user. You should read what WikiPediia says about Trojans . Click here
If this happens to you, you will really know it! Suddenly your computer behaves like you have no control any more.
Stopping legitimate software from loading at startup can be accomplished by using the configuration utility call MSCONFIG. If you have Windows XP, click on the START button , and then on "RUN". Type MSCONFIG and press the ENTER key. When the configuration utility opens you will see that there are seven (7) tabs - General, SYSTEM.INI, WIN.INI, BOOT.INI, Services, Startup, Tools. Click on the STARTUP tab. You will then see a list of software that loads at startup. A program can be stopped easily by unchecking it.
If you have bad stuff i.e. Trojans, Viruses and Worms, then the above solution won't help you. You will need to download and run the "Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool" as a starting strategy. It does not get rid of everything but it will take care of many of the common Trojans. You also need to run a full scan of your computer with good Anti-Virus software and you may also need to download and use additional software such as Sophos Anti-Rootkit.
At the end of the day this may be all too much or too scary for you. This is when you need to turn to people with expertise. So if you are totally frustrated with you computer, don't throw it out, it can be fixed.