Categories
Computers How To Guides

Some simple ways to speed up your Windows PC

According to StatCounter in August 2012, globally, Microsoft Windows XP, Vista and 7 accounted for the operating systems on 87.85% of computers around the world. That means that the majority of people own a PC which runs on Windows, as opposed to one which runs on iOS, MacOSX, Unix or another operating system.

An issue many Windows users often find is that after a while their computer seems to slow down. If this sounds familiar, then you should find this article extremely useful, as in it I am going to give you my personal tips on how to keep your Windows PC (XP, Vista and 7) running fast. This guide applies to both laptops and desktop PCs. 🙂

What Slows Computers Down?

The trick to understanding how to make your machine run faster involves working out what slows your computer down. It would be interesting to know what most people think slows their computer down, so if you have an idea, let me know in the comments.

The first and one of the biggest culprits which slow your computer down are background processes. These are things which go on in the background whilst you are doing things. Say you are trying to open up an internet browser, lets take Firefox as an example, then when you click on Firefox, it is very possible that plugins you have installed also try to start up and do things in the background. Until recently an really good example of this was the Google toolbar, which would start up a process to talk to Google and find out if it was up to date.

There are likely to be a lot of programs trying to do things in the background, whilst you are focusing on your task. Java, Apple, Google, Adobe (Flash Player and Reader) are big culprits, always whirring away in the background. If you have anything Google installed like Google Earth, Google Chrome, Google Talk etc. then the chases are it is taking a lot more resources than it needs. Likewise anything Apple like iTunes, QuickTime etc. are also likely to be slowing your PC down.

Another big culprit is disorganised hard disk files. Every time you delete something, move something, create a new file or folder etc. you change the layout of your hard disk and the structure of your files. This can often mean that related files can be put far apart on the disk, which is not optimal, also in order to get to a file, the computer may first have to locate it via following a redirect from where it used to be – this takes time.

The final major culprit I am going to address is unnecessary visual effects. Your computer can often get really bogged down trying to display fancy effects which you don’t really need, meaning you can’t get on and do what you wanted to do.

Now we know three of the main issues, lets fix them!

Stopping Unnecessary Background Processes

A tortoise with a rocket on its backStopping bad background processes is easier than you might think. There are a few ways to go about it, the way I find the most effective is though a tool named ‘MSConfig’. This can be found on Vista and 7 by typing in msconfig into the search box on the start menu, in in Windows XP by typing msconfig into the Run command box.

MSConfig allows you to make a lot of changes to your system, but unless you know what you are doing, I would stick to just two tabs, Services and Startup. To start speeding up your PC, go to the ‘Services’ tab and click ‘Hide all Microsoft Services’, which will stop you accidental stopping anything you need. Now untick anything you don’t feel you need. An example of a service you might want to untick is ‘Google Update Service‘, whilst an example of one you probably don’t want to is your Anti-Virus software’s one.

Remember stopping a service does not stop you opening a program. Say there is an Office service which you stop, it will not run in the background, but you will still be able to run Word, Excel and Outlook.

Now lets move onto the ‘Startup’ tab. Here you can also remove any service you don’t want to run, but this is specifically when you start up your PC. For example, if you have Skype installed, but don’t want it to run when your computer starts, then untick the Skype service. Likewise if you don’t want Google Talk to automatically start running, untick googletalk.exe – the Google Talk service.

Reorganise Your Hard Disk

Reorganising your files is really easy, it just takes time. A disk defragmenter is what you need for this, and Windows comes with one built in for free! There are third party ones available too, some of which are good, and others not so – your choice.

Simply start Windows Disk Defragmenter via searching for it in the start menu, or open My Computer >> right-click on the hard disk you want to defragment >> click Properties >> click the Tools tab >> click click Defragment now.

It may take any amount of time from 5 minutes to 12 hours (potentially more if you have a really big and messy hard disk) and during the process, I would advise against using your computer. Typically it takes an hour or two to defragment a hard disk.

Turn Off Unneeded Visual Effects

If you are happy to loose some of the sleekness your system has then this tip could really boost your computers performance.

First you need to open the visual effects panel. In Windows 7 right-click Computer on the start menu >> click Properties >> click Advanced system settings (on the left) >> then select Settings under the Performance section. In XP right-click My Computer >> click Properties >> click the Advanced tab >> then select Settings under the Performance section.

From here you can remove visual effects you don’t really need. If you like you can remove them all, but that could really change how your PC looks. Animate windows when minimizing and maximising, Show shadows under mouse pointer and Show window contents while dragging are all effects which really slow down your PC, but you are unlikely to miss. Experiment, and see which ones you can live without.

I hope these tips work for you, and have fun with your fast(er) computer!

Got any tips yourself? Why not share them below?

Categories
Search Engines

How does Google make money?

The other day someone asked me how Google makes its money. At the time I called upon the knowledge I had and talked about the ads they have in the search results, the Chromebooks and Android systems they are selling, and Google Apps and Docs.

This week Google announced, it was disappointed with its 27% rise in revenues. Yes you read right, it was disappointed! Profits were up 6.4% and revenues 27%. In the same period, (the last quarter of 2011) Microsoft saw its revenues rise just 5%, and its profits fall by 0.15%!

Here is the interesting (weird) thing, Google’s share value fell 10% after the announcement, whilst Microsoft’s grew by around 2%! How crazy.

Anyway, this got me thinking, what are all the way Google makes money, as that is a lot to get just from the ways I mentioned.

How does Google make money?

The fact is, the majority of Google’s revenues come from the ads it presents to users on search result pages. However in recent years it has started making more and more money in other ways. So what are these other ways Google makes money?

Chromebooks

Introduced mid last year, Chromebooks are laptops powered by Google Chrome OS, where the laptop and the internet are one. There are no programs, desktop or start menu, the who experience runs from the cloud, utilising all Google’s (and other) online applications.The Google Chrome Logo

Samsung and Acer are the two firms which currently offer Chrome OS powered laptops, however expansion to more brands in the future is inevitable. Samsung and Acer obviously take their share the sales, as will Amazon and the other places Chromebooks are sold, however the laptops do make money for Google.

Android

I assumed that Google made money from Android, however I was wrong – Google does not make money from its Android mobile operating system. Android is a Google-led open source mobile OS framework, however Google does not profit from it.

Google Android's Logo

YouTube

Since Google bought YouTube in 2006, the site hasn’t been that profitable for it. YouTube is now the site with the third most traffic on the web, meaning that it has huge potential, however until recently, it was only making money from ads.

Before Google AdSense ads used to appear alongside videos, which they still do, however now they also advertise within videos too. Furthermore, YouTube have started offering online movies, which users can pay to watch from the comfort of their own home – or wherever they are.

Google Storage

Many Google services offer online storage, however this is only a finite amount. Should you want to purchase extra storage for Gmail, Google Docs, Picasa or Blogger (photos on blogger, not posts) then you can do so from Google Storage. I doubt this brings in Google a lot of revenue, but nerveless, it makes the internet giant some money.

Google Store

Google have an online store which distribute to may different locations around the world. They sell everything from branded keyrings and juggling balls, to t-shirts and even accessories with past Google Doodles printed on them.

DoubleClick, AdSense and AdWords

The majority of Google’s revenues come from the advertisers who use AdWords and DoubleClick. These ads are then either shown in the search results, or on websites which host AdSense units. Google makes lots of money out of ads. It doesn’t tell AdSense hosts what cut of the advertisers fees they get, but it makes Google a lot of money, so I would guess that they take home more than website owners hosting their ads.

Other Ways Google Makes Money

These are not the only ways Google makes money, other ways include, Google Apps for Business, Google Cloud Connect, Google Docs, Feedburner (through ads), Google Earth Pro, Google Mini (where you effectively buy the Google search engine to use on your own site/intranet), Google Checkout and more.

Hopefully this gives you some insight into just how many ways there are that the search giant that is Google makes money.