Articles in Category: Windows Performance

What Windows Startup Programs Do I Need?

What Windows Startup Programs Do I Need?

Windows startup is a complex process further complicated by the number of programs that add themselves to the list. Paring it down takes work.

How Do I Find Out What Program Is Using All My CPU?

How Do I Find Out What Program Is Using All My CPU?

Occasionally, one program uses all of your computer’s processing resources. Using Task Manager, it’s easy to figure out which program that is.

Why is My Machine Slowing Down?

Why Is My Machine Slowing Down?

A PC running Windows can slow down for many reasons. Viruses, spyware, updated software, disk fragmentation, and more can lead to performance drops.

System Idle Process in Task Manager

What is the System Idle Process and Why Is It Using Most of the CPU?

Can a computer really do nothing? Yes and no. When it’s doing nothing it has to do something, and that something is the System Idle Process, waiting for something to do.

Where’s My Disk Space Going?

Where’s My Disk Space Going?

It’s not uncommon to run out of disk space. A free utility can show where your disk space is going so you can determine what steps to take.

Slow Computer

How Can I Boost My Laptop’s Performance?

There are a host of items that contribute to your computer’s (lack of) performance. I’ll review some of my top issues.

Pagefile.sys displayed in Windows File Explorer

What Is Pagefile.sys? Can I Delete It?

Pagefile.sys is the “paging file”, or system file, that contains Windows’ virtual memory. You can remove it — if you understand the ramifications.

Snake Oil!

Do “Fix All Your Windows Problems” Utilities Work?

‘Fix All Your Windows Problems’ is a claim made by many products and utilities, and it’s best viewed with skepticism. We’ll look at how to evaluate some of those claims.


What’s the Difference Between Hibernate and Sleep?

Hibernate and sleep are two optimizations to the boot/reboot process that can speed things up.

Black Monitor

Why Does My Screen Go Black When My System is Out of RAM?

If your monitor suddenly goes black due to being out of RAM, it’s likely your computer has crashed.


Why Does My Machine Take Forever to Shut Down?

Booting your machine can take time, but sometimes so does shutting it down. Various issues contribute to a slow shutdown.

Why is My System Slow If the CPU Is Mostly Idle?

The purpose of the System Idle Process is to get out of the way to let other processes run. So what does it mean if the SIP is using 100% CPU on your slow system?

Slow Computer

The Four Characteristics of Computer Speed

A friend’s slow computer provided an opportunity to review the four primary characteristics of computer slowdowns.

Windows Task Manager - Performance - Memory

How Should I Configure My Virtual Memory Settings?

The default settings for virtual memory are typically good enough for most. Tweaking virtual memory settings depends on your computer and what you do with it.

Trust Me!

Can I tell if someone has copied my files?

For all practical purposes, it’s impossible to tell if someone has copied your files after the fact. Even with preparation beforehand, it’s extremely difficult.

Searching Files

Why are there duplicate files on my computer?

Duplicate files on your computer can happen for many reasons, most of which are legitimate. Think twice about deleting duplicate files.


Three Reasons Programs Use All Available Memory in Your Computer

Programs typically don’t use all available memory unless they either need it, or they have a problem.

1's and 0's

Why Do You Regularly Reinstall Your System?

With older versions of Windows it wasn’t uncommon to want to reinstall from scratch every so often. Things are better in more recent versions. I’ll explain why someone like me might need to, and why the average computer user probably doesn’t any more.

Windows Services

What’s an “Automatic (Delayed start)” Service?

Delayed start services are programs which need to start up “eventually” when you start your machine. It’s one of the ways that Windows tries to optimize startup.

Power Button

Why Won’t My Computer Return from Standby?

Windows has the option of numerous types of software and hardware being installed. That leads to a complicated situation for standby to deal with. It easily goes wrong.

Video Screenshot

How can I find out what program keeps popping up in my taskbar and disappearing before I can click on it?

It’s not uncommon to see programs quickly come and go. There are a few ways to try and capture what they are; some technical, and some innovative.


How can I make my computer run faster?

The most effective way to speed up a system is to clean it up, have it run fewer programs, and give it more resources like RAM.

An Explorer Context Menu

Why Does Windows File Explorer Right-click Take so Long?

The menu that drops down on a right click is called a Context Menu. To fix it we need to first delve into why and how it works.

Fragmentation Map

Should I Defrag TrueCrypt?

TrueCrypt creates a virtual disk drive within a file. As a result, defragging it makes some sense.

Leo's XP Desktop

Does What’s on My Desktop Affect My Computer’s Speed?

A cluttered desktop doesn’t slow down your computer in and of itself, but could be a symptom of deeper problems.

Audit Policy in Windows 8 gpedit.msc

How can I track what programs come and go on my machine?

Windows is constantly starting and stopping programs as part of its normal operations. You can see exactly what programs are being run using a Windows technique called process auditing.

Slow as a snail

Why Does My Sound Quality Degrade over Time?

The system degrading over time sounds like a software problem. So how do we find out what’s using the CPU?

Slow as a snail

Why Does My Internet Slow to a Crawl When My Desktop Is Turned On?

Many things can cause one computer to hog your bandwidth. But there’s a useful Windows 7 utility that may show you where the bandwidth is going.

Why Can’t I Delete these Temp Files?

Temp files that you can’t delete are often safe. Still, I am concerned that one of your files sounds like it’s related to known malware. The first step is to clean up.

Defrag and Optimize

Why Do Different Defrag Programs Give Different Results?

While defrag programs use different algorithms to defragment your machine, one thing is for sure – they won’t defrag your machine 100%. But is it worth it to be that thorough?


Will CHKDSK Harm My Files?

If CHKDSK freezes when you run it, you may have a problem with your files or hard disk. But don’t blame CHKDSK for the problem.

Defraggler, in progress

Defragging in Windows 7 (and later)

Disk fragmentation can adversely impact overall system performance. Defragmenting your hard disk periodically can help. Even better, Windows may already be doing it for you.

An Active Hard DIsk

I Have Constant Disk Activity and I Don’t Know Why. How Can I Tell What Program Is Doing It?

Unexplained disk activity turns out to be fairly easy to identify with the right tools. We’ll use Process Monitor to track disk activity.

Memory Usage

Why is Windows using more memory over time?

It’s best not to read too much into available memory. Windows memory management is the stuff of nightmares even for the people who understand it. For the rest of us, it’s just magic.

Why is my computer’s fan coming on?

You’ve checked for dust, but the computer is still running hot. I’ll point you in the direction of a few more things that could be causing this heat wave… including a heat wave itself.

Rotten Orange

Does an unstable system imply a hardware problem?

System instability is often the result of what we call “software rot.” It can be the result of installing and uninstalling lots of programs – and the cure isn’t easy.

Healthy Computer

Why Do So Many Tech Support Solutions Start with “Reboot” or “Turn It Off”?

Quite often the first thing that a diagnostic technician will ask you to do is reboot your computer. Why? Because rebooting works surprisingly often.

How do I use an “unallocated space” partition in Windows 7?

Unallocated space as a hard disk partition is space that won’t be used. I’ll look at the two common ways to make unallocated space usable.

What Is Pagefile.sys and Can I Move It?

If you’ve added a hard drive to your system you can move pagefile.sys to free up space on your original drive and speed up your system.

How Do I Fix this High CPU Usage Svchost Virus or Whatever It Is?

Many people are experiencing high CPU usage, often 100%, in svchost. Svchost is not a virus, but many people think it acts like one.

“(Not Responding)” – What does it mean, and what do I do about it?

‘(Not Responding)’ is Windows’ way of telling you that a program might have a problem. Sometimes ‘(Not Responding)’ is benign, but sometimes it’s a sign of a deeper issue.

My Computer Locks Up and Won’t Boot. What Do I Do?

There are a few things to take a look at with your system if your computer locks up and won’t boot.