6 Simple Ways to Speed Up Windows 7

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While Windows 8 might be the newest, hottest thing for PCs, many users are still happily using Windows 7, and for good reason. Stable, clean, and able to run just about everything currently available for PCs, Windows 7 is still a great operating system.

However, Windows 7 can still suffer slowdowns and issues that make the system creep along. Instead of just dealing with these issues, why not fix things up so you can return your PC to its glory days?

Check out the six tips below to get your Windows 7 machine working faster – so you can be more productive and throw fewer mice in frustration.

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1. Disable Unnecessary Services and Features

Windows 7 comes with quite a few services that run by default in the background to make everything from IP address support to defragging to Apple devices function properly. But many of them are unnecessary to your day-to-day use.

Head over to this post by TechRepublic to see which of these you can disable safely. The fewer total services you have running at any time, the faster your overall experience will be.

To get to your services settings, go to Start Menu > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > View Local Services. Just be careful what you turn off, and always back up first!

Windows 7 Local Services window

2. Start Me Up (with fewer Startup items, that is)

When your PC starts up, it automatically runs a set of applications to get things ready for you. While this can be helpful, it’s often just a reason for your machine to take longer than normal to start up. While apps like Java and processor support are pretty important, iTunes and GoogleUpdate are probably just eating up space and time.

To see what starts up with your machine, click on the Start menu and in the Search box type MSCONFIG.

Here, click on the Startup tab and uncheck the items you don’t wish to start up with your machine.

Startup tab on System Configuration window in Windows 7

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3. Run Virus and Spyware Scans Regularly

It should go without saying that you need to run some form of virus protection on your PC, but many people still go without it. While some antivirus applications can get a little extreme with their memory usage and slow your computer down, with a little research you can get one that keeps you safe while not bogging you down too much.

Windows Defender is probably your best bet, and since it’s free, there’s not much to lose in trying it out.

As for malware, there’s a great free option there, too. Use MalwareBytes to scan for the most common malware and remove it. It’s surprising how quickly malware and viruses can stack up and slow your machine down.

4. Verify Power Settings

Windows 7 is great at getting the most out of your battery, but all that time turned on comes at a price. While you might have a fast machine, that speed is limited when you’re running off battery power.

Check your power settings by heading over to your Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options and verify that you’ve chosen performance for every setting possible.

Windows 7 Power Options window

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5. Perform Drive Maintenance

Drive maintenance is one of the most important aspects of performance, and defragmenting is the most important of these. Defragging your drive is easy, and best done overnight when you’re not using the machine.

Windows 7 Disk Defragmenter window

Basically, your drive stores data in order on your hard drive, and as you remove data, new data fills the openings, making it fragmented. By defragging your drive, this data is lined up next to pieces of data that are the same. This makes the act of retrieving data much faster.

6. Get a Solid State Drive

The last tip to speed up Windows 7 is less about settings and services and all about hardware. While adding RAM is a great way to increase speed on your machine, it’s easy to max out your RAM and still need some more speed.

This is where a Solid State Drive (SSD) comes in. Instead of writing data to platters that spin, an SSD uses flash memory, like a thumb drive. The data access speeds are incredibly fast with these drives, making them the single best way to add some serious speed. To keep the cost down, add a smaller SSD as a secondary drive that only runs your operating system, leaving all other files on the original drive.

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