The Geek's Corner

Computer tips from 
Bob Wesley '61

Me at Computer.JPG The Geek

October, 2009.

If your PC is taking ages to boot up and is very slow while running programs, here are more things you can do to speed up your system.

Problem 1: Not enough RAM

RAM stands for Random Access Memory and is used as a temporary storage memory by your computer.  This memory is in use when tasks are being executed by different programs.  Hence, you should have enough RAM memory to process all the tasks at hand; if you don't, this might cause the major slow down of your computer while it is booting up or processing tasks.

How to know if your computer has enough RAM

The programs that are installed on your computer usually have RAM requirements that are asked.  If your computer has been running at a normal speed before the installation of such programs and has crucially slowed down with time, you might need to add more RAM on your computer system.

Also, if your computer is slowing down every time you are processing large files, or it freezes while executing several programs at once, these might be some common signs that you need to add extra RAM.

I have three computers in my office and every one of them has the maximum amount of RAM installed on their motherboards.  You'd be surprised how stingy computer manufacturers are when it comes to installing the RAM.  It's usually just enough to run the system quickly so you're impressed when you take it out of the box.  As you add software, it gradually slows down because you don't have enough RAM installed to carry the extra load.

Problem 2: Temporary files have built up on your hard disk

Some tasks might require you to leave the system working for several days and this might cause temporary files to build up on your hard disk. This might be a reason why your computer is slowing down and is taking some time to boot up as these type of files tend to be memory consuming.  Cleansing your temporary files including your Internet history including cookies gives you a larger amount of hard disk space to work with.

How to delete Temporary Files

1.     Open My Computer and select your local drive (it is usually labeled as :\C).

2.     Select the Windows folder and locate the folder labeled Temp.

3.     Use your mouse to right-click on the folder (not the contents) and in the View options, choose.

4.     Select all the files that are older than the current date and press the delete key.

5.     When done, go to the Recycle Bin on your desktop and choose Empty Recycle Bin.

You can also choose to delete the Temporary Internet Files that have accumulated on your system.

1.      Go to your Start button and open Control Panel.

2.      Select Internet Options and in the section labeled Temporary Internet Files press Delete Cookies and Delete Files options.

3.      You can also delete your history by clicking the option Clear History.

4.      When done, press Apply and OK.

(When you've finished removing the Temporary Files, reboot your computer).

Problem 3: Your computer has been infected
If your computer has been infected by a virus, a malware, a worm or a Trojan, it might have cause the slow down of your computer system and even freeze several tasks at hand.  You should run a virus scan and remove all the infected files found on your system.   Be certain your virus scan program has the latest list of viruses which can be downloaded from their Website if it isn't automatically updated at regular intervals.

Problem 4: Not enough space on the hard disk
Adding very bulky programs will automatically slow down your computer system. Hence, I will suggest users with a hard disk capacity of 100GB to leave at least 20GB free and those who have a higher hard disk storage capacity to leave at least 15% of the total capacity free. This will allow your computer to have enough leg room both for temporary files and file swapping.

Defragmenting your hard disk
You can also choose to defragment your hard disk to gather some dispersed spaces that can be used by the computer again.

1.      Go to your Start menu and list all programs

2.      In the Accessories option, select System Tools

3.      Choose Disk Defragmenter from the list.

4.      To start the process, click the Defragment button.

Problem 5: Your Direct Memory Access (DMA) is disabled
The Direct Memory Access will allow data transmission between your hard drive and CD drive without requiring the microprocessors intervention. Those using Windows XP will not have this option set by default.

1.      Click on the Start button and open Control Panel

2.      Click and open the System icon

3.      Select the Hardware tab and choose Device Manager option.

4.      List the ATA/ATAPI options by clicking the + icon next to it.

5.      Select the Primary IDE Channel option

6.      In the Primary IDE Properties window select the Advanced Settings tab

7.      Check whether the Transfer Mode for Device 0 enables DMA.

8.      Also, check whether the Transfer Mode for Device 1 enables DMA.

9.      Click OK to confirm the changes.

10. Click Secondary IDE Channel

11. In the Secondary IDE Properties, select the Advanced Settings tab.

12. Check whether the Transfer Mode for Device 0 enables DMA.

13. Also, check whether the Transfer Mode for Device 1 enables DMA.

14. Click OK to confirm the changes.


Well, that just about wraps it up for this month.  Keep those e-mails coming in, and I'll do my best to answer each and every one.  And don't forget, before you take your computer to the shop for a repair, give me a call at my office - (518) 492-7907 or (866) 610-1943 and let me see if I can repair it for you at NO charge.


This is a FREE service, but contributions can be made to:

  Drong Ngur Jangchub Drubdhe Retreat Center

744 Alder Bend Rd.

Ellenburg Depot, NY 12935

We are a 501(c)(3) Buddhist Retreat that will use 100% of the contributions to the feeding and care of the large number of feral cats that have called Drong Ngur their home for quite a few generations of kittens.

Have a good month and blessings to all.

Bob Wesley '61