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Optimizing Computer Performance

Over time, a computer’s performance may decrease. Performance is influenced by many factors. This article considers the most prominent ones and offers ways to optimize computer performance.

This article will primarily be useful to players with low- and average-spec computers.

 

Even an inexperienced user can easily configure their system with these instructions. However, some other more complex settings should be performed by an experienced user or IT specialist. Instructions for experienced users in this article come with a special warning.

Driver Update

ОUpdating a computer's software (drivers) is a necessary and important procedure. Games installed on your computer make it perform diverse actions: playing back multimedia files, processing graphic effects, and so on. Even network connection stability may depend on which driver version your network adapter is using.

Outdated drivers are not always able to correctly perform the target functions, which can lead to unstable computer operation. The best way to ensure that you have the latest software version for your device is to download the correct driver from the device manufacturer’s website: such software is definitely tested and optimized for stable operation.

You can find out which devices are currently installed on your computer, as well as find information about their manufacturer in the technical documentation that came with your computer or device when you purchased it. If you don't have the technical documentation anymore, you can find out about the components using the DxDiag utility.

The following article instructs on how to find and update drivers using the Windows tools: Automatically Get Recommended Drivers and Updates for Your Hardware

If you know the model of your device or laptop, you can find the required driver yourself on the manufacturer’s website.

Webpages of the biggest hardware manufacturers:

Optimizing Windows Performance

The performance of a personal computer depends not only on the hardware, but also on how the operating system is configured.

The following article provides Microsoft recommendations for optimal Windows performance.

Optimize Windows for better performance

The article describes solutions for Windows 7. However, many of these solutions can also be applied to other Windows operating systems. Pay special attention to the sections titled “Defragment your hard disk” and “Clean up your hard disk”.

Paging File (Virtual Memory)

The paging file is allocated on the hard drive and is designed to improve computer performance in cases where the amount of installed RAM is not sufficient for fast operation.

Checking the Hard Drive Using CHKDSK

A hard drive is a device that stores all information on a computer, from the installed operating system to your favorite movies and games. Constant access to the hard drive leads to its physical degradation over time. As a result, reading speed from hard disk sectors decreases, and sometimes so-called “bad” sectors appear, which, in turn, leads to substandard performance of the operating system and personal computer as a whole.

Checking the hard drive with the CHKDSK utility will fix problems in its operation and can provide a significant performance boost if bad sectors are blocked effectively.

      • Checking the Hard Drive
      • TechNet Microsoft Library

        The recommendations listed in the Microsoft TechNet Library are applicable to Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10.


        If, during the hard disk check, a lot of unrecoverable errors are detected, or the computer simply freezes, we suggest you contact the service center.

Windows Check with SFC

The SFC utility built into the operating system is designed to fix errors in the OS, as well as restore damaged files. This diagnostic will often fix problems in the operation of system processes and correct errors in the operating system registry, which, in turn, will also have a positive impact on computer performance.

Running this utility on Windows XP is possible only with an installation CD containing the OS image.

Windows Clean Boot

Clean boot of the operating system is a boot mode using the minimum set of programs and services. In other words, it precludes the influence of other programs on Windows boot.

Over time, more and more programs get installed on your computer, some of them launch at Windows startup and consume computer resources (RAM, processor, etc.).

If your computer takes too long to load for no apparent reason, or the game takes forever to launch, it is probably time to perform a Windows clean boot. This will help identify the program or a number of programs that affect the performance of the computer.

The recommendations in this article are applicable to Windows XP.

Configuring Power Mode in Windows

If you want to improve your computer’s performance, then you must configure the power mode. There are various power management schemes designed to either reduce the power consumption of the computer or maximize its performance (which increases the power consumption).

As a rule, portable computers (laptops) benefit from power mode management. The software that comes with a laptop is by default configured to Balanced power mode, which sometimes hinders it from fully using the computer’s resources for games. If the computer has two video adapters (built-in processor and a discrete card), the Balanced mode utilizes a less efficient adapter to reduce power consumption, which in turn affects gaming quality in terms of producing a low FPS (frames per second) count.

In order for the computer to use its resources to full capacity, one needs to activate High Performance mode.

It is important to choose the power mode not only in the OS settings, but also in special programs that are installed on the laptop by its manufacturer.

Configuring the Video Adapter Driver to Use the Discrete Video Card When Playing

The previous section already mentioned that a less efficient video adapter could be used when the game launches and suggested a way of addressing this.

Consider another option.

You can enable a discrete video adapter for the game in the software settings for the video card.

Configuring the Antivirus

Protecting the operating system from malicious software is an important safety factor. However, if you want to improve your computer’s performance, you should not crank the anti-virus settings all the way up. These settings significantly affect the computer’s performance. It is recommended to select the gaming mode (some antiviral programs have a special Gaming profile).

Also, to prevent the antivirus from affecting the game, you need to add the game client to the trusted zone.c

There are many brands of antivirus on the market that change significantly from version to version, therefore, it is difficult to describe all of the settings for each of them. However, you can contact your antivirus support to help configure it correctly. Here are links to popular antivirus websites:

Scanning Your Computer for Malware

Even the most up-to-date antivirus may fail to detect new malware in a timely manner. A virus disrupts the operation of the OS, and in some cases, it can also put great load on the video card or CPU, which in turn leads to plummeting performance. Therefore, if you notice a sharp and significant deterioration in your computer performance, it is likely infected with malware. In this case, you need to check your computer with a different antivirus.

The following utilities work great to that end:

Cooling System Maintenance

Recommendations from this section are for experienced users or IT specialists. It is especially difficult to handle cooling for laptops.


Most computers are equipped with an air-cooling system, which has its strengths, as well as weaknesses and disadvantages. One of the drawbacks: the generated suction draws dust into the computer. Over time, dust build-up can prevent the cooling system from doing its job and computer overheats. Also, dust is a good electricity conductor, and it can short-circuit the system board (motherboard) or other components. This can cause damage or render any device useless.

To avoid this, observe the following precautions:

      1. Do not put your computer in dusty areas or where there is draft.
      2. Do not obstruct airflow to the cooling system. Laptops are most sensitive to this, since the air intake is from under the bottom panel. By placing the laptop on a blanket or simply on your lap, you can accidentally shut off the air supply, which will make the computer overheat.
      3. Perform cooling system maintenance regularly. It is advisable to clean the computer using compressed air cans or a compressor. This method is much more efficient than using a vacuum cleaner. However, you should use compressed air on your computer only in the open, outside (not at home, office, etc.).
      4. Replace the thermal grease on the CPU. Also, if necessary, you can replace the thermal grease on the motherboard chipset and video card graphic processor.
      5. 5. In case of insufficient cooling of the PC components, install additional fans.

This article lists the main ways of optimizing your computer performance, but this list is not exhaustive.

 

All utilities and recommendations mentioned in the article are provided by official sources.

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