13 Ways to Speed Up Windows Boot Times

Speed Up

13 Ways to Speed Up Windows Boot Times

By Stephan Stemmett / Aseem Kishore


Speed UpEvery day millions of Windows machines are booted up and everyday millions of people sit idly by waiting for Windows to load onto the desktop.

 

The amount of time wasted can probably be measured in weeks considering how slow most Windows PCs boot up! Luckily, there are a lot of steps you can take to speed your computer’s boot time.

 

In this article, we're going to mention 14 simple ways we use to speed up PCs and hopefully you’ll find that they work for you aswell. 

 

1. Free Up Disk Space

Speed UpOne thing we do on computers running slow is clean up the disk space. There are aspects of Windows that use up quite a bit of disk space like the recycle bin, system restore, hibernation file, backed up service-pack files, WinSxS folder, temp directories, etc.

 

treesize

 

On top of that, you might have a lot of data lying on your hard that you might be able to move to an external hard drive or delete, I.e. Duplicates of files, Old Irrelevant document & Backups, etc. 

 

Take the time to clean up files on your computer at least once a month.

 

2. Disable Visual Effects

 

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3 ways to keep sensitive files encrypted on a flash drive or external hard drive

3 ways to keep sensitive files encrypted on a flash drive or external hard drive

By Jeandre de Beer  /  Pc World

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Flash drives are easy to lose. And anything lost can fall into the wrong hands.

So if you’re carrying around sensitive information in your pocket, you need to make sure those files are encrypted. 

 

Buy an encrypted drive

 

You can buy a flash drive with built-in encryption, such as the DataTraveler Locker+ G3. When you plug the Locker+ in, it comes up as a 13MB, read-only drive.

 

But once you launch the program file on that drive and enter the password that you previously setup, another drive opens up with all the storage space you paid for. That drive, of course, is inaccessible without the password.

The software runs off the drive, and it can be used on multiple computers and operating systems.

 

But I strongly recommend against using this drive’s optional cloud backup feature. It uses Dropbox, OneDrive, or whichever cloud service you pick, which at first glance seems like a nice convenience.

But this feature uploads the files without its own encryption. That means you’re trusting your sensitive files to the encryption capabilities of Dropbox and similar services, and they aren’t all that secure. Find another way to backup these files—preferably one where you can can control the encryption.

 

Install specialized software on your drive

 

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An SSD upgrade is still the single best thing you can do for your PC

An SSD upgrade is still the single best thing you can do for your PC

By Jeandre de Beer  /  Pc World

 

01_ssd_hdd I can't tell you exactly how much your PC will speed up with an SSD. But I can tell you it will be a lot.

 

John is "considering upgrading to a SSD."

 

He wants to know "how much faster would it really be?"

 

 

 

I can't tell give you exact numbers because I don't know either your computer or what SSD you'll buy. But I can tell you this: The hard drive, with its mechanical moving parts, is almost certainly the biggest bottleneck in your PC. (If it isn't, you've got something seriously wrong–probably in the software.) Replace that hard drive with an SSD, and the bottleneck disappears.

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Three warning signs that email is malicious

Three Warning signs that email is malicious

By Jeandre de Beer  /  Pc World

 

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Email spam filtering is far better than it used to be. There was a time when nearly every scam email would land in your inbox.

Thankfully that's not the case anymore—especially if you're a Gmail user.

But no system is perfect. Every now and then a scam message will manage to slip into your inbox. But how do you know when you're looking at a scam or not?

 

Here are three basic tip-offs you can look for to figure out whether you're looking at an email with dishonest intentions. They're hardly an exhaustive list, but more often than not one of these tips will save you from getting scammed.

 

 

1. Dear customer …

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How to diagnose and fix a dead laptop keyboard

How to diagnose and fix a dead laptop keyboard

By Jeandre de Beer  /  Pc World

 

wpid-bigstock-Stethoscope-On-Laptop-Keyboard-79833199You can't write that report with a dead keyboard. A few tests can tell you how to bring it back to life.

 

The keyboard on Jan Rademan’s laptop stopped working. He’s hoping for a fix.

 

With a laptop, you can’t simply buy a new keyboard and plug it in. Replacing it is difficult (or expensive), so it’s best to find another fix before you take the big plunge.

 

If you don’t already have an external keyboard, buy one. It’s not a viable replacement for the built-in keyboard, but it will let you log into Windows with your password. It will also help you use your computer while figuring out the best solution.

 

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Stuck CD,  DVDs & Roms that won’t open

Stuck CD,  DVDs & Roms that won't open

By Jeandre de Beer  /  Pc World

 

Try these steps to troubleshoot your Stuck Discs Stuck

Stuck CDsSometimes an important CD or DVD gets stuck inside the drive, and the tray just won't open. Stuck CD

 

That's when you wonder why you still mess with an optical drive – even though we still find them useful.

 

When the drive gets stuck, you have to try to save the drive, save the disc, and save your reputation as a level-headed person who doesn’t go hoarse screaming at non-sentient machines.

So what do you do when you push the button on the front of the drive plate and the tray doesn’t eject?

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How to protect yourself from PC tech Support Scams

How to protect yourself from PC tech Support Scams

By Jeandre de Beer  /  Pc World

How to protect yourself from PC tech Support Scams

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission's game of whack-a-mole with Windows tech support scammers continues.

The FTC and the State of Florida recently announced the temporary shut down of several businesses in two new cases of Windows tech support scams.

The two cases involved scams that bilked "tens of thousands" of Windows PC owners out of more than $120 million, the FTC says. 

For at least four years now, scam artists have been trying to pull one over on gullible computer users with phony tech support calls. The FTC said its latest operation was the third such case since 2011.

More are sure to come since putting together a scam like this is relatively cheap compared to the potential million dollar windfall.

PC users need to be wary of scams like these or risk falling prey to them. We've included a few tips that should help you stay scam free.

 

How the scam works

 

Previous scams involved cold-calling customers over the phone and then convincing them their computers were riddled with malware. This time around, however, the scammers had to wait for a user to download a bogus desktop program.

Usually people are enticed to download these phony apps with promises of improved security or performance for their PC. Then after they download a trial version, the app runs a scan and discovers non-existent errors on the PC.

To fix the phony errors, the user has to purchase the full version of the scam program, which can be priced anywhere from $29 to $49, according to the FTC.

But it doesn't stop there. Once the victim has purchased the full version, the software prompts them to call a toll-free number to activate the software.

After calling, the victims are shunted to telemarketers who convince their targets to give them remote access to their PCs. The call center people then show victims various screens on their own computer and claim there are serious problems with their PC.

At this point, telemarketers try to sell more phony goods such as extra security software and tech support services that can cost up to $500.

 

Protect yourself

 

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Wi-Fi made more wonderful

Wi-Fi made more wonderful

By Jeandre de Beer  /  PC World

Colorful WiFi symbol in three dimensional shape

Forget about sliced bread—Wi-Fi is easily one of the greatest inventions of the last few decades.

Thanks to Wi-Fi every device in your home can easily get online, whether it’s your iPad, desktop PC, the high-definition television in the living room, and maybe even your coffee pot or fridge.

But are you getting the most out of your wireless Internet connection? Is it truly as fast as your service provider claims?

Are the neighbors screwing up your signal? Do you know how to connect all your various devices together to share files at home?

Here are five free Wi-Fi-enhancing tools that can help you answer “yes” to all of those questions.

 

1. Channel Changers

Sometimes getting a better Wi-Fi signal is as simple as changing the channel. If you live in a densely populated area such as an apartment or townhouse complex you are probably surrounded by dozens or even hundreds of individual Wi-Fi routers.

Each one is broadcasting a signal to help its owner get online. The problem is that sometimes a bunch of closely situated routers can end up interfering with each other.

When that happens you can help yourself out by changing your router’s broadcast channel. To help you find an ideal channel (or the leastpopulated) use ViStumbler on Windows to get all kinds of data on the Wi-Fi routers around you.

Or you could give Wifi Analyzer for Android a try—this is also a great option to test signal strength at different points in your house.

 

2. Speed test

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9 Ways to lock down your device before it goes missing

9 Ways to lock down your device before it goes missing

By Jeandre de Beer / Pc World

Lockdown Device Don’t wait until your phone or tablet goes missing to think about security. 

YOU KNOW THAT icy stab of panic when you suddenly realize your Android phone or iPhone isn’t safe in your pocket where it should be?

Sure, features like “Find my iPhone” on iOS or the Android Device Manager can help. But if bad guys have snatched your phone or tablet, they can do a lot of damage before you zero in on its location.  

Read on for 9 easy ways to shore up your iOS or Android security, starting with a bonus tip.

 

Bonus: Lock your phone with a passcode, pronto

 

Here’s a tip that’s so obvious—well, to me, anyway—that I’m throwing it in as a bonus. Why mention it at all?

Because I still run into far too many people who have never bothered to lock their phones or tablets with a PIN, even in an era of Touch IDs (for iOS) and traceable, easy-to-remember “pattern” locks (on the Android side).

Now, if your tablet never leaves your coffee table, that’s one thing. (Although… burglars!) But when it comes to your phone—and the emails, numbers, passwords, online banking apps, and other private data sitting in its memory—well, you’re nuts if you don’t have a lock-screen PIN.

So please, do yourself a favor and set a passcode if you haven’t already.

For iOS, tap Settings > Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode, if your iPhone or iPad is Touch ID-ready). For Android, tap Settings > Security > Screen Lock.

And now, for the real tips…

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Bloatware: How, Why and Goodbye

Bloatware: How, Why and Goodbye

By Jeandre de Beer / Pc World

BLOATWARE, CRAPWARE: No matter what you call it, the junk  that PC makers dump onto new PCs is nothing short of a mess.

The situation was in the spotlight recently when it was revealed that several Lenovo PCs were preloaded with “Superfish” that actively left users vulnerable to attack.

The software compromised secure HTTPS web connections in a quest to inject ads on the sites you visit… and make Lenovo a few nickels. There’s no doubt about it: Even though the root vulnerability came from Superfish, Lenovo messed up. Hard.

This shouldn’t have happened, period. But Lenovo didn’t toss its users to the wolves out of malice—instead, the Superfish debacle is a natural extension of the entire bloatware epidemic.

Why does Bloatware exist?

 

Bloatware exists because we all like cheap or free software, and rightfully so. Money’s tight, and even the cheapest PCs are a major, multi-hundred dollar investment.

But good news! Prices are plummeting in the wake of dirt-cheap Chromebooks and Microsoft’s resulting counter-attack.

While that sounds good on paper, deep down it’s actually troubling news for the PC industry. Mainstream personal computers are a cutthroat business; prices have been racing to the bottom for years now.

PC vendors make little to no money on such slim margins, which is a core part of the reason HP is splitting off its PC division (again) , Dell took itself private, and Sony and Samsung have bowed out of the PC industry to varying degrees.

 

There’s simply no real money to be made on dirt-cheap hardware. Enter bloatware.

 

PC makers don’t really believe that short-lived antivirus trialware is the best security solution for you, or that adding browser toolbars will make your life easier, or that a “visual discovery tool” like Superfish truly adds to the user experience.

The developers of bloatware pay hardware makers cold, hard cash to pump your PC full of this crap and get in front of your eyeballs.

That extra revenue often makes all the difference for vendors between taking a bath on competitively priced PCs, or eking out a small profit. (There’s a reason pricier premium laptops often contain far less bloatware than budget PCs.)


It’s a symbiotic relationship for bloatware developers, PC makers, and everyday users. Bloatware effectively subsidizes PC prices. If it didn’t, you’d pay more—perhaps much more—for your computer.

 

How to beat Bloatware

 

 

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