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14 free software speed boosts for your PC

Turbocharge your computer from startup to shutdown

If upgrading your PC is out of the question, fear not. You still have plenty of options for increasing its pep. A few simple software settings can lead to massive performance gains. Here's our best 14 tips and tweaks to turbocharge your PC with software.

Kill compression

If your hard drive is suitably large, you have no reason to compress folders on it that you regularly use. Decompressing files on the fly only slows your access to them.

To uncompress a compressed folder (without third-party compression software installed), right-click the folder and choose Extract All. Follow the prompts to choose a destination for the uncompressed files; then delete the original, compressed folder.

Go thumbnail-free

If you've ever tried to view thumbnail images in a folder that holds several hundred images, you have probably seen Windows choke at the task. To disable the thumbnailing option, open Windows Explorer and click Tools, Folder Options. Click the View tab and check the box for the first option: Always show icons, never thumbnails.

Consider a Registry cleaner

Registry cleaners are regarded as saviours by their supporters and as snake oil by their detractors, and neither side has shown any inclination to soften its stance. We'll add to the argument only that Registry cleaners may be of some value to some users, and that we've witnessed a thorough Registry scrubbing revitalising a years-old PC, at least to some extent. (Of course, following the other tips in this story helps, too.)

Worth a try are the free CCleaner, PC Tools' Registry Mechanic (£30 per year for 3 PCs) and Iolo Technologies' System Mechanic (£25), but positive results are not guaranteed.

See also: The best hardware speed boosts for your PC

  1. From startup to shutdown
  2. ReadyBoost
  3. Scrub startup apps
  4. Kill compression

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