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Kendriya Vidyalaya Port Trust, Kochi

99 tips to make your PC faster

Over the last several years working in IT for various companies as a Systems Administrator, Network Administrator, and Help Desk professional, I’ve written and learned about many ways to increase the performance of not only my PC, but also of the many PCs on my networks ranging from Windows 98 to Windows Vista.

In this article, I hope to compile a complete list of all the different methods and tricks that I’ve used to get the last bit of juice out of a slow PC. Whether you are using an old PC or the latest and greatest in hardware, you can still use some of these to make your PC run faster.

Note that since I write two blogs, Help Desk Geek and Online Tech Tips, I have previously written about many performance tips already which I will link back to throughout. If I have not written about it, I’ve throw in a link to a relevant article from some of my other favorite sites. This list is in no particular order, just written in the order that I could think of them.

There are probably a lot of great tweaks and performance hacks that I’ve missed here, so feel free to chime in with comments! Enjoy!

1. Defragment your computer hard disk using free tools like SmartDefrag.

2. You should also defragment your Windows pagefile and registry.

3. Clean up hard drive disk space being taken up by temporary files, the recycle bin, hibernation and more. You can also use a tool like TreeSize to determine what is taking up space on your hard drive.

4. Load up Windows faster by using Startup Delayer, a free program that will speed up the boot time of Windows by delaying the startup of programs.

5. Speaking of startup programs, many of them are useless and can be turned off. Use the MSCONFIG utility to disable startup programs.

6. By default, the size of the paging file is controlled by Windows, which can cause defragmentation. Also, the paging file should be on a different hard drive or partition than the boot partition. Read here on the rules for best paging file performance.

7. In Windows XP and Vista, the Windows Search indexing service is turned on for all local hard drives. Turning off indexing is a simple way to increase performance.

8. If you don’t care about all the fancy visual effects in Windows, you can turn them off by going to Performance Options.

9. You can optimize the Windows boot time using a free program called Bootvis from Microsoft.

10. Clean your registry by removing broken shortcuts, missing shared DLLs, invalid paths, invalid installer references and more. Read about the 10 best and free registry cleaners.

11. One of the main reasons why PC’s are slow is because of spyware. There are many programs to remove spyware including Ad-Aware, Giant Antispyware, SUPERAntiSpyware, and more.

12. If you have a deeper spyware infection that is very hard to remove, you can use HijackThis to remove spyware.

13. Remove unwanted pre-installed software (aka junk software) from your new PC using PC Decrapifier.

14. Disable unnecessary Windows services, settings, and programs that slow down your computer.

15. Tweak Windows XP and tweak Windows Vista settings using free programs

16. Disable UAC (User Account Control) in Windows Vista

17. Tweak your mouse settings so that you can copy and paste faster, scroll faster, navigate quickly while browsing and more. Read here to learn how to tweak your mouse.

18. Delete temporary and unused files on your computer using a free program like CCleaner. It can also fix issues with your registry.

19. Delete your Internet browsing history, temporary Internet files, cookies to free up disk space.

20. Clean out the Windows prefetch folder to improve performance.

21. Disable the XP boot logo to speed up Windows boot time.

22. Reduce the number of fonts that your computer has to load up on startup.

23. Force Windows to unload DLLs from memory to free up RAM.

24. Run DOS programs in separate memory spaces for better performance.

25. Turn off system restore only if you regularly backup your Windows machine using third party software.

26. Move or change the location of your My Documents folder so that it is on a separate partition or hard drive.

27. Turn off default disk performance monitors on Windows XP to increase performance.

28. Speed up boot time by disabling unused ports on your Windows machine.

29. Use Process Lasso to speed up your computer by allowing it to make sure that no one process can completely overtake the CPU.

30. Make icons appear faster while browsing in My Computer by disabling search for network files and printers.

31. Speed up browsing of pictures and videos in Windows Vista by disabling the Vista thumbnails cache.

32. Edit the right-click context menu in Windows XP and Vista and remove unnecessary items to increase display speed.

33. Use the Windows Performance Toolkit and the trace logs to speed up Windows boot time.

34. Speed up your Internet browsing by using an external DNS server such as OpenDNS.

35. Improve Vista performance by using ReadyBoost, a new feature whereby Vista can use the free space on your USB drive as a caching mechanism.

36. If you have a slow Internet connection, you can browse web pages faster using a service called Finch, which converts it into simple text.

37. Use Vista Services Optimizer to disable unnecessary services in Vista safely.

38. Also, check out my list of web accelerators, which are programs that try to prefetch and cache the sites you are going to visit.

39. Speed up Mozilla Firefox by tweaking the configuration settings and by installing an add-on called FasterFox.

40. Learn how to build your own computer with the fastest parts and best hardware.

41. Use a program called TeraCopy to speed up file copying in Windows XP and Vista.

42. Disable automatic Last Access Timestamp to speed up Windows XP.

43. Speed up the Start Menu in Vista by hacking the MenuShowDelay key in the registry.

44. Increase the FileSystem memory cache in Vista to utilize a system with a large amount of RAM.

45. Install more RAM if you are running XP with less than 512 MB or Vista with less than 1 GB of RAM.

46. Shut down XP faster by reducing the wait time to kill hung applications.

47. Make sure that you have selected “Adjust for best performance” on the Performance tab in System Properties.

48. If you are reinstalling Windows, make sure that you partition your hard drives correctly to maximize performance.

49. Use Altiris software virtualization to install all of your programs into a virtual layer that does not affect the registry or system files.

50. Create and install virtual machines for free and install junk program, games, etc into the virtual machines instead of the host operating system. Check out Sun openxVM.

51. Do not clear your paging file during shutdown unless it is needed for security purposes. Clearing the paging file slows down shutdown.

52. If your XP or Vista computer is not using NFTS, make sure you convert your FAT disk to the NTFS file system.

53. Update all of your drivers in Windows, including chipset and motherboard drivers to their latest versions.

54. Every once in a while run the built-in Windows Disk Cleanup utility.

55. Enable DMA mode in Windows XP for IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers in Device Manager.

56. Remove unnecessary or old programs from the Add/Remove dialog of the Control Panel.

57. Use a program click memtest86 or Prime95 to check for bad memory on your PC.

58. Determine your BIOS version and check the manufactures website to see if you need to update your BIOS.

59. Every once in a while, clean your mouse, keyboard and computer fans of dust and other buildup.

60. Replace a slow hard drive with a faster 7200 RPM drive, SATA drive, or SAS drive.

61. Changing from Master/Slave to Cable Select on your hard drive configuration can significantly decrease your boot time.

62. Perform a virus scan on your computer regularly. If you don’t want to install virus protection, use some of the free online virus scanners.

63. Remove extra toolbars from your Windows taskbar and from your Internet browser.

64. Disable the Windows Vista Sidebar if you’re not really using it for anything important. All those gadgets take up memory and processing power.

65. If you have a SATA drive and you’re running Windows Vista, you can speed up your PC by enabling the advanced write caching features.

66. Learn how to use keyboard shortcuts for Windows, Microsoft Word, Outlook, or create your own keyboard shortcuts.

67. Turn off the Aero visual effects in Windows Vista to increase computer performance.

68. If you are technically savvy and don’t mind taking a few risks, you can try to overclock your processor.

69. Speed up the Send To menu in Explorer by typing “sendto” in the Run dialog box and deleting unnecessary items.

70. Make sure to download all the latest Windows Updates, Service Packs, and hot fixes as they “normally” help your computer work better.

71. Make sure that there are no bad sectors or other errors on your hard drive by using the ScanDisk orchkdsk utility.

72. If you are not using some of the hardware on your computer, i.e. floppy drive, CD-ROM drive, USB ports, IR ports, Firewire, etc, then go into your BIOS and disable them so that they do not use any power and do not have to be loaded during boot up.

73. If you have never used the Recent Documents feature in Windows, then disable it completely as a long list can affect PC performance.

74. One basic tweak that can help in performance is to disable error reporting in Windows XP

75. If you don’t care about a pretty interface, you should use the Windows Classic theme under Display Properties.

76. Disable short filenames if you are using NTFS by running the following command: fsutil behavior set disable8dot3 1. It will speed up the file creation process.

77. If you have lots of files in a single folder, it can slow down Explorer. It’s best to create multiple folders and spread out the files between the folders.

78. If you have files that are generally large, you might want to consider increasing the cluster size on NTFS to 16K or even 32K instead of 4K. This will help speed up opening of files.

79. If you have more than one disk in your PC, you can increase performance by moving your paging file to the second drive and formatting the volume using FAT32 instead of NTFS.

80. Turn off unnecessary features in Vista by going to Control Panel, choosing Uninstall a program, and then clicking on Turn Windows features on and off. You can turn off Remote Differential Compression, Tablet PC components, DFS replication service, Windows Fax & Scan, Windows Meeting Space, and lots more.

81. Install a free or commercial anti-virus program to help protect against viruses, etc. Make sure to use an anti-virus program that does not hog up all of your computer resources.

82. Completely uninstall programs and applications using a program like Revo Uninstaller. It will get rid of remnants left behind by normal uninstalls.

83. If you know what you are doing, you can install several hard drives into your machine and set them up in RAID 0, RAID 5, or other RAID configurations.

84. If you are using USB 1.0 ports, upgrade to 2.0. If you have a Firewire port, try to use that instead of a USB port since Firewire is faster than USB right now.

85. Remove the drivers for all old devices that may be hidden in Device Manager that you no longer use.

86. A more extreme option is to choose a faster operating system. If you find Vista to be slow, go with Windows XP. Switching to Mac or Linux is also an option.

87. One of the easiest ways to speed up your PC is to simply reformat it. Of course, you want to backup your data, but it is the best way to get your computer back to peak performance.

88. Speed up Internet browsing in IE by increasing the number of max connections per server in the registry.

89. If you use uTorrent to download torrents, you can increase the download speeds by tweaking the settings.

90. If you have a desktop background, make sure it’s a small and simple bitmap image rather than a fancy picture off the Internet. The best is to find a really small texture and to tile it.

91. For the Virtual Memory setting in Windows (right-click on My Computer, Properties, Advanced, Performance Settings, Advanced, Virtual Memory), make sure the MIN and MAX are both the same number.

92. If you search on Google a lot or Wikipedia, you can do it much faster on Vista by adding them to the Vista Start Menu Instant Search box.

93. If you have a custom built computer or a PC that was previously used, make sure to check the BIOS for optimal settings such as enabled CPU caches, correctly set IDE/SATA data transfer modes, memory timings, etc. You can also enable Fast/Quick boot if you have that option.

94. If you have a SCSI drive, make sure the write cache is enabled. You can do so by opening the properties of the SCSI drive in Windows.

95. If you have a machine with an older network card, make sure to enable the onboard processor for the network card, which will offload tasks from the CPU.

96. If you are using Windows Vista, you can disable the Welcome Center splash screen that always pops up.

97. If you already have anti-spyware software installed, turn off Windows Defender protection.

98. If you are running a 32-bit version of Windows and have 4GB of RAM or more, you can force Windows to see and use all of the RAM by enabling PAE.

99. Buy a new computer!!! 😉 Pretty easy eh?

I’m sure I have missed out on lots of performance tweaks, tips, hacks, etc, so feel free to post comments to add to the list! Enjoy!

[By Aseem Kishore of Helpdeskgeek.com]

Filed under: Useful info, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Most commonly used Excel functions

SUM: Calculates the sum of a group of values. Eg. =SUM(A1:A5)
AVERAGE: Calculates the mean of a group of values. Eg. =AVERAGE(A1:A5)
COUNT: Counts the number of cells in a range that contains numbers. Eg. =COUNT(A1:A5)
INT: Removes the decimal portion of a number, leaving just the integer portion. Eg. =INT(A1)
ROUND: Rounds a number to a specified number of decimal places or digit positions. Eg. =ROUND((A1+A2),0) will round the value of A1+A2 to zero decimal place.
IF: Tests for a true or false condition and then returns one value or another. The syntax used is IF( condition, [value_if_true], [value_if_false] ). Eg. =IF(A1>10, "Larger", "Smaller")
NOW: Returns the system date and time. Syntax used is NOW()
TODAY: Returns the system date, without the time. Syntax used is TODAY()
SUMIF: Calculates a sum from a group of values, but just of values that are included because a condition is met. Syntax used is SUMIF( range, criteria, [sum_range] ). Eg. =SUMIF(A2:A6, ">=2001", C2:C6)
COUNTIF: Counts the number of cells in a range that match a criteria. Syntax used is COUNTIF( range, criteria ). Eg. =COUNTIF(A:A, D2)
TRUNC: Returns a number truncated to a specified number of digits. Syntax used is TRUNC( number, [digits] ). Eg. =TRUNC(A1)
TRIM: Returns a text value with the leading and trailing spaces removed. Syntax used is TRIM( text ). Eg =TRIM(” JOHN “) will return “JOHN”.
MAX: Returns the largest value from the numbers provided. Syntax used is MAX( number1, [number2, ... number_n] ). Eg. =MAX(A2:A6)
MIN: Returns the smallest value from the numbers provided. Syntax used is MIN( number1, [number2, ... number_n] ). Eg. =MIN(A2:A6)

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How to remove duplicates in Excel 2003?

Select the row or column that has duplicates that you would like to remove.

Go to Data -> Filter -> Advanced Filter.

Make sure the range is correct and check the option “unique records only”.

You can either choose to replace the content or copy unique records to a new location.

[From http://www.lytebyte.com%5D

Filed under: Useful info, , ,

How to study for exams: Tips

Exams are a terrible and stressful thing to study for, especially knowing that they can make or break your final mark. Being able to study in the proper manner will achieve the best results, so make use of these tips. But be aware that these tips may not work for other people hence are a guide, a little change to suit your environment and make you comfortable is allowed.

Rewriting. Rewriting your notes is great if you’re a kinesthetic learner. Also, when you re-write something, you will probably think about what you are writing, what it’s about, and why you wrote it down. Most importantly, it refreshes your memory. If you took notes a month ago and just found out that those notes will be relevant in your exam, rewriting them will remind you of them when you need it for your exam.

Find the right hours. Don’t study when you’re really tired. It’s better to study for two hours in one day than to try and cram in that daily hour of studying at two in the morning. You won’t remember much and you’re likely to stop before you have studied what you need.

Don’t cram. Cramming the night before is proven to be useless, because you’re taking in so much information at once that it’s impossible to memorize it at all — in fact, you’ll hardly retain anything. I know it’s been preached to you many times before, but it’s true: Studying before and going over it multiple times really is the best way to learn the material. This is especially true with things like history and subjects dealing with theory.

Subjects. If it’s math you’re studying for, work on the problems. Don’t just read over it like you would for a history class, because you can actually do math, but you can seldom do history. Working problems out will help burn them into your mind, and remember: if you can’t solve the problem before the exam, you won’t be able to solve it on the exam either. If you are studying for a more social subject, do your research! Make sure you know what you’re talking about!

Surroundings. How do you study best? In your PJ’s, or your favorite t-shirt? With music or without? In your room or outside? Regardless, you probably won’t be able to study while there are distractions like:
– Your darling little brother or sister is running screaming around the house. You are going to end up watching movies because they are far too distracting.
– Your older brother or sister is bothering you on purpose.
– Your music is not relaxing, or is a song you want to sing along to instead of studying.
– It’s too dark. Your eyes will strain in dim light.
– You’re in a mess. Clean your room, as the mess around you really can distract you from what you’re doing.

Correct lighting. For men, try studying with a dimmer light (though not overly dim). Statistics say that 75% of guys that do this will focus better. For girls, it’s indicated that 90% of the time, they study and focus better in a brighter room with little noise.

TV. Some people like to have the TV on quietly in the background. This can cut both ways in that it can distract you from time to time, but also can help you to continue studying. It’s a risky strategy to have the TV on: nobody really knows how much it takes away from your attention and may be distracting you more than you realize.

Take Breaks. You need some time to have fun and it is better to revise when you are feeling relaxed than to exhaust yourself studying all day! The only caveat is, you need to avoid procrastination.

Plan. Always create a plan before you start studying, not to mention that this plan has to be achievable. If out of 5 lessons 3 are easy and can be finished fast, finish them first, that way you can spend quality time on the difficult lessons without fretting. Small tricks like these will help you complete your portions quickly.

Review. When you are finished studying one page of your notes, before you move on to the next page, ask yourself questions relating to the material on that page to see if you have remembered what you just studied. It also helps to say the answers to your questions out loud as if you were trying to explain it to someone else.

Ask for help. If you need help, ask someone who is good at these subjects. Example: Friends, Family, Teachers, etc….

[From http://www.wikihow.com%5D

Filed under: Useful info, , , ,

Expert Google Search Tips

Google is one of the tools which make Internet what it is today. Here are some of the unknown but very effective search tips you can use with this search engine.

Explicit Phrase:
Lets say you are looking for content about internet marketing. Instead of just typing internet marketing into the Google search box, you will likely be better off searching explicitly for the phrase. To do this, simply enclose the search phrase within double quotes.

Example: “internet marketing”

Exclude Words:
Lets say you want to search for content about internet marketing, but you want to exclude any results that contain the term advertising. To do this, simply use the “-” sign in front of the word you want to exclude.

Example Search: internet marketing -advertising

Site Specific Search:
Often, you want to search a specific website for content that matches a certain phrase. Even if the site doesn’t support a built-in search feature, you can use Google to search the site for your term. Simply use the “site:somesite.com” modifier.

Example: “internet marketing” site:www.smallbusinesshub.com

Similar Words and Synonyms:
Let’s say you want to include a word in your search, but want to include results that contain similar words or synonyms. To do this, use the “~” in front of the word.

Example: “internet marketing” ~professional

Specific Document Types:
If you’re looking to find results that are of a specific type, you can use the modifier “filetype:”. For example, you might want to find only PowerPoint presentations related to internet marketing.

Example: “internet marketing” filetype:ppt

This OR That:
By default, when you do a search, Google will include all the terms specified in the search. If you are looking for any one of one or more terms to match, then you can use the OR operator. (Note: The OR has to be capitalized).

Example: internet marketing OR advertising

Phone Listing:
Let’s say someone calls you on your mobile number and you don’t know who it is. If all you have is a phone number, you can look it up on Google using the phonebook feature.

Example: phonebook:617-555-1212 (note: the provided number does not work – you’ll have to use a real number to get any results).

Area Code Lookup:
If all you need to do is to look-up the area code for a phone number, just enter the 3-digit area code and Google will tell you where it’s from.

Example: 617

Numeric Ranges:
This is a rarely used, but highly useful tip. Let’s say you want to find results that contain any of a range of numbers. You can do this by using the X..Y modifier (in case this is hard to read, what’s between the X and Y are two periods.) This type of search is useful for years (as shown below), prices, or anywhere where you want to provide a series of numbers.

Example: president 1940..1950

Stock (Ticker Symbol):
Just enter a valid ticker symbol as your search term and Google will give you the current financials and a quick thumb-nail chart for the stock.

Example: GOOG

Calculator:
The next time you need to do a quick calculation, instead of bringing up the Calculator applet, you can just type your expression in to Google.

Example: 48512 * 1.02

Word Definitions:
If you need to quickly look up the definition of a word or phrase, simply use the “define:” command.

Example: define:plethora

Hope these tips help you harness the power of the Web better.

[From http://blog.hubspot.com/%5D

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