How To Increase performance on an older computer

These days, we talk a lot about getting the most bang for you buck. Many people are using computers for several years at a time now, especially since it seems like you get a lot more value out of today’s hardware than ever before. However, if you have an older computer which is at least 3-5 years old, you are probably noticing that performance may be sluggish simply getting around on your Windows desktop.

Usually this type of sluggish performance is due to a lack of sufficient RAM in the system, which espeically can be true if it is a few years old. One gigabyte of memory 5 years ago went a lot further than it does currently. Running out of memory can leave a system paging the hard drive as memory when it no longer has the RAM modules to turn to.

There is a simple option to turn some of the eye candy off in Windows which actually can go a long way in conserving memory consumption on a typical RAM challenged machine.

When it comes to eating up memory, visual effects can do a lot of damage.  There is a tweak that you can make that can really help matters.

Altering the “Performance settings” within Windows:

You can get to the performance settings a couple of different ways.  One of the most common ways to find the system properties is by right-clicking on your “Computer” or “My Computer” if you are still running beloved XP.  Go to the Advanced tab and at the top you will see “Performance” and we are going to look at “Settings.”


When you click on the Performance settings you will find:


What I like to configure on a box that is low on available hardware resources is the option “Adjust for best performance.”  This basically just turns off all the fades and other effects that just make the experience a little nicer.  However there is nothing worse than a painfully sluggish machine and I would rather have one that looks a little rougher around the edges that one that looks great but is so slow that it is unusable.  When you select “adjust for best peroformance,” everything will be turned off.  However you can check individual options as you see fit.  A couple that I like to turn back on are the “use visual styles on windows and buttons” and the “show thumbnails instead of icons” options.

The “windows” option will give you the look of higher quality windows settings without the other eye candy which helps with the look and feel of the OS.

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