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TECH TIP:  Speed Up Your Computer

 

Is you computer acting sluggish

Have you notice a slight or not so slight drop in performance?  Here’s a Tech Tip that can help increase the speed of your computer.

 

When you are using the internet, Internet Explorer (IE) - sometimes called a browser, it keeps track of the sites you have visited by saving files and graphics from these sites in a special folder on your computer’s hard drive.  This folder, sometimes called your cache, can get huge with files and graphics.  Uh Oh!

 

How does the cache work?

Every time you go to an internet site, IE checks the cache to see if you have visited this site.  If you have, and the information in your cache is the same information as is on the actual site, it loads the files and webpage information from the cache (remember, it’s a folder on your hard drive) instead of downloading the files and webpage from the actual site.

 

A cache is a good thing?

That’s right!  It’s faster to download the webpage from your hard drive than downloading it from some server which may be located who knows where in the world.  BUT, when that cache (the folder that holds all these ”temporary internet files”), gets bloated and gigantic, it can seriously slow down your computer.

 

How does a bloated cache slow down my computer?

Your operating system (OS) - Windows XP or Windows 98, or Windows ME, or whatever Windows you have, keeps track of everything going on in your computer.  Your OS manages every aspect of your computer – a daunting task.  (That’s why Bill Gates is so rich!). It has to keep track of these temporary files in your cache – images, webpages, cookies, and little bits of information about the websites you have visited.  If your OS has to do this on top of all the other management things it needs to do, it will, of course, start to slow down under this heavy burden of tasks to keep up with.

 

So what’s a person to do?

By default, IE (Internet Explorer) sets the size of your cache to 10% of the size of your hard drive.  So your cache may be set to hundreds of megabytes.  Mine was set to 620 MB before I changed it – Wow!  So the answer is simple – change the size of your cache.

 

How do I do that?

This is simple and painless - just do these steps.

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Click on Tools, and then click on Internet Options.
  3. Click on Settings.
  4. Look where it says, “Amount of disk space to use” – Aha – it’s huge, isn’t it?  Just click on the slider and move it to the left.  If you have a high speed internet connection (cable modem or DSL), make your cache around 10MB.  If you have dial-up, make you cache around 25 MB.
  5. Click OK.

 

That’s it – you have re-set you cache to a manageable size for your OS.

 

Are we done?

Not quite!  You should do something else.  You want to delete your temporary files – right now!.  If you have never done this, you probably have hundreds of megabytes in your cache.  So go back to Tools and Internet Options.  Then do these steps

  1. Click on the Delete Files button. 
  2. Then click on the “Delete all offline content” box.
  3. Click OK. 
  4. Now go get some coffee – this may take several minutes if you have a huge cache.

 

Whew! We’re finally done!

Not quite!  You should also delete your cookies. (What are cookies – read this tech tip: http://www.marshalladulteducation.org/techtips/techtip28.htm).

Too many cookies can also slow down your OS.  And they are not needed – most of time.  If you go to websites that require you to put in a user name and password, sometimes that information is stored in a cookie.  If you delete that cookie, the next time you visit that website, you may need to put in your name and password again – a small price to pay for increasing your PC performance.  I delete my cookies regularly even though I have several websites that stores my user name and password for that site.

 

Are we done now?

Yes – only to say, it is wise to delete your cache and cookies occasionally – even if you resize your cache to a smaller size.  This will keep your computer running fast and smooth – and drop a thank-you note to Bill Gates for his hard working OS.

 

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Lyon County Government Center  •  607 W. Main St.  •  Marshall, MN 56258  •  (507) 537-7046

E-Mail:    Marshall Adult Education

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