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Enhancing the Performance of Your Computer (A To-Do Checklist)
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by Naomi Okinaga

If you are observing that your desktop or laptop is performing a bit slow, these are some steps to optimize your computer:

  1. Make sure your Operating System is current with all updates.
  2. Mac: Go to the top left apple icon, and click on "Software Update".

    PC: Go to or while in Internet Explorer (IE), go to the menu item ‘Tools' and select ‘Windows Update'. You don't want to be running a compromised system with viruses or trojans (small applications that look innocuous, but might be using resources.)

  3. Be sure to keep your antivirus software updated. You don't want to have a virus that is running extra cycles on your machine and slowing down your processor.

  4. For PC: Install an anti-spyware tool. This will check to see that other extra processes aren't running unnecessarily and using up computer resources. There is more information at

  5. Check that you have enough RAM (Random Access Memory) . Having enough RAM for your processing will speed up your machine. For Windows XP or Mac OS, our general recommendation is at least 512MB of RAM, preferably 1GB.

  6. Uninstall unnecessary programs that you no longer use.

  7. Check your hard drive and use a disk utility to optimize.
  8. Mac: in the Applications and then the Utilties folder, click on Disk Utility, select your hard drive, click on ‘Verify disk permissions' and ‘Repair Disk Permissions', repeat until clean.

    PC: in the Accessories and then System Tools Menu, the Disk Defragmenter and Disk Cleanup can optimize your machine when used cautiously (don't turn off your computer while these processes are running.)

  9. Scan your computer to check for viruses (or spyware). In addition to keeping your antivirus up-to-date, run your antivirus scans during an off-time that won't interfere with your normal schedule. (If at the beginning of the day and you don't want it running a long scan at that time, schedule it during your lunch when you might not be at the computer.)

Of course if the above fails to make a difference, it might mean that you should do a ‘clean install'. This is not for the faint of heart and more likely appropriate for a Windows user. Or the problem might be related to older hardware, in which case you might consider purchasing a new computer. You can always call the ITS Help Desk at (808) 956-8883 or (800) 558-2669 from the neighbor islands to ask for help in evaluating your computer or recommending a new one.

These are 2 other articles to reference (caution: some advice is not for the novice.)

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