How To Get More Years of Use From Your Old Computer Part 2 1

Tip #2 Optimize your Visual Effects for Best Performance

Do you have an old computer somewhere?  Is it running slow? Do you feel that you may have to replace it because it makes you inefficient? 


It takes money to buy a new computer, and time to migrate all the programs and data you need to make the new computer usable! If there was a way to make that computer stay very functional and efficient for a few more years, would you be interested? Well there is, and you can do it yourself!

Over the next few weeks we will discuss how to add more life to your old computer by taking the following eight steps.  The first six are free, while the last two cost money and may require additional skill.
  1. Shut Down your computer when it is not in use
  2. Optimize the visual effects settings for increased performance
  3. Make sure that it is free of adware, spyware, and viruses
  4. Remove all unused programs and applications (and printers!)
  5. Remove desktop background pictures
  6. Defragment your hard drive (and put it on a weekly schedule)
  7. Install more memory
  8. Install a Solid State Drive (SSD)

Tip #2 Optimize your Visual Effects for Best Performance


When Microsoft created Windows, it’s vision was of a system that is the ultimate in “cool” (your version of cool may not be the same as the computer programmer geek’s version of cool).  Something that would wink and blink at you, and impress you with every thing that you do within the computer.


Therefore, the mouse has a shadow, folders show the thumbnails of their contents, menus are animated to look like they slide out and open, opening a folder is animated to look like the windows “grow” open, etc.


All of these items take work for the computer to process and show on the screen, but a new computer handles them effortlessly.  As the computer gets older, and these efforts are needed for the real computer use, we need to turn these off (what? and lose my cool effects? yes, at this point you probably aren’t experiencing the full advantage of the effects due to the slow computer).

To Turn off these effects:

Go to your control panel (we discussed how to get to the control panel in Tip #1) and choose System.

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Choose “Advanced system settings” from the left side menu.

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You will see a System Properties window that is already open to the “Advanced” tab.  In the Performance category, click on the Settings button.

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You should now have a Performance Options window that is open to the Visual Effects tab.  Click on the “Adjust for best performance” radio button (I’m pretty sure that is what those round selection things are called…)

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Click OK to close the performance window, (you will wait a few seconds while windows re-configures itself) and OK again to close the System Properties window.  Now close the System window, and you are all set!

This concludes this week’s installment.  In the coming weeks we will discuss the rest of the tips on the list, so stay tuned!

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