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Slightly revised initial draft version 1/14/11.     email: researcher@stoppcremotecontrol.com
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[since 9/7/10]


Initial Draft Version
I plan to add information about improving computer network security sometime in the future.
 

How to Speed Up, Upgrade, or Replace Your Computer.
  

Computer Replacement Options
     Before you work to speed up your computer, first consider whether speeding it up or replacing it is your best option.  If your computer has less than a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 chip and/or less than a 4x200MHz=800MHz front side bus speed, you might want to buy a better computer instead of sinking more time and/or money into trying to upgrade and tune up a very old computer.  Also, if you have plenty of money, you can buy a newer computer that is much faster than an older high-quality 3.0GHz Pentium 4 computer.
     You have the option of downloading a free software program that will provide you with a quick detailed description of your computer's CPU, motherboard, BIOS, memory, front side bus speed, hard drives, windows operating system, etc.  You can also benchmark your CPU's speed vs. newer CPU's that you could buy.  You can download a free version 13.12 of Sandra Lite XII (13.12) from filehippo.com
(If you download this software, do not download a newer version unless you are sure that you are downloading a 32-bit CPU version, not a 64-bit CPU version, of this software.  A newer 64-bit CPU version of this software will presumably crash any 32-bt CPU machine that it runs on.)
     You could buy a refurbished 2.8GHz-3.0GHz Pentium 4 desktop computer with 1GB or more of RAM for around $100-$150 plus shipping at SurplusComputers.com.  If you have more money to spend, you could buy a new faster computer at TigerDirect.com or another retailer. 

Computer Hardware Upgrade Options
     
RAM
     Computer RAM (i.e., computer memory chips) is much faster than computer hard drives.  If you have money to spend on speeding up your computer, first you'll want to buy as much RAM as you can afford, at least 1-2GB and possibly up to 4GB if you can afford it.  Then you'll want to configure your computer using memory management software to do as much of your computing as possible using quick RAM memory chips instead of the much slower file disk access on hard drives.
     If you have less than 1GB of memory in a Windows XP computer, you probably want to upgrade to at least 1GB of memory to speed up your computer.  Crucial.com is a good resource to provide some more info.  Caution: think twice before paying money to upgrade your computer to more than 1GB or 2GB of RAM total.  You might want to save your money or spend it on some other computer upgrade or a replacement computer instead.  Also, you might be able to find good memory chips recommended by the PC's or motherboard's manufacturer for less money if you shop around.

A DVD+-RW dual layer drive
     If you don't have a DVD dual layer read-write drive, you can buy one at NewEgg.com or another website or store.  (You'll need to know whether to buy an IDE or SATA drive.)  While blue ray drives are being sold, this technology is still expensive and still undergoing continual technological improvement. 

A faster video card
     Before spending money on a faster and nicer video card, try the free options for speeding up your computer and see if this is enough.  I would also buy more RAM for the motherboard before spending much money to upgrade the video card.
     However, if you want faster computer video monitor screen display, you can always buy a better video card with more RAM at NewEgg.com or eBay or another website or store.  You can also upgrade your video display by buying a dual video display card that can display video on 2 computer monitors.  There are some very specific technical specifications that you would have to meet to get the correct video card (for example, is it for an AGP, PCI-E, or PCI card slot, what AGP speed it supports if it is an AGP video card, what computer monitor video cord connection socket is required, etc.)  Also pay attention to the amount of RAM on the video card and the maximum video resolution supported by the video card.


Speeding Up Your Computer
     The best strategy for speeding up your computer is to add more RAM and use more RAM in your computer using a disk cache manager and/or a RAM disk.  If you have less than 1GB of memory, please consider spending the money to upgrade to at least 1GB of RAM for your computer, and ideally at least 2GB.  Another key speed-up step is to not load or run unnecessary software and services.  And the final step is to tweak the registry to optimize Windows XP to run faster by either using registry tweaking software and/or a good registry editor.

1. First, I recommend that you install an optional free light computer monitoring program called Performance Monitor so that you can easily see what is happening on your computer.  Performance Monitor will monitor your CPU usage, memory usage, file read and write disk access, and receiving data from and sending data to the Internet.

2. Reduce your boot-up time by not loading unnecessary software into RAM.  Run msconfig.exe (
by clicking on "start", then clicking on "run", then typing "msconfig.exe", then clicking on "OK"), click on the "startup" tab, and uncheck all unnecessary programs at startup.  This should:
     1) speed up your program startup,
     2) speed up your computer by not having unnecessary programs running in your RAM, and
     3) unclutter your system tray at the right side of the bottom of your computer screen.
     Whenever you install a software program, the program often wants to load itself at boot-up and display an icon in the system tray.  If you don't need it, don't load it at PC boot-up.

3. Make the most use of your faster RAM instead of your slower hard drive by downloading the free version of CachemanXP for Windows XP or Cacheman7 for Windows Vista or Windows 7.

4. Run TCP Optimize to speed up your Internet Connection.

5. If you use firefox, install Tweak Network to increase your network connections and speed up your Internet browsing.  Also increase the size of firefox RAM and memory caches by selecting the cache option in CachemanXP for Windows XP (or Cacheman7 for Windows Vista or Windows 7).

6. Consider your optional use of faster dns servers from dnsadvantage.com and google's public dns servers as backup dns servers.  This should speed up Internet access a little and make Internet access to dns name servers more reliable.

7. If you can afford it, for faster Internet access, you can upgrade your network cable.  The latest best networking cable standard is cat7a, but there is probably only very little for sale that meets the very high cat7a standards.  There are plenty of cat6 cables for sale at eBay, some short cat7 cables for sale at eBay, and very few cat7a cables for sale at eBay
(FYI, 10/100/1000 networking cards and wired routers are available, but the routers are still expensive and they might not speed up Internet access much unless the cable modem is also 1000Mbps.)

8. Consider your optional use of roboform to keep track of your Internet passwords and bookmarks.  The same roboform software and data is also usable by multiple Internet browsers, including firefox and Internet Explorer.

9. If you have 2GB or more of RAM, consider using a RAM disk or similar software to speed up your computer.  The best RAM disk software (regular or secure) is from superspeed.com, but it currently costs between $40-$150.  You could also try a much cheaper simpler $10 RAM disk program, but I won't guarantee that it will always work properly.  If you have enough unused RAM, you'll probably want to load your pagefile.sys file onto your RAM drive.

10. Tweak Windows XP to speed up windows.  You could try Optimize XP for free for 30 days to do this.  However, this program costs $20 to register after 30 days.  Or you could research tweaking and speeding up windows yourself in your spare time.  If you tweak Windows XP manually, you can easily edit the registry using the program Registrar Registry Manager (but only if you know what you are doing in editing the registry).

11. Defragment your hard drive.  Both the Windows XP operating system and Symantec System Works have hard disk defragmenting programs, and there are many other hard disk defragmenting programs.

12. Make sure that you always have enough free space on your hard drives.  Limited free space on your main hard drive can slow down your computer a lot.  Running out of free hard disk space on your main hard drive can slow down your computer and stop certain computer programs from running or even saving data until you free up more hard disk space.

13. Longer term.  Consider using smaller partitions with less data on each hard drive partition.  Your data could be divided into these multiple categories, placed in a total of more than 1 hard drive partitions:
1. Windows operating system files.
2. Your pagefile.sys (ideally loaded onto a RAM disk).
3. Installed program files. 
(The original ready-to-install program files.)
4. Downloaded ready-to-install uninstalled programs. 
(The original ready-to-install program files.)
5. Your data,
usually stored in the "My Documents" directory.  (This does not include your email data that is stored elsewhere under application data.)
6. Your email data. 
(Your email data is stored in a subdirectory under an "application data" directory.)
7. Your backup data. 
Also back this up to DVD.
8. Your system diagnostic data. 
(For example, data from sysinternal's performance monitor.)