SPEEDING UP A COMPUTER – TAKE 5

1 slow computerAfter we threw Windows out the window and began using a Mac, we felt nostalgic for our test computer, a Windows all-in-one machine with a large screen. It felt real slow now compared to the Mac. Okay, time to go to work.

To get to the bottom of things, we brought up “Task Manager.” You can do it too. Right-click the taskbar at the bottom of your screen, or press the “Ctrl-alt-delete” keys all together and choose Task Manager. If, like our computer, your computer’s CPU (the brain chip) is running at 99 percent capacity, that’s a problem.

At first, we thought the culprit was Google Chrome. When we switched to Microsoft Edge, the replacement browser for Internet Explorer, the speed-up was tremendous.  Suddenly, the CPU was working at only 17 percent capacity or less and the hard disk usage was close to zero. The computer was hardly sweating. But Chrome itself wasn’t to blame. It was all the junk added to it.

Savvy readers will suspect that we had loaded the Chrome browser with a lot of plug-ins, and this was true.  Type “about:plugins” in the field where you normally type a web address to see what plug-ins you have. Click to disable any you don’t recognize. We disabled “Widevine Content,” “Chrome PDF Viewer” and “Native Client.” Interestingly, we hadn’t asked for them; they were added by some other program we had run.

After removing those, our computer became lightning fast. Having eliminated all plug-ins except Adobe’s, we turned to extensions. In Chrome, we clicked “settings” and “extensions.” Although our computer was already fast now, we disabled extensions for Google Music, Google Docs Offline and Google Slides just in case. Disabling is just a matter of clicking a box next to each one you don’t want. You can always change your mind later.

The final culprit was having too many websites open at once. This is a common problem. If you’re not using those sites now, close them. This will increase your computer’s speed.

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