3 Ways To Work Faster On Your Computer

If you use your computer clumsily, you can end up wasting valuable time, mucking up your workflow. With a little focus and concentration, you can cut down on the time you waste on menial tasks and become more productive.

Money Crashers suggests simple adjustments that can help you work faster and smarter:

* Learn to type. If you hunt and peck, your eyes may need to drift away from the screen to check your finger placement. Even if you’ve got everything memorized, you may slow yourself down by overusing your favored fingers. Learning to “touch type” like they taught you in school will up your words per minute.

* Use the mouse only as a last resort. The mouse is a clumsy device that requires you to break your work flow. Tab, escape and directional keys are easier to access and more precise.

* Upgrade your hardware. A larger hard drive, more memory and a newer operating system will all increase the speed of your rig. Those who upgrade almost never regret their investments because they appreciate their newfound speed.

How to Improve Computer Performance & Supercharge Your Productivity – Tips From an IT Pro [Money Crashers]

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  1. Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

    When you want to go to a web site, don’t open Google and type the address into the search field, then click on the first result. I see this all the time. Might not seem like a lot of time, but that shit adds up.

    • Cat says:

      If you type it in the address bar, it often auto-completes the address if it’s popular or is a site you’ve visited since you last cleared your history

    • IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

      My ex does this all the time, it’s SO annoying.

      • Cat says:

        I’ve seen people who should know better do it, too. WTF.

        • IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

          Seriously! The search bar is the little one NEXT to the address bar. How do you move your mouse PAST the address bar?
          Watching him on the computer makes me want to throw punches.

          • Cat says:

            This would explain why he’s an “EX”.

          • Yacko says:

            Not with Google Chrome. The concept of search or address is one and the same. Type in an address you go. Type in something that isn’t an address it searches.

            • YouDidWhatNow? says:

              Opera too, and before Chrome. In point of fact, essentially every browser feature in the past 10 years or so originated in Opera.

              But the thing is that I’ve seen people go to http://www.google.com and then type in “www.whatever.com” in the Google search bar, then click on the link in the results. Mind-blowing.

              • Parnassus says:

                My sister complained about this happening but it turned out that she’d turned off the address bar. She was actually typing the address into a search bar.

    • Tim says:

      All of the old people (read: 50 and older) I work with do this. They basically don’t know what the address bar is anymore.

    • Dont lump me into your 99%! says:

      There was actually a article on a well known tech site (forget which one), in which they were discussing facebook login. They ended up becoming first in google search results for “facebook login”. This results in tons of people saying how they hate the new site, and they cant login. People began posting their usernames/passwords in the comments area of the site, trying to get help logging in.

      Its a great case study of end users behavior, and I showed my boss for the site I worked for at the time (most of the users for the site, have this kind of skill power on computers, even though they were of the younger generation). Point to take out of this, end users can be stupid, and do some very stupid things.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      That is a baffling practice. I have seen far too many people open their web browser, launch Google from a bookmark, and then type into the Google search box “www.whatever.com” – the exact address they wanted to go to. And as you noted then click on it in the search results.

      When I try to explain to them that they can just go directly to that web address if they already know it, I just get a deer-in-the-headlights kind of look. It’s freaky.

  2. Swins says:

    The mouse one is funny.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      It’s true though–I do some data entry as part of my job, and tabbing or using keyboard shortcuts to jump between fields is MUCH faster than pausing my typing and moving my hand to the mouse, then clicking the next field, and then moving my hands back to the keyboard.

      There are situations where using the mouse is necessary, but minimizing how often I need to shift to it improves how quickly I can do things.

      Navigating a document, rearranging text by selecting/cutting/pasting, changing to italics or bold on the fly, it’s all a lot more efficient when I just stick with the keyboard.

    • PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

      As someone from the old DOS days, I rely very heavy on my keyboard shortcuts – enough so that I can go without using a mouse for extended periods. It’s so second nature that I forget that people watching me still find the concept of Ctrl-P to Print baffling, let alone Alt-Tab to go back up to a previous input line.

    • kc2idf says:

      No, not really. On a properly designed form/web page, using a keyboard only is far more efficient.

      You see, if you use the mouse, you must remove your right hand from the keyboard, find the mouse, cognitively acquire the location of the mouse pointer on the screen, move it to a specified target, click, then find the right-hand side of the keyboard.

      By find, by the way, I am not implying that the item is lost, only that it takes a moment for your brain to successfully guide your hand to the right location. It also requires more attention than it should.

      By comparison, on properly-designed forms, I can just hit the Tab key an appropriate number of times, with far less wasted movement, and get the job done.

      I’m not saying using a mouse is wrong. It’s very intuitive, and very quick to learn. It is not, however, the fastest way to operate, again, provided that the application is properly designed.

      Consumerist, by the way, is not properly designed. You can use Tab to get to the Submit button, but you don’t get visual confirmation of this, so you may end up in the wrong spot.

    • StatusfriedCrustomer says:

      I assume the authors of “Use the mouse only as a last resort” have not yet installed Windows 7 or Office 2010. In XP/2003 you could do everything with the keyboard, but in the new system the mouse seems like a requirement for many functions. Keyboard shortcuts are now one character longer in most cases, which eats up time even for keyboard lovers. And I pity people who have physical handicaps and cannot use the mouse because they will be stuck with XP/2003 forever.

    • Jawaka says:

      “The mouse is a clumsy device that requires you to break your work flow.”

      Oh please. Sounds like more corporate BS to ensure that I’m being 100% productive 100% of the time.

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Duel monitors.

    When I finally got that at work it was a huge boon. Now I can look at two reports at once, which is huge for how often I use information from one report to create or modify a second one. Flipping back and forth limited how much I could remember at once; now I just glance over quickly.

    And, I can easily conceal Consumerist!

    • IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

      Haha, I’m doing that right now.

      Dual monitors is awesome though. I’m working on quadruples.
      If you’re pounding out a lot of spreadsheets it’s definitely worth it to not constantly be flipping through screens.

    • adamstew says:

      +100

      I switched to dual monitors a LONG time ago… I’m also the IT guy at my office and started
      getting everyone two monitors as well… Everyone whom I gave two monitors will now physically fight me if I were to try to take one of them away. There are studies that show a 10-50% increase in productivity, depending on the task, for having two monitors.

      • misterfweem says:

        Seriously. We’re on dual monitors at home as well. One of my wife’s died, so I gave her one of mine, so I’m down to one right now. Probably the single thing that’s put the most stress on our marriage.

    • OccasionallyOpinionated says:

      Duel monitor? Is that more or less lethal than a duel pistol?

    • Chmeeee says:

      My pet peeve with the dual monitor is that Excel doesn’t open up multiple sheets in multiple iterations of Excel, so it’s difficult to get one sheet on one screen and one on the other. With Word this is no problem. How are these two not the same?

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        OMFG THIS!! It’s incredibly stupid. Someone fix this moronic problem with Excel.

      • seth_lerman says:

        There is a workaround for this issue. When you open Excel by selecting a file (and letting the files association open Excel for you) it will open in an existing instance. If you manually launch Excel a 2nd time it is a new instance which can be moved to a 2nd monitor. Now within that instance open the Excel file in question.

      • Alan says:

        I don’t know which one you are using… but in 2003 you can get mulitiple excel windows to open. You just have to open two seperate excel windows and then open the files from there. Or if you open it from a explorer window, it will open in the last one you had open.

      • ClemsonEE says:

        I’m assuming you’re on Windows 7 now, open one Excel sheet, then middle click on the Excel icon in the taskbar to open another instance of Excel, open your other Excel sheet from that instance.

        • Chmeeee says:

          Four replies saying the same thing. Alright!

          Actually, I’ve tried this, and Excel started getting really confused. Perhaps it was coincidence, but cells were no longer calculating correctly, and I think it was confused by the two instances of the same application.

          • ClemsonEE says:

            If you’re running two instances and are linking cells between each workbook, then it won’t automatically update like it would if you have them both open under the same instance of Excel. You’ll have to save both and manually update links.

    • McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

      I love my dual monitor. I miss my old linux box though where I had a triple monitor setup.

      God, that was epic.

      Database on one screen.
      Application on another.
      Dev env on the third.

      o/

    • Bsamm09 says:

      I am running quads now and might pick up a 5th if I can find room for it. I need to be able to look at a lot of things at the same time and thought 4 would do it but a 5th sounds like it might be the sweet spot.

    • ClemsonEE says:

      So your monitors fight each other?

    • Bob from Texas says:

      Along similar lines: Multiple Desktops. In windows I use virtuaWin for this, and I think ubuntu/gnome have the option out of the box. I have two monitors plus multiple desktops. This helps me keep tasks/work flows separate. It also keeps private emails/web browsing/shopping away from prying eyes by allowing me to quickly switch to my work desktop.

    • Yacko says:

      I’ve been using dual monitors on a Mac since 1996, different cpus and different monitors but essentially the same setup. The one in fron of me is a landscape lcd and the one to the right of it is in portrait mode. A joy to use.

    • BrianneG says:

      I would LOVE to have dual monitors at work. My husband has the set up at home and when I worked from home over New Year’s weekend it was the best thing ever. He’s got three at work and I’m still stuck with a tiny one. At least it’s not the behemoth I had a few years ago.

  4. IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

    So, be smarter and use good equipment.
    Go pro tips!

    • Rachacha says:

      if only my in-laws would see this. I have been married for 13 years and my in laws are still using the same pc they had then, and it was probably 6 years old at that time. They disable cookies don’t run flash or java and complain that the Internet is broken. We bought them a new computer for Christmas and they refused it. Thankfully they moved over from dial up to high speed this month so I am now trying to support them from 1000 miles away on an old OS and an old machine. I think I am starting to convince them that they need to run Windows update. Once that is done I need to convince them to install a remote access client on the machine so I can help them remotely.

      • november84 says:

        Not trolling, but why don’t you just get them a mac and show them the basics? For your sake it wont be hard to trouble shoot and a lot is self explanatory.

  5. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    I always hated working with my dad on something on the computer–he would always drive the mouse, and never find things in long lists of information. I kept trying to explain the “search” function to him. Ctrl-F, Dad.

  6. zantafio says:

    use a Mac

    • belsonc says:

      Care to give reasons, or should we just regard you as a run-of-the-mill fanboy?

      • november84 says:

        For all intents and purposes macs are a bit more simple for the basic user. itunes, app store, safari, and other default mac apps are simple to use. Being unix based if you have to go much deeper than that it can be a pain but I think people who know next to nothing will find macs to be a bit easier. I’m assuming the next to nothings just do browsing, horrible facebook games and email.

  7. Onesnap says:

    Learn to type? Do High Schools still teach typing classes or has that gone the way of the dinosaur? We used to have to take typing on…electric IBM typewriters in order to make it through HS. This was the early 90s.

    • sponica says:

      I know I went to middle school in the middle part of the 90s, and I had to learn to type.

      maybe because computers are just about in every home, schools don’t feel compelled to teach typing or intro to computers. we had to learn how to use DOS in high school in order to appreciate all the iterations of windows that followed. I still think that there are some things that are easier to figure out when you know DOS.

      the one thing schools never taught students is that when you open a paper from your email….you MUST SAVE IT to the computer first! I can’t remember how many college students I had to say “sorry, you closed your word document and even though you saved it constantly, it was a temporary file” during finals week.

      • Don't Bother says:

        I took keyboarding in high school in the early 2000’s. The class itself didn’t teach me how to type. It was the millions of ours I spent on AIM talking to friends after school.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      Typing wasn’t a required course when I was in school but I took it in 7th grade in the late 1980s on old-school electric typewriters. I can type 120 wpm with no mistakes. Comes in handy, since I work in I.T. and type all day long. I have no idea if they still offer typing, or “keyboarding” as they now call it….

    • webweazel says:

      Typing classes won’t help everybody. Maybe to up their speed a little, but not everybody can learn to touch-type.

      I started using a typewriter when I was about 5. Went to an electric at about 14. Took typing in high school, and a speed-typing after-hours course. Still have to look at the keyboard to type. Coordination issues? Don’t know. I do type incredibly fast with at least 3 fingers on each hand, not a hunt-and-peck poke-around at least.

    • Donathius says:

      I actually became incredibly fast at touch typing via playing an MMO called City of Heroes. If the only way to communicate with people is via keyboard and you sometimes need to get your point across fast you learn pretty quickly.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Of course they still teach typing – it’s just that they teach it on PCs now instead of typewriters.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      I had to take typing in high school but I didn’t really pick up on typing until I started going into chat rooms and had to type really fast, that and instant messenger as well. I had typing in 3rd grade too but I never caught on. I don’t know if they teach typing these days in school.

    • SamEBates says:

      Not here, at least. There’s not enough time for typing between all the other crap students are required to take.

      For example, when I was a senior I wanted to take Consumer Math instead of Geometry/Algebra 3. I figured that learning how to make a budget, balance a checkbook, calculate the price of gas for trips, etc, was more important than finding the angles of various triangles (never used it, btw). I was informed that Consumer Math was only for students who didn’t have enough math credits to graduate in time.

      They don’t teach basics anymore. No child left behind!

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        If they taught basics, no one WOULD be left behind. And we wouldn’t have to pick up after them years later.

  8. Gary says:

    WTF?!?!
    “A larger hard drive…..will…increase the speed of your rig.”
    That is blatantly false. A FASTER drive will increase the speed of your rig. Moving to a solid state drive (SSD) will make your rig blindingly fast. But a larger drive? If it’s your boot drive it will SLOW DOWN the system.
    Instead may I suggest putting in two drives. A 120GB SSD for the boot drive, and a very large drive (1TB or larger) for data storage. Now it’s blindingly fast with tons of storage.

    • Sneeje says:

      Yeah you’re right. This may have been true (somewhat) when computers used swap space constantly, although even that wasn’t a straightforward correlation.

      The statement in the article just looks stupid: “Install a new hard drive. This is a more expensive option, but it will vastly increase the speed of your computer.”

      Vastly? and this person is an IT Pro?

      • jeb says:

        Depends. Hard drives are mechanical, and they can (and do) wear out over time. A new hard drive could help if it takes forever to open programs but they run fast once they’re open. (Also, if there’s always activity on the hard drive, that may not be a good sign.)

        • Sneeje says:

          But not, “vastly”. Honestly, if he’d said, do a little research and find out if your HD is a slower model, then replace it if it makes sense, I might not be so skeptical.

      • papastevez says:

        Many of the new larger drives have faster sequential read speeds due to the increase in data density that allowed the drive to store the bits. That being said, I laughed at the idea of this being an “IT Pro” since the average user sees more benefits more from high random IO speeds more than sequential.

    • Cat says:

      I do this all the time, but I don’t use a SSD for a boot drive, since I have access to some inexpensive pulled Raptors. SSDs are still too pricey for my budget. This trick works great for a HTPC.

      Also, keep the boot drive clean of crap and defragment often.

    • jeadly says:

      But it’s CONSUMERIST, they have to tell you to go buy something.

  9. PunditGuy says:

    Most programs have some sort of workflow intelligence built in. If you find yourself repeatedly doing the same or similar tasks, check to see if there’s some automated function that can do the grunt work for you.

  10. speaky2k says:

    One thing I can’t agree on to speed you up is upgrading OS. If you try and just upgrade your OS from XP to Win7 as in the article, your computer will slow down dramatically. If you add hardware upgrades (memory, cpu, hard drive) at the same time, then it can be faster. Just remember that if your PC has XP (from several years ago) then the hardware may be too out of date to even be able run Win7, yet alone make the PC run better.
    One thing I found to make my older computer run better… Have a hard drive crash and be forced to re-install everything. By re-installing fresh, you only install the programs you use and none of the bloatware that either was installed when you bought the computer or you added and didn’t uninstall or they didn’t uninstall properly.

    • ClemsonEE says:

      Actually, there’s been plenty of benchmarks for this, Windows 7 is significantly faster and outperforms Windows XP.

  11. Bagumpity says:

    The Air Force uses an acronym “HOTAS” (Hands On Stick And Throttle) that I semi-adopted for use on a computer as “HOKAM” (Hands on Keyboard And Mouse). Basically, I have learned to mostly type with my left hand and mouse-click with my right hand. I am extremely fast at it, and my hands rarely leave their assigned i/o device. The only time I put my right hand on the keyboard is to type long paragraphs, in which case I do make use of keyboard shortcuts as much as possible.

    • Not Given says:

      With my first mouse, after installing Windows 3.x, I was using the keypad a lot with accounting software so I moved the mouse to the left so I wouldn’t have to take my hand off the numbers to use the mouse. I’ve used it left handed ever since. I find it difficult to use another computer because the mouse is hard to control with my right hand and they often have too short of a cord to move it.

  12. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    Upgrade your hardware? BWAHAHAHA.

    Unless your hardware is really old or you do very hardware intensive stuff (Video encoding, heavy duty photoshop or heavy number crunching or compiling code, 98% of the time your computer is waiting for you.

    Think about it, how many times you are waiting for your computer? This does not include waiting for a web page- most of the time that is your connection or the server feeding the page to you, not the rendering speed of your computer.

    Unless you are really waiting a lot, the human interface portions will give you the biggest bang for the buck (ignoring too full hard drives or ram starved, those need to be upgraded or cleaned).

    A larger screen or dual monitors will increase your productivity significantly more than a 35% faster processor. A good keyboard and mouse will also help.

  13. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    You know how to work faster?

    DON’T CONSTANTLY CHECK CONSUMERIST, G+ and THE NEWS ON THE INTARWEBS!!

    I fail at this. My productivity is prob only 80% or so. :/

  14. dolemite says:

    I’ll admit, learning and using shortcuts, tabs, etc, are way faster than using a mouse, but…I’ve got the mouse usage too ingrained in me at this point.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Really you only need to learn the most commonly used shortcuts, and otherwise the time involved in trying to learn more and changing your habits to use them instictively isn’t worth it.

      Learn these and don’t sweat the rest:

      Ctrl+left mouse button = selectively select individual items in a large list

      Shift+left mouse button = select all items in series, starting with a simple left mouse button click on the first item in the list and then a shift-click on the last. Selects both of those items and everything in-between.

      Ctrl+C = copy
      Ctrl+X = cut
      Ctrl+V = paste

      …and one more that is frequently useful, Ctrl+A, which selects all that you’re currently viewing (and then you likely do a Ctrl+C or a Ctrl+X)

  15. Lefturn says:

    Just wanted to say, as others have pointed out, that a second monitor is probably the best investment for being more productive on the computer.

    Since I started using 2 at work, I would never go back. The increased ability to multitask is totally worth the cost.

  16. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    “* Upgrade your hardware. A larger hard drive, more memory and a newer operating system will all increase the speed of your rig. Those who upgrade almost never regret their investments because they appreciate their newfound speed.”

    Uh, really? A larger hard drive will speed up my rig? Oh, thank you clueless BBY retail clerk.

    No, the size of your hard drive has nothing to do with the speed of your system – unless you’re literally completely out of space. A *faster* hard drive may speed things up, like switching from a mechanical HD to a SS drive. But just going from, say, a 250Gb drive to a 1Tb drive of the same type isn’t going to do f%ck all to the performance of your system.

    While memory is *almost* always a safe bet, there’s reasonable limits. If you’re a normal person (not someone doing specialized work) who already has 4Gb in your Win7 machine, increasing that to 8Gb will almost certainly make no difference in the subjective speed of your system. If you’ve only got 2Gb, sure give it a go to 4Gb (or 8Gb…as recently I’ve seen the difference in cost between a 4Gb kit and an 8Gb kit to be exactly $5).

    And as for the OS – that’s no sure bet either. If you have an old XP box, XP is probably the best bet. Putting Win7 on it will almost certainly bog it down. On the other hand if you have a moderately-old Vista machine, Win7 may or may not make a noticeable difference. It is utterly true that Win7 is essentially Vista with a few tweaks and some polish…it’s not a night-and-day difference.

    The better advice would be, as a layperson who’s not equipped to truly clean out their Windows install and/or wipe the machine and rebuild it from scratch, would be to get Malwarebytes Antimalware (free) and run several scans on the machine to get rid of any and all malware, and then get CCleaner and let it firstly clean up the system and then do a registry clean. And then defrag your effing hard drive. Those three free steps are almost certainly better advice than going out and spending money on new hardware.

    • Rachacha says:

      Just a point on memory, if you are running a 32 bit operating system, upgrading to anything more than 4GB will be a waste as a 32 bit OS can not address more than 4GB

      Running software like malware bytes might be useful to see if you have any malware, but if it detects it, I feel the best bet is to backup your data, format, and do a complete reinstall. While it can be a pain in the @$$, it dramatically improves system performance and stability.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        Good point on the 32-bit OS/RAM issue. Depending on thei motherboard chipset, it might ne ven be able to address 4Gb anyway – you might plop 4Gb into an XP machine only to have it report 3.25Gb.

        And granted while it is great to wipe your machine and rebuild, as I noted the average user is in no position to do so. Getting the malware off and cleaning up the registry with those free tools is the best they’re going to be able to do for themselves.

      • Not Given says:

        3.24G according to system information

    • papastevez says:

      Larger HDDs often have greater data densities which will increase sequential read speeds. The HDD upgrade suggestion is not entirely without merit. However, average lay users will see better performance gains from drives with high random IO speeds(SSD).

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        Granted that the intended audience is the average schmuck on the street, the point is that there is no subjective difference in the performance of your PC should you swap your old HD for a larger one that happens to have a higher aureal density. The point isn’t to get a couple more ticks on a synthetic benchmark – it’s to make a difference that a human could appreciate as being “better.”

  17. meowgal says:

    You have it in your picture. Increase productivity- buy a separate computer for the cat to nap on.

  18. Jacob says:

    I would be more productive on my computer if I didn’t read Consumerist so much.

  19. SmokeyBacon says:

    Upgrade from Windows XP (which is what I have to use at work).

    Have all your employees on the same versions of things so that when one sends a file to another they are compatible (some of the employees have newer versions of office – of course I know how to open the files but none of the techs can figure it out so they have to send it to me so I can save it as the older version and they can open it – that is a lot of wasted time).

  20. Mr. Bill says:

    But I use the computer and internet to wast time.

  21. Beauzeaux says:

    I’m not a touch typist — never learned in school or anywhere else. I use the mouse a lot. I have somehow survived and I have written more than two dozen books. (Dual monitors are a plus, for sure.)

  22. TheGreySpectre says:

    “Upgrade your hardware. A larger hard drive, “

    What.

    Sorry a larger hard drive will not help with performance. A faster hard drive such as an SSD or 10k drive can help but a larger hard drive will not help at all.

  23. kobresia says:

    Memorize all the commands you’ll ever need, and use only a command-line interface. You’ll never again be pestered by diversions like cat videos if you don’t even have a GUI!

  24. CPENinja says:

    “Upgrade your hardware. A larger hard drive, more memory and a newer operating system will all increase the speed of your rig. Those who upgrade almost never regret their investments because they appreciate their newfound speed.”

    Pardon me, as a computer engineer I feel the need to do this.

    *stands up*
    *walks to closet*
    *opens door*
    *steps inside*
    *closes door*
    *SCREEEEAMING SOUND*
    *opens door*
    *steps out*
    *closes door*
    *walks back*
    *sits down*

    Ok, I’m good now. Carry on listening to Geek Squad advice.

  25. baristabrawl says:

    HOLY CRAP! Everyone I work with thinks I’m crazy because I learned to do data entry from a Nazi corporation (Aetna.) They went so far as to try to make me train myself to use my mouse with my left hand so I could type more and faster. I say all of these things, especially about typing and using a mouse. No one ever believes me. “A mouse makes my life easier.” Because you didn’t learn to type when DOS was around and WP was all “F” keys. I HATE HATE HATE when I go somewhere to register for something and the person that is registering or typing on the computer is not a touch typist. Makes me want to kick a puppy.

  26. PsiCop says:

    As a long-time IT guy, I thought I should weigh in on these suggestions, & add a few of my own.

    First, and most obviously, a larger hard drive is not likely to speed up a computer. It might … but only under certain conditions: if a slow drive is replaced by a significantly faster one, or if one’s drive is nearly full. Aside from that it’s not likely to add any speed.

    Second, upgrading the OS might help, but the hitch there is that a lot of older, slower computers aren’t going to be able to handle a current OS (like Windows 7). If your PC came with XP on it, chances are Windows 7 isn’t going to work well. (It might … particularly if it was a high-end workstation … but chances are, it won’t.)

    Third, adding memory will help … but if the rest of the computer remains as it is, the improvement will be apparent only just so long. As the computer continues to age and as software & websites become more complex, whatever gains are achieved will eventually be overtaken.

    Fourth, it’s absolutely true that keying can be much faster than mousing. I use the keyboard for a lot of things. And I learned to type at an early age, so I have a fair amount of dexterity with keyboards. Taking the time to develop typing skills can be worthwhile … if people will only give it a chance. Many users, sadly, will not try it … they learned to do something with the mouse so they rashly assume it can ONLY be done THAT WAY and no other.

    Fifth, the best way to speed up a computer is to not buy a cheapo lowball system in the first place. That $300 desktop you got at Best Buy is NEVER — I repeat, NEVER — going to run fast. Expecting it to be peppy — and stay peppy — is laughable. It ain’t gonna happen. Not on planet Earth anyway. Your computing experience will only go from miserable to unbearable. There is no “upside” to it. None.

    Sixth, don’t keep that cheapo lowball system for 8 years, then when it gets so slow as to not even work any more, take it to your neighborhood IT guy and beg him to “speed it up” for you, insisting you can’t afford a new computer. There is only so much an IT guy — no matter how skilled or knowledgeable — can do for you. Best thing to do is throw that old piece of crap on the junkpile, stick a crowbar in your wallet, pry it open, and spend what you need to spend in order to get a computer that will be peppy and will be able to give you another 5-6 years of useful life (if not more).

    Seventh, when you get that nice new system that’s actually worth what you paid for it, don’t load it up with “optimizers,” toolbars, “cleaners” and twenty different malware checkers, thinking it’s going to prevent trouble. It won’t. It will, on the other hand, slow that nice new computer down to a crawl, without doing much to be of any use.

    Eighth, get rid of any old, obsolete software you’ve been using since the 1990s. Yeah, I get that it works, I get that you’re used to it, and I get that you “don’t like change,” but if that computer goes belly-up you could be in serious trouble. Your ancient software that worked on your Win 98 or XP box may not work on a new Win 7 machine if you have to replace it … and even though your data may be kept, it might be in some proprietary format that nothing else can read. Best to convert to some a new & current software title, while your old machine is still alive. You don’t want to end up being the small business owner who has to spend a few weeks keying years of accounting data into a new PC. (Being irrationally change-resistant has a cost.)

    Ninth, and last … if you own a business and you use your computer for that business, do not buy a system with a “home” operating system (that would include “Windows 7 Home Premium”). Those are missing features which, all too often, people end up wanting. (Remote Desktop leaps to mind as one of these … while “home premium” systems do have a remote desktop viewer, they cannot be used as remote desktop servers. Also, XP Mode is not available to “home premium” OSs.) You could upgrade from “home premium” to “ultimate” and get all those features, but that’s much costlier than simply shelling out a few more bucks and getting a “business” OS in the first place.

  27. chefboyardee says:

    this is, without a doubt, the dumbest, most obvious list i’ve ever seen.

    ok, #2 is decent. but 1 and 3? really? REALLY?