Upgrade Your Life: How to speed up your PC (or Mac)

Is your desktop or laptop computer starting to feel a little poky? Even after just a few months of use, your PC or Mac may start to lose steam thanks to a fragmented hard drive, too many programs running in the background, or even a rogue piece of malware.


This week on Upgrade Your Life, Yahoo! News' Becky Worley serves up some quick and easy tricks for speeding up your PC or Mac, starting with …


1. Clean out your startup items

How long do you have to wait after hitting your PC's power button before you can actually get to work? Thirty seconds? A minute? Two minutes? More?


If you find yourself routinely twiddling your thumbs while your PC or Mac painstakingly boots itself up, maybe it's because your system is trying to fire up a slew of programs at the same time (and indeed, some programs will set themselves to launch at startup by default). Here's how to ease the frantic rush of competing startup programs:


For Windows: Click the Start menu, then select Programs (or All Programs in Windows 7), open the Startup folder, and then—as Becky suggest—delete mercilessly. (Don't worry; you're not deleting the programs themselves.) Note: if you see a program sitting in the Startup folder and you don't know what it's for, search on the Web to see what it does before hitting the "delete" button.

Windows系统的做法:点击“开始”菜单,选择“程序”(或Windows 7中的“所有程序”),打开“启动”项目,接着——像贝奇建议的那样——毫不留情的删掉它们。(不要担心;你不会真正从系统中删除这些程序的。)


For Mac: Open System Preferences under the Apple menu, click the Accounts icon, and then click the Login Items tab. You may find a variety of arcane programs and helper apps lurking inside (such as the mysterious iTunesHelper), but again—search before you zap an unknown program. (Disabling the iTunesHelper app, for example, will prevent iTunes from opening automatically when you connect an iPhone or iPod.)


2. Check for running apps in the Windows task bar

Got a Windows-based PC? See that little row of tiny icons in the bottom-right corner of the screen? Over the course of weeks, months, or years, the number of icons sitting in the Windows task bar has probably grown larger and larger—and many of those icons represent programs that are running in the background and consuming your PC's limited resources.


Expand the task bar by clicking the little arrow on the side, then right-click each icon in succession. If you find, for example, that programs like Skype and iTunes are whirring away even when you're not using them, right-click and select "Close"—or, better yet, open the program and uncheck any "launch at startup" settings in the Preferences or Options menu.

点击任务栏最左边的那个小箭头以展开它,然后用鼠标右键一个个的点击这些图标。如果你发现,比如说,当你没有在用的时候,“Skype”或 “iTunes”图标仍然存在,右键点击它们,然后选择“关闭”选项——或者,最好是在关闭之前,打开这个程序,在设置中找到“开机启动”选项,并取消勾选。

3. Turn off P2P applications

Programs like BitTorrent and Skype work their magic with "peer-to-peer" technology, meaning they leverage the combined computing power and bandwidth of every PC or Mac running their software for such uses as massive file transfers (in the case of BitTorrent) or high-quality, Net-based voice and video chat (for Skype).


But while sharing the P2P burden qualifies you a good Netizen, it can also put a significant dent in your system's performance. If you've got programs like BitTorrent and Skype running all day, every day in the background, Becky suggests shutting them down until you really need them.


4. Root out viruses and malware

Nothing will slow your system down like a virus, a Trojan horse, or other types of malware. Plenty of commercial antivirus applications are available for Windows PCs, but Becky recommends trying Microsoft's free Security Essentials suite, which will sweep your system for any unwanted, nefarious software and provide ongoing protection via regular updates. Just visit Microsoft's Security Essentials website, download and install the software, and follow the instructions.


Anti-virus packages from the likes of Norton and McAfee are also available for Mac users, but there's an ongoing debate about whether virus protection on the Mac is more trouble than it's worth, given that malicious hackers are far more focused on Windows than they are on Mac OS X systems.


5. Clean up your hard drive

The more junk you have cluttering up your hard drive, the longer it takes for your system to access the data it needs—and that's a great reason to regularly scan your folders and toss out files and programs you don't need, or move them somewhere else to make more room.


One easy (and relatively cheap) solution, says Becky, is to buy an external hard drive for your music, photos, and videos, which can hog a surprisingly large amount of disk space (particularly when it comes to HD-quality TV shows and movies). You can find 500GB external hard drives online for as little as $50, while plenty of 1TB drives (or 1,000 gigabytes) sell for south of $100. Most USB 2.0 external drives are plug-and-play, meaning you just plug them into your PC's USB 2.0 port and you're ready to start dragging and dropping.

一个简单(又相对便宜)的解决方法,在贝奇看来,就是为你的音乐,相片和视频购买一个去外接硬盘,它能保存让你惊讶的大量硬盘空间(尤其是在高清电视节目和电影时代时)。在网上,你会发现一个能容纳500GB的外接硬盘只需要50美元,同时还有很多可容纳1TB的移动硬盘(即1000GB)正在销售,这意味着你只需要把它们插入电脑的USB 2.0接口即可,而且还可以随时更换它们。

Another options: online storage sites, such as Dropbox and Carbonite.


Becky also recommends dumping any old programs that you no longer use. For Windows, click the Start menu, open the Control Panel, and select Add/Remove Programs (or "Uninstall a program" in Windows 7). Mac users can look in the Applications folder, which you can open in the Mac OS X Finder by clicking the Window menu and clicking Applications. See a program you simply never use anymore? Consider tossing it in the trash—although again, never throw away an application without knowing what it does first.



6. Turn off Mac Dashboard widgets

One of the more recent features in Mac OS X is the Dashboard—a layer of handy widgets that you can call up by clicking the Dashboard icon in the Dock. But while Dashboard widgets might be great for a quick check on the weather or to track the Dow, they also eat up a decent chunk of system resources.


Do yourself a favor and deactivate the widgets you don't use all that often, Becky advises. Activate the Dashboard, then click the "plus" sign in the bottom-left corner of the screen; next, click the "X" in the upper-left corner of any widgets that you won't miss.


7. Try a new browser—or update your old one

Has your browser been slowing to a crawl lately? Maybe it's time for a new one. Both Firefox and Google's Chrome Web browsers are popular—and powerful—alternatives to Internet Explorer, and don't forget that there's a Windows version of Apple's speedy Safari browser.


Want to stick with the browser you have? Make sure you're using the latest version. For Internet Explorer, fire up the Windows Update app under the Start Menu. For Firefox, select "Check for update" under the Help menu. Got Chrome? Select "About Google Chrome" under the wrench icon in the Windows version, or under the Chrome menu in Mac OS X. For Safari, launch "Apple Software Update" under the Start menu in Windows, or select Software Update under the Apple menu on the Mac.


One more thing: make sure you have the latest version of Adobe's Flash Player installed. Visit Adobe's Flash site to download the latest and greatest version (10.2, as of this writing).

另:确保你安装了最新的“Adobe's Flash Player”。访问 Adobe's Flash网站,下载最新的版本(目前是10.2)。

8. Defragment your hard drive

Your computer's hard drive is a lot like a closet: the more cluttered it is, the longer it takes to find stuff. One of the easiest (and most effective) ways of tidying up your hard drive is to defragment it, a process that involves consolidating scattered blocks of data into a larger chunk, resulting in bigger swaths of free disk space.


Luckily, defragmenting your hard drive in Windows is a snap. Select Computers from the Start menu, right-click on the icon that represents your hard drive, select Properties, click the Tools tab, and click the Defragment Now button.


Got a Mac? Thanks to the disk optimization features built into Mac OS X, there's "little benefit" to manually fragmenting your hard drive, Apple says. But if you're feeling the need to try it anyway, there are several third-party defragmenting utilities for the Mac, including iDefrag and Drive Genius; just make sure to back up your data before giving them a go.

你用的是苹果机?那感谢苹果操作系统的磁盘优化特征吧,苹果说,手工整理硬盘是会对你有“好处”的哦。但如果你认为仍然值得尝试一下自动化,那么,这里有一些针对苹果系统的第三方整理应用,包括“iDefrag”和“Drive Genius”;只要确保在使用他们前备份好了你的数据就行。