Is your Windows Desktop dotted with files? Have you noticed that your fast computer has been running slower and slower? Do you see the hard drive light often flashing while you wait for the computer to respond to an action? To speed up your computer, clean your Windows Desktop.

How Many Files are on Your Desktop?

Each time Windows starts, operating memory is used for all files on the Desktop. If those files are Shortcuts, the total amount of memory used will be small. If however, there are several or dozens of files on the Desktop, those will use lots of operating memory, essentially for no purpose or gain.

With less memory available, the computer runs slower because it has to swap out information from operating memory to the hard drive. It does this process (called memory paging) to keep everything the user wants to do, running at the same time. More »

For those of you new to Windows, and with apologies to old hands, you may be interested to know that Windows stores the address of every web site you’ve ever visited, from the day you first switched on your machine.

This information is stored in a hidden and protected file that you can’t delete by any normal means. Some say this secret file, one of several called index.dat, was put there at the behest of the FBI but whatever its origins, the fact is your PC is spying on you.

There are ways to rid yourself of this unwelcome snooper and for the past few years I’ve been recommending a freeware program called CCleaner (CC originally stood for Crap Cleaner…), and that’s not about to change as the latest version 3 is released. More »

Check the hardware.

Hardware? Yes! No operating system can be better than the hardware on which it’s installed, and older systems are prone to age-related problems. One often-overlooked problem is dust buildup, which can cause chips and drives to overheat and malfunction. These hardware errors can masquerade as software problems, causing you to waste time troubleshooting the wrong thing.

It’s easy to clean your PC. Consult my how-to article, “Getting the grunge out of your PC.” (It’s a few years old, but still completely apt.) While you have your PC’s case open, make sure that all plug-in cards and socketed chips are fully seated and all cables firmly connected. More »

Our colleagues over at What Laptop are in the middle of posting useful tips and Q&As for solving all sorts of common notebook and netbook problems, for beginner to more experienced users, so we’ve collated 12 of the best for your reading pleasure.

1. Clean and speed up your laptop OS

It’s all too easy to fill your laptop’s hard drive with files and applications, and the more software you add the slower it’s likely to run. Traces of programs are even left behind after you’ve uninstalled them, potentially slowing your laptop further. Thankfully, it’s easy to spruce things up using an application called CCleaner. Read on to discover how to download and use it.

2. Protect your laptop’s data

Due to the portable nature of laptops and netbooks, the data it holds is unfortunately always at risk of both theft and loss. While it’s impossible to keep your laptop 100% safe at all times, you can ensure that your data is kept safe, even if your laptop is stolen or lost, by encrypting it. One particularly easy free solution you can use is TrueCrypt. Read on to discover how to download and use it. More »

Improve your experience in Windows Vista with Pctipsbox TOP 10 free recommended downloads.

1. MZ Vista Force is a system tweaker. Use it to accelerate performance, juice your browsing speed, clean up your hard disk, clearout bandwidth-wasting startup programs, and even fine-tune Windows Media Player and Explorer.

Many of the settings here are exceedingly fine-grained. Want to change the speed at which the Start menu search displays? With Mz Vista Force, you can. Download Mz Vista Force.

2. Vista Boot Logo Generator allows you to change it easily your boot screen with one that you created yourself or with a graphic that you find online. You’ll have to create or find the image in two sizes: 1024 by 768 pixels, and 800 by 600 pixels. Both must be in .bmp format, at 24-bit color depth. Once you have them this utility replaces your boot screen with them. Download Vista Boot Logo Generator. More »