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Deleting old and unused programs makes your PC run faster?

  1. Jul 11, 2009 #1
    I was wondering if deleting a few video games which I have mastered and do not play anymore which in all amounts to, and frees about 22 GB of space on my 700 GB hard drive, will make my computer boot and run slightly faster?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 12, 2009 #2
    It depends on if that 22 gigs is encroaching on the last 20% or so of the hard drive. You wont notice any difference unless your computer is currently bogged down by having a full hard drive.

    You'll see a noticeable difference by disabling programs in the startup process that you don't use often.

    How much free space do you have?
  4. Jul 12, 2009 #3
    Sure, it could have some impact. Make sure you defrag your drive after deleting any programs, as well.
  5. Jul 12, 2009 #4
    How do I defrag my hard drive? How long does that take? What does defragging do?
  6. Jul 12, 2009 #5
    There are only 2 ways that hard drive capacity can effect your computer's performance. The "legacy" reason is that you have filled up your drive so that virtual memory causes thrashing, but this really can't be an issue unless you have less than 2 GB left on your hard drive.

    The second reason is that after writing and erasing thousands of times, it's hard for the drive to find large spaces of free contiguous space which slows down hard drive access times. This can slow down things such as opening programs or saving files, and defragmenting your hard drive is the solution. Deleting unused applications first will prolong the need for your next defrag.

    The biggest cause for computer's slowing down over time has nothing to do with space taken up on the hard drive, it has to do with all the applications and drivers that think they are first-class citizens and wantonly integrate themselves into your computer so that they are always running in the background as soon as you turn your computer on. In theory a background process doesn't consume much resources but if you get enough of them, it does, not to mention that they may be making periodic update checks..or silently downloading updates in the background, etc.

    For the above reasons, uninstalling programs and games that you don't use may increase your performance. If you're using Vista you may also want to disable daily virus scans of all your hard drives which is enabled by default and will cause massive slowdown for no good reason.

    There are a lot of other things you can do, such as making unnecessary services start on demand or disabling them, rather than starting automatically whenever you restart. These services are responsible for the massive delay in usability after restarting a computer.
  7. Jul 12, 2009 #6
    Run disk cleanup first by right-clicking your c: drive then looking for either 'tools' or 'disk cleanup' it's self. That should free quite a bit of space if it hasn't been run lately.

    Weather your computer has hundreds of installed programs or only a handful with thousands of other files like audio and video, in the end it takes time find the data that it's looking for. If it has do to this many, many times, those small bits of time slowly start to add up. That's why I always try to keep anywhere from 10-20% free on my hard drives. Benchmarks show the truth in this.

    Also, keeping 2GB of space is not a good standard to follow anymore. Microsoft's rule of thumb, when it comes to paging file size, has been to allocate approximately 1.5 times the amount of RAM installed. So, if someone has a newer system with 4GB of RAM, they could be looking at hard drive space allocation on the order of 6GBs if there's more than one memory-intensive programs running.
  8. Jul 12, 2009 #7
  9. Jul 12, 2009 #8
    I'm not sure what you're advocating here, so let me just make something clear:

    The rule of allocating 1.5 times as much RAM is a very dated rule that no longer applies in today's world.

    In fact, for most people the only reason to use a page file at all is because there are certain programs that assume it exists. A much better rule to follow these days is to allocate about 1 GB and leave it at that, regardless of how much ram you have. For example, I have 12 GB of RAM...and my page file is 1 GB.
  10. Jul 12, 2009 #9


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    The built in defragger moves files around by making a copy of the file's data, then optionally verifying that data, then changing the file pointers to point to the new data (the file pointer update is the one risky step). The algorithms look for gaps to fill or files to move out of the way to increase gap size in order to move an entire file in to the gap.

    To speed up start up time, a more sophisicated algorithm will monitor the order files are read for start up, and attempt to put these files into sequential order.

    Defragmenting on a single hard drive is very time consuming because of the large amount of random access involved. The streaming rate of a hard drive is much faster than the random access rate. Streaming rates of new hard drives range from 50MBPS to 100MBPS, while random access and head movment times results in a random access rate of 200PS or less.

    Using a second drive makes defragmenting a lot easier and a bit safer. The source partition on one hard drive is copied to a destination folder or partition on the second hard drive on a file by file basis. The ordering of files and any fragmentation causes random accessing of the source drive, but the destination drive is mostly sequential writes, except for the file pointer updates (FAT or NTFS cluster updates). After the partition is copied, then the partitions are compared to verify they are the same. These two steps are part of a normal partition backup. To continue with defragment operation, the original partition is quick formatted, and the files copied from the backup partition to the original partition. This time the operations are almost completely sequential. Afterwards the data is compared again to verify the operation.

    I'm not sure which PC based commercial packages support this type of backup and defrag. In my case I use a program I wrote to do the file copy. It retains the dates and time stamp info as well as the short name info, of each file or directory copied. It also copies all files in the current working directory before dealing with any sub-directories, so all files for a directory are located adjacently on a hard drive (this is how most backup applications work). I use windiff to verify copy operations. Since my program doesn't handle the boot partition well, I use multiple partitions, with virtually nothing in the boot partition which I can't restore easily. I keep the OS, applications (mostly games space wise), and data in separate partitions. With this setup, if I got a virus, or I installed an update like Intenet Explorer 8 that I didn't like, I can just restore the OS partition and leave the application and data partitions alone, which speeds up the restore time.

    With my setup, I need a second instance of an OS installed on another partition. In my case I use Windows XP X64 to backup the Windows XP SP3 partition and vice versa.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2009
  11. Jul 13, 2009 #10
    Start>Accessories>System Tools>Diskdefragmenter

    How long it takes depends on the level of fragmentation, the free space on the volume and the defragger you use. The Windows defragger is pretty slow, especially Vista which is designed to defrag in low priorty. For a fast and easy defrag, the best IMO is Diskeeper09, which can be set to run automatically.

    There are different opinions on the benefits of a defrag. I am among those who find that keeping the drives defragged keeps the PC smoother and better responsive as compared to a severely fragmented drive.
  12. Jul 21, 2009 #11
    More importantly if you remove the programs that are loading up at startup is the best way to get speed improvement...

    Type MSConfig at the Command Prompt.

  13. Aug 3, 2009 #12
    If you decide to remove some startup programs, be sure to have a backup and/or a system restore in place and do not remove programs that you do'nt know what they do. The consequences to the latter could be devastating (trust me, I know!).

    I would suggest finding out which programs are safe to remove. Do anyone else have comments on this one?
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