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Less is More: Freeing-up CPU Bandwidth on Your Home Computer (Part 1)

Posted October 22, 2008 9:40 AM by april05

The problem, simply stated:

In our busy lives, we may install software without fully understanding how it will be used over the long-haul by folks (including ourselves) who share our home computer. Without this knowledge, this sometimes leads to picking non-optimal installation options for music, greeting card, printer, photo, and other popular software we use at home.

Over time, the accumulation of less-than-optimally installed software - along with early-version or badly-written software that may be insensitive to computer resources - may lead to diminished performance of your home PC. This can slow down more important, frequently-used applications such as e-mail and web browsers, as well as educational and personal-finance software.

Let's assume that a hard-drive "reset" (backup, low-level reformatting, restoration of OS, applications and data) isn't required or the quickest path to a faster system (but it often is!). Here are five surgical tips that have worked for me over the years in recovering CPU bandwidth. The first two are described below. The remaining three will be outlined in Part 2 of this series.

Note: All five tips are for PCs running the Microsoft XP operating system.

1. Watch Processes (know your friends).
If you're on the path to burning a DVD from footage you've just shot on digital video (DV) tape, you're bound to run into the dreaded "transcoding" step, requiring a significant amount of your CPU's processing power. If you inspect Windows Task Manager and realize CPU Usage is at 100% (example screenshot above) while you're performing this step, you may end up introducing digital distortion to your end product. Freeing your processor from non-burning related activities is called for.

2. Identify Software that can be ran "On-Demand" (lighten the boot-time load).
Stop applications from starting automatically at boot time and adding to ongoing processor load. Useful OS/installed tools to use include "Add or Remove Programs" (in Windows Control Panel) to change start-up options or remove software from computer, "MSConfig.exe" (Start -> Run -> MSConfig), or changing startup options from within the offending software.

Author's Note: Part 2 of this series will run next week, right here on CR4.

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#1

Re: Less is More: Freeing-up CPU Bandwidth on Your Home Computer (Part 1)

10/23/2008 4:11 AM

There is a far better and free set of Utilities, so good that Microsoft bought them.

Head right off to: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/default.aspx

Choose what you need, all free, Malware and Virus free, and no adware either.

Plenty of useful software there on that above main site - go for it.

Windows Task Manager may be replaced by the far more powerful:

Process Explorer

Find out what files, registry keys and other objects processes have open, which DLLs they have loaded, and more. This uniquely powerful utility will even show you who owns each process.

Kind Regards....

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Less is More: Freeing-up CPU Bandwidth on Your Home Computer (Part 1)

10/23/2008 8:45 AM

Hi Sparkstation - Many thanks for sharing your Utilities link here. The more tools available to fix CPU bandwidth problems, the more likely it is that a hard-drive reset won't be required. - Larry

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#3

Re: Less is More: Freeing-up CPU Bandwidth on Your Home Computer (Part 1)

10/23/2008 11:26 AM

I find it's not CPU bandwith that slows the machine down, it's every friggin' software writer who thinks their bloatware is so important that it must be loaded into RAM on start up every time whether you want it to or not. It clutters up the RAM with all their drivers and applets that sit there hidden in the background. Just take a look at the processes tab of Task Manager and see how google, aol, yahoo and a bunch of others will just suck up all your good RAM to keep their smiling little face down on your system tray.

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#4

Re: Less is More: Freeing-up CPU Bandwidth on Your Home Computer (Part 1)

10/28/2008 8:11 AM

Author's note: Part 2 in now available - click here.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Less is More: Freeing-up CPU Bandwidth on Your Home Computer (Part 1)

10/28/2008 8:36 PM

Hello april05

for your advice re Part 2.

Kind Regards....

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