Not everyone is lucky enough to have a fully dedicated machine for streaming their feed, most webcam models only have one computer. On occasion these home machines can become slow and bogged down from everyday use. There are many things that can be done to speed up your PC without buying special software or paying a geek to do it for you! So give your machine a breath of fresh air and consider the following tips. Your computer, feed, and clients may just thank you for it!
1. Turn off Startup Programs
You're home alone on a windy night and a particularly big spender enters the room. You laugh, you flirt, you smile, he tips! - Oh my he tips a LOT! Then BAM! Power Surge (You did have that computer plugged into a surge protector, right?) the lights flicker momentarily, your machine goes dark! Oh no! Quick! Turn it back on! It seems like ages for your machine to start up and it is! Five, Ten, Fifteen minutes go by before you finally get logged in. You start up your feed, only to find your big spender has deserted your room. You took too long.
This scenario can easily be avoided by turning off an minimizing your startup processes. Every program developer wants to believe that THEIR program is going to be the most important piece of software on your machine. Sometimes because of this, they include a process that launches the program on startup. Clearly this is for your benefit, but all those startup programs can really bog down your machines. So let's turn them off! Now, most programs such as Skype are kind enough to include a startup option in the preferences, but here is a sure fire way to make sure those other pesky programs don't lag you down.
Windows has a lovely built in utility fondly referred to as MSConfig. This utility allows you to easily and quickly see what programs are running at startup. Note: The MSConfig utility can be used to configure several things at once so BE CAREFUL.
To open the MSConfig, open press the Windows Key + R (Hint: The window key is the 'flag' next to your spacebar) to open a run command prompt and type “msconfig” as shown below.
This should open up the MSConfig utility. From here, go straight to the tab labeled Startup.
From here, deselect any items or programs you may not need. Remember, this isn't uninstalling programs, simply keeping them from automatically starting up. They will still be accessible in your All Programs.
After you're finished and apply your changes a dialog box will appear telling you that you may need to restart your computer for the changes to take affect. Click Restart to restart your computer immediately. If are not ready to restart your computer, click Exit without restart.
TA DA! You should notice a increase in the amount of time it takes for your PC to reboot!
2. Clean Up Your Files!
Your machine a little down? Not as spry an chipper as it once was? A little sluggish in general? Well it may help to clean up those unnecessary system files. The more you use your computer, the more files it collects and stores away. These aren't always word documents and excel spreadsheets but often come in the form of system logs and cached files. Over time, the accumulation of these files can slow your machine down, especially on older XP machines. Cleaning them up however is super simple! Windows has another lovely utility for cleaning up these files called Disk Cleanup.
Begin by opening your Run command box like we did in the first step of Tip #1. Windows Key + R! This time type "cleanmgr" without the quotes! This will open the Disk Cleanup utility (Note: The following is slightly different depending on the Operating System you're using. If it asks you to select which drive, make sure you select your "C:" drive. If prompts to know which user account to clean up, select All Users!") which should look similar to the one below.
In general, it doesn't hurt to select ALL the files to clear out. Just make sure to double check the recycle bin first to make sure there isn't something you want to save. When it doubt, select the file category to delete and read the description! When you've selected everything you want to clean out. Hit ok! In general it's good to do this once a month. Keep in mind though, that if it's been ages since you've run a clean up, removing the files could take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes to finish!
For a majority of the newer computers on the market, defragging isn't something you need to worry about. Newer operating systems such as Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Window 8 have turned this utility into a scheduled task. So this step is more for the older operating systems out there - I'm looking at you Windows XP. What is defragment? Pretend your computer is large bookcase stuffed to the brim with books and magazines and exquisitely alphabetized. Every time you take a book off the shelf, it gets put back in a different place. Eventually your bookcase gets so disorganized it takes ages to find anything! This is what can happen to your machine. Think of defragment as a little "reorganization".
As in our previous tips, we're going to start with a run command box! Windows Key +R! In this dialog box type "defrag" without the quotes! The following utility should appear...
The next step is simple! Simply highlight the drive you need to defrag (Hint: In general, you're going to want to select the C: drive.) and then select the "Defragment Disk" and off we go! Be aware this can take an hour or so to complete. I usually allow mine to run overnight.
4. Spyware and AntiVirus
Spyware, Malware, Greyware, so many wares out there! - Heh, Don't you love it when you rhyme? All of these things can cause HAVOCK on your PC! So how do you handle all of them? Simple, you find a utility to do it for you! And there is no easier and handy removal tool then Malwarebytes - Anti Malware. Ladies, meet your new Knight in Shining Armor. You can download it using the link below.
Installation is quick and simple. Simply download and run the executable. Taking the default settings when installing this program is best. Once it's all said and done (and updated) you'll be presented with the following screen!
If you have the time (Note: A scan can take more then an hour) select "Preform Full Scan" then hit the scan button! Once the scan is finished, you'll presented with another screen.
Click OK! - Where you'll then see THIS Screen.
Selected EVERYTHING that comes up. I mean make sure there is a check box next to every item in red, then hit "Remove Selected"
If Malwarebytes prompts for a restart, do so immediately to remove any lingering infections.
One of the final tasks and things to double check before starting up your feed is to make sure that there are no lingering background processes from applications you already shut down. To check this, we're going to open up the task manager. The easiest way to do this is by right clicking on your task bar and selecting "Task Manger"
You'll soon be looking at the following pop-up.
You'll want to be careful here as shutting down the wrong process can cause your machine to shut down, so ONLY look for the names of applications you know. Such as iTunes or Skype. If you don't want to have these running, right click and select "End Process". When in doubt, typing the name of the processes into a quick google search will give you more information on the program it's related too.
We're all done! After a reboot upon completing these simple Tips and Tricks you should see a noticeable increase in computer performance!