Person typing on a keyboard

Computers can be like Sumo wrestlers: the more powerful they get, the slower they can become and the less you want to root around their crevices to try to fix the problem. That’s because every useful computer in the world not currently controlling nuclear warheads is online, which means the last person to know what it’s doing is the actual user. And if you’re in an office, meaning other idiots have had access to it, it’s probably suffering from more damaging parasites than the crew in Alien.

Your system shouldn’t be spending its time working for any other organizations, be they l337_WAREZ or Microsoft. We’ve found three tools which will really speed up your computer system, especially when it comes to using the Internet, so even if they don’t enhance your work one jot, they’ll dramatically accelerate your life.

1. CCleaner

CCleaner understands every aspect of your annoyance. The “C” stands for computer now, because it’s a professional program, but it used to stand for something else back when it was programmed by a lone warrior annoyed by the stupid junk slowing down his system. CCleaner cuts through your computer, obliterating all the old litter your programs pump out and forget. And this isn’t in reference to malware or stupid screensavers; these are core Windows system and Explorer “temp” files which end up more massive than a basement-blogger’s porn collection.


The second speed boost is a registry workout, uninstalling all the old and obsolete entries your computer still checks every single second despite (mostly) uninstalling “Super Sheep Farm 1997!” over a decade ago.

But the third is the Holy Grail, the ultimate upgrade, the addition you’ll enjoy every single time you turn on your computer: the Startup list.



This is why your PC takes an hour and a half to get up to speed when you start it – not the ASCII font bootup, or the waving Windows logo, but that Time Of Pain when your windows are up and agonizingly-almost-openable, but every time you try to start something (usually because you need urgent info), it forgets, flips out, or moves over to another activity instead. Should Adobe be able to access your computer before you? Because when AdobeUpdater.exe is in your startup list, and we guarantee it is, they do.

Go through, be brutal, and enjoy owning your own system again.

2. Spybot Search & Destroy

If you use the Internet you need Spybot only slightly less than you need a connection. Slightly more, in fact — if you can’t connect at all, you’ll just do something else on a clean system, but connecting without protection makes as much sense for computers as it does for people. None. And it oftentimes leads to time-consuming scratching around your apparatus wondering why you were so careless.

SpyBot Search & Destroy

SpyBot Search & Destroy

Spybot is free for individuals and it’s constantly updated. Even better, it can “immunize” your system to shield it from most of the malware out there, though you’ll still need to run a scan once a week. (It’s fast enough to work over a lunch break.) You’ll be astonished at just how many unwelcome additions even entirely innocent browsing can bring.

3. Defraggler

Here’s another essential addition. All our other Smart Life articles apply only to certain people, depending on whether you bring business cards or hire freelancers, but the very fact that you’re reading this proves you use a computer. So use this.



Defraggler is an excellent example of a small smart company versus the immense bureaucracy: Windows already has a disk defragmentation tool, in the same way the Flintstones had a car. To say Defraggler is faster and more efficient is like saying a dump truck is a quicker way to move gravel than training cats to carry individual stones. Even an offline computer is eventually compromised by file fragmentation, as the eternal cycle of writing and erasing shuffles segments of every item on your hard drive all over the place. Defraggler rewrites everything into intact blocks, significantly speeding the operation of your computer.

Image credit: shironosov / iStockphoto