How to Tune up Your Laptop

by Candace Benson

While tuning up a laptop is similar to tuning up a desktop computer, laptop owners must be even more conscious of the number and type of programs running on the computer and mindful of battery considerations. Your Windows 7 and Windows Vista-powered laptops support robust power options and allow you to modify your laptop's behavior when plugged in or running on battery. Consider upgrading your memory if your laptop supports the installation of additional memory.

Run Disk Cleanup

Click "Start." Type "cleanup" (without quotes) in the "Search" text field. Click on "Disk Cleanup."

Click on "Files from all users on this computer."

Select your primary hard disk in the "Drives" drop-down list. Click "OK."

Give Windows a few minutes to calculate how much hard disk space you will be able to free. Windows will choose to delete the most common items on your computer, such as items in your "Recycling Bin," "Temporary Internet Files" and "Temporary Files." Go through the list and click on any boxes for data you wish to delete. Do not delete your "Hibernation" file if you use the hibernation feature with your laptop.

Click "OK," then "Delete Files." Give Windows a moment to delete the files.

Remove Unneeded Programs

Click "Start." Type "programs" (without quotes) in the "Search" text field, then click on "Programs and Features."

Go through your list of installed programs, and determine which you no longer use or need.

Double-click on the first program you wish to remove. Follow the on-screen prompts to uninstall the program.

Repeat Step 3 as needed, then restart your computer.

Remove Startup Programs

Click "Start." Type "msconfig" (without quotes) in the "Search" text field. Press the "Enter" button.

Click on the "Startup" tab. Examine the programs that run when your computer boot. Click on the box next to each program that you do not need to run when your computer starts.

Click "Apply," then "OK." Restart the computer. Alter the Msconfig startup list if you experience any problems by following Steps 1-2.

Check Your Hard Disk for Errors

Right-click the "Start" button, and click "Explore."

Find and right-click your primary hard disk in the left column. Click "Properties."

Click the "Tools" tab.

Click the boxes next to "Automatically fix file system errors" and "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors." Click "Start."

Click "Schedule disk check" when you receive the pop-up box that states that Windows cannot check the disk while in use.

Click "OK," then restart the computer. Allow Windows to check and fix any problems on your hard disk. Repeat Steps 1-4 if you have additional hard disks, replacing the "primary hard disk" with the "secondary hard disk" in Step 2.

Defragment Your Hard Disks

Click "Start." Type "defrag" in the "Search" text field, and click "Disk Defragmenter."

Select your primary hard disk, then click "Analyze disk." Allow Windows a few minutes to analyze your drive.

Click "Defragment disk" if the analysis shows that your hard disk is more than ten percent fragmented.

Repeat for all additional disks, including any external drives, such as USB flash drives or external hard drives that you use with your laptop.

Tweak Power Settings

Click "Start." Type "power" (without quotes) in the "Search" text field. Click "Power Options."

Click "Choose what the power buttons do" in the left column of the Power Options window.

Modify the settings according to your needs by selecting "Do nothing," "Sleep," "Hibernate" or "Shut down" for the "Battery" and "Plugged in" categories.

Click "Save Changes" at the bottom of the window.

Click "Change plan settings" under the appropriate existing plan in the right column.

Adjust "Brightness," "Turn off the display" time and "Put the computer to sleep" time. Click "Save Changes" at the bottom of the window.

Repeat for additional plans as needed.

About the Author

Candace Benson has nearly five years of experience as a volunteer coordinator and has worked for non-profits and state agencies. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Benson wrote for a number of video game websites and blogs and worked as a technical support agent. Benson currently writes for eHow.

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