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After asking this question earlier, some of the responses made me think about more efficient ways to optimise my computer's performance. Generally, after the hdd gets around 50Gb full, the computer becomes noticeably slower. Some of the current things I do:

  • Run Defraggler regularly.
  • Run CCleaner regularly.
  • Remove unused games and programs.
  • Store media and files on an external drive.

What other things can I do to keep my system running smoothly?

Edit: System Specs

Windows 7 Professional

500 Gb Western Digital Sata Hard-Drive

Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.2GHz CPU

Corsair 2Gb PC-6400 DDR2 Ram

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Your HD gets slower, or your OS gets slower? If its the HD, just chuck it for a model that does not slow down after having a negligible amount of data on it. – soandos Jun 14 '11 at 6:41
What percentage of total disk capacity is "50GB full"? What time frame does this take? Are you using anti-virus and anti-spyware software? – sawdust Jun 14 '11 at 6:43
The hdd is 500Gb, Windows reports this as 465Gb, so essentially 10%. Using AVG. – aligray Jun 14 '11 at 6:45
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Based on what you wrote (in other word, you are taking good care of your system), I don't see your system slowing down much at all (not that you are having hallucinations), but that would mean that you might need to look elsewhere for your problem. If you run a few programs simultaneously, your memory is a bit low. For Windows 7, my computer loads about 1.6GB right on boot, so I would not have to open a lot to use up the rest to start caching. I consider 2GB the minimum PRACTICAL memory for Vista/Windows 7 to run well.

The reasons I find for bad drive performance include:

  1. Using more than 50% of the drive.
  2. To some degree, being fragmented (most drives are so fast now, that this is noticeable now.
  3. Not enough memory, causing a lot of virtual memory swapping.
  4. Viruses causing drive access.
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Cheers for your answer, I think I'll just double my RAM. – aligray Jun 15 '11 at 2:42

If you perceive somekind of system slowdown when the primary partition, the C: drive, "fills" up to only 10-15%, then I suggest that you should look elsewhere other than "optimize disk performance". You need to use the Task Manager to analyze what is using memory and CPU resources.

Periodically you should perform a filesystem error check, which used to be called CHKDSK. It's now started from the drive Properties / Tools tab.

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I would probably attribute any system slowness to the lack of RAM and not the hard drive. However, if you really think the hard drive is the problem, you could consider buying a small SSD to run your OS off of and use your current hard drive to store data files. I think that you are already doing enough to ensure that your hard drive is properly defragmented and unused programs and services aren't using resources.

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