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My 1.5 year old Toshiba Net Book running Windows 7 is slowing down. Will running clean-up utilities or re-installing Windows be more effective for reviving its performance?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

A reinstall will assure a "clean slate" while a utility can help only to a limited extent.

Utilities generally are somewhat limited in what they clean up to avoid breaking applications or worse. They can be a good start, but a reinstall will usually be better

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Just to confirm, clean slate means takes care of all memory de-fragmenting? – Tommy Feb 9 '12 at 21:50
@Tommy, memory is implicitly defragmented every time you shut down or reboot... – Brian Feb 14 '12 at 18:17

The only way to keep good performances with a PC is to perform maintenance on regular basis such as:

  • Checking S.M.A.R.T. data of your HD and if the result is "good": then Running CHKDSK

    Suggested tools: Piriform Speccy or SpeedFan (there's an online s.m.a.r.t. tool)

  • Suppress unused softwares and UNutilities

  • Run Windows disk cleaner or BleachBit or Ccleaner (but avoid Registry "cleanup")

  • Defragment the volumes of the HD :Suggested tools: Windows defrag or Piriform Defraggler or Auslogic Defragmenter or Ms TechNet Sysinternals contig

  • Update Windows and applications: Suggested tool: Secunia Software inspector

  • You may also check for PC temperatures and clean dust accumulated in the box...

Finally take a look at MS FixIt Center: Fix Windows system performance problems on slow Windows computers

Hope this help. Let us know. :)

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Also keeping the startup clean, keeping an eye on CPU and memory usage and handle hoggers. – Bibhas Feb 9 '12 at 3:39
climenole, this is great info. I will need to start doign these things after I reinstall =) Why "avoid Registry cleanup"? I appreciate it. – Tommy Feb 9 '12 at 21:48

"Registry cleaners" don't help appreciably, and can hurt by breaking needed connections. If you're going to re-install, it's a non-issue anyway.

I'll add that even a fresh install needs to be defragmented. When everything else is finished (win-updates, etc), run a good defrag program. I use MyDefrag.

Trim your startups. I like Autoruns from Sysinternals.

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