Green Computing – Fixing a Slow Computer, Buying a Green Computer


laptop computer

A common question from computer users is whether they need to buy a new computer because their present machine is running very slow. In this article we will jump into some tips to hopefully help you save some money and be more green by fixing your computer's problems.

Upgrade or update your current computer

Before purchasing a new computer, consider upgrading or updating your current computer. Many people experience slowdowns with their current laptop or desktop and figured that it is time to just purchase a new machine. Before spending is money, you should investigate enhancing your current computer.

Fixing a Slow Computer

Has your computer slow down after years of usage? Is time to try a  couple free techniques to liven up your computer' s performance. Be sure to back up your machine before doing anything.

  • Make sure a virus or spyware is not slowing you down. Microsoft Security Essentials is free antivirus software. Malwarebytes is free anti-malware software. Install these programs and scan your machine for malware. Visit our sister site, for more free security tutorials.
  • CCleaner as is free software to remove all the junk that may have accumulated in your system. PC Decrapifier removes useless programs bundled with new machines.
  • Uninstall any programs that are not needed. Revo makes an uninstaller program to help you remove programs that will not uninstall correctly.
  • Disable unnecessary programs that run at startup by running MSCONFIG from the command line and turning off items.
  • Remove extra browser plugins and toolbars from your Internet browser
  • Reinstall Windows without losing your data
  • Understand your computer's performance by running a benchmark program. This will help you understand whether you have a problem or need a faster machine.
  • If your computer has less than 2 GB of RAM memory, upgrade it to 4 GB of RAM.
  • Reduce your system's default Recycle Bin size, Internet Explorer's temp-files storage, and the System Restore storage usage
  • If your hard drive is full, consider purchasing an external hard drive to increase your computer storage
  • Consider hardware upgrades. Generally if it costs more than $100 to upgrade your computer, you're better off recycling your current machine, and purchasing a new one

Switching to a Solid State Drive (SSD)

Hard drive speed is the weakest link in computer performance. If you have a computer with at least an Intel Core 2 processor, you might consider upgrading its hard drive to a solid state drive. This type of upgrade can help eliminate the storage bottleneck and save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over a new computer. We recently upgraded a notebook with a Core 2 Duo processor and found that we essentially gave this notebook a new lease on life.

Before the upgrade, it took several minutes to start up. Now the machine boots up in 30 seconds or less.  Upgrading does require opening up the machine and cloning, and swapping drives. This is not that difficult with all the tools that are available like Acronis Disk Imaging software. This upgrade helped improve battery life by approximately 15% and cost less than $100 for an 80GB SSD.

Buying a new computer

Looking for a more energy saving new computer? Check this database first: EPEAT is a system to help purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, notebooks and monitors based on their environmental attributes. They are listed by Bronze, Silver or Gold ratings. EPEAT is run the non profit Green Electronics Council.

Energy Star has a database of energy savings computers. This website is run by the US Government in an effort to help us save energy by purchasing the right products.

Erecycle has a list of places where you can recycle your old system.

Green, low-power Laptops

Lenovo ThinkPad L Series Notebook is an example of a laptop that tries to be as green as possible.

  • This laptop is Energy Star 5.0 compliant, meaning that it meets their low power guidelines, helping extend battery life up to a long 12 hours.
  • It is also EPEAT Gold registered. EPEAT takes into account energy use, materials use, recycled content in packaging, and end of life management.
  • ULE Gold Sustainable Product Certification
  • It is also RoHS compliant, has a Mercury-free LED Backlight, and has PVC-free exterior product casing and packaging.

This laptop is targeted towards families as their second computer. It has a reasonably sized screen and keyboard.

Acer recently introduced a new 15.6 inch Aspire notebook, that is free of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs). It is also Energy Star 5.0 compliant.  Apple is also very good at meeting these green standards.

Hopefully these types of notebooks will be the new norm and not a one-off product.

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