Is your Windows computer no longer as snappy as when it was new? There are several approaches to dealing with this. The lame and the rich buy a new computer. The paranoid make a from-scratch re-installation of Windows. There is a middle path, which you can take.
Clean the registry
Run CCleaner and remove garbage from the registry. Download the portable version:
Defragment the page file
If you are running Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, or earlier versions, you can also run Windows Sysinternals PageDefrag, which will defragment the pagefile of your windows installation after restart, before Windows is started. The Pagefile is used for offloading the RAM (memory) of the computer, and if the pagefile is highly fragmented, writing to and reading from it will get alot slower. PageDefrag solves that.
Uninstall applications and plugins that you don’t need
Check if you have browser toolbars like Ask or Babylon search which you don’t really want or need, and uninstall them. Unfortunately, various browser toolbars and other things are often installed along with other software that you might have downloaded from sites like Download.com.
Disable automatic start of applications
Applications like Skype and Spotify have options for starting automatically on Windows start. YOu will find that this is often the default setting in these applications and other. Disable that. Start applications manually as you need them.
If you have alot of icons on your desktop, a higher amount of system resourses will be used compared to if you have no or very few icons. So, clean up the desktop. Also, it takes more resources to have an image as a desktop background compared to having a plain color.
For powerusers: stop or disable unncessary Windows services
There are many articles and postings out there that talk about Windows services that are always running by default, which many users will not need. The reason for not needing it could for example be that your computer is not part of a Windows domain network. Note that you need to know what you are doing if you stop or disable Windows services. However, if you read a few of the articles on the topic, you will know what to keep and what to shut down. Google “disable windows services”.