Tag Archives: speed

Guide: Using System Configuration to speed up your computer

Just so you know, I did originally put this up in the GEEK! Guides section on GEEK!, but I decided since I’m discontinuing that section I’ve decided I’d better republish the guides. For this guide, I’ve updated it a little and republished it here.

It happens to all of us – you’ve had your computer quite a while now and all that software you installed is beginning to take its toll. Slow start-ups, tonnes of programs nagging you on the taskbar – it happens to all of us eventually. It’s quite simple to fix, and it doesn’t always mean that you have to remove programs. Basically, you just need to use System Configuration to disable some of the programs you don’t need from running at start-up. It reduces the load on your RAM and processor meaning that startups are quicker and you aren’t bombarded with programs on the start bar.

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100MB broadband available for the first time ever in the UK!

It’s called Velocity 1, and a very small new building development in the UK has been given fibre optic cabling from the exchange right the way to the ethernet sockets in your living room. Tenants of Wembley City development in London are the first ever people in the UK to be able to get 100mb broadband on demand.

This means that for the first time ever, 100mb is not the theoretical outcome for the speed of broadband because the fibre optic cabling spreads the whole way from your local telephone exchange to the ethernet plug on your computer. No ancient copper cabling whatsoever.

However, there are a few small glitches. The main one being that it isn’t permanent – you pay £1 for 30 minutes worth of 100mb broadband on demand. It isn’t technically possible to provide 100mb broadband 24/7 in this country, yet. The rest of the time you’ll get either 8, 16, or 32mb broadband depending on what you are currently paying.

Still, you can’t get 100mb broadband anywhere else in the UK so it must feel good to be able to say you are one of about 30 people in the UK who can use 100mb broadband on demand. Pretty awesome.

Most of the UK generally gets a theoretical maximum of 8MB (megabit) per second. And most of the time that isn’t the case because of our poor copper cabling and long distances from our exchanges. But for the means of this, I am going to suggest that I did have 8MB (megabit) per second speed. Now think about the fact that a megabit is not a megabyte. 8 megabits translates to approximately 1 megabyte, so if you had perfect 8 megabit download speed, you could download a file at 1 megabyte per second.

Now, think about this – 100 megabits translates to 12.5 megabytes per second. That is pretty amazing. That means that providing the source server is fast enough, people with 100mb broadband could download three 128kbps MP3 songs in just one second!

Now that might seem like absolute gobbletygook to you, but considering the UK’s  current average broadband speed of 3.5 megabit (0.4375 megabyte) per second that is pretty awesome.

So, maybe in 10 years time a lot more of us will be able to indulge on 100mbps broadband. Unlikely, but it would be nice. We’ll have to see what happens.

Test your typing skills for free – www.typeracer.com

I only recently discovered this, but it’s a really addictive game. Well, it’s not really a game – but it is really good fun.

Basically, you create your profile for free. Once you’ve done that, you can start by practising typing on your own. When you’ve typed out a given text, it will tell you your average words per minute (wpm). After you’ve had a little play-around on your own, you can start playing worldwide where other people from around the world compete with you to see who can type the quickest.

It’s actually really addictive. Plus, it’s also quite practical as it can teach you out of bad spelling habbits. All in a bit of fun.

The “game” is totally free and great fun – even quite addictive. Try it for free now – www.typeracer.com.

Should you defragment your RAM? (How to guide)

Well, everybody knows that Vista can’t really be ran on 1GB RAM – especially if you use a lot of system programs. I personally know differently, because I’ve found out that if you can “defragment” your systems RAM once the amount of available RAM falls below a certain point, you can clear up some used RAM (often quite a lot) and make your computer much more usable.

Trouble is, there isn’t much free software you can find that does the thing I want it to do. I have found one program, though, and despite the fact it doesn’t claim it will run on Windows Vista (the program was created in 2003), it will run fine without any issues.

You can grab the program here, and it is completely free (unlike most of the shareware I found on the internet). Just download the ZIP file, run the included EXE file, and when it is installed and it runs for the first time say Yes when it asks if you want to configure it.

Make sure your configuration options match mine:


When that’s done, you should see it defragment in a dialog box. When it’s done, just click Send to Tray. You’ll see in the notification tray area a black box with a number in it. That is the amount of RAM available.

The system will automatically defragment the RAM when less than 1/3 of it is available. But, if you want to manually defrag it, just double click the icon.

Simple as that. You’ll get better performance and also be able to run more programs at the same time. The program will automatically load up on boot, so you won’t have to constantly reload it.

Also, the program will work on all computers from Windows 95 upwards so you can basically use it on any PC.

Enjoy, and post a comment if you have any problems.

Do you still use Dialup?

I have been on broadband for years now and never regretted the change over. 

If you are one of those people who feel broadband still isn’t really for you, here are a few pointers in the direction of upgrading.

You should change to broadband if…

  • You use the internet a lot – If you use a lot of internet, it’s well worth the few pounds a month it costs to have a faster connection. Especially if you are using pay as you go internet – the amount of money your using to pay for the dial up would probably pay for broadband.
  • You want to download a lot – Trying to download large files on dial up usually means leaving the computer on all night. When I had dialup I would get about 4kbps which is just pointless. Also, think about the amount of unnecessary power usage you’re getting through.
  • You want to use the phone at the same time as the internet – Yes, this is probably the biggest upside. I hate it on dialup that you can’t use the phone at the same time.
You can get broadband extremely cheap nowadays so try for yourself and see how long it takes for you to get used to it. I promise you, you wont regret the upgrade.