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Solutions: Speeding up a sluggish computer

What should I delete to make my computer run faster? I have a Toshiba laptop, with Windows 7.

First, make sure your computer fan is free from dust. A clogged fan will make the computer run hotter. When the computer senses a heat buildup, it slows itself down in an effort to decrease the heat. It's a good idea to use a can of compressed air (available at all stores that sell computers/office supplies) and every now and then give your PC's fan a couple of quick blasts from about 6 inches away.

Next, hold the Windows key and press the R key. This will open the Run dialog. Type MSCONFIG and click OK. This will open the Microsoft System Configuration program. Click the Startup tab. You will see a list of programs that are set to automatically start each time you start Windows. Some of these programs are necessary, some of them are not. Every PC will be a little different. You can use Google or Bing to search the process image name and make a determination if that process is necessary at startup. Unchecking the process name will keep it from starting at startup. It does not delete it from the system, and you can always re-check. But be careful. When in doubt leave it alone until you can find out more about it.

For Windows 7 systems, AUTORUNS ( is a Microsoft supported program that helps you identify startup programs and makes it easier to search for more information on a process. Windows 8 has a "Startup" tab in the Task Manager that does something similar.

Why can't I uninstall Skype from my list of programs? I went to Control Panel and tried to uninstall, but no luck. I am on Windows 7 and Internet Explorer.

It is probably because Skype is set to run at Startup and is active. Try this first: Right-click the Skype icon at the bottom right of the screen and choose Quit. Try the uninstall again. If no luck, restart your PC. On the way back up and before Windows appears, hold the Shift key down. This is a shortcut way of keeping Startup programs from running. Go to Control Panel/Programs and try the uninstall again. If for some reason this fails, reboot again, this time into Safe Mode (hold the F8 key while it reboots and choose Safe Mode). Try the uninstall again.

I am using a computer put together by my son using Windows XP Professional. When I use email (Outlook Express), somehow some of my incoming messages are going to "deleted items". I have to move them one at a time to "Inbox". How can I direct all of them to Inbox?

Check the Junk Mail or Rules settings under the Options menu. Maybe there is something there that is triggering the move to the Delete folder. The individual emails that display in your Inbox or Delete folders can be selected individually or as a whole: click the first email you need to move to select it, then while holding the Shift key, select the last email. All those in between will also then be selected. Then drag those emails over to your Inbox folder on the left. If you need to move some but not all, hold the Control key while you select each email, then drag them to the Inbox. This is a Windows standard and works with files in file Explorer as well.

Send questions to or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Speeding up a sluggish computer 12/13/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 13, 2013 7:49pm]
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