Is Your Bloated User Profile Slowing Windows Down?

Stop for a minute and take a look at your desktop. How many icons, folders and files do you see? Probably a lot. So what's the big deal?

Are you wondering why your computer might be acting sluggish or you see the hard drive light blinking a lot or the hourglass?  It can basically be 3 things if it's a newer PC.  The problem when you get a PC, most places will not configure this to make your machine run faster and benefit you in the long run.  The question above asked do you have a lot of Files/Folders on your desktop?  If you answered yes, this could be a huge problem.  You can always create shortcuts (To do this you right click on the file or folder and SEND TO and pick Desktop).  How you can tell the difference between a shortcut and a file, the shortcut will have an arrow by it and a very small amount file.  The top 3 things that can cause your PC to run pokey is a huge Profile, not enough RAM (Not hard drive Space but Memory), or your hard drive not being defragged.

If you are not sure on how to do this, you can check out the size of the profile so you know how big it is.  Each time Windows does something, it has to look through the whole profile, this is why you NEVER want to save files on the desktop or just keep putting everything in the My Documents without doing these maintenance steps.  Storing files on the desktop is convenient, but in the long run it can hurt and affect your PC.

To see the size of your user profile:

Open up the Run dialog box by clicking on Start \ Run… (or WinKey+R) and enter sysdm.cpl.

In the System Properties window, click on the Advanced tab then click the Settings… button in the User Profiles section
(NOTE: Screenshots are from Vista and will look similar on XP.)

(only if you know what you are doing)

If your machine has Windows XP, you will want to:
Create a c:\My Documents on the root of your C drive
After, you can Right Click on My Documents folder and in Properties you can change the location to c:\My Documents

If your computer is running Windows 7 or Vista, you will want to:
- Create 5 directories on your C Drive, these will include: c:\My Documents, c:\My Documents\My Music, c:\My Documents\My Pictures, c:\My Documents\My Videos, and c:\down
- Once you created all 5 directories, run Windows Explorer (WinKey+e), browse to the Users
   Directory, open up the username you have on your machine, & select each of the directories
   you created.
- You will right click on the directory and left click on Location and change the location to the
   new directory you had created.

For Example... let's say we wanted to change the location for the downloads directory
c:\users\Test\downloads....   We right click on downloads, left click on location and change the location to c:\down.  You will say YES to move this to the new location.  The reason why you do this, it will take these files out of your profile and make your Windows run faster and not bogged down.

Few more tips you should think about with your PC
- Save large files in the same locations as folders instead of on the desktop
- Instead of saving items on the desktop, create shortcuts on your desktop to those items
- I would recommend installing SmartDefrag (This automatically organizes your hard drive
  which makes it run faster and defrags your hard drive.)
  You can download this at:  http://www.iobit.com/iobitsmartdefrag.html

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joan Wisniewski July 04, 2012 at 11:39 PM
I seem to be too old to understand this good advice ........so I will just keep your card with me, and maybe get "too hard to understand " advice. joan&Cha


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