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Red Hat’s community Linux effort, Fedora is out with its latest release, Fedora 11. While Fedora Linux 11 is an optimized release, some might even call it a ‘Spartan’ release, though not for lack of new features. The Fedora 11 release is officially codenamed “Leonidas” who was known as the King of the Spartans.

Fedora 11 includes faster performance and new security, virtualization, desktop and server features. The Fedora release is a preview in some respects of features that the next version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux might contain. It’s also likely the last Fedora release before Microsoft Windows 7 is officially launched later this year.

On the faster side of things, Fedora 11 aims to have a 20 second boot time, which might rival Ubuntu Linux’s 25 second boot time in its recent Jaunty release. Fedora 11 also includes the new Ext4 file system which offers better performance and the ability to handle larger file sizes. New desktop features for device identification and management are also a key part of the Fedora 11 release.

Virtualization also gets a boost in Fedora 11, with new features that enterprise users might be interested in.

“The virtualization features that we have, include an improved console,” Fedora Project Leader Paul Frields told chúng tôi “That means better input support, so when a user is moving from host to guest it’s less of a hassle to try and figure out where your input is being captured.”

Frields added that Fedora 11 also includes something called sVirt which is SELinux (Security Enhanced) containment for virtual guests. SELinux is an access control technology that has its roots in the NSA (National Security Agency) and has been part of Fedora for years. By extending SELinux to virtual guests, Fedora is enhancing the security of its virtualization technologies.

Fedora 11 also includes what Frields described as better authentication for its virtualization manager software (virtmanager).

“That allows you to compartmentalize administrator access for virtualization guests,” Frields said. “That can be important for companies that have SLAs (service level agreements) for their virtual guests.”

Windows developers will also benefit from Fedora 11. Frields explained that the new release includes Window cross compiler support. As such, Fedora 11 developers can create executables for Windows on a Fedora 11 system.

Fedora Community Portal

Alongside the new operating system release, Fedora is showing off its new community portal. The hope is that the new site will help to grow both the Fedora Linux distribution as well as the number of people that contribute.

“It’s all Web-based, so it will cut down on the number of software applications that a contributor will have to learn in order to communicate with the Fedora Project,” Frields said. The Community will be able to connect people live in a way where we can connect people that will encourage more mentorship.”

While Fedora is trying to make it easier for people to participate, its total user base is likely to continue to grow as a result of the Fedora 11 release. Frields estimated that the current total number of Fedora users is approximately 15 million. Fedora counts users based on the number of unique IP addresses that check Fedora repositories for updates.

The total number counted by Fedora includes users of multiple Fedora Linux versions. The Fedora 10 release which came out in November of 2008 has 2.4 million users.

“We expect that download numbers for Fedora 11 will be very strong,” said Frields.

Article courtesy of chúng tôi

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Ubuntu Vs. Fedora: The Latest Versions Square Off

Ubuntu regularly claims to be the most popular Linux distribution. But, if so, Fedora is a competitive second. Both have thriving communities and are a major source of free and open source software innovation.

Regularly, you can read on mailing lists of users having grown discontented with one and deciding to migrate to the other. In many users’ minds, each is an alternative to the other.

But how do the distributions really compare?

The most reliable answer is to examine the latest releases, Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) and Fedora 13 (Goddard) — or, to be exact, Fedora 13’s release candidate, since last minute concerns delayed the final release that was expected this week by another seven days. Dealing with a release candidate does put some restrictions on the comparison, but, to judge from previous releases, not enough to affect the overall impressions.

Basically, with its reputation for innovation and its determination to provide only free software, the latest Fedora ranks among the best of the traditional distributions, with a GNOME desktop only lightly customize and branded. By contrast, Ubuntu’s latest version places a higher emphasis on usability and commercial competitiveness — so much so that it is making many of its changes inside the distribution before they are accepted by the GNOME project itself.

Yet despite these different outlooks and goals, the differences turn out to be small, especially from an end-user’s perspective.

Most of the reservations about working with the Fedora release candidate are about installation and starting the new system. To start with, the Fedora team has chosen not to focus on squeezing a usable system on to a single CD during development, leaving most users to download a CD set or a single DVD. The sole exception is the KDE spin, which does have a Live CD. While the Fedora download page promise s Live CDs for the final release, for now, the curious are left with a three hour download (unless you get lucky with BitTorrent). This decision is much less convenient than the single CD for the latest Ubuntu download.

Both Ubuntu and Fedora have simple default installs, aimed more at newer users than experts, although Ubuntu also offers a more customizable alternate installer. Each of the defaults creates a single ext4 installation partition and a swap partition, although Fedora’s default swap partition is almost a quarter larger than Ubuntu’s.

To boot, Ubuntu uses GRUB2 — the only major distribution, so far as I know, to do so. Like most distributions, Fedora continues to use GRUB Legacy, a difference that newer users will never notice and more experienced users might prefer because it is easier to edit manually.

Both distributions use Plymouth to reduce bootup time, although in practice, the Fedora release candidate took almost ninety seconds to boot on my test machine, compared to nineteen seconds for Ubuntu. Judging by the previous official releases, this difference is likely to narrow considerably after Fedora 13’s official release, but not be eliminated entirely.

Fedora desktop

Both Fedora and Ubuntu are GNOME-centered distributions, with KDE, Xfce, and other desktops as alternatives. Fedora has included fresh art for each new release for several years now, so its wallpaper compares favorably with Ubuntu’s much-discussed new color-coded scheme.

In fact, apart from the fact that Fedora’s desktop wallpaper favors shades of blue while Ubuntu’s is mostly shades of aubergine (purple), the two themes are remarkably similar, each one involving semi-abstract gradients and swirls of color. You might not think that the same artist had done both wallpapers, but they could easily be from the same school of design.

The two desktops are also easily recognized as variations on standard GNOME, with one panel at the top for menus, applets, and other basic utilities such as the notification tray and date and time, and another on the bottom for a task bar and virtual work space.

Next Page: Ubuntu and Fedora Productivity Software Selection

Still, the departures from standard GNOME that do exist are largely in Ubuntu. Working within the distribution rather than within the GNOME project, Ubuntu has rewritten the notification system, making it more useful, but also more obtrusive.

Ubuntu has also given the corners of the desktop specific functions: the top left for menus, the top right for log off actions, the bottom left for showing the desktop, and the bottom right for the trash can. Another Ubuntu innovation is the MeMenu, which attempts to create a centralized place for managing social media accounts and chats.

Undoubtedly, the largest difference in Ubuntu defaults is the placement of the title bar buttons on the left and the elimination of the window menu. This arrangement leaves a broad space on the right of each window’s title bar, which in another release or two might be filled with some other useful information.

Yet for all the discussion of this arrangement, the worst that can be said is that it is initially awkward, while the best is that you can quickly get used to the change. Despite all the attention lavished on the change, it really doesn’t affect your computing for better or worse.

Ubuntu desktop

Neither the latest Fedora nor Ubuntu strays very far from their shared GNOME roots in software selection. Both include the standard GNOME productivity applications, such as Firefox for browsing, Evolution for Email, and Empathy for messaging.

Each distro does include some applications that the other doesn’t. For example, Ubuntu includes Computer Janitor and Gwibber, while Fedora boasts Network Manager and its ABRT (Automatic Bug Reporting Tool). Yet, generally, the differences are not vast.

The greatest difference is that, because Fedora uses Shotwell for image management and Gnote instead of Tomboy for a note system, it does not depend on the controversial Mono framework. These decisions seem to have been made to help free space on the Live CD, but those who disapprove of Mono will probably welcome them.

If anything, the most important difference in the distros’ selection of productivity software is that Fedora includes only free software. If its users want to use Adobe Flash or Adobe Acrobat, they have to look elsewhere, and not in the Fedora repositories. The same goes for proprietary NVidia drivers and the MP3 codec.

Its Hardware Drivers tool in the Administration menu is essentially designed for managing such proprietary exceptions.

Yet, in the name of usability, Ubuntu does provide a link to the libdvdcss2 library for viewing videos. Although, like Fedora, it declines to include the library in its repositories because of its uncertain legal status in many parts of the world.

Even when the distributions include different applications for the same function, you frequently need to be watching closely to see the difference. The most obvious example of this similarity is Fedora’s PackageKit and the Ubuntu Software Center, the tools used for the installation of software packages.

Although developed separately and arranged differently in their windows, the functionality is almost identical, so much so that a casual user is unlikely to guess that Fedora uses .RPM packages and Ubuntu .DEB packages. Although PackageKit has more options for filtering the results that are displayed, the most visible difference is the larger size of the Ubuntu Software Center’s icons, which makes the package installer superficially more user-friendly.

The default choices in the latest Ubuntu and Fedora releases are both based on a version of the GNOME desktop that represents eight years of constant evolution. Each distribution modifies the desktop, but rarely to an extent that the other cannot duplicate it with twenty minutes of adjusting features and installing software.

Another implication of GNOME’s maturity is that apparently little can be done to improve it without radical changes. True, Ubuntu’s new default theme may be more commercial than Fedora’s in that it reminds people of Windows and OS X color scheme. Yet, overall, I have trouble seeing that Ubuntu’s emphasis on usability for the past year has enhanced the GNOME desktop to any significant degree.

No doubt that is why Ubuntu’s next release will not include the GNOME Shell.

Of course, users might have other reasons for preferring either Ubuntu 10.04 or Fedora 13. For those who just want their desktop to work, the inclusion of proprietary extras might be a reason for preferring Ubuntu. Others, believing in free software ideals, might prefer Fedora’s banning of proprietary elements. Similarly, Ubuntu’s faster boot time might appeal to some, while the easy of editing with Legacy GRUB might be the deciding factor in favor of Fedora in some cases.

To devoted fans, the differences in the distros may loom large, but I suspect that the rest of us are unlikely to agree. These days, a change of desktops within a distribution is probably going to seem a more disruptive change than switching from one GNOME-based distribution to another.

How To Run Speed Test From The Command Line To Check Internet Connection Speed

The excellent curl and wget tools provide for a simple way to test the speed of an internet connection directly from the command line. Curl is bundled with most unix variations, but Mac users who want to use the wget trick will first need to grab wget for OS X in order for this to work, wget is a simple terminal utility used to download files from the web and ftp and it’s handy to have around for a variety of uses making it worthwhile to have anyway. Curl should be preinstalled on every unix flavor that is even vaguely modern, including all versions of Mac OS X and linux.

Test Internet Connection Speed from the Command Line

This is a fairly simple trick to check download speeds using the official SpeedTest servers, making it a quick and effect means to check an active internet connection. There are two ways to use this, one utilizing curl, the other uses wget.

Run SpeedTest with curl from the Command Line to Determine Internet Connection Download Speeds

The first trick is to use curl, which is able to download remote files from just about anywhere, retrieve headers, and perform tons of other nifty actions. Curl is bundled with every version of Unix and OS X ever made which makes this a nearly universal command to test download speeds on just about any unix-based computer:

The download speed will show as well as elapsed time to complete the download. Here is what this looks like running in a terminal:

The “Test10.zip” file is being sent to /dev/null so don’t worry about taking up disk space with a useless test file.

If you think you’ll use the curl trick often, consider adding it to your profile as an alias:

You’ll probably notice the command itself is quite similar to the wget command string to perform a similar action, so it’s really a matter of preference.

Testing Connection Speed from the Command Line with wget

If you’re already familiar with the command line you know what to do, but others can install wget, then launch Terminal (found in /Applications/Utilities/) and paste the following command string into the terminal:

Look to the righthand side of wget as it runs and you’ll see the connection speed (1.36m/s in the screen shot example). Because wget is pointing the downloaded file at /dev/null it won’t actually take up any hard drive space, so there is no concern about running this command repeatedly.

This uses the same SpeedTest servers that are available to mobile users through the Speed Test app, it can make for a decent way to directly compare connection speeds on a broadband connection vs cellular, without having to access the SpeedTest Flash-based web apps, and without having to compile any additional command line software.

Plan on using this trick often? Consider adding a simple alias to .bash_profile:

Using an alias is obviously shorter and easier to remember, making it a bit more useful for scripts, automation, remote testing, and just for those of us who like to poke around in the Terminal.

This trick comes to us from @climagic on Twitter, be sure to follow @osxdaily there too if you haven’t done so yet.

Related

Hike Farther And Faster With These Training Tips

As I huffed up the side of New Hampshire’s Mount Liberty in the fog, I couldn’t recall an ascent ever being so taxing on my muscles or my mind. It was the second summit of my first day backpacking the Pemigewasset Loop in the state’s White Mountains, and the 32-mile trail was giving me a solid thrashing. 

As an active runner, climber, hiker, and cyclist, I’m fit, but my legs were burning, my knees grinding, and my pack felt much heavier than it had during my last backpacking trip only two months prior. There was no going back, of course—my determination and stubbornness simply wouldn’t allow me to call off a hike just because I was tired—but I was exhausted physically and mentally knowing I had three whole days of this ahead of me.

So take it from me: train for a long hike. Because just as athletes don’t perform at the top of their game without hours of practice and training, hikers should not expect to set foot in the wild and excel without conditioning their bodies and minds. 

Why to train for a hike

Mitigating my discomfort would have been reason enough for me, but training before a strenuous outing is about more than gaining the ability to go farther faster with less pain; it’s also about minimizing risk.

“Conditioning prior to attempting a difficult or lengthy hike is very important for success and to help minimize injury,” says William Byrnes, director of the Applied Exercise Science Laboratory at the University of Colorado Boulder.

[Related: There’s a better way to warm up than stretching]

And while “success” can mean anything from a more comfortable hike to a safe return, wanting to avoid injury is universal. 

Byrnes explains that muscles adapt in a variety of ways to reduce the stress of performing vigorous exercise and that those changes happen more fluidly when the muscles have been conditioned to adapt. These adaptations can include increased muscle mass, more intramuscular mitochondria to allow for higher rates of energy generation, and a larger number of capillaries around each muscle cell. The cardiovascular system also adapts, allowing it to deliver oxygen and nutrients to active muscle cells more efficiently. All of this is only possible through conditioning.

Skip this crucial prep, and you may be more susceptible to injuries, exhaustion, and life-threatening situations during your trek.

When to train for a hike

What your training actually looks like will depend on a lot of factors, including your baseline level of activity and fitness (Are you starting “off the couch” or are you fairly fit?), your goals and how extravagant they are (Are you hiking in a mountainous state park with your family or summiting Denali?), and what you want to accomplish (Do you want to set a speed record or just enjoy a tough hike without feeling like you’re dying?).

Whatever the case, Byrnes recommends starting slowly and building up intensity as your body adapts to new stimuli. Consider weight training: when lifting a 10-pound weight starts to feel less difficult, move up to a 12- or 15-pound weight. The same goes for aerobic exercises: gradually add miles or minutes as your ability increases. You probably won’t notice immediate improvements, but Byrnes says training adaptations will likely occur within two to four weeks of beginning a solid exercise program.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be ready to hit the trail just yet. If you’ve never run a marathon, for example, a month of training won’t prepare you for one, Byrnes says. He suggests training until you know you can complete the trip you want to take.

In fact, depending on your goals, your preparation could take anywhere between six weeks and six months, according to Jason Antin, an instructor at the Colorado Mountain School in Boulder and a mountain performance coach at Uphill Athlete, which offers training plans and coaching to outdoor athletes. 

And he would know: he has decades of experience not just accomplishing impressive feats in the mountains himself, but helping others do the same. And while he says the ideal training scenario is a life of preparation, regular hikes in the mountains aren’t an option for everyone. In that case, Antin recommends at least a month of training, and six months if you’re aiming for an excursion of epic proportions.

How to train for a hike

When you’re ready, Antin suggests starting by assessing your aerobic capacity. That’s a measurement of your body’s oxygen consumption during physical activity and a reflection of its ability to continue performing strenuous activities for long periods of time—endurance, essentially. The more oxygen your lungs can pull in and push into your blood, the more of this critical gas will be pumped to your brain, heart, and other tissues and muscles where it can be used.

[Related: Everything you ever wanted to know about muscles]

Here’s how Antin recommends checking your aerobic capacity: Either outdoors or on a treadmill set to a 10 percent incline, do a slow walking warm-up for at least 15 minutes and continue until you break a sweat. Then begin to gradually increase your speed, breathing only through your nose. When nasal breathing becomes uncomfortable, slow down just as gradually and find the fastest speed at which you can maintain breathing through your nose for 15 minutes. Note your average heart rate during that last leg (a heart monitor or fitness wearable is helpful), because it is your aerobic threshold heart rate and will be your goal for aerobic training.

Now start the actual training, spending most of your time performing aerobic exercises such as running or fast hiking that keep your heart rate holding steady at just below your aerobic threshold. Depending on your starting aerobic threshold, the intensity of this initial training will vary, but your goal is to get your heart pumping. And don’t skip this, because there are no shortcuts when it comes to aerobic adaptation, Antin says.

He also suggests a simple weight training routine during the first one to eight weeks of aerobic training in order to build up a strength reserve. This will help give you the ability to execute many of the repetitive movements common in outdoor activities (like stepping up while wearing a heavy backpack).

After that, upgrade to more complex strength training motions that involve several parts of your body at the same time. Think deadlifts, cleans, and overhead squats. These will help you build strength while simultaneously improving the neuromuscular coordination of muscular contractions. “It’s a fancy way of saying: ‘see: do,’” Antin explains. “As an athlete of any caliber, you are training your body and mind to respond efficiently.”

Finally, if you’re gearing up for a specific event, concentrate on training for activity-specific conditions. For example, do calf raises to prepare for ice climbing—a task that can be taxing on those muscles.

Regardless of how much time you have, make sure you’re well-recovered before you actually set out: Taper your workout intensity between one and three weeks before you embark to ensure you are well-rested going into a big event.

“Your body and mind are incredibly powerful and so much can be achieved if provided enough prep time,” says Antin. “Most outdoor endeavors dwell heavily on mental capacity and the more time you spend in the activity, the more experienced and confident you will feel embarking on the goal objective.”

How Much Internet Speed Does Your Business Need?

Tip

Visit the FCC Broadband Speed Guide to help determine the download and upload business broadband speeds you need for data-intensive tasks, such as sending and receiving large files.

What are the types of internet connections?

Various business internet service types serve specific purposes and offer different speeds. The type of internet connection you have depends on your area’s infrastructure, your business location, and the internet plan you purchase. 

Here are the four most popular internet categories and what you can expect in speed for each:

DSL: DSL stands for digital subscriber line. A DSL connection runs through your landline business phone system. The average DSL download speed starts at around 6 Mbps, while the average upload speed starts at approximately 1 Mbps.

Cable. Cable internet uses the same wiring that delivers cable television to your home. The average download speed for cable internet ranges from 10 Mbps to 500 Mbps, while the upload speeds can range from 5 Mbps to 50 Mbps. If you’re considering cable vs. DSL, note that cable is much faster, but DSL is less expensive.

Fiber optic. Fiber-optic business internet uses fiber-optic cables instead of copper wires like its cable equivalent. Fiber-optic cables use light signals to deliver data to and from your devices. Fiber internet can support download speeds up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps), but its more common speeds range from 150 Mbps to 500 Mbps. Upload speeds range from 65 Mbps to 100 Mbps.

Satellite internet. Satellite internet uses radio waves to communicate with satellites in space to deliver internet connections. Download speeds can range from 12 Mbps to 150 Mbps, while upload speeds are typically around 3 Mbps.

Did You Know?

If you’re evaluating a mobile hotspot vs. satellite internet for remote business needs, note that satellite internet is more expensive and isn’t as fast or flexible as a mobile hotspot.

How fast should your business internet be?

The average business requires at least 25 Mbps of download speed and 3 Mbps of upload speed to conduct everyday tasks like emailing, exchanging files, using cloud-based software, and videoconferencing. In fact, these speeds are the FCC’s official broadband definition minimums. 

However, business internet speed requirements vary significantly between businesses, and your speed needs will likely increase as your business grows and you adopt more data-intensive processes. 

Consider these factors when determining your internet speed requirements: 

What type of business do you operate?

Do you regularly upload and download large files?

Are your internet needs limited to sending emails and communicating with customers?

To what extent does your business depend on fast internet speeds?

How many employees will use the network at any given time?

Ideal internet speeds based on task

Use the following chart to get an idea of your ideal internet speeds based on the number of devices being used and the online tasks you need to perform:

Number of users/devices

Speed

Tasks

1-2

5 Mbps

Online browsing, email, and research

3-5

25 Mbps

Downloading large files, business communications and basic business Wi-Fi use

5-10

75 Mbps

Video streaming, numerous point-of-sale transactions and frequent file-sharing

10-15

150 Mbps

Video conferencing, frequent cloud computing and data backups

15-20

250 Mbps

Seamless streaming, conferencing and server hosting

20-30

500 Mbps

Multiple servers hosted, heavy online backups and constant cloud-based computing

30+

1,000 Mbps (1GB)

Extreme speed operations with zero interruptions

Consult your ISP if you’re still unsure how much bandwidth your business needs. Many providers offer online internet bandwidth need calculators to help you better understand your needs and options.

How do you choose a business internet provider?

To find out what ISPs are available in your area, check out the InMyArea online tool. Input your address or ZIP code to see available provider options.

When you have a good idea of your business’s internet speed needs, discuss your options with available ISPs to evaluate the best choice for your business. 

Consider the following when deciding on an internet service provider: 

Speed. What is the fastest available speed at a price you can afford? 

Customer service. Will your provider help troubleshoot technical issues? Your business depends on your internet uptime, and you can’t afford to be ignored in times of trouble. 

Contracts. Will you be locked into a lengthy contract with your provider? A more flexible contact is beneficial if the provider doesn’t deliver top speeds or you find a new provider that better meets your needs. 

Tip

Internet speeds may slow over time as the network ages and more people join. Run a regular speed scan on your network to ensure you’re getting the speed you pay for.

What are the best business internet service providers?

The best internet service providers offer top-quality service with optimal speeds and excellent uptime. If you’re seeking a new provider, consider the following options:

AT&T. AT&T offers small businesses a wide selection of service plans that vary by speed and price. To learn more details about available locations and prices, read our in-depth AT&T review.

Verizon. Verizon offers extensive service plans for businesses of all sizes. Learn about plan speeds and prices in our full Verizon review.

Comcast Business. Comcast Business offers five service plans, all of which include a dynamic IP address and no data caps. Read our Comcast Business review for more information.

Cox. In addition to business internet services, Cox provides midsize and enterprise organizations with hosted VoIP phone services, trunking phone services, and business television solutions. For more information, read our in-depth Cox review.

Spectrum Business. Spectrum serves more than 9,000 ZIP codes in 43 states and offers small businesses three service plans that vary by speed and price. Read our full Spectrum Business review for more information.

Kimberlee Leonard contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.

Four Hidden Tweaks That Will Speed Up Windows

Windows 10 impresses in many ways, like the tight integration of voice control with Cortana, and the way the software adapts to fit both tablets and laptops. At the same time, it can’t completely escape its past: The operating system remains a huge, labyrinthine piece of software—the opposite of streamlined and efficient. As the years pass, files and applications pile up, the hardware ages, and as a result, you’ll often find an older Windows computer slowing down…and down…and down.

1. Manage automatic application launches

Use the Windows 10 Task Manager to control troublesome or unnecessary programs. David Nield

We’d recommend disabling only the apps you recognize—the ones you know you won’t need right away. After all, if they don’t start with the operating system, you can always launch them later. If you’re unsure about any of the entries on the list, run a quick web search to learn more about them and figure out whether you’ll want them immediately or not.

The system’s launch isn’t the only time when extraneous applications can drag down speed. While you’re in the Task Manager, switch to the Processes tab. This can reveal which of your currently running programs are taking up the most CPU time and memory space.

2. Free up hard drive storage

Windows 10 shows you how all your disk space is being used. David Nield

Operating systems need as much free hard drive space as possible. That gives the software more elbow room to store temporary data and more flexibility to organize files. If your hard drive is filling up, you’ll start to notice an overall slowdown in computer performance. Delete old or unused files and you’ll find things move a little faster.

If you don’t want to go through your files and folders and delete data manually, you can turn on a feature called Storage Sense. You’ll find it in Settings, on the main Storage screen. Storage Sense will automatically delete temporary files and files in the Recycle Bin without you having to do anything. To configure how the automatic cleanup works, follow the link labeled Configure Storage Sense or run it now.

3. Tone down the visuals

Reducing visuals can improve performance. David Nield

Windows is full of visual flourishes that make the operating system easier on the eye. Fades, shadows, and animations are all well and good, but most users would happily trade them for a bit of extra performance. If you’re having problems running your programs at a sensible speed, you can turn off some of these extra graphics effects, which reduces the demands on system resources like processor time and memory.

Depending on your computer’s make and model, cutting down the visuals may not make a huge difference to performance. But if you’re on slower or older hardware—especially when it comes to graphics—you should be able to eke out a little extra speed.

4. Clean up the registry

CCleaner can tidy the Windows registry for you. David Nield

The registry is Windows’ sprawling settings file, and it covers everything from the menu buttons you see inside File Explorer to the image that appears on the login screen. Many apps store their settings in this file, too. Over time, the registry can grow bloated, accumulating errors such as references to programs that are no longer installed. This can have a negative impact on overall system performance.

Due to its importance and complexity, the registry is typically hidden away from users. (To load it up, you have to type “regedit” into the taskbar search box and hit Enter.) Unless you’re a computer expert, however, we’d recommend that you don’t try to to clean up the registry on your own. A professional third-party program can tidy up the registry to make sure it’s running as leanly as possible, without the risk of accidentally deleting a vital file. When it comes to choosing that program, one of the best free options we’ve seen is CCleaner.

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