|by Jim Edwards
(c) Jim Edwards - All Rights reserved
It seems like "fast" never quite rates "fast enough!"
No matter how quickly your computer moves, especially on
the Internet, it could always move faster. :-)
Email, web surfing, downloading files (legally of
course), switching between applications... none of them
ever go as quickly as we want or expect.
Well, let me do my part to perpetuate this "microwave
oven" mentality (why must popcorn take 3 ½ minutes
instead of 2?) by giving you some tips and hints for
making your online experiences and overall computing as
fast as possible (even on a dial up connection).
** Hit The Accelerator **
Sensing a need for faster Internet access in markets
where broadband cable or DSL can't or won't go, Internet
Service Providers (ISP's) like NetZero offer Internet
Using a system of caches, compression schemes, and other
technology to double or even triple your dial-up
connection speeds, Internet accelerators can save you
hours spent waiting for simple web pages to appear in
Though they won't work for everyone in every single
situation, check out www.netzero.com, www.propel.com and
www.slipstreamdata.com for more information.
** Clean Up Your Hard Drive **
Often a messy hard drive can contribute to slow online
Perform a "Disk Cleanup" and a "Defrag" (available by
clicking <Start>, <Accessories>, then <System Tools>) to
clean out the garbage files on your hard drive that slow
your system down considerably.
This will help when running offline applications too,
especially those that read and write from the hard drive
frequently in the process of doing their tasks.
** Get More RAM **
RAM (Random Access Memory) allows your computer to
process data more quickly without writing and reading
from the hard drive.
Ask any nerd like me and they'll tell you straight out,
"You can NEVER have too much RAM!" RAM costs so little
now that virtually anyone can afford to add more memory
to their computer without a big hit to their wallet.
** Avoid Time Wasters **
Speeding up your surfing doesn't just mean pulling the
maximum amount of data through your phone line until it
It also means avoiding things that suck your time up and
leave you sitting twiddling your thumbs instead of
getting things done.
Make the most of your time online with these time-saving
~ Use Google - Search giant, Google.com, consistently
returns relevant search results in minimum time.
Sure, big search engines like Dogpile.com and
AskJeeves.com query multiple search engines, but the time
spent waiting for and then wading through those results
rarely makes it worth the occasional extra result.
~ Avoid Instant Messenger - "Heresy! I must have my instant
messenger!" you cry!
Keep a log of how much time gets spent mindlessly
chatting on the IM instead of doing something important.
If you must IM, do it in moderation.
~ Filter Spam - Use a program to filter your spam
instead of wading through it by hand.
Even if you only get 25 spam messages a day (I'd love to
be you) and only spend 10 seconds on each message, at the
end of a year that comes out to over 30 hours wasted on
Filter your email messages before you take the time to
download them to your machine and you'll love the spare
time that magically comes your way.
** Slow Mouse? **
When I flick my wrist I expect that mouse to hop from one
side of the screen to the other like the house was on
A slow mouse can steal seconds of precious time that add
up to hours of frustration over weeks and months.
If you suffer from a "slow mouse," click <Start> then
"Control Panel" then "Mouse".
Then you'll see a tab that says "Pointer Options" or
"Motion" (or something similar) and you can adjust the
slider left or right to increase or decrease the speed of
your mouse's movement across the screen.
** Use Windows Keyboard Shortcuts **
Windows has a number of nifty keyboard combinations that
most people don't know about, but can save you incredible
amounts of time, energy, effort and frustration.
<Ctrl>+Z - I call this the "panic button."
Hold down the "Ctrl" key and hit the letter Z and you can
often undo the last action you took in Windows.
This comes in especially handy when you've deleted
something (like a term paper or 500 word article) and
want it back.
If you accidentally do something wrong, STOP hitting keys
immediately and do <Ctrl>+Z to undo what you just did.
<Windows Key>+D - Ever wonder what the little "flag" key
is on the keyboard next to "Alt?" (I sure have wondered.)
Well, it turns out that little key has some cool uses.
Hold down <Windows Key>+D and you can minimize all the
open windows on your desktop. (Very handy when you keep
many programs running and need to hit your desktop in a
<Windows Key>+F - allows you to search for any file on
your computer immediately.
** Microsoft Office Shortcuts **
If you use Word or Excel (or any of the Microsoft Office
Products), the following shortcuts will help you speed up
many common activities.
Spell Checker - Hit the <F7> key in any Office
application to launch the spell checker.
Quick Save - Hit <Ctrl>+S to save any open file (very
handy to quickly save a file repeatedly during a heavy
typing session without having to grab the mouse).
Quick Copy - Hit <Ctrl>+C to copy any highlighted text or
Quick Paste - Hit <Ctrl>+V to paste anything on the
clipboard into a current document or spreadsheet.
Insert Date - In Word you can insert the date with
<Alt>+<Shift>+D. You can insert the date in Excel with
It will amaze you how much faster you can get things done
just by understanding how to save little bits of time
here and there using shortcuts, tools, and better ways of
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