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Suggestions for Improving Computer Performance - OST QB DPC OASIS OTK

Reference Number: AA-00218 Views: 7455 Created: 01/13/2016 01:16 pm Last Updated: 02/27/2019 02:17 pm 0 Rating/ Voters

Symptom

You feel your computer is running slower than it used to (not just On Center's programs, but everything). You know what? You are probably correct!

*If it is just Oasis Takeoff, On-Screen Takeoff, DPC, or Quick Bid that are running slower than expected, check out CLS - Improving the Performance of your On Center Software Products.

Cause

If your computer seems to be running slower than it used to be, it probably is. Over time, computers run slower for a variety of reasons:

  • files become disorganized (fragmented)
  • unnecessary software consumes resources
  • unused network drives slow startup
  • too many programs automatically start up when the computer boots

More serious issues such as viruses and malware or even hardware malfunctions can affect your computer's performance as well.

Warning

Following some of the steps below may cause Windows to experience problems loading. On Center recommends that you contact a qualified IT professional for assistance. If you are 100% comfortable with editing system parameters and are going to do this yourself, backup all critical data before attempting any of these suggestions.

On Center Software takes no responsibility for any actions performed.

Resolution

There are several things you can do to perk up your PC's performance. These are generally considered 'routine maintenance' and housekeeping procedures. We suggest reading through and performing those actions that make the most sense to you and which you are comfortable performing. Consult a professional IT person if you aren't 100% comfortable with any of these suggestions.

Defragment your Hard drive

Over time, operating systems (Windows 7, 8, etc.) scatter files all over the hard drive (think of this: what if a record player did not linearly track the information - it would have to skip around trying to locate where the correct next part of a song was on the platter). Large files can have pieces stored in many locations on the physical drives. This causes a marked performance degradation and may cause erratic behavior in some programs as well as unnecessary wear on the hard drive.

Defragmenting your hard drive, or reorganizing it, takes all these bits and pieces and rearranges them so Windows can locate all pieces of a file more quickly. Files load faster as the system spends less time trying to piece together files from fragments stored randomly on the surface of the hard drive. System maintenance such as defragmenting a hard drive can reduce problems such as crashing, erratic application behavior, and overall poor system performance.

Since defragmenting a hard drive is a little different in each version of Windows, consult the Windows Help System for assistance - just search for "Defrag". If you are running Windows 10 - you probably do not have to do anything - Windows 10 runs defrag on your main hard drive automatically.

The first time you run Disk Defragmenter on your machine, it may take several hours to complete. You may want to set this up just before you leave for the night. Be sure all programs are closed before starting the defragmentation process.

It is recommended that you run the Disk Defragmenter at least once a week. This will keep your hard drive in good shape possibly improving system response and reliability.

Protect Your Computer Against Viruses and other Malware

Spyware collects personal information without letting you know and without asking for permission. The information that spyware collects ranges from a list of Web sites that you visit to user names and passwords. In addition to privacy concerns, spyware can hamper your computer's performance.

Viruses are bits of code that get installed on your computer and can cause system damage, steal information, and send themselves to every person in your address book. Other malware can simply cause performance issues.

Every computer that connects to the Internet or shares files with another system is vulnerable to viruses and malware. It is important that you protect your computer using a well-respected and powerful antiVirus and/or antiMalware utility. On Center cannot specifically endorse any one product, but a quick search of the Internet should give you several options. Microsoft provides a free product called Security Essentials (built into Windows 10)which provides comprehensive antivirus/antimalware protection for Windows (this is not an endorsement for or against any security software).

Please be aware thatsome utilities available can use considerable system resources depending on how they are configured - contact your products vendor for suggestions on reducing the system load required by these utilities.

Note
When installing/running anti-virus or anti-malware software, exclude the folders containing On-Screen Takeoff, Quick Bid, as well as databases the programs use (by default C:\OCS Documents) and Local license files (C:\Program Data\Flexnet). Some security products prevent On Center products from being able to license or access data files, causing the applications to crash or respond oddly.

Reduce the Number of Programs that start when loading Windows (booting up)

A common issue affecting system performance is unnecessary programs that start automatically when Windows boots up. Often, programs configure themselves to run in the background so that they appear to start quickly when needed. Some of these programs show an icon on your taskbar to let you know that the program is running, while others are completely hidden. These autostart programs steal away trace amounts of resources every time your computer starts.

If your computer takes a long time to get to get to the Windows desktop, if you receive annoying pop-ups, or if unnecessary (junk) programs are loading at the start-up, you can use the Windows Configuration tool to disable some of these startups.

Warning
These steps must be performed by a qualified IT person and/or your network administrator - there are some applications and/or startup utilities that may seem unnecessary but are required by your company or Windows. Disablingapplications/utilities may cause your computer to stop working altogether.

Using MSConfig

All versions of Windows come with the System Configuration tool (Msconfig.exe) which allows you to select which programs/utilities will start when Windows loads.

  • Click Start,
  • Type "Run"
  • Type "msconfig" <ENTER>
  • Click on the Startup tab - a list of all the programs and processes that are set to run when Windows loads is displayed.
  • Clear the check box next to any item you have verified is unnecessary
  • Click Apply, and then restart your computer for the changes to take effect
    • If you are not sure a about a program, leave it - if it is provided by Microsoft, it is best to leave it.

      Different versions of Windows have different ways of configuring applications that start when Windows boots - consult the Support documentation for your version of Windows for details.

      Removing programs from the Startup folders

      Each user may have programs in their "Startup" folder that automatically launch when Windows boots.

      Each version of Windows stores the Startup programs folder in different places, check your Windows documentation for assistance with managing startup programs.

      Upgrade Your Computer

      Technology is ever-evolving - new versions of Windows, upgrades to applications, and improved hardware all are released regularly and can solve or cause performance issues.

      Hardware

      As new versions of Windows are developed and upgrades to applications are released (such as new versions of On Center's products), System Requirements and Recommendations tend to increase.

      For most desktop applications, the three leading hardware requirements are:

      • RAM – Random Access Memory - where all of current processes are running on your computer. Think of RAM as "short term" or working memory. This is by far the easiest, most cost-effective, and noticeable hardware upgrade that you can make to your computer. (Some tablet PCs do not support RAM upgrades, it is best to buy as much as you can afford when purchasing the device.)
      • Hard drive space - your data (music, pictures, videos, files, databases) all need to be stored somewhere. Newer hard drives (storage devices) not only store more data, but often read and write data faster. Newer applications tend to be larger in size than their predecessors and a larger, faster hard drive may improve application launching and performance.
      • Processor Speed - the brain of the computer lies within its Central Processing Unit (or CPU). By upgrading your CPU, you can expect improved results in multitasking operations and any programs that do a lot number crunching or data manipulation. On-Screen Takeoff, Digital Production Control, and Oasis Takeoff use significant processor resources to display and manipulate images and takeoff.

      For assistance with performing any hardware upgrades, contact a qualified IT professional or your favorite computer vendor. If your computer is more than a few years old, it may make more sense to replace it - changing out a processor, for example, is a pretty big undertaking and the cost may be almost as much as a new computer (which would include a warranty...).

      Operation System

      Newer operating systems, such as Windows 10, manage resources (memory) better and automate many system maintenance tasks. Maintenance such as defragmenting the hard drive and installing Windows updates happen automatically now. Windows 10 also safeguards system files from accidental overwriting/deletion making the operating system more stable.

      Older operating systems can leave your computer vulnerable to malware/viruses and may no longer be supported by Microsoft. On Center Software only supports our software on versions of Windows currently under "Mainstream Support" with Microsoft. See the Related article regarding our "Sunsetting Policy" for more information. 

      Your data and software rely on a secure and stable operating system so we encourage you to keep your system up-to-date.


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