Acer Aspire One Slow?

The Acer Aspire One netbook running Windows 7 Starter Edition won’t win any performance benchmarks.  However, you can greatly improve this netbook’s responsiveness with some targeted tweaking.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the tips mentioned below potentially leave your system vulnerable.  Although these particular settings work for me, they may not be the best fit for how you use your netbook and your environment.  Please use these tips at your own risk.

Add more RAM

Adding more RAM is one of the most expensive and invasive options for remedying a slow netbook.  However, it arguably offers the greatest gains.  My netbook comes with 1GB of RAM and can handle an upgrade to 2GB.  Increasing the amount of RAM available to your system (in this case, doubling the RAM) produces increased responsiveness you’ll notice immediately.

First, find out how much RAM you currently have.

  1. Press the Windows key.
  2. Type system in the search box.
  3. Run the System application from the search results.
  4. Under the System section, look for Installed memory (RAM).

System RAM

Then, look in your Aspire One manual to determine how much RAM your netbook can handle.  You can also rely on the memory experts at Crucial for this information.

  1. Navigate to the Crucial website: http://crucial.com.
  2. Using the Crucial Memory Advisor Tool, select the Manufacturer (Acer).
  3. Select the Product Line (Aspire netbooks).
  4. Select the Model (Aspire One 532h, your model may be slightly different).
  5. Click Find It.

Crucial displays the default configuration for your netbook and the memory upgrades that are possible.  A list of compatible parts is also listed.  For my configuration, I can get a 2GB DDR2 for about $50.

Numerous guides are available for installing the memory upgrade (just do a search for aspire one memory upgrade).  This is the one I found most useful: How to Add RAM to the 10-inch Acer Aspire One.

Disable performance and appearance options

Adjusting the Windows 7 performance and appearance options is bound to increase the responsiveness of your netbook.

  1. Press the Windows key.
  2. Type system in the search box.
  3. Run the System application from the search results.
  4. Click on the Advanced system settings link.
  5. Click on the Advanced tab.
  6. In the Performance section, click on the Settings button.
  7. It’s up to you which options you’d like to keep around.  On my netbook, I uncheck all except:
    Show window contents while dragging
    Smooth edges of screen fonts
    Use visual styles on windows and buttons
  8. Click OK.

Performance Options

Disable services

Setting unneeded services to start Manually will definitely free up resources previously used by those services.

  1. Press the Windows key.
  2. Type services in the search box.
  3. Run the Services application from the search results.
  4. To set services to start manually, double-click on the service.
  5. Set each of these services to start Manually, and click OK.
    Desktop Window Manager Session Manager
    Diagnostic Policy Service
    Distributed Link Tracking Client
    IP Helper
    Print Spooler (I don’t print from my netbook)
    TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper

Services

Disable startup applications

Disabling unneeded startup applications speeds up Windows 7 start-up time and frees up resources previously used by those applications.

  1. Press the Windows key.
  2. Type system configuration in the search box.
  3. Run the System Configuration application from the search results.
  4. Click on the Startup tab.
  5. Uncheck processes you don’t want running at startup.
  6. Click OK.

System Configuration

Disable McAfee anti-virus

Anti-virus programs are necessary in many environments for providing a safe computing experience.  If anti-virus programs saved your computer more times than you can remember, do not take my advice.  However, if you can’t remember the last time anti-virus did anything for you except slow down your system, you are not alone.

Because of the stranglehold that McAfee has on my system, I chose to completely uninstall it.

  1. Press the Windows key.
  2. Type program and features in the search box.
  3. Run the Program and Features application from the search results.
  4. Locate the McAfee application in the program listing.
  5. Right-click on it.
  6. Click Uninstall.

UPDATE: A comment from Sindhu suggested… rather than uninstalling McAfee, stop the McAfee services and change the start-up type to Manual.  The reasoning is you may want to run anti-virus at times, and this approach will allow you to fire it up when the need arises.  Follow the Disable Services instructions for details.

Disable sound schemes

Playing sounds during certain actions in Windows takes up some resources.  If you like the sound schemes, by all means keep them.  If it doesn’t matter to you, disable them so that there’s one less thing taking up system resources.

  1. Press the Windows key.
  2. Type sound in the search box.
  3. Run the Sound application from the search results.
  4. Click on the Sounds tab.
  5. Set Sound Scheme to No Sounds.
  6. Uncheck Play Windows Startup sound.
  7. Click OK.

Sound

Disable system restore

System restore definitely has its advantages.  When you absolutely must back out of some system changes, being able to restore to a previously working point is an awesome safety net.  Since my netbook is not my primary computer, system restore is an extra application that takes up resources to periodically snapshot images of my system.  In addition, it requires a relatively large chunk of disk space.  So, I disable it.

  1. Press the Windows key.
  2. Type system in the search box.
  3. Click on the System Protection link.
  4. Click on the System Protection tab.
  5. In the Protection Settings section, click on a drive.
  6. Click on the Configure button.
  7. In the Restore Settings section, click on the Turn off system protection option.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Once system restore is disabled for all desired drives, click OK.

System Protection

With these tweaks, my RAM usage noticeably decreased and system responsiveness seems to be snappier.  Hopefully, they’ll produce a similar result for you.

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35 Responses to “Acer Aspire One Slow?”

  1. Sindhu Says:

    Cool..! Awesome! My netbook is visibly faster now. Thanks! :-)
    I followed all the steps u mentioned….
    However, i did not uninstall mc afee. Might need it at times!
    So, I just stopped the Mc afee services and changed the start up type to Manual.

  2. Raymond Li Says:

    @Sindhu: Glad to hear it worked for you. I updated the Disable McAfee Anti-virus section with your tip.

  3. Henry Says:

    great tips, thank you :)

  4. Ernie Says:

    You rock. These should be the default settings for this computer. Seriously, just how are we supposed to know how to do this? Just wanna to thank you for this info. My netbook runs better because of you>Peace!

  5. caimbeal Says:

    I just solved my performance problem by installing Ubuntu. This means my system is dual boot though I’m not sure why I’m keeping Window 7 (Vista rolled in glitter).

  6. saravana Says:

    thanks a lot. following these steps(including the RAM upgrade) improved the performance and the system is very responsive now.

  7. Mara Says:

    Thank you so much, my system is running 500% faster!

  8. Engin Says:

    Thank you for your advices!

  9. Fadia Says:

    yes,, it helped alot. thanks

  10. Albert Says:

    Awesome tips, definitely great resources for we Acer Aspire One netbook users who often encounter pc slow or freezing issues. By the way, if there are some users who don’t want to fix separately, here is another quick solution, available here: [...]

    Treat the portable netbook as our baby, and he/she will sure save a lot of troubles!

    Best regards,

    Albert

  11. Chris Says:

    Terrific fixes, thanks!!!

  12. Luka Says:

    Excellent tips, my RAM visibly came down, and my netbook is a lot faster! Thanx again!

  13. Geoff Says:

    Thank you very much! I used to want to throw my Aspire One against the wall, now I like it again. Really, thank you.

  14. chaozz Says:

    Excellent tips, very clearly listed. By far the best page about optimizing the Acer Aspire One.

    Thanks for taking the time to put this all together.

  15. djegsi Says:

    Good tutorial
    But why whene l search ” Type services in the search box ” l dont get services
    can you help me on this please

  16. Raymond Li Says:

    @djegsi: Sometimes the system configuration differs and you may not find “Services” right away. No worries though. Another option is to look in your Start Menu for “Administrative Tools.” Once you find it, look for the “Services” item. Yet another option is to go through the “Control Panel.” Find “Administrative Tools” in the “Control Panel” and look for “Services” within “Administrative Tools” as before. Hope this helps!

  17. Maya Says:

    Thank you! Very clear and appreciate your recommendations. Great job. I use my Acer to travel sometimes in very extreme places and it is a hardy, tough lightweight computer. hank you again,

  18. Sue-zanne Says:

    Really easy to follow instructions. Thank you so much for publishing. Will be keeping as a bookmark for future reference ))))) Been meaning to seek solutions for a while and decided to sort out bleary eyed on a sleepless night with no problem.

  19. Asanka Says:

    Thank you for the great Article..! Works like a Magic :)

  20. Ray Says:

    Thank you so much for this great tutorial. I was ready to give up and install ubuntu.

  21. Nitin Says:

    That was really cool. Mine works like breeze now.

  22. Stu Says:

    Ridiculous, was considering using a hammer against it, now its slick and fast…..incredible tips…!

  23. NKAllen Says:

    Thanks Raymond, great article with picture for us idiots. Notebook seems way faster now.

  24. gio Says:

    tanks rraly helpp

  25. Tom Says:

    Incredible! It used to take 2-5 minutes to open a web browser or do an index search. Now its done in seconds, and my new RAM hasn’t even arrived yet!

  26. Clay Says:

    wow that really really worked great. cheers

  27. Hannah Says:

    Thank you ;)

    Almost gave up hope on the netbook!

  28. Suzie Says:

    Thank you. Was getting ready to hand this over to Goodwill and it has hardly been used since I purchased it for commuting on the train and getting some work accomplished. It’s running so much faster and I will hand it over to my grandkids to use. Thank you Thank you.

  29. Kevin Says:

    This was awesome advice. My Aspire netbook is running so much faster. As someone else said, these should be the default settings. Thanks.

  30. gins Says:

    Thank you so much!!!!!!! :)

  31. Mark Says:

    this helped alot. I also upgraded the it, ram to 2 gigs, this helped a lot… I was wondering why ?? a pc this slow has a 250 gig hard drive, that is so dam slow… I have found 100 gig solid state drives for under 50 bucks at a local computer store. I was wondering where i get a disc to reload the software on the netbook, I have a usb dvd drive. I want to try changing out the hard drive. DO You think a faster smaller hard drive would help give it some kick? or am I just polishing a poop, and at the end of day it will still be dog poop slow… What I have done has it useable again, thank you so much. I was running so slow if i was typing on Google search, a one word search, it took 2 min for the word I typed to slow up, and a 12 min boot up… Now it is so much faster I just want more out of it.. my wife is a school teacher and uses it to do her lesson plan and paper work on

  32. eric Says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. christina Says:

    Thanks so much!!!

  34. Naushad Says:

    Great !!! Thank You

  35. joy Says:

    Thank you very much..
    It really helps a lot.

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