One of the best things about a new computer is the speed. It boots fast, opens programs like a dream and generally doesn't leave you checking your watch.

Of course, the longer you use a computer, the slower it gets.  It's tempting to buy a new computer or call a professional, but I wouldn't just yet. You can get back most of the speed with a few free tricks. They're simple enough for anyone to do, and your wallet will thank you.

Before going on, I'm going to bring up one caveat. If you're using a Windows XP computer, plan to get a new one soon. XP's end of life is coming up on April 8, 2014. It's already lacking newer security features. It will only get less secure once Microsoft stops releasing security updates. Click here to learn more about the future of XP.