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If your computer seems to be running slowly, there are three things you can try yourself before you spend $100 or more taking it in for repairs.

Chris Cope is the founder and CEO ofSlimwareUtilities,a cloud-based software company that helps clean up your computer.
He has three do it yourself tips the average person can use to speed up your PC. All of them begin in your computer's "start" menu.

First, get rid of background programs. "There are a lot of things running in the background and we call them startups, they get there when you install software but they eventually pile up and are launching and running in the background while the computer is operational so removing those is a very good first step," he said. He removed them using the system configuration tab in the start menu.

Step two: Remove junk. Not just junk mail, but real junk. "Just from daily use of your computer, like your internet browser for instance, it builds up files, histories, recently visited websites, all these things that slow down your browsing experience and your software," said Cope. (I can be technically challenged at times but he walked me through a disc cleanup. )"You have a lot of debug dump files and a lot in your recycle bin," he said. I deleted those and my recycled items.

The final step: defragmenting, also know as defragging. "All those files we just wiped out, it will recompact them like a trash compactor," explained Cope.

It's all pretty easy to do manually or you can download Cope'sSlimCleaner software that does it for you. The software, which features both free and paid versions, wonPCMag's Free software 2011 award.

For more of Chris Cope's tips, read a recent article he wrote forMashable.com on 7 Ways to Speed Up your Business Computer. To learn more about Slimware Utilities and the various software products go to SlimwareUtilities.com.