Slow laptop or PC? Here is what you can do to make it faster.

Yes, we know, trying to work with a slow computer can be seriously frustrating!

Gradually over time or all of a sudden, even if you’re fairly diligent with the maintenance, it happens.

But you don’t have to put up with it!

If you are running Windows, try these useful fixes:

1. Close system tray programs

First things first – it’s possible you have too many programs starting up at the same time. Items in the system tray often launch at startup and then stay running while you use your computer.

To access these items, click the upwards arrow toward the right side of your taskbar.

If there are any programs you don’t need to have running, right-click their icon and close them.

2. Stop programs running on startup

Programs that automatically & unnecessarily run on startup can significantly slow down your computer.

Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager or hit Ctrl+Shift+Escape to launch. Choose the Startup tab to view each item that runs on startup and its impact. You may need to click the More Details button if the Startup tab is not visible.

Disable the ones you don’t need to start automatically. To disable, simply right-click and hit Disable.

Disabling the high impact ones would help kick up your performance significantly. Keep in mind that some of these programs are vital for Windows to operate. For example, the ones with Microsoft listed as the publisher are probably best left alone.

If you aren’t sure, then better leave it, do some more research or give us a call on 6314 6645.

3. Update Windows, drivers, and apps

Keeping your software up to date can improve both security and performance. When Windows sends you a notification for an available update, make sure you don’t put it off.

You can always check if you missed an update. Go to Start and click Settings or the settings icon. Then go to Updates & Security > Windows Updates. Click the Check for updates button to make sure you’re all up to date.

Get some help and advice

4. Delete unnecessary files

Your computer is like a house, it gets cluttered and requires regular clean up. This is especially the case if you deal with a lot of large files, such as high-resolution images, audio files, and videos, on a day-to-day basis.

Free up space by making a habit of deleting files and folders each week and emptying the recycle bin afterwards.

A useful tip – if your hard drive is a traditional HDD, using up to over 90%of its capacity would slow things down significantly. And keeping the capacity at 75% or lower is recommended for SSD.

Find out more about upgrading your hard drive here.

5. Close programs that eat up resources

If you find that your computer is suddenly running significantly slower, chances are there is a particular “culprit” program. To identify the program, go to your task manager and find out what’s eating up your resources.

Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager. Click More details to find out information about the programs that are currently running on your computer. It should show you the Processes tab by default.

The list can be sorted according to which applications are using the most of that particular resource simply by clicking on each header.

If you want to close something, try closing the actual application first. If you can’t do it that way, come back to the Task Manager screen, right-click the application, and hit End task.

Sit back, relax and let us sort all this out for you

6. Adjust your power options

Windows’ default Power Plan is Balanced, which takes into account performance and energy consumption. Switching to High performance plan should help speed up your computer but of course, it uses up more energy. The choice is yours.

You could choose to create your own custom plan. Go to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options > Create a power plan. Choose which existing plan you would like to start with, enter a name for your new plan, and select Next.

Basic options include how long the display stays on for when you’re inactive and how long before the computer goes into sleep mode. These won’t really affect your computer’s speed, but if you go into Change advanced power settings, you can make more adjustments.

7. Uninstall programs you don’t use

Yes – programs take up space. Solution – uninstall any programs you don’t use. Consider also programs you only use now and again, especially if they are particularly large, it might be worth simply reinstalling each time you need it.

To uninstall a program, head over to Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features.

Go through the programs and decide which ones, if any, you don’t need. If you’re unsure about a particular program, do a bit more research or simply call us on 6314 6645.

8. Turn Windows features on or off

While you’re in the Programs and Features screen, you might want to check to see if there are any Windows components you don’t need.

Click Turn Windows features on or off and you’ll see these components.

Note: be careful you don’t turn off anything you actually need. If unsure, do a bit more research or reach out to us.

9. Run a disk cleanup

Windows offers a built-in tool for cleaning up junk that accumulates over time. Access the Disk Cleanup tool by heading to Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools, and select Disk Cleanup.

Select the types of files you want to get rid of and click OK. Then click Clean up system files and choose any system files you want to remove and click OK.

10. Defragment your hard drive (if using HDD) – or switch to SSD

If your computer uses a traditional mechanical Hard Disk Drive (HDD), files on your hard drive will become fragmented over time. This means that different parts of a single file will be scattered over your hard drive so your computer will have to run to multiple places to get the different pieces and as a result, it can run slower. “Defragment” here means we try to put those files back together so your system can run faster.

Go to My Computer and right-click the hard drive (by default named Windows (C:) or Local Disk (C:) though individual names may vary). Then go to Properties > Tools and under Optimise and defragment drive, click Optimise.

You’ll then get an Optimise Drives screen popup.

Select a drive and click Analyse to see how fragmented it is. A good rule of thumb would be to keep it below 5%. If it’s above, you can click Optimise to defragment the disk.

Switch to SSD and supercharge your PC!

A better solution is to switch to a Solid State Drive (SSD). SSD’s work differently from a traditional HDD, and there is no need for defragmentation.

If you already have an SSD, this is what you will see:

You’ll notice Optimise is the only available option. Clicking it will run the TRIM command which will wipe data that is no longer considered in use.

11. Adjust or disable graphics and animations

More recent versions of Windows come with lots of graphics, including animations such as fading effects and flyouts. They help bring about a better overall user experience but they can also slow down your computer.

You can choose to save a little processing power by adjusting these settings. Go to Control Panel > System and Security > System > Advanced system settings. Then, in the Performance section, hit Settings and you’ll have a full list of options.

You can select Adjust for best performance (this will remove all visual effects) or opt to remove some individually.

12. Check for malware

Malware (malicious software) are malicious programs that could cause harm to your computer. Like the flu, you could get them from everywhere, email links, software downloads, and even ads. Aside from potentially causing permanent damage to your system, some forms of malware can cause your computer to run slow.

Having good antivirus software installed can help protect against malware, as well as other threats. There are several free and paid options available, and although they are different and each has its strengths and weaknesses, most are suitable for general use. The key is to make sure it is configured properly.

You can find more information about antivirus software here.

We can help you set up and configure your antivirus

13. Upgrade your hardware

If you’ve tried all of the tricks above, it might be time to invest in some new hardware. Here are a couple of things you may want to consider putting some money into:

    • Add an SSD: While traditional hard drives offer more space for a lower price, adding an SSD can make your computer run much faster.
    • Add more RAM: Installing a new RAM kit could give your computer more capacity to run many programs simultaneously, and can also help older systems run modern applications more efficiently.

Or if you’d like to save time and the hassle of all this, simply get in touch and let us take care of you.

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