Working on a slow computer can be frustrating.
Most of us notice that our PCs start to slow down by the second or third year, but it could happen earlier. Extensive use, having too many software installed, storing large files, computer bugs, lack of maintenance, or a combination of all of these factors, can affect a computer’s speed and performance considerably.
If your computer is working at a snail’s pace, give these quick fixes a try:
Update your computer
Allow your operating system to update regularly. Updates help your computer run faster because it removes bugs that can keep the system from operating efficiently. Check your settings to see if the automatic updates button is turned on, and if your computer has the latest update. If you have Windows 10 or 11 OS, click on the Start icon, choose Settings, and click on Windows Update (last item on the left menu) to see the update settings. You can also choose to download updates manually.
Shut down/restart regularly
Turning off your computer (or restarting) deletes temporary files and helps to start fresh. If you don’t like turning your computer off after every use, or if you leave it on hibernate mode most of the time, consider turning it off fully at least once a week.
Delete unnecessary files and programs
Programs and apps eat up a lot of your system’s memory. It is best to delete programs that you haven’t used for some time. Also, clear up your recycle bin, delete temporary files, clear your browsing history, and relocate big files regularly. Move files to a removable drive or online storage (like Google Drive) to free up space.
Organize your desktop
Do you have plenty of floating files on your desktop? Each time your computer turns on, it would need to load each icon, using up plenty of memory space. To prevent this, organize your files into categories and keep them in a folder. This not only saves on memory, it will also make it easier to find files.
Close your tabs
Many of us leave several tabs open when we’re surfing the net. This slows down our computer considerably because each page can have processes running in the background. Again, this uses up memory.
Disable auto-launching programs
Shut off Windows tips and tricks (if you have Windows OS) and other programs that open automatically when you boot your computer. Choose only those that you use often. To do this, click on the Start icon (for Windows), choose Settings, click on Apps (fifth item on the left menu), and then choose Startup to see a list of Startup Apps. Click on the button beside the app you want to turn off.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory. Much of the computer’s speed relies on the amount of RAM a system has available. To upgrade your computer’s RAM, you can buy a RAM module or strip. Installing this component is easy (so many YouTube videos out there!) but you can always ask for a technician’s help to install it.
If you’ve tried these suggestions and nothing worked, it’s either your computer has other problems (like a virus for example) or it’s time to scout for PC deals. If your computer is relatively new (one to three years old), it might be worth it to have it checked by a professional. But if your computer is older than five years, it may be more cost-efficient to back up your files and buy a new PC or laptop.
Sources: How to make your PC run faster, Larry Alton, IEEE Computer Society; and How to make your computer faster, Panda Media Center. Accessed October 20, 2022.
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