If you have used your computer for so long, you may notice that it is not as fast as when you bought it. The case is the same for most consumer electronics and is the expected trajectory. Even though you expect it to slow down as it gets old, do not just rush and get a new one when it starts acting up.
The simplest tasks feel like a real hassle with a slow computer. It can slow you down with anything you do and lead to an overall bad experience.
If your computer is so slow all of a sudden, you can do a few things to speed it up. Like with any other gadget, the causes may vary, and you have to try until you find the solution that works for you. This post will look at the general things to do to speed up your computer.
Why is Your Computer Slow?
There are so many things that can affect the performance of your computer. Your computer has limited resources that need to be efficient. If this fails to happen, performance will be slow from time to time.
Here are some of the things that can slow down your computer:
- Low RAM space
- Insufficient hard disk space.
- Many backgrounds processes.
- More than a handful of programs startup when the computer boots.
- Outdated Windows version
- Virus or Malware
Follow the steps below to learn about fixing a slow computer.
Restart the computer
Restarting the computer is the first thing to do if it slows down. When restarting the computer, it is good to completely power it off for a few minutes before starting it again. With this, you will give it a chance to clear out the memory and start from scratch.
When your computer is on, it allocates RAM space to running programs. If you use it for a long time, the RAM will fill up, slowing down the computer. The main reason is the system will start using the swap file.
The swap file is on your hard drive, and we know that hard drives tend to be slow. If your system relies on the swap file for long, you can’t expect the same speeds as you would, depending on the RAM.
Shutting down the computer and restarting it helps clear the RAM for better performance.
Delete Files and Programs You Don’t Use
If your hard disk has no free space, it will impact the performance of your computer. Your operating system needs enough room to work efficiently. The extra free space is necessary to create temporary files, prevent fragmentation, and swap files. If the free space is not enough, these operations will be affected.
Here are some things to do to clear up some disk space:
- Clear the Recycle Bin. Most people forget to empty the recycle bin after deleting files for our PCs. Make it a habit of doing this often to keep your computer’s performance in check. You can do this by right-clicking the Recycle Bin and selecting ‘Empty Recycle Bin’.
- Uninstall Unused Programs. We have all downloaded some programs we end up using a couple of times only. Having these programs reduces the disk space and slows down the computer. Go to the Control Panel and open the ‘Uninstall a program’ option. Find the programs you are not using and uninstall them. Some of these may include programs included as extras when you buy the computer.
- Clear the downloads folder. You have probably downloaded some files or documents on your computer at some point. These are in the downloads folder and can fill up your hard disk in no time. Navigate to the Downloads folder, move the valuable files somewhere else, and delete everything.
- Delete temporary files. These refer to the files programs used to save temporary data. Over time, the temporary files build up and take a significant chunk of your hard disk. Press Windows key + R, type in %TMP%, and then click ÓK’. You will open the folder with all your temporary files on your computer. You should not delete all files on the temporary folder. Some of these files are in use by the programs running.
- Clear browser cache and cookies. A cache is a webpage your browser saves to help improve browsing speeds. These build up the more you use your browser and significantly slow down your computer. If not kept in check, they can take a massive percentage of your disk space. On the other hand, Cookies contain data that websites save on your computer. They can also build up, occupy a part of the hard drive and slow down your computer. Different methods are required to clear cookies and cache, and they vary depending on your browser.
Stop Background Processes
Having many programs running in the background significantly slows down your computer. These programs continue running even after closing them. They end up reducing PC performance and taking up processing power.
You can see the programs running in the background by pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE. You will also see how much memory the programs are taking. You can close programs that you are not using and take a significant Chunk of your processing power.
Limit startup programs
Limit the number of applications that start when your computer starts. These can slow down your computer’s boot time and reduce performance. Only allow programs that you will use immediately after starting up to run automatically. It is even advisable to let only the essential programs run on startup. All the other programs on your computer can start later.
Scan for Viruses and Malware
If your computer has a virus or malware, it may not perform as expected. Try scanning for malware or viruses if you notice it is slow. Make sure you have up-to-date antivirus software to identify even the latest threats. You should perform a deep scan and even scan the computer when you restart it. Doing this will be efficient in identifying and eliminating the virus.
Upgrade your RAM
Sometimes, your computer becomes slow since your RAM is not enough. You may be running some demanding programs using most of your RAM. Upgrading your RAM can address this as you will have more for better performance. You can find instructions on expanding the RAM for your specific computer on the manufacturer’s website.
Install Windows Updates
Lastly, you may want to install the latest Windows updates available for you. The latest Windows and drivers updates can provide slight performance improvements. You can see if updates are available for your computer by going to:
- The settings menu is on the left side of the Windows start menu.
- Clicking on Update and Security.
- You will see if you have any updates or not.
If updating Windows does not fix the issues, you may consider reinstalling Windows altogether.