Best way to speed up a slow computer

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Is your computer running slow? And you are not a computer expert, but still want to do something about it? 

You came to the right place as we are about to reveal the tips and tricks that can help anyone speed up their computer that uses Windows 10, 8, or 7.

Has it ever happened to you to work on a slow computer? I must admit, that can be a real challenge to stay calm!  But what can you do about it? You look after your computer and keep the maintenance with due diligence and yet the PC is slowing down and refusing to cooperate with you. For all of those who find this incredibly frustrating, we have compiled a list of 14 tips that you can do if you are experiencing these kinds of issues.  

The first thing that causes a relief is -You do not have to throw your computer yet. The second thing is -The magic works in a simple way and with just a few steps of decluttering, the speed can be renewed.  

In this blog, we will focus on issues in system performance. The examples are taken from the version of Windows 10  but apply to the other two versions. In case of any differences, they will be mentioned directly in the article. 

If you are in a need of quick fix the first tool that we can recommend is System Mechanic. It automatically fixes and maintains PC speed. In addition, it is affordable and effective. 

The perks of the System Mechanic are:

  • Optimization of Hard drive performance, CPU, RAM in real-time
  • Free up space by removing junk files
  • Identification of unwanted programs that slow the computer start 
  • Monitoring and Fixing of more than 30,000 problems that can be identified as a cause for performance issues and errors
  • Patches can find out security vulnerabilities regarding Windows 

Tip#1. Close the programs in the system tray 

If the computer is starting slow, what might be the issue is the number of programs that start simultaneously with Windows itself.  When you start up the PC, these programs in the system tray start running as well and stay operating during the computer performance. 

If you want to view the items, just click on the arrow on the right of the taskbar. 

If you want to close the programs you do not need just right-click on them and they will be closed.

Tip#2. Stop running programs on startup

Besides the programs in the system tray, the automatically running programs on startup can also cause slow down. Thus, our advice is to leave only the ones which are necessary such as antivirus software.

To launch just Right-click on the taskbar, choose Task Manager or press Ctrl-Shift-Escape. Open the Startup tab to view the running items on startup and check what is their impact. 

Go through the running items and clear the list from those which are not necessary. The process is excellent as it boosts the performance by disabling the items with high impact. However, what you need to be careful about is not to disable the vital ones for Windows operation. Good idea is to leave the ones where the name of Microsoft stands out as a publisher. You can always check by Google search if it is safe to disable the particular program that you are aiming at, or if you can not find or just do not want to bother, it is best to leave the program. 

If you wish to disable a program just right-click, then Disable. In this way, you are just disabling the program to start running at the startup and not the program itself. 

Windows 7: What is different in this version is the access, you need to go through System Configuration.

Tip#3. Update your apps, drivers, and OS

Until now, we have all been familiar with the fact that it is essential to keep the software up to date! Why? The answer is simple: security reasons as well as assists the system performance too. What is great about this is that Windows notifies you automatically about the available updates. Your task is only to install the updates and do not postpone it all the time. 

In case you clicked on Remind me later and skipped an update, do not worry as you are able to check if any updates are available by clicking Start and then Settings. The following step is to click on Updates & Security and Windows Updates.

Besides the operative system, you should update all the apps and drivers too. All the updates boost system performance and security. You can always check the required updates by online search and this will give you insight into which version you should use. 

Tip#4. Delete files you do not need 

We keep collecting and downloading lots of things. And we keep doing this over a period of time! Just look at the good old wardrobe. All of the things that are cluttered have an adverse impact on the computer’s performance. An immense negative impact is especially done by large files such as videos, audio files, images with high resolutions that we keep storing every day.  

A good thing that you can start is to free up space, and for example, you can schedule weekly clean-up with deleting the unnecessary files and emptying the bin. With the regular deleting files and emptying the recycle bin, you will also have a clear idea of what exactly is there so you will achieve better organization of your computer files. 

A piece of advice: Always check the amount of space that has been used and if this shows more than 90% be sure that this slows down your computer. Unlike HDDs that run at full speed up to the point when they get to 90%, SSDs have a gradual slow down so it is advisable to control them not to overcome 75%. 

Tip#5. Note down all the programs which eat up resources

If the process of slowing down is not happening gradually but rather out of sudden you better check which particular program has caused this. To identify the possible program that is causing the slow down go to task manager and check which programs eats the resources. 

On the taskbar hit right-click and choose Task Manager. Click on the part- More details to reveal the info that can tell you which programs are running at that particular moment. 

Click on every header to enlist the applications according to which ones use the most of the specific resource. Close the application first and if there is a problem to close it down, go back again to Task Manager, hit the right-click on the application, and press End task.

Windows 7: What is different in this version is the access, you need to go through System Configuration.

Tip#6. Adjusting the power options

To suit the needs, Windows has many preset ‘ power plans. ‘ The default preset is at Balanced and it takes into consideration the energy consumption and efficiency. However, the energy consumption can be an issue only if the computer battery is running low or maybe if you are trying to reduce the electricity bill. In this case, you can make amendments to the plan. 

The option of a plan for power saving may not be the best option if the PC is slowed down, as the aim of this option is to save energy and this, on the other hand, slows down the PC’s performance. If this is the case you should use the High-Performance plan that boosts the performance and thus the speed. The con here is that it uses energy significantly.

There is a possibility to customize the plan too to suit your needs. For this use- Control Panel find Hardware and Sound, then click on Power Options and hit Create a power plan. Name your plan and click on Next. 

If you do not want to start from scratch you can use some of the existing plans that you can amend according to the requirements. For this, you just have to follow the previous steps described and replace the last step, so instead of Create you click Choose or customize a power plan. Then you just hit the Change plan settings to set your criteria. 

Both of the options include the time of display on after the user is inactive and the time of activating the sleep mode of the computer. It does not make a difference on the speed much but the additional adjustments in the Change Advanced Power Settings can have an impact. 

Tip#7. Uninstall programs you no longer use

Oftentimes we install programs that take so much of our space and we are not actually using them. Think about this kind of programs. Do you have them on your computer? If the answer is yes, then uninstall these programs. In addition, if you have a large program that is using from time to time, consider uninstalling it and reinstalling every time you need it. 

To do this go to Control Panel>Programs>Programs and Features.

Take a look at the programs and make a decision which of them is not necessary for you so you can uninstall them. If you have doubts about a program check on Google to learn more about it. One useful tip is to use the tool PC Decrapifier that notifies you which programs are good. 

Tip#8. Turn Windows features on or off

When you are uninstalling programs you no longer need in the Programs and Features section, a good idea is to go through the components of Windows that you can click off if you do not need them. If you are not certain which of these components are actually required refer to some of the search engines to check the necessity of the component.  

Tip#9. Run a disk cleanup

Windows is equipped with a tool that is part of it and can be used for clearing the junk that clutters on the computer. This tool is called Disk Cleanup, and you can access it through Control Panel>System and Security>Administrative Tools, where you can see Disk Cleanup on the list. When this is opened, you can choose the type of files you want to delete. The choice is confirmed and finalized with Clean up system files where you select the system files to be deleted. 

If you want to do it automatically, then you can purchase software that will find out and delete the junk files. One of the software is Iolo System Mechanic. At the moment it is pretty affordable and you can buy an annual subscription. The software cleans the browsing history, defragments, optimizes settings and related. 

Tip#10. Defragment the hard drive

The files stored on the hard drive over time start to be fragmented. This means that the PC checks all the pieces and this slows down the system. What defragmentation means in its essence is putting the pieces together and this results in a more efficient system. 

Defragmentation is automatically scheduled on Windows 10, 8, and 7. Besides the weekly schedule, you can also do it manually if you think this might be the issue. 

One thing to bear in mind is that defragmentation is needed on computers that use Hard Disk Drive (HDD) but not on those with A Solid State Drive (SSD). In case you own both, perform the defragmentation only on HDD.

To do this follow the steps: My Computer, then right-click the hard drive (default name WINDOWS (C:).  Click Properties>Tools, then Optimize and in defragment the drive, press on Optimize. The screen for Optimize Drives will appear. 

If you want to check the fragmentation go to Analyze. The tip that we would like to share is that it is over 5% it is a good idea to perform defragmentation of the disk.

In the case of SSD, the Optimize will be an option and if you click it, it activates a command that deletes the data which has not been used for a while. 

Windows 7: Use the search bar to find Disk Defragmenter and choose an HDD at the Current status section.

Tip#11. Adjust animations and graphics 

Nowadays everything is about images, graphics and lots of animation filled out with effects, so it is the case with Windows too. The users are more and more demanding this kind of visual presentation that enhances one’s experience which at the same time slows down the performance. 

Thankfully, with just a few simple clicks you can set and adjust the processing power. Click on Control Panel>System and Security>System>Advanced system settings. The next step is to open the Performance part and click on Settings to see all the options. 

Choose -Adjust for best performance, which removes all the visual presentation or select them one by one. This is a matter of choice but what we suggest is shadow features as well as fade features. 

Windows 7: You can adjust this via Performance Information and Tools, click on Adjust visual effects, by using the tab of Visual Effects.

Tip#12. Check for malware

Malware or malicious software understand malicious programs which might endanger or harm the operating system and your PC in general. This threat can come from many sources such as ads, various program downloads, email links. Besides causing harm to the system, this can also cause a process of slow down even to a new computer. 

The solution is to install a good antivirus program that can assist in the fights against malicious software and other viruses as well. There are many free of charge options which are great for use but if you like a paid one we suggest McAfee, VIPRE, and Bitdefender. 

If you are not sure if malware is what slows down your computer use tools like Zemana AntiMalware to check it. After you detected the malware with a scanner you can use a tool such as Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit to remove it. We gladly recommend these two tools based on the experience of our users. 

Tip#13. Disable Cortana

You may have not heard about Cortana, the digital assistant of Windows 10 but “she” is there. Although it is a useful feature it can be a privacy threat and might use many resources so it is a good idea to remove it. If you have the latest updates it can be tricker but you can still do this by editing the system’s registry. 

Tip#14. Upgrade the hardware

After trying the tips above the final one for today is new hardware. In addition, all the tips and tricks that you should consider before purchasing the new hardware:   

  • Add an SSD: Although HDDs provide bigger space for a more affordable price the SSD provides faster computer performance. 
  • Add more RAM: If the system is older, consider adding RAM especially if you have a habit to open more programs at the same time. This will give you a much-needed boost. 

Additional tips

One of the things you need to be aware of is that there are other common reasons for slowing down the computer besides the operating system, such as computer habits, systems, and apps. In addition, you can try these things too:

  • Keep the computer clean: When we say clean we actually mean physically cleaning the PC. Clean the accumulated dust as it can slow PCs and even cause overheating.
  • Remove browser extensions you no longer use: These extensions can slow your web browser experience so regular maintenance is a must here! 
  • Use extensions for memory saving: If you are a fan of Chrome, one common extension there is the Great Suspender that lowers the memory footprints of the opened browser tabs.
  • Restart regularly:  Oftentimes all that takes is a reboot. Restarting your PC enables the updates to become effective and shut down the background programs. While you are sipping your cup of coffee, take time off and click restart. 
  • Do not open many browser tabs and programs at the same time: If you have lots of startup programs, windows that popup and computer run programs at the same time, this certainly can impact the speed. So a good habit is to close the programs and not minimize them.
  • Reinstall the operating system: If none of these things work for you, and you still have problems one of the lat things you can try is to reinstall Windows.

Keeping things running smoothly

If you have tried one or more tips and boosted the computer performance it is more than certain you will want to keep things as they are -speedy and efficient! So, as a final tip schedule computer clean up once per month. Use this list as a checklist and tell us which one worked for you.

About the author

Sarah Azzi

Sarah Azzi is a mum from Sydney who loves testing the latest goods around the house. She is avid fan of Netflix. Sarah aims to provide the best information for visitors on Current.com.au to find a good deal.

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