Do you often find yourself agitated and lagging behind your work schedule, because your computer freezes or hangs up on you most of the time? Then, we’ve got just the guide to fix your slow computer problems!
As modern software and tools are getting more and more technically demanding, it’s not unusual to get these issues with everyone’s computer systems at one point.
It may seem tiring and too technical to delve into, but it will save a lot of your time and money to try and fix it up yourself before visiting a computer technician, which is also most likely to burn a hole in your pocket.
Some minor upgrades and adjustments may seem like a drop in the ocean, but in the end, they can drastically change your PC performance and make it function as well as new again.
So, let’s just dive right into it!
17 Tips & Tricks on How to Speed Up Computer
1. Control the Startup Programs
To start off, one of the main issues affecting your system performance might be that your computer is cluttered with too many programs running at startup in the background without you knowing about them or using them.
Use the Ctrl+Shift+Esc to select and access Task Manager. You can see a dialog box pop up on the screen.
Go to the ‘Startup‘ option in the menu bar. Here, you will see a list of programs configured to run during the startup under the ‘Status‘ bar. Also, you can see how much a program is affecting your computer memory under the ‘Startup impact.‘ You can disable the unnecessary programs with a right-click by choosing the ‘Disable’ option.
2. Modify the Power Options
In particular, Windows operating system PCs and Laptops come up with many preset optimization options that may be responsible for your computer’s sluggish behavior.
The default power option in these computers is most often set to ‘Balanced,’ which saves your battery thus, reducing the computer performance. It would be best not to use these ‘Power Saver‘ power plans unless you want to save on electricity costs, or cannot find a charger.
You can access the Power Options by going to Control Panel in the Settings. Then choose Power Options. Here, you can choose a preset ‘High Performance‘ plan that doesn’t compromise your PC performance to save on battery, or you can also create a new power plan suitable for your needs.
3. Cleanup Your Hard Disk
More often than not, our computer hard drive gets piled up with temporary internet files, unnecessary files, and all the programs that you don’t know how they got there in the first place.
Disk cleanup is one popular way to free up your disk space. It automatically finds temporary files and applications that can be deleted from your system without affecting your downloaded programs and files.
You can access the Disk Cleanup tool through the Control Panel in Settings. Go to System and Security, then Administrative Tools. Here, select the Disk Cleanup option. A dialog box will appear to tell you exactly how much free space can be ridden from your hard drive. You can choose the unnecessary recycle bin files and applications you want to get rid of and click OK.
There’s also a built-in tool known as Storage Sense in the Windows operating system that automatically checks and removes the free space in your hard drive. You can access it via Settings > Control Panel > System > Storage. You can toggle the Storage Sense as ‘On’ or ‘Off’ per your disk cleanup requirement.
4. Run Disk Defragmentation
Apart from the regular disk cleanup process, you can also schedule disk defragmentation every few months to remain aware of your current storage space situation. Head over to your Windows C: disk drive, right-click, select Properties, and choose the Tools option. Select Optimize option from under the ‘Optimize and defragment drive‘ section.
Moreover, you can also use the Windows Optimize Drives tool from the Start button or search ‘defrag’ via Cortana to streamline the disk cleanup process.
To schedule your regular disk optimization operation, click Change Settings. A dialog box will show up, and you can tick the check box for ‘Run on a schedule’ and choose the frequency (from Daily, Monthly, or Weekly) of disk cleanup, then click OK.
5. Check For Virus And Malware
As many computers today are within the reach of internet connectivity, it’s inevitable for your system to catch a virus or malware while browsing some shady, ad-ridden websites or downloading third-party files and programs now and then.
Not only can they can damage your computer system permanently, but also causes it to slow it down gradually.
There are several free tools and premium antivirus software packages available in the market to protect your system. But, you need to make sure they don’t bloat up your computer. Many of these antivirus software programs can eat up your system resources, and use up too much of your RAM for it to function properly.
To begin with, look up Windows Defender in the Search box and run a scan. You can also download the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware tool, a free malware cleaning program to scan for malware and remove it. The free version can be scheduled and run on-demand, and the paid one can make your scans run automatically.
There are antivirus software packages like Kaspersky and Avast that offer free antivirus protection. There are features like system watcher (behavior blockers) that aren’t included in the freemium version in some of them, but are also very useful.
So, you might want to check and compare the deal you’re getting with the free version in each of these antivirus software packages, and decide whether you want to stick with the free plan or, pay for a premium, in case it offers a solid protection plan for its premium subscribers.
6. Turn Off Search Indexing
Search indexing in Windows computer systems is a useful feature designed to make your search easier, and more optimized for recurring jobs. It creates an index of your files and makes it faster for you to access them again.
If you work with many files and folders regularly, that requires modifying and transferring huge file sizes in large numbers, indexing can cause your system to slow down. Moreover, if your system is low-end with limited hard drive space and RAM capacity, it can only worsen the situation.
Go to the windows search box and type ‘services.msc‘ in the search box. A Services app dialog box will pop up. Here, you can take a look at all the services currently running on your system and startup type (Automatic or Manual).
From the list of services, look for ‘Windows Search’ and double-click on the option. It will open up a Windows Search Properties dialog box. Here, go to the General tab; you should click on the Stop button under the Service status section. This will disable the search indexing.
You can also change where you want the indexing option to stop by looking for the index in the search bar. From there, an Indexing Options dialog box will open up. It displays the Included and Excluded locations for indexing. Go to the desired location > Modify > remove the tick from all the locations which you don’t want to be indexed.
7. Turn Off Windows Assistant
While Windows Assistant can come in handy at times, it’s also another one of that pre-installed Microsoft tools that can eat up your system resources, and also likely pose privacy concerns (just like any other virtual assistant).
Go to Start > Settings > Cortana. Turn off the toggles in the Cortana section. You can also make changes in the registry settings to do this. ( Warning: DO NOT experiment with the registry settings before you back up your computer!)
Go to search > type ‘Regedit’. Now copy and paste the below text in the address bar located at the top of the page:
Alternatively, you can scroll down and look it up. Now right-click on Windows and enter ‘Windows Search’ as the new key. Now, go to the same key you just created and right-click anywhere in the white space on the right panel, and go to New, DWORD(32 bit), then type ‘AllowCortana.’ You should also make sure to set the Value Data to 0 (zero) Hexadecimal base.
8. Turn off Graphics and Visual Effects
With every new version release, Windows is coming up with even more design changes, and while layouts like fading effects that might be visually appealing (to some) but can also cause unwanted performance issues, especially with the older systems.
Head over to Control Panel from the Settings. Go to System, then Advanced System Settings from the System and Security option. A Performance Options dialog box will pop up in the settings. The default option is set to ‘Let Windows choose what’s best for my computer’. Change this to ‘Adjust for best performance,’ and you’re good to go.
Alternatively, you can type ‘system.cpl‘ in the search bar, which will take you to the same System Properties dialog box where you can choose to disable shadows, animations, tooltips and so on.
9. Upgrade Your Disk Drive
There are times when all the tips and tricks in the world won’t work for you, because your computer system has aged way beyond recovery, and it won’t budge without you having to make some major but necessary hardware changes to speed up your computer. In times like this, a disk drive upgrade becomes essential.
HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) are popular due to the low cost and memory, but are slower in comparison to SDDs. They take up a lot of time to read and write data, and slow down the transfer of data as and when your disk space keeps filling up.
If you can, it’s highly advisable to invest in a good SSD (Solid State Drive). A startup SSD can boost your startup processes and makes it easier for the processor to run faster. If you don’t have an internal SSD, you can buy an external one with USB compatibility to connect to your computer.
10. Upgrade Your RAM
In older systems, it becomes harder to run any modern computer application smoothly due to the limited memory capabilities and compatibility issues. The sheer amount of memory consumed by the bloatware pre-installed in Windows operating systems, with brands like HP installing their bloatware before it reaches the end-users, only worsens the situation.
Not all systems come up with the ability to add more RAM, so it’s better to check it up with your technician. Laptops are more likely to have this limitation than the desktop computers, which offer you an easier and cheaper deal. A typical desktop tower will take you an hour to add extra RAM or, you can get it done at a service center.
11. Uninstall lesser-used applications
We all have those applications we just installed on a whim long ago, and forgot about it. And now, they are just lying there on your computer, taking up the system space and resources.
Look up Add or Remove Programs in the search box, and it will open up a dialog box, where you can scroll up to those programs which you do not use regularly and, select Uninstall. Alternatively, you can access the same from the Control Panel in Settings, then go to Programs and, choose Programs and Features.
Since, you can always come back and re-install those applications whenever you want, you don’t need to worry about losing them.
12. Pause OneDrive Auto syncing–
Microsoft devices let you decide on which location you want to save your files and folders. You can save your work on your system storage, C: drive location, or you can choose to save it on the cloud storage Microsoft provides, that is, OneDrive.
OneDrive is often set to have the sync option turned on regularly, so you can access your files while switching back and forth between your different devices.
Look up the OneDrive on Taskbar near the notification area. Go to OneDrive, then select Help & Settings, and then choose Pause syncing. You can then try restarting the PC, and see if the problem has been resolved.
If you want to restart syncing, follow the same steps, then choose Resume syncing from the options.
13. Switch to a Lighter Web Browser
If you are fond of regularly browsing the internet, while using web browsers like Google Chrome, be warned that it may also be slowing down your computer. Chrome takes up a lot of memory, and cause freezing issues, as admitted by many users throughout the years.
It would be best, if you switched to the lighter browser options available in the market like Opera, Torch, or Vivaldi , that are not only lesser RAM hoggers, but also provide you with a lot of customization options (like Dark Mode) and, robust in-built privacy features, that easily beats the Chrome experience by a mile!
In case you’re unable to make the switch for some reason, you should regularly delete the browser’s temporary files, downloads, and extensions on Chrome to keep them from impacting your overall computer system performance.
14. Shut Down Your System Regularly
Yes, you heard it right. Many of us do not bother to shut down our systems regularly due to some important work we’re busy doing, and call it a day while putting our PCs and Laptops on either ‘Sleep‘ or ‘Hibernate‘ mode overnight. Or, we leave it turned on throughout the day.
This only exuberates the issue of the slowdown of your computer, and makes it hard to recalibrate itself after long days of constant usage. The system has to reprocess the information from before it was put into hibernation, which causes it to slow down, especially, when you have a smaller RAM.
15. Update with the Latest Drivers
To keep up with the ever-changing technology, improvements in both hardware and software are needed to make sure there are no compatibility issues, and the system can run what it’s supposed to without a glitch having occurred.
Windows come up with the latest device drivers to improve your PC experience, and you should update them regularly. Go to Start > Settings > Check for updates to look for the new updates to automatically install them.
16. Use Readyboost
If you have insufficient disk drive space, you can use the Readyboost feature to improve your computer’s performance, if you don’t want to add more RAM or, deal with the hassle of opening up and reassembling the computer parts.
It treats a USB flash drive as extra memory, provided the flash drive should have at least 500 GB of free storage space, and a high data transmission rate.
You need to insert the flash drive into the USB port of your computer system. Then, head over to the File Explorer, and right-click on the drive, then select Properties. Choose the Readyboost option, and your device is ready to use.
17. Use System Restore
Sometimes you face unforeseen system glitches suddenly, and you are left wondering what caused the problem in the first place. It’s likely happening due to certain system changes caused due to an unintended system modification, file deletion, or registry changes that occurred without our knowledge.
This should be fixed by a System Restore. You can restore your computer to an earlier point in time. Note that system restore will only work for the changes occurred in the last 7 to 14 days. It will also remove your recently installed apps and drivers but won’t affect your files.
Go to Search> Advanced System> View Advanced System Settings. Then, on the System Protection tab, select System Restore.
Now, you can either go for the Recommended Restore as suggested by Windows, or you can choose to restore to a different restore point on your own. Click Next, and then Finish to start the restore process.
Once complete, you can restart the computer, and see if the system performance issues have been resolved.
And, that’s how your computer can get its speed back up! Do try these tricks to enhance your computer’s performance.
Before you go:
Suggested reads: The Top 3 Tech Tips to Help You do Better