One of the most galling things is seeing your relatively new PC or laptop start running more and more slowly.
While it’s cheap enough to buy a replacement these days, that’s hardly the point. Nobody wants the unnecessary expense and it’s not hard to perform a few simple steps that can dramatically improve performance.
For the purposes of today’s article, we’ll be focusing on Windows. While this article is being written on a Mac, we’re interested in helping as many people as possible hence the Windows bias.
OK, straight down to business with 7 simple but effective ways to make your PC run quicker without spending any money…
1) Defragment The Hard Drive
With more recent versions of Windows, defragmentation is automatically scheduled so it’s not as important as it once was to take care of this manually.
Defragmenting will compact all the rogue data so that the operating system will strip down any gaps between the packets of information. Shunting everything closer to the center of the disk, although the increase in speed accessing the hard drive is fractional
Solid-state drives don’t need defragmenting at all but what if you’re running an older version of Windows?
Defraggler is a superb free tool that outperforms the integrated tool.
If you want to stick with what’s onboard, defragmenting is straightforward.
For Windows 7:
- Click Start then select All Programs and Accessories
- System Tools throws up an option for Disc Defragmenter so click this then Defragment Now
2) Delete Temporary Files
As you beaver away at your laptop or desktop, temporary files slowly accumulate on the system. Included here is your Internet history along with cookies that can help sites to load more rapidly.
The more of these temporary files clog up the system, the more it will start to slow down.
We’ll focus on Windows 10 here for a quick and easy disc clean-up:
- Locate Disc Cleanup on the taskbar
- Select what you’d like to clean up under Files To Delete
- Click OK
For a further boost within Disc Cleanup…
- Click Clean Up System Files
- Choose the files you’d like to blitz and hit OK
This basic clean-up should result a bit of extra pace and every little helps when you’re looking to speed up your PC.
3) Get Rid of Unused Programs
Perhaps the most basic general advice is to get rid of all programs you don’t regularly use.
The vast bulk of new computers come loaded with so many applications you’ll never use at all, this alone can cause your PC to drag its heels.
To salt the wound, many of these programs end up running background processes you’re unaware of.
Be ruthless here. Let’s face it, if you delete something and fancy using it later down the track, you can download it again with ease.
- Go to the Control Panel
- Uninstall all unwanted programs
If you’re not too sure what you’re doing, this nifty program will walk you through the procedure. You’ll get plenty of recommendations about what to remove and what not to remove and a warning before anything is uninstalled to safeguard against any accidents.
4) Consider Using an External Drive
If you keep a wealth of large files like movies and videos on your PC, you might want to think about using an external drive instead.
Whether you want a dedicated drive or a series of USBs, storing your data off the main PC will give you a leg-up in the fight to speed up operation.
An alternative is to use cloud storage if you feel happy virtually storing your data.
Don’t forget, as soon as your hard drive fills up to 75% or more, you’ll start experiencing more problems and general instability as well as a decrease in speed so think seriously about what you keep on board.
5) Limit What Runs on Startup
Does it seem to take an eternity for your computer to power up?
If it seems like it’s being manually cranked into action, it’s time for you to get rid of some unnecessary stuff clogging up the works.
First, check what kicks in on startup…
- Click Start then Run
- Type msconfig and hit Enter
The startup tab will open. You’ll be able to see at a glance what fires up when you open your PC.
If you don’t fancy wading through the whole list clicking, there’s a quick and easy shortcut…
Deselect All then you can check the programs you’d like to remain. This method is generally much quicker and less fiddly.
Don’t forget to leave your antivirus software in place along with anything else you find essential.
And don’t worry…
You can always repeat the process and add back anything that you want to at a later date.
6) Restore This PC Shortcut
This tip is more for general speed of use than anything linked to raw performance but it’s worth dropping in…
My Computer, now called This PC, is crucial for accessing everything you need so the last thing you want is to be fumbling to find something some pivotal to usage.
Before Windows 10, all you needed to do was hit Windows + E to open a direct File Explorer window. This trick now opens to Quick Access instead.
Want it back?
- Open File Explorer then click View
- Click Options then alter Open File Explorer To so it reads to This PC instead
7) Get The Vacuum Out
Last but not least, don’t forget the role that dust can play in slowing down your computer.
Whip out your vacuum after making sure your computer has been off for a half-hour or so. With all cables disconnected, try sucking out any rogue dust and see if it brings the running temperature of your computer down.
A Final Word
This list is by no means complete as it would need a whole book to exhaustively list the ways in which you can make your PC run more swiftly.
We hope, though, you’ve found something useful here today and come back soon for more handy hints related to your home and garden!