by Vanessa Venugopal
There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for your computer to load faster or open a program in a single click. No matter if you have an updated operating system or better processor, sometimes it slows down.
A slow computer can not only cause frustration but delay work. It can affect productivity and cause problems in meeting a deadline.
With our high-tech and fast-paced society, a slight delay in things can be annoying and can cause a consequence on the work process. Since everything moves fast, we are expected to do so. But when coupled with a slow computer, it’s only going to be a waste of time.
So how can you improve your computer to make it work faster?
Take note that you have to consider your computer’s age. If you have an old PC, more than five years old, maybe it’s time to buy a new one. However, if yours is just about one or two years, these tips will work.
But first, what makes a computer slow?
Reasons your computer is slow
Too many active programs, open tabs
Although computers can support simultaneous programs running, there still is a limit. When numerous programs and browser tabs are working, they take up space on the computer’s Random Access Memory (RAM).
When this happens, it reduces the memory and processing power of the computer. That’s why it slows down because there is no more space available to keep programs from running.
A full hard drive, running out of memory
When your hard drive is 85% full, it can start to reduce the performance of your computer. Why?
When you open a program or update software, it takes space by occupying your computer’s memory. If you have an almost full hard drive, these programs cannot function at their best. Hence, it slows down your computer.
What often takes up a computer’s memory are updates, downloads, temporary files, and fragments.
There are even programs that can consume a lot of space when it runs in the background.
Updates are necessary to patch vulnerabilities and get the latest feature. However, some software programs come with pre-installed auto-updates. That’s why it keeps running in the background, taking up space as it constantly updates.
Too many startup programs
Some programs and apps request permission to run when you start your computer. That’s why every time you turn on your PC, all these startup programs begin to run in the background even when you don’t use them. Therefore, taking up space.
Presence of virus
There are various types of computer viruses. They have different actions on a device. Some can show random pop-ups, encrypt your file, or even spy on the background. Whatever malware has infected your device, it can take up plenty of your computer’s resources.
Since computers communicate to the hardware devices using drivers, they must stay updated. Any outdated drivers can lead to faulty and slower computer processes.
Working for too long
If your computer has been running for too long, it can take up plenty of space or memory. Programs may be running in the background that can slow down the computer. When the programs are not ended, they keep on using memory for temporary files.
Programs taking up memory, power
Programs that didn’t shut down well and have errors can continue their process. Therefore, the temporary files it has created still exist. Then, it continues to take up more space and power for it to run in the background.
Low Power Mode
For you to save power, using Power Saver Mode is your option. However, since your device is trying to lessen the use of your computer’s resources, it limits the programs and function.
Visuals are too high
If your RAM is running out, having visuals with higher effects can take up memory.
Sometimes computers do get damaged, and it slows down. RAM, hard drive, CPU, and the processor may not be functioning well at all. Or, your computer might be too old.
Whatever reason your computer is running low, there will always be a solution to fix them. But if none works, then it’s time to invest in a new or latest laptop or computer.
How to Fix Slow Computer
The first thing to try when your computer is slowing down is to restart it.
If your computer is running for quite a long time, programs that use RAM can run out. Hence, your computer slows down in the process. For it to cope with the running programs, it uses the swap files.
Swap files is a file containing data from RAM. It serves as second storage whenever the computer’s memory is full. In fact, swap files are virtual as they aren’t located on the physical RAM. When this happens, the computer runs slower as swap files aren’t as capable as the RAM to allow programs to run better.
So, you could either close programs to free space or restart your computer to refresh the RAM. Furthermore, restarting your device will allow necessary updates and fix bugs that cause memory leaks.
Uninstall unnecessary programs, software
Computers are often preloaded with software that most people don’t use. They come with multiple browsers and antivirus software. So, to free up disk space, take a look at the programs you use and don’t.
Go to the programs listed and check out the ones you use. Furthermore, you can see how each program takes up space on your computer. But before you uninstall programs you don’t use, check on them, as some are necessary for your device to work.
Remove running programs in the background
Unnecessary programs running in the background can take up memory and slow down your computer. These programs run even when you close them or start your device.
Check what programs are running on your device and how much memory they take up. You can do this by going to the Task Manager (CTRL + ALT + DELETE). Meanwhile, for Mac users, go to the Activity Monitor (COMMAND + SHIFT + U). Then you can end each program that you are not using. You also need to do some research as to what programs to end. Some programs run in the background for the operating system to function.
Install an excellent antivirus, anti-malware software
Malware can be anywhere online. You can get it by visiting a website, opening an email, or downloading a file. Although the latest computers are built-in with security software to prevent malicious software, using another effective antivirus software can help.
Another security software can help detect the presence of a virus and stop it from infecting your computer further. However, keep in mind that not every antivirus software program is the same. Some can take up space when running, while others are lightweight, and so on.
Research what software is compatible with your operating system. Make sure that it doesn’t also slow down your device when running in the background.
Clean your hard drive, defragmentation
Having enough space on your RAM allows your computer to run at its best. However, if you start to run out of memory, it causes your device to slow down.
There are ways to free up space on your drive. You can use your computer’s built-in programs for cleaning up files and unwanted programs. Furthermore, you can use a PC cleaner to scan for unnecessary files, cache, corrupted files, and so on.
PC cleaners can also defragment your computer for better performance. Defragmentation is when your computer organizes scattered data on its system. When freeing up space on your hard drive, you don’t get free space at once. Often, the deleted programs left fragments on the system. If not removed, the device will use these fragments located in various parts of the hard drive. If this happens, it will slow down the computer soon.
Disable startup programs
When your computer’s boot time takes longer, there could be plenty of programs running automatically. Some of these programs aren’t even required and can contribute to the slowing down of the computer.
You can get rid of startup programs by going to the task manager and selecting programs you don’t need. Just make sure that you keep programs necessary for your operating system and your needs.
If you run out of space and have tried all the practices mentioned, you can upgrade your memory and hard drive. It’s one of the best ways to increase your computer’s speed instantly.
If you use programs that take up a large amount of space and store plenty of information, you need a minimum of 6GB RAM.
Changing your RAM is easier on computer desktops than on laptops.
Use a startup SSD
To improve your computer’s performance during boot up, use a startup SSD. It can keep programs running smoothly in the background as they work faster and speed up the computer.
Like your RAM, it’s easier to upgrade your SSD on desktops than on laptops. However, there are external SSDs available to help your computer during startup.
Check your browser
Some browsers can slow down your computer and even the rate of loading pages and media. Find a browser that’s compatible with your device. Furthermore, caches and downloads can also affect the performance of your device.
Clear your cache, cookies, and history to add up some space for you to browse freely with no lagging.
Move other files to the cloud
If you can’t delete some files, videos, and images, you can create a copy or move it to the cloud for backup. You can also use an external drive if you want to. Moving your files to other storage facilities can free up space on your computer and keep you safe from ransomware attacks.
Update your computer’s system
Getting the latest update for your Windows and Mac means updating even the drivers to improve the performance of your computer. Updates patch vulnerabilities, provide better features, and get rid of bugs that affect the performance.
Before you buy a new computer, check out why it is slowing down. Most of the time, it can be a minor issue that can be fixed with the tips given in this article.
Also, keeping your computer safe from viruses, checking its performance, and doing clean-up can help your computer run smoothly.
Vanessa Venugopal is a passionate content writer. With four years of experience,
she mastered the art of writing in various styles and topics. She is currently
writing for Softvire Australia – the leading software eCommerce company in
Australia and Softvire New Zealand.