A computer that runs like a snail, can be a very annoying and frustrating experience to use. In a world where technology is forever changing, forever evolving, we as the consumer have grown accustomed to things being delivered here and right now. Which is why we feel our time is being wasted when we have to wait longer than usual. From recent polls carried out, close to 70% of all PC users say their number one frustration is having to wait on a system that is running slower than it should. Another study also showed that slower systems actually costs businesses, anywhere from 4 to 6 days loss in productivity, per person, every year.
The good news is that there are many things that you can do to make your system run faster. This should be especially important for computers that have started running slower over time. Whether you have a PC or laptop, the tips below should help you squeeze out more performance.
1. Remove Bloatware
It’s not just the system you bought 5 years ago, that can suffer from sluggish performance. New systems also fall into the same trap as many of them come with tons of preinstalled applications known as bloatware. These programs can be anything, from manufacturer services and tools, to third-party applications, which come preinstalled with the system as part of a deal between the software vendor and the computer manufacturer. There are many names this kind of software is known by, such as PUP or potentially unwanted programs, crapware and, of course, bloatware. All of which refer to the same thing, and are capable of slowing down your system.
In addition to your system having all these utility programs installed and running on your computer, they are also capable of consuming considerable amount of system resources. This is both memory and CPU power, and of course, storage space. There are some preinstalled programs that you may find use for, such as Microsoft Office or Dropbox, but it’s more than likely at least a third or more of them will be of no use to you. So it’s likely in your best interest to go through all the preinstalled applications and pick and choose what you want.
2. Run Disk Cleanup
Every time you start your computer and run a program, install an application or access the internet, a considerable amount of temporary files are generated. These temporary files, which may come from program temp files, internet history, caches and cookies, are capable of taking up a sizeable amount of your hard drive space. This in turn will slow your system down. This is where disk clean-up comes into the equation, as a tool, capable of deleting these unnecessary program files and thus, speeding your system up in the process.
3. Disable Unnecessary Startup Processes
As previously mentioned, many of these programs have processes that run in the background of your system. Many of these programs may not need to be running, at all times. Unlike with the older versions of Windows, where you had to run MSCONFIG, with Windows 10, it’s possible for you to limit the number of Startup and background programs through Windows Task Manager.
There are many ways to load up Task Manager, you can simply right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager, or you can press Ctrl + Shift + Del and select Windows Task Manager. You choose which method is most convenient for you. However, once the program is up and running, you should see columns, indicating different programs and services. There, it should tell you whether a program is enabled to run during start-up. It’s possible for you to change the status of any program you can see.
If shouldn’t be difficult for you to determine which programs should and which programs shouldn’t be running at start-up. For example, if you see iTunes running in the background, and you never use it, then its best you disable it.
4. Add More RAM
RAM is essentially temporary storage memory, which is used by the system to run everything on it. The more programs you have running on your system, the more RAM is required to keep them running. And if your system lacks the appropriate amount of RAM, it will have to compromise, by taking space from your hard disk drive, this in turn slows down your system. The good news is that it’s very easy to add additional RAM to your system. The first thing you will need to establish is the type of memory in your system, from there, it’s a simple trip to your local computer store.
You should be able to find out which memory your motherboard supports from the manual it came with.
5. Defrag Your Hard Disk
The older mechanical hard disk drive, commonly suffers from fragmentation. This is basically, when the data contained on the drive is scattered across all the different sectors on the drives platter. This leads to the hard drive having to travel all across the disk platter to find the appropriate data to run a program, which in turn, slows it down. Defragmentation is a process of putting all the corresponding data together. Essentially arranging it for quick and easy access. This in turn should speed up the access rate of your hard drive.
One thing to keep in mind is that the newest solid state drives or SSDs do not use spinning platters, which means they are not capable of becoming fragmented.
If you want to know whether or not your hard drive needs defragging, then you will need to run the appropriate defragger tool. You can access this tool, simply by typing its name into the search bar, at the bottom left hand corner of Windows. Then simply click on Disk defragmenter and it should automatically run a check on all your drives. The check will show how fragmented your drive is, then give you a recommendation. Which should state whether or not your drive requires defragmenting.
For best performance, you want to defrag your hard drive at least once per month.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website www.compuchenna.co.uk