When your computer is running much slower than it used to, you have every right to be frustrated. It can prevent you from using certain programmes, make small tasks take much longer than they should, and completely ruin your productivity.
While some people resign themselves to the idea of dealing with this inconvenience forever, others spend thousands trying to improve their computer’s performance. However, we’re here to tell you that neither of these approaches is necessary. By taking a few small steps, you can speed up your computer easily without breaking the bank. Here are our top tips for doing so.
Update your software
We’re all guilty of hitting “remind me later” on software update pop-ups, but if this goes on for too long it can significantly reduce your computer’s speed. If your computer isn’t performing at its best and you’ve been putting your software updates off, sorting this out is a great place to start.
Uninstall unused programmes
When you use the same computer for a number of years, it’s easy to accumulate a collection of programmes you’re unlikely to ever use again. So, if you’ve been downloading and hoarding them for longer than you would like to admit, it’s time to have a clear out.
On a Windows computer, navigate to your Control Panel and choose ‘Uninstall a programme’, which you’ll find under the ‘Programs’ heading. You should then be able to pick all the software you would like to delete, then click the ‘Uninstall’ button. It’s quite likely that some will launch their own uninstall windows, and you’ll need to follow all of the instructions they give you.
If you have an Apple computer, you should open your Applications folder. Click and drag any of the unused programmes you see here to the Trash, which you’ll find in your computer’s main menu at the bottom of your screen. Once you’ve moved everything over and are sure you’ll never need these programmes again, right click on the Trash icon and choose the option ‘Empty Trash’.
Once you’ve followed all of these steps, you’ll have more free space on your computer and it should run much faster.
Delete temporary files
Another easy way to speed up your computer is by deleting temporary files. These are exactly what they sound like: files that your computer only needs temporarily and are now just wasting space.
The method of deleting temporary files can differ from computer to computer, and even user to user. So, for more information about this process, take a look at Lifewire’s guide to deleting temporary files in Windows, which will take you through it step by step.
Defragment your hard drive
David Brock, Managing Director of LetUsFixIT, tells us: “If your computer is running particularly slowly, you could benefit from defragmenting your hard drive. This isn’t as complicated as it sounds — it simply involves leaving a specialised programme running in the background. This will reorganise the files, folders and programmes on your hard drive, so all of your information is stored in the most efficient way possible.”
Check out Top Ten Reviews’ list of the best defragmenter software of 2017, which will help you to choose which programme to use for this.
Turn it off and on again
It might seem cliché, but you might be able to speed up your computer by hitting restart — especially if you often leave it running when it’s not in use. The processing power of your PC can be depleted by files and programmes even long after you’ve closed them. So, if your computer has slowed a lot since you last turned it on, a simple reboot could make all the difference.
Follow these tips and you should see improvements straight away. If you try everything and your computer is still struggling, take it to a professional, who will know if it requires any repairs.