There’s nothing quite as annoying as a slow computer when you’re trying to get work done.
No, it’s not a normal thing that happens as computers get older. In fact, if your computer is getting slower and slower (and even slower), it’s a sign that something is wrong. But not all is lost!
The following eight tips can be your saving grace when it comes to picking up computer speed:
- Uninstall unnecessary software and other “bloatware”
- Limit the programs running in the background
- Add additional RAM to your machine
- Regularly scan for viruses, malware, and spyware
- Delete cookies and internet search history
- Maintain your drive
- Update drivers
- Turn off search indexing
8 Ways To Speed Up A Slow Computer
Don’t suffer through the annoyances of a slow computer. Instead, try these tips to optimize your system.
1. Uninstall Unnecessary Software & Other “Bloatware”
Remember when you first brought your computer home from the store? It was new, shiny, shrinkwrapped, and had a whole setup process.
What you may not realize is that your computer came preloaded with several applications. While some of them may come in handy, there’s a good chance most of that software is just taking up precious space on your machine.
Your best bet is to remove the programs you never use and free up disk space. To do this, you’ll click start and navigate to the “All Apps” menu. From there, you can view a list of every application installed on your computer. Once you identify the unnecessary programs, simply right click and select the “Options” menu.
However, there are also programs you’re not familiar with that your computer requires to run properly. If you’re not tech-savvy enough to determine which is required software and bloatware, this step is best left to the professionals.
2. Limit The Programs Running In The Background
You likely have several programs that are always running in the background of your computer. Moreover, your computer settings may have these programs set to turn on with your computer.
This means every time you restart your computer, several programs are automatically running in the background. Considering the fact that you’re not using all of those programs, it’s pretty annoying if it’s causing your whole system to slow down.
Similar to the instructions above, you’ll want to identify these programs and their settings. To do this, you’ll need to access the always popular Task Manager. Start by pressing Control + Alt + Delete. When the Task Manager box appears, your applications will be listed with details on the amount of RAM each is using. After identifying which programs do not need to be constantly running, right-click the application and adjust the settings for it to only run when manually opened by you.
3. Add Additional RAM To Your Machine
Increasing RAM is the tried-and-true secret to speeding up slow computers. However, adding additional RAM to a laptop isn’t always possible.
There are certain types of laptops, usually made for business or gaming, that have left access to add RAM. But for the most part, you’ll likely only be able to add RAM to a desktop computer.
If you are not comfortable adding the RAM yourself, you should contact an IT professional.
Brooks IT Services is here to get your computer in tip-top shape, so you can focus your time where it matters most – running your business. Contact us today to get started.
4. Regularly Scan For Viruses, Malware & Spyware
You know those notifications to update your antivirus software?
Think about the last time you saw a pop-up asking if now, tonight, or tomorrow would be a good time to install the updates. Did you click later and then just forget about it?
If so, you’re not alone. A lot of people do this because they simply don’t want to wait on their machine to go through update mode. The problem with this habit of delaying updates is that your defensive software won’t be up to the challenge of fighting off the latest viruses.
Schedule regular updates to all your defensive software to make sure viruses, spyware, or malware aren’t slowing down your computer – or worse.
5. Delete Cookies & Internet Search History
Your computer saves a ton of information. But those “cookies” you’re always allowing aren’t treats.
In fact, cookies are crumbs of information that websites use to track your internet usage. Free up your storage and speed up your system by regularly searching for and deleting cookies.
Furthermore, your internet search history isn’t doing much in terms of helping your computer speed, either. If you regularly access your search history to find websites you’ve visited, consider adding that website to your favorites bar instead.
6. Maintain Your Drive
If you’re not confident in your technical abilities, this task is better left to the professionals. First of all, you need to determine whether your computer has a hard-disk drive (HDD) or a solid state drive (SSD).
Depending on whether you are working with an HDD or SSD will determine the type of maintenance. This is so important because performing HDD maintenance on an SSD will damage the device – which can result in a loss of data.
No matter which type of drive you have, maintenance is important – especially if you’re looking to speed up your computer. But you just need to be sure which type of drive you have. Otherwise, leave it to the experts.
If you are comfortable doing so, follow these 4 steps to maintain your SSD.
1. Update Firmware
Start by regularly updating the firmware (the code that controls how your hardware operates) within your SSD to ensure the best performance. This will also fix bugs and add functionality as it becomes available.
2. Enable TRIM
Next, ensure the TRIM command is enabled on your operating system. This will speed up your SSD’s performance by adjusting garbage collection and wear-leveling algorithms according to which blocks of data are no longer in use.
3. Enable AHCI
If you are comfortable changing settings in your BIOS, check to see if your motherboard is in IDE mode or AHCI mode. In IDE mode, SSDs transfer data at around 70-80 mbps. In AHCI mode, this bumps the speed up by around 10x to 600-800+ mbps.
4. Disable Hibernation
Did you know Hibernation on Windows can shorten the lifespan of your SSD? While this tip won’t speed up your performance – it will extend the longevity of your drive.
Defrag HDD On Older Machines
If you are using an older machine, then you may be working with a hard-disk drive (HDD). However, it is incredibly important to know which drive you have before attempting this maintenance task.
While defragging is good for a mechanical disk drive, the defragmentation process will just cause unnecessary work for your SSD without any added speed benefits. The process of defragging will actually decrease the longevity of your SSD drive.
Once you have confirmed you have an HDD, you can defrag the hard drive. To do this, you’ll start by searching for “defragment” in the start menu. Then, the “Optimize Drives” window will open. From here, you can review and adjust the settings to have it defragment more or less often.
However, if you see that your hard drive is not automatically defragging, then you can choose to manually kickstart the process. Be aware that this will take a while. You may want to have it run overnight or on the weekend to not interfere with your workflow.
If you’re not comfortable deciphering what type of drive your computer has, don’t risk damaging your machine. Instead, reach out to your BITS IT expert and watch us work our magic.
7. Update Drivers
Do you ever wonder how your keyboard, mouse, and printer communicate with your computer?
It’s not magic. In fact, each of these devices requires a driver to function. The drivers are programs that provide your computer with the data to know how to use each device.
If you’re struggling with a slow computer, it may be due to outdated drivers. However, if locating, downloading, and extracting the latest drivers for each piece of hardware seems out of your wheelhouse – call in your IT expert to get your computer functioning at optimal speed.
8. Turn Off Search Indexing
Here’s something you may not already know: your computer indexes all of your documents so you can find what you need in an instant.
While it’s a useful tool, there are a lot of background processes that go on to keep your search index updated. If you are counting on high-performance speeds from your computer, turning off search indexing will free up processing power.
Consider temporarily pausing search indexing for extra speed when you need it most.
Brooks IT Services Can Give Your Computer The Speed Boost You Need
We get that you’re a busy business owner, and the nuances of keeping your computer functioning optimally just don’t fit in your schedule.
That’s why we work with small business owners just like you to take the IT tasks off your plate. Whether you’re trying to troubleshoot what’s slowing things down, migrate data to the cloud, fight off viruses, create an IT recovery plan, or more – BITS is here to help. Contact us today and get back to focusing your time on running your business.