If youâve noticed your computer is a little less lively and not as nimble as it once was, donât rush out to buy a new one just yet. There are a number of things you can try to speed up your desktop and inject new life into your trusty old friend.
You donât have to be an expert in computer maintenance to achieve a noticeable improvement in the performance of your PC - try some of these easy to follow steps that might just get things moving a little quicker.
Check your hard disk space
Itâs advised that you keep at least 15% of your hard disk space free in order for your computer to run at its best. So itâs time to start deleting all those random holiday snaps and video clips that you never wanted anyone to see in the first place.
Run a disk clean-up
Clear out all the rubbish that litters your hard-drive by performing a simple clean-up, making sure you donât delete any files or folders that you want to keep or could be important.
Restart your computer
It may sound obvious, but sometimes turning your PC on and off is the only cure needed - particularly if you tend to leave your computer on standby when youâre not using it. If your machine is running slowly it may be trying to install updates. Perform a complete shut down before starting the computer up again a few minutes later.
Un-install any old programs
Over the years you may have downloaded games or software packages that you no longer need and some may run processes in the background that youâre not aware of, taking up valuable processor power. Using the Add or Remove Programs option that is usually found in the Control Panel, select the programs from the list that you want to uninstall. Remember, if in doubt, donât clear it out - it could be something important.
Install virus protection software
Viruses will, at the very least, slow down your PC and could cause serious and lasting damage. Installing reputable anti-virus software will ensure your machine is protected at all times, meaning you can browse with confidence. But beware, choose your anti-virus software carefully and set it up correctly as some of these programs can also slow your computer down significantly.
Make sure you are the only one logged in
If you share your computer you may have several people logged into the machine at once. Running all the preferences for different users will significantly slow down the PC. Without annoying your nearest and dearest, find out whoâs actually using the computer and cancel the account of anyone who is taking up valuable space.
Clear your web browser cache
In order to speed up browsing, web browsers are designed to download web pages and store them locally on your computer's hard drive, in an area called âcacheâ. Over time this information builds up and can reduce the speed of your PC. Itâs advised that you clear out this information from your Temporary Files folder on a regular basis.
Defragment your hard drive
When programs are installed in Windows, the required files are placed on your hard disk drive where there is free space. This data is not necessarily in one place and not always after the last program installed - sometimes leaving empty spaces that are not big enough to fit a full program. Scandisk your drive to check for lost file fragments and to fix any errors it finds before defragmenting, which will pack all of the program files together at the beginning of your drive.
Empty the recycle bin regularly
The thing with bins is, if you donât empty them regularly theyâll start to cause problems. Though not guaranteed to speed up your PC, itâs always good practice to empty your recycle bin, especially if youâve recently deleted some whopping great files.
This article has been contributed by experienced writer, blogger and sometimes frustrated PC user Matthew Crist.