Once upon a time when your computer was new, it ran at lightning speeds. However over time, things will have gradually slowed down to a crawling speed. Iâve seen examples where you would turn a computer on, and about 30 minutes later it was stable enough to (slowly) run applications like web browsers and word processing software!
So is it time to bin your computer and spend some cash on a brand new system? Well before you spend any money, the first thing you could do is to attempt to optimise the performance on your existing system, as this will help it to run quicker, and obviously save your cash to spend on something else instead!
Here are 5 things you need to do right now to speed up your computer if your system is running at a snailâs pace.
1. Do a spot of housekeeping
I would say that the majority of the time, slow running computer systems are down to software issues rather than hardware limitations. Before you consider spending money on upgrades or new computers, you should do a spot of housekeeping on your current system. Hereâs how, with the following software products:
- CCleaner (free) - any person that uses a computer on a regular basis should consider downloading and running this free software. It optimises your system by deleting any leftover data from old software, it can clear your web browser cache (on average, a computer could store between 500MB and 1GB of data just from your browser), and you can even use the software to disable any unneeded startup programs, which can also causes systems to boot up and run slowly;
- Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware (free) - these two free pieces of software can be run in Safe Mode to check for any malware or viruses, and in most cases they can clean your system of such infections;
- Norton Internet Security Suite (-£30 for a 12 month subscription) - any Windows PC connected to the Internet absolutely needs to have a decent antivirus security suite to prevent any malware or virus infections, and I recommend Norton as it is quick to install, doesnât hog your system up, and it does a fantastic job at securing your PC from any Internet nasties.
2. Defragment your hard drive
Operating systems store chunks of files in places called blocks on your hard drive.
Unfortunately, blocks of related data are not usually stored together, which means that your hard drive has to work more to retrieve that data when it is required, the result of which is that you have to wait longer for stuff to happen.
Defragmenting your hard drive basically reorganises the data on your hard drive so that they are together, resulting in a more efficient computer. Windows comes with a free tool called Disk Defragmenter.
3. Use a faster web browser
The default web browser on a Windows PC is Microsoftâs Internet Explorer. Although the software giant has made the latest releases of the browser quicker, it is still by no means the quickest browser you can use (that crown goes to Google Chrome).
4. Make sure you only use one antivirus software on your PC
A lot of people inadvertently install multiple antivirus software on their computers. Although, in most cases, this is not deliberate, a lot of software that can be freely downloaded off the Internet often comes bundled with free antivirus software which installs itself on your system unless the eagle-eyed user spots this during the original softwareâs installation program and unticks the option to install this unneeded antivirus software.
Go through to Control Panel and check what antivirus software is installed on your system, and uninstall anything that is surplus to requirements.
5. Check that your Internet connection is fast
If you have a slow Internet connection, this will make automatic software updates that work in the background slow to run, and will obviously slow down your browsing experience.
The most reliable and premier choice Internet connection is via an Ethernet cable, as this does not suffer transmission losses and interference in the same way that Wi-Fi does. If you would rather not use a cable to connect to the web, consider upgrading your router to a faster Wi-Fi model (such as 802.11n or 802.11ac).