Is your computer running slow? Below are some practices that can boost your machine speed…
Unfortunately, as computers get older they consistently get slower. If your laptop or PC feels like it’s crawling along, we have series of hints and tips on how to speed it back up.
1. Speed Up Your Windows Computer With Windows ReadyBoost.
If you’re using Windows Vista or later, you can speed up your computer with an inbuilt function called ReadyBoost, which allows you to use an external flash drive to give your computer a little extra memory.
Essentially, it acts as a turbocharger for your system’s RAM. It will use a section of the flash drive’s memory for caching, increasing the random read access speed of the hard drive.
However, there’s still debate as to the effectiveness of this method, and it’s generally only considered useful if your RAM is severely limited.
Step 1: Plug in a flash memory device – we’d recommend a medium-sized USB (at least 2GB).
Step 2: The Autoplay dialogue box will pop up asking what you want to do with the drive, and one of the options will be ‘Speed up my system using Windows ReadyBoost’.
Step 3: Clicking on this will open another window where you can select the amount of space on the device to allocate for boosting.
Step 4: Microsoft recommends using at least as much USB space as you have RAM, but we’d suggest using the whole thing and reserving the drive exclusively for speeding up your computer.
Step 5: Once you’ve selected your desired amount and confirmed the settings, the box will close and your computer will automatically detect and use the drive whenever it’s plugged in.
2. Speed up your laptop/PC with Disk Defragmentation.
One of the most common problems of older computers is disk fragmentation. With repeated use, the information on your hard drive can become scattered, meaning it has to work harder to find it.
By performing a disk defrag, you can sort all your information into a more neatly organised fashion. This can significantly improve your computer’s overall speed.
Step 1: You can find the Disk Defragmenter by going into the Control Panel, navigating to ‘System and Security’ and looking under administrative tools.
Step 2: You can analyse your disk to see how fragmented it is currently, or just run the process straight away.
NB: Since SSDs work in a different way to optical drives, this method won’t do them any good. If you’ve got a solid state drive, you’re better off skipping this one.
3. Speed up Your laptop/PC by Disabling Start-up Programs.
Another good tip is to disable start-up programs. These are programs that boot every time you turn on your computer, and run in the background until you need them.
Often, these can be disabled and simply opened when you want to use them, meaning they won’t slow down your PC with constant operation.
Step 1: To stop these programs from starting automatically, open the start menu and type ‘msconfig’. This will open the system configuration menu.
Step 2: Switch to the ‘startup’ tab and scroll down the list; you’re looking for anything that you don’t immediately need. Any antivirus services, programs from Microsoft or your PC manufacturer or background programs you regularly use should be left on. Things like Adobe Reader or any automatic update checkers can safely be unchecked, however.
Step 3: Once you’re happy that you’ve unchecked everything you don’t want, simply click Apply and OK, then reboot your computer to finalise the changes.
4. Boost Laptop/PC Speed Using Alternative Programs.
Older PCs can often have a problem with modern resource and graphics-intensive software.
Photoshop, for example, can slow lesser computers to a crawl. For this specific example, a less intensive program such as GIMP – an open-source alternative to Photoshop – requires a fraction of the disk space and power, while maintaining a good level of sophistication.
Make a list of all the programs you use most, and then do a bit of research. You might find that there’s a much faster alternative.
See also: Things to Consider When Buying a Laptop.
5. Boost Laptop/PC Speed by Turning off Animations.
While all the animations and fancy visual effects certainly make Windows look pretty, they eat up a whole lot of your processing power to do so. Turning these off will make your PC look like it’s from 1994, but it’s the same principal as drag racing; strip out everything but the bare essentials – every little helps.
Step 1: The quickest way to do this is opening the Start menu and typing ‘Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows’.
Step 2: Click the result under control panel, and it’ll open a dialogue menu.
Step 3: You can disable specific visual effects and flourishes from the scroll menu, or you can simply select ‘adjust for best performance’ to turn them all off.
Step 4: Click OK, and after a brief visual recalibration, you should be good to go.