Note that in the screenshot above, all drives are SSDs. You don’t need to defragment them. As in the image, the Analysis will be grayed out for SSDs, but it will be available for HDDs.
- How to Make Your Computer Faster
- Signs Your Computer May Have a Virus
- Uninstall unnecessary software
- Limit the programs at startup
- Disable programs that run on startup
- 3. Use ReadyBoost to speed up disk caching
- Update Windows, drivers, and apps
- Delete unnecessary files
- Download a Device Optimization Program
- Remove Unused Apps, Software & Bloatware
- First, Try Restarting Your Computer
- Check Your Hard Drive
- Clean your internal drive
- Check for malware
How to Make Your Computer Faster
When your computer is running slow nothing is more frustrating but buying a new laptop can be out of the question. Before you give up, there are various things you can check to make sure your PC is running as efficiently as possible. Here are some ways to speed up your computer. Read the detailed list or check out our infographic for a summary of your ideas.
1. Check your hard disk space
A good rule of thumb is to keep 15% of the free space on your hard drive. If you notice that your hard drive is almost full, you can remove some programs and files to increase speed.
PC: There are cleaning programs that can help you free up space on your hard drive by deleting temporary files, clearing your browser history, deleting cookies, cleaning the Windows registry, and defragmenting your hard drive. Panda Cleanup lets you try it out for the first month too
2. Close unused tabs
If you’re working on a large project and have a million tabs, it may be helpful to close them and restart your browser. Most browsers have an option to restore previous tabs after restarting or condensing.
3. Delete or delete large / unnecessary files
Any temporary files used in the installation process, caches and cookies from the Internet can take up a lot of space on your hard drive.
Mac: Download CCleaner to find and remove temporary files on your hard drive.
PC: Click Start> All Programs> Accessories> System Tools> Disk Cleanup.
4. Restart the computer
When your computer is on, programs and applications running in the background can use up memory. Restarting your computer may refresh your memory and allow you to update the appropriate installments. For smooth operation, it is important to shut down or restart your computer at least once a week.
5. Back up your data
If you feel like your computer is storing a lifetime of your memories, it might be a good idea to back up your data.
Several ways to back up your computer:
- Buy an external hard drive
- Online backup via Google Photos, Amazon Drive, Dropbox etc. (more file sharing)
- Make a backup to CD or DVD and keep it in a safe place
Backing up your data allows your computer to free up space in RAM and the operating system, so it runs more smoothly.
Additional programs that are rarely used should be removed.
Mac: manually uninstall by dragging applications to the trash. You can also download programs to help you sort and remove programs.
PC: Go to Control Panel> Add or Remove Programs / Uninstall a Program. This will bring up the main list of all installed programs. For unknown programs, right-click and select Recently Used to see how often you use the program.
7. Prevent unnecessary programs from running
After starting your computer, you may find that other programs are starting to initialize. Prevent this from happening by making sure that programs don’t start when you turn on your computer.
Mac: From the Apple menu, go to System Preferences> Accounts> Login Items. Select the programs you want to prevent from opening automatically and click the minus sign (-) to remove them.
PC: Open the Start menu and search for “msconfig”. Select Startup to view a list of all programs that run when your computer starts up and uncheck all unnecessary items.
Signs Your Computer May Have a Virus
After following the above steps to speed up your computer, you should notice a positive performance difference. However, if you still have a slow computer, your device may be infected with a virus. Here are the most important signs of a more serious computer problem.
- I keep getting unexpected pop-ups
- Your hard drive is working very hard (even after cleaning up excess files)
- Your computer is still starting slowly
- It turns out that you are running out of storage space
- You are missing files
- Programs on your computer keep crashing
- Your internet browser is slow
If you suspect that your computer may be compromised or you are unable to locate the problem yourself, it is worth contacting the operating system support team. They should be able to locate a system problem or ask you to bring the device for further inspection.
Here are the support links for popular computer systems:
To see how bad the situation is, right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager. Click the Startup tab. (If you don’t see any tabs at the top of the window, click More Details in the lower left corner.)
Uninstall unnecessary software
Your PC comes preloaded with a range of apps that many people won’t use, but that can eat up system resources. They can usually be identified when you see a popup asking you to update a program that you have never used before.
- Remove them from your computer and free up disk space
- Click the “Start” button and go to the “All Applications” menu
- Here you can view a list of the apps you’ve installed – and the ones you don’t
- Once you’ve found the program you want to uninstall, right-click the icon to bring up the “Options
Or, you can right-click Start and visit Programs and Features. The Windows Cortana assistant can also help, as it can search for “Programs” in its search box. From there, you’ll find a record of the apps you’ve recently used that take up the most space. After checking what is installed, you can decide which programs can be removed to improve system performance.
You’ll also want to know what programs are required for your computer to function properly and which can be rejected. One of the reasons these applications slow down your computer is that they often start automatically when you start your computer.
If you are not sure if you want these applications to be removed permanently, you can take a closer look at the applications you want to remove in the above mentioned menus.
Limit the programs at startup
In the same way, you can also define which applications will be launched when the computer starts. Windows 10 has an updated Task Manager that makes it easy to specify what you want to run in the background and what you can start on your own.
- To access the Task Manager, press Ctrl-Shift-Esc
- A window will appear listing all the applications that you have installed on your computer
- It also gives you detailed information about the amount of RAM each program uses when starting your computer
- To make a change, simply right-click on the app you want to change to tell it not to launch until instructed to do so
You can always change your settings if you notice that the program is no longer running, which affects the way you use your computer. When in doubt, you can always restart your computer and see it work without some of the applications available at startup.
Consider moving some files to a cloud storage platform such as OneDrive or backing up your files to a separate drive to free up space on your main computer’s memory. This can greatly improve the speed of your computer.
Disable programs that run on startup
One of the reasons your Windows 10 computer may seem slow is because there are too many programs running in the background – programs that you rarely or never use. Stop them running and your computer will run smoother.
Start by launching the Task Manager: press Ctrl-Shift-Esc, right-click the lower-right corner of the screen and select Task Manager, or type task manager in the Windows 10 search box and press Enter. If Task Manager starts as a compact tabless application, click “More Details” at the bottom of the screen. The task manager will then appear in all its glory with full tabs. There is a lot to do about this, but we will only focus on killing unnecessary programs that launch on startup.
Click the Startup tab. You’ll see a list of programs and services that run when Windows starts. The list shows the name of each program, as well as its publisher, whether or not you can run it at startup, and its “startup impact” – which is how much it slows down Windows 10 when your system starts up.
To stop a program or service from starting at startup, right-click it and select “Disable”. This does not completely disable the program; this only prevents you from launching at startup – you can always launch the app after launching it. Also, if you later decide that you want to run it on startup, you can simply go back to this area of the Task Manager, right-click the application and select “Enable.”
You can use the Task Manager to get information about the programs that run at startup and disable the ones you don’t need. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
You may be familiar with many programs and services that start at startup, such as OneDrive or Evernote Clipper. But you may not recognize many of them. (Anyone who immediately knows what “bzbui.exe” is, please raise your hand. Don’t honestly googling it in the first place.)
The task manager helps you to get information about unknown programs. Right-click an item and select “Properties” for more information about it, including its location on your hard drive, whether it has a digital signature, and other information such as version number, file size, and last modified time.
You can also right-click the item and select “Open File Location”. This will open File Explorer and move it to the folder where the file is located, which might give you another hint about the purpose of the program.
Finally, and most helpfully, you can choose “Search Online” after right clicking. Bing will launch with links to sites with information about the program or service.
If you are really annoyed with one of the apps mentioned, you can go to a site run by Reason Software called Should I Block This? and search for the file name. Usually you will find very solid information about a program or service.
Now that you’ve selected all the programs you want to disable on startup, the next time you restart your computer, your system will be much less busy with unnecessary programs.
3. Use ReadyBoost to speed up disk caching
Windows 10 regularly caches data on your hard drive, and when it needs data, it gets it from there. The time it takes to retrieve the cache data depends on the speed of the hard drive. If you have a traditional hard drive instead of an SSD, there’s a trick that can make your cache faster: use Windows ReadyBoost. Instructs Windows to cache data on a USB flash drive that is faster than a hard drive. Getting data from a faster cache should make Windows run faster.
First, connect a USB flash drive to one of the computer’s USB ports. The flash drive must support at least USB 2.0 and preferably USB 3 or faster. The faster the flash drive, the greater the increase in speed you should see. Also, look for a flash drive that is at least twice the size of your computer’s RAM for maximum performance.
After connecting the drive, open File Explorer and click “This PC”. Look for a flash drive. It may have a strange name, such as UDISK 28X, or something even less obvious. Right-click it, select Properties, and click the ReadyBoost tab.
Enable ReadyBoost on this screen to speed up your computer.
A screen will appear asking if you want to use the flash drive as a cache and recommending the size of the cache. Leave the cache size as is, or change it if you want. Then select “Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost” and click Apply, then click OK.
(Note that if you see the message “This device cannot be used for ReadyBoost” after clicking on the ReadyBoost tab, your flash drive does not meet ReadyBoost’s minimum performance standards, so you will need to insert a new one.)
As you use your computer, ReadyBoost will start filling your cache with files, so you may notice an increase in disk activity. Depending on how often you use your computer, it may take several days for the cache to fill up for maximum performance. If you don’t see an increase in performance, try a flash drive with a larger capacity.
Note: If you have an SSD, you won’t get the extra speed from ReadyBoost, and it can even degrade performance. So don’t use this on a system with an SSD.
Legacy hard drives (hard drives) get a little messy and chaotic over time as they carry bits of data. Defragmentation helps you sort your data and put it where it should be, making access easier and faster.
Update Windows, drivers, and apps
You’ve probably heard that updating your software is a good security idea. This is true, and it can help with performance as well. Windows will automatically send you a notification when an update is available. You just need to make sure you don’t put it off.
If you think you may have missed an update, you can always check it out. Go to Start and click on Settings or the settings icon. Then go to Update & Security> Windows Updates.
In addition to the Windows operating system, you also need to update your drivers and applications. Again, this is good for both security and performance. If you think you may have missed an update, a quick internet search should tell you which version you should use.
Delete unnecessary files
Like our wardrobes and drawers, our computers are cluttered. While you don’t really see it, you know it’s there and can have a negative effect on your computer’s performance. This is especially true if you deal with many large files on a daily basis, such as high-definition images, audio and video files.
Free up space by building a habit of deleting files and folders every week and then emptying your Trash. Doing this regularly means you are more likely to remember exactly what is in your files and folders and not be so concerned about deleting something important by mistake.
Helpful Hint: Hard drives usually run at maximum speed until they reach about 90 percent of their capacity. So if you check how much space is taken and you have over 90 percent, that probably slows things down. SSDs slow down when they fill up, so it’s a good idea to stay informed. It is recommended not to fill an SSD to more than 75 percent of its capacity.
If you’re having trouble loading applications, or you’re just faced with sluggish PC performance, usually a few minor tweaks are enough to make it run more efficiently.
Download a Device Optimization Program
Device optimization programs – such as those included with antivirus programs such as Norton and TotalAV – make cleaning up and speeding up your computer extremely easy.
For example, TotalAV’s System Tuning feature manages your device’s memory usage by identifying applications that consume too much memory and device resources, and displaying a list of suggested applications to close.
Most of the top antivirus brands that offer optimization features are subscription-based. Fortunately, they are all quite affordable. And antivirus programs like TotalAV offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning you can optimize and clean your PC and get a full refund if you don’t want to keep the program – making this fix completely free.
Remove Unused Apps, Software & Bloatware
If you have too many programs installed and / or running, your PC won’t be as fast and optimized as it should be.
While many programs are important, you should remove anything you no longer use. You’ll also want to remove the “bloatware” that comes pre-installed on most computers these days – sponsored apps and tools that you don’t really use.
To remove unused programs and redundant programs, right-click the “Windows Start” button in the lower left corner and select “Applications and Features” to view a list of all installed programs on your computer. From there, you can easily uninstall programs and prevent them from using your computer’s resources.
Alternatively, you can use antivirus software that comes with device optimization features (# 3) to find unnecessary programs, duplicate files, caches, and cookies and speed up your computer.
Here you can select the file types you want to get rid of and click OK. Then click Clean System Files and select whatever system files you want to remove.
First, Try Restarting Your Computer
It actually works.
When a computer runs programs in its random access memory (RAM), it only takes up a fraction of the space. But over time, that RAM fills up, which will slow down your PC in the long run. As RAM gets close to capacity, the operating system begins to rely on swap files to run programs.
Swap files allow the operating system to use hard disk space to simulate additional memory. When your system is low on memory, it swaps some RAM from an inactive program as the name suggests, freeing up hard drive space for other programs. However, as a result of this process, many reads and writes to the hard drive occur, slowing down the computer.
Therefore, closing programs can be a good start as it opens up some space for other programs to run. However, that’s not enough, which is why a restart is a good idea: it ensures that programs don’t run in the background while checking for other reasons for a slow PC, such as viruses or software updates that haven’t been installed yet.
Check Your Hard Drive
If the hard drive memory is full, the computer is lagging because the operating system does not have enough space to perform activities such as using swap files or creating temporary files. Ideally, you should have at least 500 megabytes of free space on your hard drive to ensure smooth computer noise.
On a Mac: Click the Apple menu in the upper left corner> Choose About This Mac> Click the Storage tab at the top of the new window.
On your computer: Open File Explorer> Click This PC in the left navigation bar> Check for “Windows (C :)” as this is usually your main drive. If you have multiple disks, you can also check the ones on this screen.
Update your RAM
This is one of the most expensive methods, but the most efficient: buying more memory for your computer will definitely increase your speed. The more computationally demanding your daily computer tasks are, the more RAM you should have. For example, if you regularly play PC games or use video editing software, you should have at least 16 GB of RAM (more if you can afford it).
Otherwise, you will have to buy additional RAM space. It should be fairly easy to insert your RAM card into the appropriate slot, but check your computer’s manual just in case. Keep in mind that if you have a laptop this may not be a viable option as the only way to upgrade your RAM may be to purchase a brand new computer. Check carefully with the manufacturer.
On a Mac: Open Finder> Applications> Open Utilities folder> double-click Activity Monitor> Switch to Memory at the top of the window> Information about your memory will be displayed at the bottom of the window. If the graph is green it means there is memory space left, yellow means your computer is using memory management software, and red means it’s definitely time to upgrade your RAM.
On the computer: Click the Windows logo or the Start button on the taskbar> right-click Computer> Select Properties
Empty the trash can
If less than 500MB of hard drive memory remains, it’s time for Spring Cleaning. Files pile up in the recycle bin – which isn’t a trash bin in particular, as files aren’t permanently deleted – so occasional cleaning will serve you well.
Old programs you don’t use anymore are a fair game for this cleanup, but double-check that you don’t need the files. Most third-party programs, such as games or camera apps, can be safely removed, but if a file has the word “driver” in its name, you can do a quick Google search to see what it does before sending it to the trash.
Clean your internal drive
If your internal storage is nearly full – whether it’s a hard drive or an SSD – this can slow you down. But if your drive has a lot of free space, skip this section.
The Windows Disk Cleanup tool frees up disk space and thus can speed up your computer.
Start with your own Windows Disk Cleanup tool. In the search box on the taskbar, type disk and select Disk Cleanup.
Wait while Disk Cleanup analyzes the disk. Click the Clean System Files button (you’ll need the administrator password this time). Then wait again for the next test.
Check the options. If you find one called Windows Previous Installations, you’re in luck. By checking this and clicking OK, you will free up a lot of space. You can also check other items to get rid of them.
Something else to consider: Uninstall programs you no longer use.
Check for malware
I doubt if the infection is deliberately slowing down your computer. There are no illegal profits from it. Additionally, it is a reliable way to arouse suspicion of the victim.
However, some malicious code may slow down your computer, even if it was not the criminal’s intention. So, if you have any suspicions, read Eric Geier and Josh Norem’s guide on how to remove malware from your Windows PC.
If your computer is still slow after following these tips, it may be time to update your hardware. Start here with PCWorld’s recommendations for killer but shockingly cheap PC upgrades.