Many people think that if they have a slow computer then it’s time to buy a new one. Do you have a slow computer? Does your desktop or laptop hang on the hour glass for several minutes at a time? Is it slow to load files and applications? Does it take a long time to boot? You can be very careful about how you use your computer and never download questionable material. But over time it is inevitable that your system will accumulate unwanted registry entries, errors, clutter and debris. It’s important to clean your computer up and get it running faster again.
Tips for speeding up a slow computer:
Update your antivirus software and run a full scan
Antivirus software helps protect you from viruses and other suspect files. These viruses can be spread by simply opening an email. The software performs regular system checks. It detects when foreign files are trying to hack into your computer.
- Norton and Kaspersky are the two standard-bearers in the industry and only cost about £30.
- Do not use Registry Optimisers, or so called Clean Reg Tools. Most of these cause more harm than good in the long run.
Clear up some space on the hard drive
Deleting unnecessary files on your computer is a simple way to free up memory and speed up your slow computer. To do this, access disk cleanup in Windows and delete temporary files on a Mac.
- For Windows XP, Windows 7, and Vista – Click Start. Select All Programs. Click Accessories. Go to System Tools and then click Disk Cleanup. If several drives are available, you might be prompted to specify which drive you want to clean.
- For Mac – Go to Applications. Select Utilities and click on Command Prompt. In the Command Prompt, type in “sudo rm -fr /tmp/*” and hit enter. The temporary files that have been left behind on your computer will now be cleared.
Uninstall useless programs or programs you rarely use
Storing games, media files and programs that you never use can slow down your computer.
- For Windows – Follow the Start Menu to Settings and then to Control Panel. From this screen click on Add/remove programs or Uninstall a program. Uninstall programs that are no longer needed.
- For Mac – Kill unwanted or redundant programs by dropping the program files into the Recycle Bin.
- Remember to empty your Recycle Bin after deleting these files. They will still be on the hard drive and taking up space. Just right click the icon and navigate to “Empty Bin.”
Download and install a spyware removing program
Spyware is malicious software found on computers. It tracks certain information without the user’s knowledge. This will result in a slow computer. It’s best to delete spyware and other malware. There are implications for the privacy and health of your computer if you don’t. You should be able to download anti-spyware software on your computer for free. Once downloaded, install the program and run it. Follow the directions if you are not an advanced computer user.
De-fragment your hard drive
Fragmentation is when your computer files get disorganised. It affects your computer’s ability to lay out data. This results in a slow computer. De-fragmentation corrects this.
- For Windows – Click on My Computer, then click Properties, then click the Tools tab. From this tab just click on the Defragment button and run the program. You can set it up so that your computer automatically defragments at certain times.
- For Mac – Mac operating systems rarely need to have their disk space defragmented.
Check your RAM
RAM stands for Random Access Memory. These are the computers memory chips. It’s how it stores information. If there is not enough RAM, the computer will use your hard disk to store intermediate results. This will result in a slow computer. If this happens, the computer appears busy and is slow to write and read things from your hard disk. You can hear it, and the LED on the computer will light up. Right click on the My Computer icon, and select properties. Read what it says on the ‘general’ tab. For Windows XP it should be 256 MB or more. If it is less than 1024 MB, then it might be the problem.
- If RAM is the real reason you have a slow computer, it will be slow whenever you start a new application. If your computer is only slow when you turn on your computer or reboot, it is more likely to be some other problem.
- Before you get additional RAM, make sure you know exactly what type fits in your computer. Make sure that there are empty slots inside your computer to put the RAM in.
- For most people, it is best to take your computer in to a computer repair shop.