Speeding up a slow PC

A common complaint among computer users is degrading computer performance over time. Slowness can be caused by a number of factors; files become fragmented, ‘junk’ files accumulate, unused software runs in the background and hardware no longer meeting the requirements for your software. A slow computer doesn’t always mean you need a new computer; a clean-up can be all that’s needed to help restore performance.

Many websites are funded by advertising; these ads target users, particularly those with a slow computer. Often these ads claim to speed up your computer, and people often click on the ads hoping this is true. Doing so leads to the inadvertent installation of software and the instruction that you need to purchase additional software to address the issue. This is a scam. There is free software available to speed up your computer; you do not need to pay for it.

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One of the first steps in speeding up a slow PC is to uninstall unnecessary software. “Programs and Features” can be accessed by holding the Windows Key (found at the bottom left of your keyboard between CTRL and ALT) and pressing the letter R. This brings up the run dialog box. Simply type in appwiz.cpl and press enter. You are then able to select an unwanted program and click uninstall.

Computers create temporary files when running software or processing information. These files are usually removed after the task completes, however over time some of these files may accumulate taking up space, causing the computer to run slow.

When browsing the internet, everything you view including videos and images is stored in ‘Temporary Internet Files’. This is retained so the website can load more quickly the next time you visit. Over time these temporary files build up, and the web browser has more files to search before finding the right files to display, slowing down your browsing. Regularly clearing your temporary internet files can help improve the speed at which websites load. Clearing temporary files can be done using a windows tool called “Disk Clean-up”. Disk Clean-up can be run by holding the Windows Key and Pressing the letter R, and typing in ‘cleanmgr.exe’. Follow the prompts and windows will remove temporary files that are no longer required. This not only helps speed up the computer, but it can also free up disk space.

Files on a computer are fragmented and stored in pieces as a result fragmented files take longer to open. Due to the filing system used on Windows computers; all files will eventually become fragmented. There is a way to fix this, Windows Defrag can be run by holding the Windows Key and Pressing the letter E, right clicking on C:\ Drive, clicking on properties, clicking on Tools and clicking on “Optimize” or “Defragment Now”. Defragging will mean files segments are stored more closely together so the computer is able to access them more quickly.

If a computer is still running slow after these you have run these interventions, you may want to upgrade your Random Access Memory (RAM). Additional RAM is the cheapest way to boost the speed of your computer. RAM is where files and programs are stored when a computer is running. So with more RAM, more programs and file can be open at the same time without slowing down.

Another way to boost speed is to install a Solid State Hard drive. Solid State drives use a flash based memory. Because of the way flash memory works and that there are no moving internal parts, data can be read more quickly allowing the computer to perform task more quickly. The best way to setup a solid state hard drive is to install the most commonly used software on the solid state drive and store files such as photos and documents on a traditional hard disk drive.

Eventually you may decide you computer is too slow for the modern software you wish to run. There are many different options available when updating a PC. If you would like some advice on speeding up your old PC or looking to update to a new PC,  Contact Us.

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