A slow computer can affect productivity, but it can also irritate its user.
Before being disappointed and running out to buy a new one computerthere are several simple and effective steps to make the one you have faster, say experts at digital security firm ESET.
With actions such as freeing up hard drive space or updating drivers, you can “wake up” your slow computer, they point out. It’s simple settings that make the difference, according to ESET experts, who give 10+1 tips for Windows 11 and Windows 10.
Calculator: 10+1 ways to speed up
1. Save disk space
Chances are you’ve been using your slow PC for a few years now and you probably can’t even remember the last time you cleaned up the folder. Downloads (Downloads). So start there:
Find your Downloads folder and any other folders where you keep your documents, photos, or videos, and delete anything you don’t need.
Alternatively, you can use an external drive or cloud storage to download and keep all the files that take up a lot of space and you don’t need on a daily basis. It is very important to always keep a backup copy of all important files, because your slow computer may one day decide to go on vacation without asking permission.
And, by the way, also remember to empty the recycling bin.
2. Manage your apps
Go to the Start menu and click on Settings. On the left side, select Apps and Installed apps. Go through the list of software on your computer and if there is something you don’t need, click on the three dots in the right corner and select Uninstall.
Not only will you save space, but you will also reduce activities running in the background.
3. Clean up storage
After Windows 10, Microsoft introduced a feature called Storage Sense that helps you get a better idea of how your PC’s storage space is being used, letting Windows handle cleaning up your PC on your behalf. This includes it automatic deletion your temporary files, emptying the trash or deleting old downloaded files.
To enable it and configure how it works, access the Settings menu again, click System in the left column, and select Save.
If you’re worried about Windows deleting something you want to keep, you can do it manually. From the same Storage menu, select Cleaning Recommendations. Here you can start by checking if you have any recommended large files that you haven’t opened for a while and that may be taking up a lot of space. Once done, click the Show advanced options button and browse through the list of files that can be deleted, being particularly careful not to select Downloads if you want to keep them. Select Delete Files.
Your computer should now only have the applications and files you really need.
4. Manage the apps you need on startup
One of the biggest frustrations most of us feel when our computer is running slow is when we turn it on. And no, leaving the computer on for weeks isn’t the answer, but we’ll get there.
Limit the apps you allow to launch on startup. To do this, go to the Start menu and type Task Manager and press Enter. On the left side of this window, tap Starter apps (Startup apps).
You might be surprised to find that things you rarely need start up as soon as you turn on your computer. Select only apps you know and don’t touch anything you don’t know – Windows can take a while to start up correctly.
Once you have selected an app, hover your mouse over it, right click and disable it. We hope this saves you a few seconds every morning.
5. Adjust your privacy settings
This is an extremely important point. Not only can this help you speed up your computer, but it will also let you control how apps use services like your location or microphone.
Go back to Settings in the Start menu, select Privacy and security and the section Application rights go through each of these points: location, camera, microphone, etc. and disable access for applications that do not need these services.
For example, you can turn off the microphone for Cortana if you don’t use Microsoft’s Assistant, and you can turn off all apps’ access to notifications. Of course, this means your programs won’t be able to notify you of something they’re programmed to notify you about, but it can benefit your system’s performance.
Remember that even if your computer is working fine, always take a look at this menu so you know exactly what permissions you are granting to installed apps.
6. Manage energy efficiency
In Settings, select System and navigate to the Power & Battery section. Windows is pretty good at handling power mode. They’re especially useful if you’re using a laptop that’s not connected to a power source, and – in that case – you can choose Balanced Mode or Optimal Power Efficiency if your battery is running low.
But, if your computer is plugged in and it’s quite slow, choose it Better performance mode. Although the computer may experience higher temperatures and you hear the fan ready to take off like an airplane, you are sure to push your machine to work as fast and hard as possible.
7. Turn off visual effects
It might make your Windows less beautiful, because we’re going to disable pretty animations, but it’s a sacrifice worth making if your computer is too slow. To do this, go to Settings, select Accessibility, then select Visual Effects. Go ahead and disable transparency effects and motion effects.
8. Update your computer
This is necessary. Keeping your PC up to date will allow you to take advantage of various fixes and tweaks that can deliver much better performance in certain apps, thus making your overall experience much smoother. At the same time, updates provide the necessary protection against vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
In the Start menu, type Windows Update and press Enter. Windows will display all available updates. All you have to do is click Download and Install. Windows will notify you of future updates, but if you want to make sure you’re always up to date, check this menu from time to time.
9. Check for Malware
Although memory consumption may increase as the security software scans for each type malware, worth it. To prevent the scan from running in the background, if you need this power to function, you can choose to run these scans manually, as well as make sure you are running the latest version of security software of your choice.
Alternatively, you can scan online for free with reputable software. Protecting your computer against malware will prevent your computer’s resources from being used for malicious purposes and protect your files, activities and personal information.
10. Reset your computer
Although it’s not the same as completely formatting your computer, it’s the last thing you can do at home without getting professional help. If nothing in this list worked and you want to try an almost new version for your computer, you can choose Reset from the computer.
To do this, go to Settings, System and select Reset. You can then choose to keep your files or delete everything for a factory reset. Again, remember that even if you choose to keep your files, you risk losing them if something goes wrong, so always keep backup copies of all important documents and information.
And one last tip from ESET experts. Don’t leave your computer “running” for days on end just because you think it will take too long to start up. Instead, you can let it go into sleep mode instead of turning it off, but be sure to restart it every few days.
Contrary to what you might think, shutting down your computer does not close all running processes, while restarting your computer will cause it to perform all necessary installations and updates and close all applications.