We live in a world where if something doesn’t happen instantly, it might as well never happen. The same goes for your computer, which is why most of the world seems to not use them anymore. Smartphones and tablets are popular in part because they’re lightning fast, and your computer may not be. Here are some helpful tips to try to speed up that old Windows machine.
- Replace your Hard Disk Drive with a Solid-State Drive
If you bought a low-end computer, chances are it came with a HDD, or Hard Disk Drive, which is a mechanical spinning drive. Just like anything that moves, over time, it will degrade. Not to mention many low-end machines come with really slow hard drives. If your computer is easy to open up, consider purchasing a Solid-State Drive. Your phone and tablet have one, which is part of the reason why they’re fast. I bought one on Amazon for $20, and while 120 GB may be a bit small, the speed increase in dramatically fast, especially at startup.
- Consider Upgrading the RAM
This is not a guaranteed method, but depending on the age of the computer, it could help. Windows 10 runs best with at least 4 GB of RAM. I was using my old Dell Latitude D630 which only had 1 GB of RAM and it was incredibly slow, even with the SSD. I went a little crazy and bought 8 GB of RAM, which was the most the system would support, and found that 4 GB is the most that gets used up with intense web browsing, with the system normally running smooth around 2.5 GB. You can monitor this in the Task Manager, by pressing Control + Shift + Escape, or on a Mac in the Activity Monitor in the Utilities folder.
- Check your startup folder
You’d be surprised at all the junk that opens at the same time everything else is opening when the computer is turned on. Turning off or uninstalling these programs can help dramatically. On Window 8 or 10, open Task Manager, and click on the Startup tab. You can also get to this by pressing Windows Key + R, and typing msconfig in the Run window. See what programs are running at startup and disable the unimportant ones, or the ones you don’t want. You can also find some rogue apps in a deep folder on your computer, located by opening that Run window again, and typing shell:startup. On a Mac, you can turn these off in System Preferences, and Users and Groups, and selecting your name, and Login Items. You can step it up a notch by also uninstalling junk programs. Which leads me to…
- Uninstall Junk Programs
Having junk on your computer certainly doesn’t help with startup speed, and if you noticed apps you don’t want to begin with in the startup folder, you might as well remove them completely. This is easy on a Mac, just grab the program from the Applications folder, and drag it to the trash. On a Windows PC, open Settings or Control Panel, press Programs, and uninstall the junk.
- Change your Power Settings
Windows has a feature that allows the user to fine tune exactly what performance you get under certain power conditions, like on battery or plugged in. Unfortunately, buried in several menus. One way to select what power condition you’re under is by opening the Windows Mobility Center. You can get to this by pressing the Start Menu and typing Windows Mobility Center, or by pressing Windows Key + X and selecting it from there. You’ll see the battery status box, where you can select High Performance for the fastest mode, and you can also bump it down for better battery life. On Windows 10, you can press the battery icon in the bottom-right and also select the High Performance setting here.
While some of these may not be the simplest, they can definitely help in speeding up a painfully slow experience. Let me know if these worked, or if there’s an important one missing in the comments below.