How to improve the performance of a laptop or PC?
Everyone enjoys the first few months after buying a new laptop or PC, the experience of great speed and system response. After some time, however, performance begins to decline, and you can find yourself dealing with the stress of waiting on technology. But how can you prevent this?
Obviously, the more programs, software, games or extensions that use the power of your laptop or computer, the worse it will run. If you've had a computer for a couple of years and you've never uninstalled anything during that time, it's highly likely to be overwhelmed with unnecessary software. It can be anything - programs or applications that you used only once and then forgot about them, pre-installed software, or even software that you don't even know about — these sorts of programmes are often referred to as “crapware” or “bloatware”. The good news is, in many cases the fix is as easy as opening a list of programs and uninstalling those you don't use.
Our tip: The quickest way to uninstall programs in Windows 10 is through Control Panel> Programs> Programs and Features.
Limit the number of programs that run after start-up
In some cases, you might be hesitant to completely install or delete programmes because you suspect you will need to use them again or you are not sure you can delete them at all. In this case you can see minimise their resource consumption by making sure that the software does not start automatically after start-up. This is because some programs run unnecessarily in the background and take up RAM. The easiest way to do this (on Windows) is to open Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc) and go to the Start-up tab. Here, you can set which programs start when you turn your computer on and disable those you want to only open when needed.
Our tip: CCleaner is a great tool to disable running programs during PC start-up. Its free version offers all important features, including one that prohibits programs from running.
Clean, optimize, and defragment your hard drive
Uninstalling or deleting unwanted software may not always be enough. Outdated files, temporary files, installation files, unnecessary duplicates, or settings from those uninstalled programs may still be on the disk. It can be difficult to delete such files manually, as you usually have no idea how to find and identify them. However, if you own Windows, you can clean the disk of these files relatively easily - right-click on the disk and select Properties from the menu, the click Disk Cleanup in the newly opened window. From here you can choose what type of files you want to delete.
In addition to deleting unnecessary files, you can also use other tools such as error checking to find errors on the disk that may cause problems and defragment the disk. You can defragment the drive if you have an HDD, SSD drives are optimized so this is unnecessary. Their task is to rearrange the files on the disk so that running various programs is faster and more efficient.
Increase RAM (RAM) capacity
The capacity of RAM (Random Access Memory - or operating memory) is crucial to the performance of your computer. If your laptop or computer starts slowing down when you open multiple programs, you are most using all this memory and need to increase it - if you can. Operating memory is something like short-term memory, which is very fast and works with the data being processed. When selecting a computer or notebook, you should pay attention to the amount of memory and chose an amount that will accommodate it’s intended use. The minimum is 4GB, but if you plan to edit photos, render videos or play the latest games, it’s best to go for at least 8GB or 16GB version.
Our tip: upgrading RAM memory usually improves the performance of older PCs and laptops. When purchasing a new notebook, make you can increase the RAM in the future (and check by how much!). Most high-quality laptops offer at least two slots for RAM modules, with only one installed when purchased. The other one remains empty and available for the installation of additional RAM which can be bought for only a few pounds.
Replace the HDD with an SSD
Most older laptops or computers still use HDD (hard disc or hard disc drive) as storage, a slower alternative to more modern solid-state discs. A few years ago, you had little choice, and as far as storage was concerned, only the size of the hard drive was addressed. However, in today's cloud storage and streaming services, huge storage space is often unnecessary many people are switching over to faster, more modern and more reliable SSDs.
SSDs are faster for several reasons. They run faster and can process and move data faster. In addition, they do not fragment like HDDs, so they do not slow down due to “scattering” data. Although they are a bit more expensive, the performance difference is so great that the investment is definitely worth it.
Our tip: upgrading to an SSD is also worthwhile for the safety of your data. For example, if your laptop falls to the floor, you can usually expect HDD damage and subsequent data loss. Solid-state drives are much more durable so even if you break your laptop, your data will stay safe.
Make sure you don't have a virus
If your computer or laptop has not yet shown any signs of performance deterioration and literally stopped working overnight, it is possible that your system has infected some virus or other malware. In this case, you should let your antivirus perform a complete computer test.
Set the system to higher performance
Some laptops allow the user to choose between two settings - on the one hand, the energy saver setting that are fine for basic use and if want the battery to last as long as possible, and on the other, high performance settings which consume more power but allow you to use your laptop to its fullest capacity. Check your settings to see if you have accidentally set your laptop to power-saving mode, which may negatively affect your laptop's performance. If you have your laptop connected to mains power most of the time, it would be unnecessary to limit its capacity.
Turn off indexing
Indexing is a way storing information about it in a database, it’s how when you enter a search term into Google, it can find results relating to that term. Something similar happens on your computer or laptop. When indexing, the operating system collects information about the files on the disk, so when you search for something, it can provide you with the files you are looking for immediately. This indexing can be turned off, which is recommended for older and slower devices where continuous indexing and recording of changes can affect the overall performance of the computer. The disadvantage is that after you turn off indexing, the response time of your laptop or computer may be prolonged if you do search for something on the disk.
Our tip: Find the Indexing Options in the Control Panel, where you can choose which disks and folders you want to index and which ones, you’re unlikely to need this feature on.
Update your graphics card and drivers (for gamers)
If you’re a gamer worried about the lack of performance of your PC, especially because newer game titles are virtually unplayable on it, you might want to consider buying a newer graphics card. But before you spend your savings on a newer graphics card, try updating your drivers to the current one! Many times, the problem that high-end hardware isn’t performing it’s best due to outdated software.