Why is my computer so slow? Tips to improve
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(Pocket fluff) – If you’ve been using a computer for a while, you may notice that it’s slowing down and not performing as well as it used to. Over time, your computer can become cluttered with files, programs, and the like. However, you don’t necessarily need a new machine, there are ways to improve performance very easily.
We’re here to help with some tips and tricks to speed up your computer and ease your pain. We’ve already written about how to optimize your PC for gaming, but there are some things you can do for everyday use as well.
Adjust your startup settings
The number of programs installed on your computer naturally increases over time. This can cause a ripple effect, as many of these programs will try to run at startup.
So when your computer boots into Windows, it tries to load all these programs, which lengthens the startup process and can also take up system resources once it’s in Windows.
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A simple way to counteract this phenomenon is to change the startup parameters.
- Press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC on your keyboard to launch the task manager.
- Once the task manager opens, find the Startup tab.
- Go through the list of apps and find apps you don’t use regularly.
- Right-click on the dangerous apps and click Disable.
In Windows 11, you can also access these settings by clicking the Start button and searching for Startup programs. Click on this system setting and then you can enable or disable apps.
This will prevent these programs from loading every time Windows starts, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to use them if and when you need them. If you need apps, just click to open them normally and they will work fine.
Turn it off and on again
Yes, it’s a cliché, but it also makes a difference. If you notice that your computer is running slowly, try turning it off and on again. If you regularly leave it on without turning it off, it’s likely that the memory is cluttered.
Simply turning off the device for a while before using it again can make a surprising difference in performance.
Stop apps that hurt performance
Another source of your problems may be certain programs that are consuming system resources and processing power. Google Chrome is notorious for using a lot of RAM, but you may find that other programs you use are throttling your computer.
One way to fix this is to simply leave them. However, closing an app may not be enough, as sometimes apps continue to run in the background even when closed.
Background activity will slow down your computer, especially if your system is limited by the amount of storage space, RAM capacity, or simply outdated components.
When you open the task manager, pay attention to the process of each program and how much each item is using. Chrome can use a lot of RAM, but other apps can affect CPU or GPU usage. If you see a program using a high percentage of any part of your computer, right-click on it and click to end the task.
- Press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to open the task manager.
- Click on the app you want to uninstall.
- Right-click and look for the “end task” option.
- Click this option to stop the task and force quit the application.
- If that doesn’t work, right-click again and click “Go to details”.
- Then, right-click the program again and click “End Process”.
- After that, you will see a warning that it will close everything.
- Click to confirm
Reinstall or reset Windows
This may seem like a serious fix, but one of the ways to get your computer up and running is to do it Reset or reinstall Windows.
A clean install of Windows fixes most problems that can slow down your computer. It removes programs you don’t need, deletes problematic files and frees up memory. This is a serious operation, because you need to back up everything important, reinstall the programs that you really need or want to use, etc. But this measure can be useful.
You can take the drastic step of formatting your Windows drive and reinstalling Windows from a USB drive, or simply resetting Windows through the default options. We have already written how to do this, and it is quite simple.
Improve your memory
Obviously, another way to speed up your computer is to upgrade your components. We have already written about which components you should consider upgrading to improve performance. One of them is your warehouse.
The latest NVMe drives give you faster file transfers, faster Windows boot times, and more.
Since it will need to work with M.2 NVMe drives, you’ll need a relatively new motherboard to get the most out of it. If you bought your car in the last few years, this may be the case. Buying one of these drives, then cloning and moving Windows to that drive, and ditching traditional HDD or SSD storage can make a big difference.
Update your drivers
Keeping up to date with driver and software updates is an important part of computer maintenance. We recommend that you run Windows Update regularly and check for updates if you haven’t done so recently.
- Click the Windows Start button
- Type “updates” to search
- Click Windows Update Settings
- Tap to check for new updates
- Install all required updates
When doing this, we also recommend updating your graphics drivers and checking for updates from your motherboard manufacturer and Intel or AMD.
Tuning for best performance
By default, Windows is designed to give you the best possible visual enjoyment. That means it looks good, but it’s not necessarily running at peak performance. One solution to a slow computer is to prioritize performance over quality.
Follow these steps:
- Click the Windows Start button
- Type “Appearance and performance”.
- Click the “Adjust Windows performance and appearance” button.
- Look for the setting that says “adjust for best performance”.
- Select it and click apply
- On the Advanced tab, check that the best performance is set for apps and not for background tasks.
Free up storage space
Another age-related problem is full disks. When you use your computer regularly, whether you like it or not, you obviously download a lot of files. You install apps and software, download pictures and videos, fill your cache while browsing the web. A simple act like turning on your computer and updating software can fill your memory space and slow you down. To combat this, you can use Windows settings to clean up unnecessary files and free up memory space.
Click to follow our guide on this topic:
You can easily check if you’re running out of memory by simply opening Windows Explorer and checking your drivers, but with Windows 11, you can also check memory by following these steps:
- Select the Start button
- Click the Settings button
- Click System, then Save
You’ll then see your drive and how it’s being used by apps, photos, documents, and temporary files. If you notice that temporary files are taking up a large amount of storage space, then something needs to be fixed.
Quick tip: You can click to enable Storage Sense. Storage Sense is designed to automatically delete files you don’t need and free up storage space.
If you have more disk space, you should see some improvements.
Written by Adrian Willings.