Life’s too short for a slow computer – here’s how to get yours back in shape

 In Hardware and Software

Are you frustrated by a poorly performing computer?

They work so beautifully when they’re new, and often deteriorate so slowly that we don’t even realise the world of pain we’re devolving into as they age. Then, one day, your whole system seems to grind to a halt and you’re left tearing your hair out trying even to open a web browser or send an email.

The good news is, a computer between 3 and 5 years old can often be ‘spring cleaned’ to get years more life and productivity out of it. Here are some simple ways to add life to your middle-aged PCs and laptops. Keeping these options in mind can also help you make a good purchase when it’s time to consider a new computer.

Improve performance

Manage automatic start-up programs

Often programs are set to automatically start up when you turn your computer on. You mightn’t realise this, because you won’t see the applications open up, but these programs run in the background, putting extra load on your CPU and slowing you down.

Keep in mind that there are programs you might want to keep enabled for automatic start-up, such as security software and cloud-based programs.

Free up hard drive space

You should have at least 20% of your hard drive space free to provide ‘breathing space’ for the operating system. You may have many files and programs that are excess to your needs. Once you identify what they are, you can delete them or move them to an external hard drive for archiving.

Upgrade your hard drive

One of the simplest ways to improve performance and speed up your computer is to upgrade the hard drive. Hard drives are the biggest ‘bottle neck’ when it comes to performance speed. Hard drives can be spinning disks or solid state drives (SSD). If you have a spinning hard drive it may be slowing down or failing with age and it’s worth considering the benefits of a SSD, particularly for a laptop. Otherwise, an upgrade in the size and speed of your hard drive can improve your computer’s performance.

Upgrade your RAM

Another major culprit for a slow running computer is insufficient memory. Many computers come with a standard 4 GB, but modern operating systems run best on 8 GB of RAM. Depending on your hardware, you may or may not be able to add more RAM.

Get some advice

If you need help with a hard drive or RAM upgrade, or if you need help with any other aspect of maximising your computer’s performance, contact Proactive IT Solutions for support and advice. We can also help you with making a good decision with your initial purchase so that you can start out with the right hardware to maximise your computer’s lifespan.

Related article

For a more technical look at how to:

  • manage automatic start-up programs
  • free up hard drive space
  • check your hard drive status, and
  • check the amount of RAM you’ve got.

Check out my article, Tech how-to: Improve computer performance.

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