Any computer user will know the difference between a slow and fast computer. Slow computers will take much longer to open and close programs, skip between programs and shut down and turn on. It can be so frustrating however you don’t have to see a computer specialist to fix the issue. In most cases all that’s needed is a good clean out!
The first thing to know is that computers are rapidly changing and expanding. A computer from 5 years ago is vastly different to one bought today. Without upgrading, our computer’s specifications don’t change at all. But every year, software needs more and more of your computer’s resources. This is why when you install software on a 5-year-old computer, it will slow it down a lot more then it would if you installed it on a new computer.
Interestingly, about 65% of PC users are using Windows XP or Windows 7. The latest version is Windows 10, so you can see how you may be using an older version – they become outdated very quickly!
So if you want your computer to run faster from today, here’s some simple ways to do it yourself:
1. Uninstall unused programs
When you buy a new computer, there are a lot of programs pre-installed onto it. And as you use your computer, you accumulate more over time. Most of these you’ll never use and some of them can often run in the background without you knowing, which can slow your computer down.
To uninstall unused programs:
On a PC: Click “Start” >”Control Panel” > “Programs and Features” and scroll through the list, uninstalling as you go.
On a Mac: Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash, then empty trash. If you change your mind, before emptying the Trash, select the app in the Trash, then choose File > Put Back.
2. Delete temporary files
Whenever you use your browser, all your browsing history remains stored on your computer.
To get rid of all these useless files:
On a PC: Click “My Computer” > select your main drive i.e. C:/ > “Windows” folder > “Temp” folder
Right-click on the folder, and in the “View” options, choose “Details”. Once this is done, select all the files that are older than the current date and hit delete. Then go to the Recycle Bin on your desktop and empty it.
3. Get more hard drive storage
If your hard drive becomes too full, it will affect the speed of your computer. You can check how much storage space you have left by following these steps:
On a PC: Go to My Computer > select your main drive i.e. C:/ > right click and select ‘Properties’. Here it will show you a diagram of how much space you have left.
On a Mac: Click the Apple logo in the top far left corner of your screen > About this Mac > Storage
If you have a lot of storage left, great. If not, even after deleting useless files and programs, consider buying an external hard drive where you can store and back up files.
4. Stop unnecessary start up programs
You may have noticed some programs will automatically start to run in the background when you open your computer such as Skype and Gmail. These start-up applicationsall will use your computer’s memory so turn them off until you need them on.
On a PC: Click Start and type “Run” > in the box that appears, type “msconfig” > at the top click the “Startup” tab – it lists all the applications that run when your computer starts up. Either manually untick the ones that are unnecessary or click “disable all”.
On a Mac: System Preferences > Users & Groups > Select your User ID > Select Login Items > Uncheck the programs you don’t need.
5. Run a disk clean-up
Spring clean your whole system using this built-in tool which looks for unnecessary large files that you don’t need.
On a PC: Click “Start” then go to All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup
On a Mac: Go to your Apps > Disk Utility > Select disk > Repair disk
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