Updated: Dec 9, 2020
During a recent staff meeting , we asked our team what are the most common questions we get from our customers and "How can I speed up my computer?" was pretty much top of the list. So, I decided to write this article to offer some tips and tricks that may help. Of course our friendly staff here at Mother Computers are also available to assist by phone, at no charge and offer their advice on possible causes.
The Dreaded Spinning Circle
Depending on what type of device you are using, if you have experienced a slow down, you have no doubt seen something like the above. A loading screen that takes far too long to load. It's not fun and can be frustrating, distracting and in many cases avoidable. Let's take a look at why this might be happening and what you can do about it.
What Causes a Computer to Slow Down?
There are several reasons a computer will slow down. Malware and Viruses can cause slow downs and are very common, as is a full hard drive. Too many processes or programs running at the same time can also cause slow downs. Sometimes the computer could just be near the end of it's lifecycle, computers these days generally last anywhere from 3-5 years depending on the usage and what programs you are running. Sometimes installing a new program or game on a computer that is a couple years old can cause big slow downs just because of the hardware requirements of that program. At that point it might be best to consider an upgrade but, before you give up on your old machine, here are a few things you can try:
Restarting Your Computer. This actually does work! Turning your computer off for a few minutes and then on again can help your computer to close down programs running in the background while also checking for other causes of a slow computer such as viruses and software updates that have yet to be installed.
Check your hard drive. If your hard drive is full it does not allow the operating system enough space to do what it needs to do, like swap files or create temporary files. Ideally you should have at least 500MB of hard drive space available to ensure your computer operates smoothly. Here are the steps to check your hard drive space: On a PC: Open File Explorer, Click on >This PC, then look for something that says Local Disk (C:) or it might say Windows (C:) On a MAC: Click on the Apple Menu in the top left corner, Select About this Mac then Click on the Storage tab at the top of the new window
Empty your recycle bin. If you do have less than 500MB of hard drive memory left, then you may need to do some spring cleaning and delete the contents of your recycle bin. Do this by right clicking on the recycle bin and select "Empty Recycle Bin" on a MAC you click on the Trash Icon and choose "Empty Trash"
If your PC is taking forever to boot up, it could be your hard drive needs to be upgraded or it could just be that you have too many applications trying to run at start up. You can edit this list in by opening Task Manager and then clicking on the Start Up tab. Remove anything from the list that you don't need to have loaded immediately when your PC turns on by clicking on the name followed by Disable.
Mac has a slightly different process for this depending on what OS you are using, feel free to call us here at Mother Computers and we can walk you through this process. 5. Browser overload. Internet web browsers use alot of memory and processing power and if you have too many windows and tabs open, it could impact your computer speed. If you notice that tabs are taking a long time to load, you can try using a different browser or just close all unused windows and tabs and see if that helps.
6. Closing unused apps. Similar to the suggestion at start up, if there are applications that you can closed when you're done with them, this will free up memory and help your computer run a little faster. Especially video intensive apps such as games.
7. Bring it in for a tune up. Not unlike a car, a computer can run much better when it's systems are tuned up. We can check for malware and viruses and make sure all hardware is operating as best it can for optimal performance. Usually completed in a couple hours, this is a quick, cost effective way to help ensure the best performance possible from your pc or laptop.
If all else fails...
Upgrading your hard drive or RAM can be a cost effective way to get some more time out of your old computer. It is generally must less expensive than buying a brand new system and can make some computers run like new for quite some time. It really depends on the age of the computer and what you will be using it for. Sometimes it makes more sense to buy a new system that it does to invest money in an old one. Our friendly staff would be more than happy to go over options and help you decide the most cost effective way to get the speed you need!