The feeling of joy you get when you buy a new laptop doesn’t last for long. You get a few months of marveling at how quickly your new machine starts up and runs, but before long it’s started to slow down, and you notice that the length of time between hitting the ‘on’ button and being able to do anything is getting longer and longer. That’s inevitable with all new computers, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it when the slowdown has begun.
We’re conditioned to believe that PC upgrades or improvements cost money. Instead of paying closer attention to the tools our PC already has, or the thing that might be causing performance issues, we just go out and buy more storage space, more RAM, or a new SSD. Anyone of those three purchases might improve performance, but none of them come cheaply. Instead of plumping for a purchase straight away, you owe it to yourself and your bank balance to check a few free alternatives first.
Improving the performance of your PC doesn’t have to cost money – it just requires a little know-how and creative thinking. Here are five tips that will help you drag better performance out of an older, slower machine.
Delete The Bloatware
All PCs come with apps and programs you’ll never use, and far too many people leave these useless programs installed rather than getting rid of them. That means they’re taking up space on your hard disk, and also sucking down updates in the background. These unwanted programs are known as ‘bloatware,’ and you should get rid of them at the first opportunity to do so. Open the ‘add/remove programs’ tool, and look at the list of programs currently installed on your PC. If you’ve never done this before, or haven’t done it in a long time, it might surprise you to see so many entries on the list. Delete anything that’s either obsolete or unwanted. If in doubt, do a Google search before deleting to ensure that you’re not about to remove anything that’s vital to your PC’s operations.
Remove Start-Up Invaders
For some programs, it’s not enough just to be installed and have an icon on your home screen. They also want to auto-load every time your PC starts up, and that takes time and processing power. The more you allow programs to open at the point of start-up, the longer that start-up process will be. Find your start-up tap through Task Manager, and take a look at all the programs that switch on as soon as you boot Windows. Task Manager should also give you an indication of how much demand each of these programs puts on your machine during the boot stage. Never switch off anything that Windows needs, or any aspect of your security or anti-virus software, but anything else is fair game. As a tip, Skype is notorious for running at start-up and slowing things down, but there’s no reason it ought to be able to do so. Adobe’s software tends to want to start immediately, as does Steam. If your PC is connected to your Microsoft Xbox gaming console, you might find that Xbox software starts instantly, too. While we’re on the topic of gaming, let’s talk about the way we approach it.
Move To The Cloud
A little over ten years ago, casino companies had a smart idea. They thought it would be a neat trick if instead of having to visit casinos in person, people could play casino games at home through the internet at online slots websites. Fast forward to today, and online slots websites make far more money than the average casino does. Why are we talking about online slots websites in the middle of an article about PC improvements? Because the idea has crossed over to gaming and storage. You don’t need to install games on your PC to play them anymore. You can play them on remote servers, accessed through the cloud, in just the same way online slots players interact with slots. Shadow, Stadia, and GeForce Now are all ways of achieving this. That means you’re not sacrificing huge amounts of storage space, and nor are you placing massive demand on your processor when you’re gaming. You can and should also use the cloud for storage. Why keep enormous files on your hard disk when you could put them in the cloud instead? So long as you use sensible security precautions, you have little to fear from doing so.
Get Rid Of The Dust
Modern PCs and laptops might be impressively sophisticated machines, but they’re still surprisingly vulnerable to dust. Get too much dust inside your casing, and the fan will get clogged up. When the fan is clogged up, it will struggle to function to its best, and all of your components overheat as a result. A hot PC quickly becomes a slow PC, and it will remain a slow PC even if you follow the three pieces of advice we’ve listed above. The only way to fix this problem is to open up your casing and give your machine a spring clean. You might feel a little wary of doing this, but there’s no need – consult one of the many ‘how to clean your PC’ guides on the internet, and they’ll walk you through the basics. A few blasts from a can of compressed air might be all it takes to get your computer back to its best.
Switch To Linux
Do you know what the slowest, least efficient piece of software on your PC is? Microsoft Windows. It’s a behemoth, and it becomes larger over time. The more Windows updates your PC is subjected to, the slower it’s likely to become as a result of them. So long as you remain a Windows user, there’s nothing you can do about this. Eventually, your PC will encounter a Windows update that it can’t swallow, and that will be curtains for your machine. Why tolerate this when you could use Linux instead? Once upon a time, the transition from Windows to Linux was terrifying for people who aren’t technically proficient, but that’s no longer the case. The latest versions of Linux are just as user-friendly as Windows is, and occupy only a tiny fraction of the space on your hard disk. Some versions of Linux, for example, ‘Puppy Linux,’ are ultra-streamlined for the express purpose of leaving a light footprint on an older PC to extend its operating life. If you’ve tried and failed with everything else, Linux might be the answer to your performance problems