When you’re at your office, you want your laptop to work as quickly and efficiently as you do. But sometimes your laptop doesn’t always perform at the lightning-fast speeds you want, especially if you’ve owned it for more than a few years.
While you can’t turn back the clock to when your laptop was brand new, you can do several things to boost its operating speed.
Give Some of Your Automatic Programs a Breather
When you turn on your laptop, the first thing that happens right after that delightful Windows startup noise is that several programs run automatically, whether you wanted them to or not.
If your laptop is a PC, send the programs you don’t use on summer vacation by doing the following:
- Open your laptop’s “Task Manager” for a list of all your laptop’s available programs
- Click on the “Startup” tab. This ranks each of your laptop’s programs by their startup impact
- Click to disable any programs you deem unnecessary
For Mac users:
- Open the “Systems Preference Panel”
- Click on “Users and Groups”
- Click “Login Items” (located near the top of the dialog box) to make changes
Give Disk Cleanup a Try
If you’re like most people, your laptop will accumulate enough files over the years that you’ll feel the need to hire a personal assistant to keep track of them. As a result, your laptop wastes energy powering archived files.
Enter disk cleanup. On Windows, the program is called “Disk Utility Cleanup,” which can be accessed by typing “disk cleanup” in your search bar.
You can also use free software like AVG in addition to your Windows programs.
For the Mac equivalent, click the apple icon on the top left corner of the screen, then click “About This Mac” for an overview of your programs.
Uninstall Any Apps You Don’t Use
Modern laptops come equipped with a variety of free applications. But these apps, even the ones we never use, run on bits of our laptop’s precious memory. Why waste memory on an app you never use?
PC users can fix this simply by opening their laptop’s control panel and clicking “Uninstall a Program.” It’s just as simple for Mac users, who can drag unwanted apps to the “Trash” icon and then click “Empty Your Trash.”
Check for Viruses
If you’ve removed all the programs, apps and files you don’t need and still find yourself asking “Why is my laptop so slow?” it’s possible that your computer has caught a virus. The telltale signs of a virus are:
- Increased pop-ups
- Slowdowns out of nowhere
- Programs open and close autonomously
- Frequent sightings of the infamous “Blue Screen of Death” (when your screen suddenly goes blue with an error message)
If this describes your laptop, make sure it has antivirus software installed. And if it doesn’t, install it as soon as possible, then run an antivirus scan to identify potentially harmful files. These programs will also allow you to rid of them.
Keep scammy ads from popping up while you’re browsing the web using browser extensions like Adblock.
Limit “Tab Hoarding”
Are you the type of person who leaves so many tabs up on their internet browser that you need a microscope to see them? Keeping multiple tabs open not only slows your laptop’s internet speed (not to mention processing) but also drains its battery life.
Cut down on “tab hoarding” by X-ing out of tabs that you no longer need open.
Make Some Upgrades
To further optimize your laptop’s speed, consider the following upgrades:
- Install Solid-State Drive – Hard disk drives are rapidly becoming extinct in favor of Solid-State Drive, or SSD. Unlike hard drives, SSDs don’t require moving mechanical parts, enabling them to run circles around hard drives. SSDs can be complicated to install, so if you’re not confident in your computer know-how, look up a good computer repair shop on Yelp and let them handle installation.
- Increase your RAM – Random Access Memory, or RAM, is responsible for your laptop’s short-term memory. The greater your RAM, the more you can do at once (generally). Not all laptops have upgradeable RAM, but if yours does, take it to the same repair shop for an increase.
Don’t Buy New Just Yet!
Don’t give up on your laptop until you run a little troubleshooting on your own. With some pointed research, many of these solutions are not difficult to execute. Of course, if it’s beyond your skill set then it would be wise to take your computer in for repairs. But until then, follow the above tips to optimize your laptop.