If it looks like your PC is running slower than when it was new, it might not be your imagination. Computers can really slow down with age, but not because the hardware itself ages or wears out – it’s the software that bogs things down over time.
Older computers may have difficulty running newer programs optimized for efficiency on newer computer models.
How to speed up your slow PC
While you can’t magically do what’s old new again, there are ways to reduce lag on your old desktop or laptop computer. Here are seven ways to restore your computer to its original speed.
Delete your startup apps
Over time, you’ll add more and more programs to your PC’s startup apps list – the programs and processes that run when Windows starts. This not only slows down the progress of the startup, but increases the number of programs continuously running in the background.
The remedy? Review the list of startup apps on your PC and disable the ones that use a lot of memory or processor power.
Use fewer tabs in your browser
Surprisingly, web browsers are memory eaters. So running more than a few cards can greatly affect your PC’s overall performance.
It’s easy to lose track of your browser’s open tabs and have dozens of them at once. But if your computer slows down regularly throughout the day, be aware of your open tabs and keep them to a minimum. Here’s how to check your open tabs.
1. Start your PC’s Task Manager by right-clicking on the taskbar and choosing “Task Manager”.
2. Select the arrow on the left of the browser to expand the entry. This will show you all your open tabs.
3. The Chrome users can do this via the browser’s built-in tab manager by first clicking on the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner of the window.
4. Choose “Other tools”.
5. Select “Task manager”.
6. A list of currently running programs will appear. Click on a single program to select it.
7. When the program is highlighted, click the “End Task” button that appears.
Schedule anti-malware scans
It is important to regularly scan your PC for viruses and other malware. You can stick to a scheduled scan your antivirus program chooses for you, but it could be in the middle of the day when you’re working, bogging down your PC even more.
So consider scheduling your scan for a time that works for you. To do this, start your antivirus software and look for its scan schedule. Adjust it to always work towards the end of the day at lunchtime or some other time when you’re not actively using your computer.
Restart your computer regularly
Most people put their PC to sleep at the end of each day, then start up faster in the morning and automatically set up with whatever project you worked on the day before. But always putting your PC to sleep deprives it of the ability to do the necessary housework and eliminate fragmented memory.
To get the best performance from your computer, restart your PC at least once every few days. You don’t need to do this every day, but twice a week will keep it running at peak efficiency.
OneDrive is a convenient cloud storage service included with your Microsoft 365 subscription. However, its constant synchronization can slow down your system. If you need maximum performance from your PC, consider pausing OneDrive, which you can do for two, eight, or 24 hours at a time.
1. Click the OneDrive icon in the system tray in the lower right corner of the Windows desktop.
2. Select “Help & Settings”.
3. Click “Pause Sync” and then choose how long you want to pause.
Install an SSD
If you have an older PC that doesn’t come with a solid state drive (SSD), no single thing will improve your computer’s performance more than upgrading to an SSD.
This is not a simple update because it involves replacing the old system drive with a new one, reinstalling Windows, and then reinstalling all the programs you usually use. But an SSD can get your computer to boot up in seconds instead of minutes and start most programs almost instantly. It’s a much more noticeable speed improvement than even upgrading to a new CPU.
If you have an older computer, especially one without an SSD, it might take advantage of a Windows 10 feature called ReadyBoost. This tool allows you to use a USB flash drive as additional memory.
In terms of overall speed improvement, it’s similar to adding additional RAM to a free socket on your computer’s motherboard, but much simpler. Here’s how to do it.
1. Insert a USB flash drive into an available USB port on your computer.
2. Open File Explorer and right-click on the USB drive.
3. Choose “Properties”.
4. In the Properties window select the “ReadyBoost” tab. Now, check if Windows can use this flash drive.
5. If possible, click “Use this device” and follow the instructions to set up the drive as additional memory on your PC.