[email protected]

8 Ways to Speed Up Your Windows PC

Date published: 17 April 2024 | by Sybil Mayard

If you're suffering from a slow computer or laptop, read our blog post on eight ways to speed up your PC. We've conveniently listed the steps in order of difficulty to help you decide on the best steps to take according to your level of confidence with fixing your PC.

1. Install the Latest Updates

Software developers regularly release new versions of software that include new features, performance upgrades and fixes to security threats. Make sure that your PC is up to date by installing all of the updates to Windows and other drivers that are on your computer. Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security, and click the Check Now button to check if there are any available updates. Install all of the recommended updates - this may take several minutes, so you can continue using your PC whilst the updates are being downloaded and installed in the background. Your PC may need to be restarted to complete the installation process.

2. Run a Virus Scan

Not using an antivirus program on your computer can increase its vulnerability to viruses and other forms of malware, which can contribute to a slow PC. There are several programs available on the market. You may want to try Avast, which is a free program. Once you've downloaded the antivirus software, update it to ensure that the database contains all of the latest virus definitions.

Next, run a full virus scan - this will scan the entire filesystem on your PC. The scan could take up to a few hours depending on the number of files that are on your computer, but you can continue using your PC whilst the scan is in progress. At the end of the scan you'll be provided with a report that notifies you of any threats found, and instructions on how to resolve the issues. A virus scan should be carried on a regular basis to keep your PC free from threats.

3. Clear Out the Clutter

Over time, your computer can become cluttered with unnecessary files and programs, causing it to slow down. Before deleting anything, though, we suggest making a backup of your files in case any important documents get deleted by mistake. We recommend making at least two backups - one on a physical device, such as an external hard drive, and one on the cloud, like Google Drive.

Once you've made all of the necessary backups, you can go through the files and programs on your computer and remove any that are no longer needed.

To uninstall programs that you no longer use, go to Start > Control Panel > Uninstall a program. All of the programs installed on your computer will be listed. To delete a program, select it and click the Uninstall button. You'll be provided with instructions on how to complete the uninstallation process.

Warning: do not delete program files directly, or any files that are part of the Windows operating system. Doing so can stop your PC from working!

4. Try the Disk Defragmenter

As you use your PC, the files on the hard drive can become fragmented (separated into small pieces). This causes the hard drive to take longer to load files, because it has to search in different places in order to put the pieces together (this is known as the “seek time”). Windows includes a feature called Disk Defragmenter which consolidates the pieces of the files. Running the program on a regular (weekly) basis can help to improve the seek time of the hard drive.

5. Do a Spring Clean

Fans are an essential part of the computer, helping to cool the components and keep them running at the optimal temperature. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to clog up with dust over time, decreasing their efficiency. And components running at a higher than optimal temperature can cause them to slow down.

Take a vacuum cleaner and gently remove the dust from any ventilation holes. Alternatively, use a can of compressed air to blow the dust away (be careful not to blow the dust further into the PC). If you're feeling super confident, you can open your computer's case and give it a thorough spring clean. If this is the first time you've opened your PC, before carrying out any cleaning it's a good idea to take photos and/or make notes of the wiring and locations of components in case any wires or components come loose in the process.

6. Reinstall Windows

Resetting Windows can help to improve a slowing down PC. Go to Start > Settings > type in “Reset this PC” in the search box. Then click “Get started” below the “Reset this PC” heading.

A dialogue box will pop up, presenting you with two options:

  1. Keep my files
  2. Remove everything

If you have made a backup of your files as we suggested in Step 3 above, you may want to choose “Remove everything”. If not, choose the “Keep my files” option.

The process of reinstalling Windows could take a few hours and your PC may restart several times, so be patient whilst the reinstallation is progressing.

7. Upgrade Your Memory (RAM)

Your computer utilises its RAM (random access memory) in order to temporarily store and retrieve information. When there is insufficient memory available to meet demands, the PC will store and retrieve information from a paging file instead, which is stored on the hard drive. Accessing data from the hard drive is slower than from the RAM, so the best solution here is to increase the amount of RAM available. Open your computer's case to look inside and check which type of RAM it accepts. There may be an empty slot available; if so, purchase an identical RAM module to the existing one (because RAM works best when in pairs). If there isn't an empty slot, buy a RAM module that has a larger capacity than the existing one. For example, if you currently have an 8GB stick of RAM, replace it with a 16GB one.

8. Replace the Hard Drive With a Solid State Drive

If your PC's speed still hasn't improved after completing all of the above steps, as a last resort you can try upgrading the hard drive. Modern computers are now being shipped with a solid state drive (SSD) as standard, as they are a faster, more efficient alternative to the traditional hard drive.

We recently replaced our PC's hard drive with the Samsung 1TB 870 EVO Solid State Drive, and were massively pleased with the results. The PC booted up in a matter of seconds as opposed to minutes, and there was the added bonus of less noise, eliminating the whirring and clicking sounds associated with the spinning platters of hard disks.

This Samsung SSD supports the Samsung Magician software - a program which lets you conveniently clone all the files from your existing hard drive onto the SSD. We found that the cloning process took around an hour and 10 minutes, and after completion we could simply remove the hard drive and boot the computer from the SSD instead.

We were able to install the SSD in the computer whilst the original hard drive was still in place, but if this is not possible for you, of if you're using a laptop, you'll also need to purchase a USB to SATA hard drive cable (this is a little adapter that plugs into the USB port and allows transfer of the files from the PC to the SSD).

Conclusion

A slowing down computer can be frustrating, but before considering throwing it away, there are several steps you can take to improve its performance. Our blog article outlined eight ways in which you can improve the speed of your computer.

Would You Like To Start A Project With Us?

Click the contact button to get in touch with your requirements