It doesn’t matter if you feel like your laptop or desktop machine has become slow all of a sudden or gradually over a long period of time, making an effort to work on a machine that is slow is excruciatingly frustrating.
And yes, even those online consumers who diligently maintain their PC or laptop can have their machines slow down much to their chagrin.
Now if you have a machine that is running on Windows 7, 8 and 10 then this is the guide that you need to read right now.
The first thing we want to let you know is that just because your machine has gotten slow does not mean that you have to sell it.
At least, not yet.
Our research shows that you have the option of taking a number of steps that will give you a reasonable amount of boost, especially in the performance department.
All that you need to do is to declutter a few things, perform some technical operations and before you know it, even your oldest computer might give you reasonable speed.
In this guide, we will take a look at the most critical steps that you can take to speed up your slow PC or laptop that is running on Windows 7, 8 and 10.
More specifically, we will talk about the network that you are using.
Keep in mind that our guide will assume that you are running Windows 10.
With that said, we will note down any significant adjustments that you have to take for Windows 7 and 8 where appropriate.
On that note, if you are the kind of user who can’t be bothered to do manual stuff on your machine then you can check out applications such as Avast Cleanup that do everything for you automatically.
Such applications perform all the necessary tasks that need performing to optimize your system by tweaking your settings and also cleaning up the junk files.
Start by closing all non-critical system tray programs
If you feel that your machine is particularly slow when it starts then you should assume that you have installed too many applications and have too many applications starting up pretty much simultaneously as your Windows operating system is starting.
The thing about having different items that you regularly have on your system tray is that they launch at startup.
After that, they continue to run while the user is doing something else on the computer.
Now, in order to access all such items, you need to look at the right side of your operating system’s taskbar and then click the arrow that is pointing upwards.
Take a look at any given program that you think you do not need.
If the program is running, and you don’t need it, then you need to perform a right-click on it in order to close it.
Prevents programs and applications that run automatically on startup
This is another major problem for many Windows users.
Microsoft Windows, for all its glory, already takes a ton of time in starting up.
When you add to that programs that start up at the same time as Windows and keep running in your system tray, they slow down your machine.
Do not allow programs that you do not need immediately upon startup to automatically launch whenever you reboot your machine.
Of course, since we are assuming that you are on the Windows platform, there will always be some programs that you will need to launch at startup and automatically.
One of such programs is your antivirus software application.
Apart from that, you can pretty close any and all unnecessary programs.
Here is a small step by step guide on how to go about looking at the list of startup applications and how much they impact your computer machine.
- First, you need to perform a right-click on the Windows taskbar.
Then you need to click on the option that says Task Manager.
If you do not want to do that then you should press the key combination of CTRL-SHIFT-ESCAPE in order to launch the taskbar.
- Now you need to click on the tab that says Startup.
From there you should have no problems in viewing each given item which may be running on startup.
You should also take a look at the impact that the program is having on your overall startup time.
What we want you to do here is to go through the list and take a look at which ones need to go from your startup burden.
Our research shows that this process is highly impactful at reducing the minutes/seconds that your machine takes in order to get started.
Pay particular attention to programs that have a rating of HIGH under their impact column.
However, do take note that some of these programs may perform vital functions for the health of your Windows operating system.
So don’t go disabling things willy nilly.
If you do not understand a term, then the best thing to do is to leave it alone and then search for the term on the internet and learn whether or not you should disable it.
Then make the final decision.
To take an example, any program that has Microsoft as its publisher are programs that you need and should not shut down.
Again, if you are not sure about something then leave it alone.
Learn more about it and then come back to it.
In order to disable a given program from your startup list all you need to do is to perform a right-click on the program name and then hit the option that says Disable.
Keep in mind that when you DISABLE a program in this list, you are not uninstalling it or disabling the program itself.
What you are doing is disabling the program from starting up at your Windows startup.
For Windows 7 users, they do not have to go to the Task Manager to disable/enable programs.
What they need to do is to search for the option called System Configuration.
Make sure you have updated all of your apps, drivers, and OS.
This is perhaps the most boring piece of advice that you have come across countless times.
But just because something is boring doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.
In most cases, the boring task is the task that gets things done.
It is also true that keeping staff updated can give you a decent performance boost.
Microsoft Windows now comes with a feature using which it automatically sends the user a notification each and every time there is an available update.
All that you need to do is to make sure that you are regular and consistent with updating your stuff.
At any point, if you feel like you may have just missed an important update then know that there is always a possibility to check.
To do that you should,
- First, make your way to the Windows Start menu.
- Then click the icon for Settings or simply type the text Settings.
- When that is done, you need to make your way to Updates & Security.
- After that, click on Windows Updates.
Remember, your operating system is not the only thing you need to update frequently.
You also have apps and drivers that need regular updating.
We will mention again that while you may think of this step as a bother but it is nothing but beneficial for your performance and security.
For users who feel they have missed an update or two, they should do a short online search for the application they are concerned about and then take a look at the version that they should have on their machine.
Get rid of unnecessary files
Pretty much like your own drawers and closets, your computer machine also has a tendency to get cluttered.
Of course, you can never see this clutter since it is digital in nature.
However, just because you can’t see something does not mean that it does not exist.
In fact, our research shows that if you don’t take care of the clutter your system will experience serious negative side-effects.
Because of them, you may get lower performance levels.
Our experience tells us that this is very true for people who have a good number of big files on their machines.
We’re talking about files such as,
- Audio files
- HD images
If you use such content on a daily basis then it is even more important that you keep your machine as decluttered as possible.
We suggest you start off by freeing up some space on your machine.
Delete some files and look for folders that have nothing but junk in them.
Do this each week.
Don’t forget to delete these items from the recycle bin as well after you have deleted them from your machine.
If you keep at it for any amount of time, you will know more about the things that you have in your folders and files and would not have to worry about deleting something mistakenly which you considered important.
Another tip we would like to mention here is that normal HDDs have this feature where they perform at their peak speed till the user fills them up to 90 percent of their total space.
More specifically, we want you to keep an eye on how much space you have consumed on your HDD.
If you have consumed more than 90 percent, then that is probably why your HDD is not giving you the level of performance that it used to give you.
SSDs aren’t exactly safe from this plague as well.
SSDs have a tendency of slowing down with age.
As you fill SSDs up, keep an eye on the things you have on there.
We recommend that you should never fill up your SSD more than 75 percent of its total capacity.
Hunt down programs and applications that binge on hardware resources
This tip is most relevant when you see that your machine has suddenly started to do things significantly slower.
There is a high chance that some specific program is suffocating the life out of your machine.
The best way to identify such an application is to simply go to your Windows task manager and then search for the application that is consuming most of your machine’s resources.
For Windows 10 you need to first perform a right-click on your taskbar and then choose the option that says More details.
This will allow you to have more information regarding your programs and how they are running on your machine.
You have the option of clicking on each given header in order to sort the list differently based on the particular resource that a specific program is consuming.
Now, if you feel the need to close down something for good then at least make an attempt to close the application the proper way first.
If that application won’t close then simply head back to your Task Manager window and perform a right-click on the same application.
Then you need to hit the End task button.
For Windows 7 users, they do not have to access their Task manager. Instead of that, they need to go to System Configuration first and then search for different programs there.
Power Options: Start adjusting them properly
You may already know that the latest version of Windows offers users a good number of pre-configured power plans.
Windows users are free to choose the one that they think will work best for them.
By default, the power plan is set to Balanced.
What does that mean?
That means your machine will consider energy consumption as well as performance while it is operating on a certain task.
Of course, the energy consumption option should only be a concern to those who are running their machine on battery or are trying to make sure their electricity bills don’t go over the hill.
Depending on your own situation you can change your machine’s power plan.
There is the Power Saver plan as well.
We do not recommend users to use this plan if their machine is already old and/or slow.
The Power Saver plan actually reduces the performance of the given machine in order to save as much energy as is possible.
Another plan that we would like to mention here is the High Performance plan.
This plan, we feel, is the best for users who are on the desktop platform.
Even though the High Performance plan will consume more energy, it will return the favor by offering higher performance which always helps with more speed.
So far we have only mentioned the standard options.
Windows users also have the option of creating their own custom power plan.
- What they need to do is to first navigate to Control Panel.
- And then to Hardware and Sound.
- From there the user should go to Power Options.
- And then to Create a power plan.
- From there, input the name of your new power plan and then hit next.
Another way to achieve the same is by starting with a standard power plan and then adjusting according to one’s needs.
- To get started on this the user will first need to make his/her way to Control Panel.
- Then to Hardware and Sound.
- And then to Power Options.
- After that, the user needs to click the option choose or customize a power plan.
- From there the user should choose the option that says Change plan settings.
Now, in both the methods that we have mentioned above, the basic options are the same.
You have an option which determines how long the machine’s display stays activate when the user has gone inactive.
Another option is the time period after which the machines goes into its sleep mode.
Needless to say, such options are unlikely to increase the speed of your PC or laptop.
However, if you make your way into the option Change advanced power settings, you have the facility to make even more minor adjustments which will definitely have a decent impact on your machine’s speed.
Uninstall applications that you do not need
A simple and obvious advice.
Do not install a resource-heavy application without giving a thought to whether or not you would need the application.
All programs take space.
And they keep on eating up space as long as you keep on using them.
So uninstall programs that you know you do not have to use.
If there is a big program that you use from time to time, even then we would suggest that you uninstall the program and reinstall it each time a need arises.
Uninstalling a program is the simplest thing in the world.
- Go to Control Panel.
- Click Programs.
- Then click features
- And then, click on the one you would like to uninstall