Has your Windows PC started to become slower than usual? Do you want to learn how to fix your slow PC by yourself for free? Then this post is for you. We will show you how you can speed up your PC with a few tips and tricks. There are many reasons why your PC, whether new or old, can be slow. If your PC is especially the older Windows version, then in the world of computing, your PC is likely to have become more sluggish with time.
The reasons for slow PCs can range from installing an unwanted program on your PC to having some outdated drives or keeping redundant files. Luckily, you can take many measures to boost the performance of your PC. We will mostly be focusing on system performance issues, which can help to enhance and improve the speed of your PC. We will mostly be focusing on Windows 10 operating systems, but if your computer is the older Windows 8 or 7 computer, these ideas might still be useful to you.
Sometimes if your computer needs more attention than the ones mentioned below, then you might have to replace your hardware so that you get a faster-running computer.
We suggest that you try the following 10 suggestions before you give your PC to professional service:
- Delete Unwanted Programs and Unwanted Files
- Run Disk Cleanup
- Check for and Clean Up Malware
- Disable Startup programs
- Keep Up with OS Updates and Restart Your PC Regularly
- Run Action Center’s Troubleshooter
- Disable graphics and animation
- Upgrade Your RAM
- Defragment your Hard Drive
- Switch to SSD
The above solutions are described in more detail below:
1. Delete Unwanted Programs and Unwanted Files
Deleting Unwanted Programs
When you first buy your computer, it automatically comes preinstalled with many software programs. You might not always use these programs, so it could be wise to delete these programs from your computer because keeping them might slow down your PC. Some of these preloaded programs might even run in the background, without you being aware of them. These programs could be claiming to clean up your PC or improve its performance when in reality, it is just using up your computer’s disk space.
Additionally, you might also be installing many unwanted programs that you do not need to use. Every program you install is taking up space on your computer, and slowing up your PC further. The best thing to do is uninstall these programs, especially the programs with a big file size that you do not need to use. Even if it is a program that you do not use frequently but want to keep it, it might be better to reinstall again, than letting it occupy space on your PC.
There are a few ways in which you can uninstall these programs. You can do so in the following manner:
Control Panel>Programs>Programs and Features>Uninstall a Program
After you are in the control panel, you can go through the programs that you do not use and uninstall the program to save some space while speeding up your PC.
Doing this will likely speed up your PC, but if it still does not, then alternatively you can use the third-party tool called PC Decrapifier which you can use for free if it is for non-commercial use.
Deleting Unwanted Files
Computers usually get cluttered with unwanted files, which we keep without really needing them. If you are used to storing large files on your computers such as audio files, high-resolution images, or audio and video files, it might be better to put them on a cloud-based software instead of letting them occupy space on your PC. These large files could be negatively impacting your computer and slowing down your PC.
You will have to free up these files by deleting your files and folders every week or additionally you can store them in an external hard drive if you need those files. You will also have to remember to empty your recycle bin as the deleted files usually get stored there.
You can keep the files that are important to you, but there are other ways to store them than using your computer space to keep them. Old files that you have stored in the computer likely is one of the reasons for your slow PC. Try decluttering these files and see if the speed of your operating system improves gradually.
2. Run Disk Cleanup
The good news is that Windows contains a de-cluttering tool called Disk Cleanup that you can run on your computer to clean up your computer litter that has been stored over time. The Disk Cleanup scans your operating system for redundantly large files that have been stored. These include program installers, logging files, setup logs, Windows Defender leftovers, and temporary internet files on your computer.
Many people usually have unnecessary temporary files stored on their PCs, which just takes up more space and slows down their computers. Disk Cleanup can drastically improve your computer and free up space on your PC if you are worried about a slow computer.
Using the Disk Cleanup tool is simple if you know where to look:
Control Panel>System and Security>Administrative Tools>Disk Cleanup
You will have to select the Disk Cleanup tool from the list of Administrative Tools.
There is other software you can use if your computer is very slow and still does not speed up despite Disk Cleanup. Slim Cleaner 4 is another PC cleaning software that you can install for free and it does the job of freeing up space on your computer.
There is also a free CC Cleanup utility that you can use to clean up your PC. If you have AVG installed on your computer, you will have access to a professional tune-up software where you can free up space on your computer.
Additionally, if you do not want to do this yourself for free or are running out of time from your busy schedule, then there is a software that you can purchase. This software is called lolo System Mechanic which is known to fix and speed up your PC necessarily.
3. Check for and Clean Up Malware
Malware which is malicious software is one of the most common reasons for the slow down of computers. Malware programs can adversely affect your computer and can come into your computer from various sources.
The most common ways malware enters your computer is through clicking on email links, dubious advertisements which contain malware, downloading software without checking to see if they have any kind of virus that could harm your computer, or going to an unsolicited website and installing different kinds of applications onto your Windows operating system. Because of this, you must be incredibly careful with the websites you go to, the software you download, and the things you click on the internet from time to time.
If you have accidentally or unknowingly downloaded malware onto your computer, it could be the primary reason for the slow down of your PC. Malware can not only make your computer slow, but it can also cause serious and permanent damage to your computer. To detect if your computer has malware, you can check for it using malware scanner such as Zemana AntiMalware which will let you know if you have malware on your computer.
We suggest you download anti-malware software that can detect and delete malware on your computer. The best free anti-virus software is Bitdefender Antivirus Free, Comodo Free Antivirus, which is a cloud-based malware protection software, Sophos Home Free, and Adaware Antivirus Free. Malwarebytes Free Software can also be useful if you do not want to pay any money for anti-malware software. If you want more protection, then you can pay for some anti-virus programs such as AVG or Norton 360.
One of the biggest benefits of using anti-virus software for malware is that the software automatically identifies, and confines malware, and they also monitor your network for malicious activity reasonably blocking any malware on your computer. Checking for malware and deleting them, can speed up your computer and also allows you to have a safer, more secure experience with your computer.
4. Disable Start-up Programs
Far too many times, we do not realize that startup programs are using up space on our computer. Programs that automatically run when your computer starts, can significantly slow down your computer.
Some software such as anti-virus might be necessary on start-up but other programs such as your skype account, acrobat reader, news applications, and yahoo account might not be necessary to run during start-up. Some of these programs can run in the background, without you knowing, slowing down your operating system.
The good news is that you can disable these start-up programs and only use them when you want to. To disable start-up programs, follow the below instruction:
Select Task Manager on taskbar>Choose Start-up tab>Right-Click and Disable any unnecessary applications
Once you are in the start-up tab, you need to go through the applications that are listed there. If you are sure that some of these applications are slowing down your PC, then you can disable them or perform a Google search to decide which Windows programs are beneficial to keep during startup. You could also uncheck any software from an unreliable source that you do not know has been taking up space on your computer.
You might have to reboot your computer to confirm the changes you have made in Task Manager. Chances are that your computer will gain speed with fewer startup programs blocking performance.
5. Keep Up with OS Updates and Restart Your PC Regularly
Microsoft is known to release updates for Windows operating systems very frequently. These updates are there for a reason and can drastically improve the performance of your PC.
Many of the updates are designed solely to fix common bugs that can decrease the speed of your computer and hinder system performance. It is greatly beneficial as Windows will automatically send you a reminder when an update is available and will give you a set of instructions that you have to follow.
Some people keep postponing these system updates because they can take time to update and you have the option of starting the update according to your time. You should make sure that you save and back up your data before you perform new updates so that your files and important data are not lost. We recommend that you perform a system update as soon as Windows notifies you that there is a system update.
If you are not sure whether your system is up to date or if you are concerned that you have missed an update you can perform the following actions:
Click Start>Click Settings>Updates & Security> Windows Updates
By performing the above actions, you will know if you have missed an update or if there are any pending updates on your computer. These updates are known to rapidly improve the performance and speed of Windows PCs.
Restart Your PC
To perform and apply all the available updates, your PC may need to restart many times. You need to perform these updates when you are not in a hurry to use your PC and when you can use a few hours to perform the system updates.
Many people keep their computers on for many weeks or even months, before restarting or shutting down their computers. This can considerably impact your PC performance and speed since it has not had time to reboot for a long time. Restarting your computer enables it to update regularly and shut down any stuck programs.
We recommend that you shut down your PC at least once a day after you have finished using it. You can also restart your computer when you are taking a break or making yourself a coffee. You should also close any programs that run in the background and shut all the programs down, along with your operating system. This gives your PC a fresh start every day when you are starting to use it and chances are that the speed will also improve.
6. Run Action Center’s Troubleshooter
Typing in Action Center in the search bar at the start button will lead you to the Troubleshooter. Action Center is designated through a flag icon in your computer’s system tray. Windows usually come with built-in diagnostics that troubleshoot common problems with your computer. It troubleshoots most of the applications that you are using on your computer to make sure that none of those programs are slowing down your PC.
Action Center looks for error reports for any errors or faults that your PC has encountered, and it also checks for certain solutions to those problems. Action Center contains important messages about security and maintenance settings that you should check frequently so that your PC is up to date. Some of the errors Action Center identifies are out-of-date hardware drivers and software updates that can speed up your computer.
When you start the troubleshooter, it might ask you certain questions after which it resets common settings to find solutions and fix the problems your PC is encountering. Sometimes these repairs are carried out automatically, but other times you will have to run them manually. You will find this when you enter the Action Center.
Keep in mind that troubleshooters cannot fix all your computer’s problems and they are usually the first thing to try, before taking more serious measures for improving the speed of your PC.
7. Disable Graphics and Animation on Your PC
Windows can be heavy on visual effects and advanced graphical features. If your PC has a lot of unnecessary graphics such as fading effects and flyouts, these programs can be slowing down your computer.
Graphical features can cause more harm than good, although it is visually appealing. Although the graphics and animation on Windows can contribute to better user interface and experience, most of the time, the amount of space they take up on your PC, would mean that you would be better off disabling these graphics.
If you think these functions are slowing down your PC, there is an option to switch them all off and run on the essentials needed for Windows. It is simple to adjust these settings if you follow the instructions below:
Go to Control Panel>System and Security>System>Advanced System Settings>Peformance Section>Settings.
In the Settings, you will be presented with a list of options that you can choose from. If you select Adjust for Best Performance, then this function will remove all the visual special effects that come with your computer. You can also opt to remove the visual effects individually if you think it is necessary to keep some of them on your PC.
You can also disable transparency effects which Windows has a choice for things like your taskbar or your icons. To disable transparency effects, follow the below instructions:
Windows Menu>Search for Make Start, taskbar and Action Center Transparent>Colour Settings> Choose Switch off Transparency
Although it may look appealing, these small and simple effects can reduce the speed and performance of your computer.
Ultimately, what you do will depend on your preference and how you would like to use your computer. But if you have a slow PC, then it is highly likely that you do not need these extra graphics and you could probably live without fade and shadow features.
If you would still like to use these features and install video games and other effects on your computer which take up large space, then it is probably better to get higher RAM on your PC. You can learn how to upgrade your RAM in the next step.
8. Upgrade Your RAM
One of the most effective ways to improve the speed of your PC is by upgrading your Random Access Memory (RAM) which is the amount of virtual memory that your computer has.
Your Windows 10 PC would require a minimum of 4GB RAM to run efficiently. However, most people who use their computers for complicated functions, need at least 8GB of RAM. Depending on the type of computer you have, and how much you use your computer, the amount of RAM you would need would also vary. If you have the older version of Windows, having only 2GB of memory, for instance, would be very troublesome for your PC.
If you have applications that take up more resources such as video games and movies on your computer, those applications might also be slowing down your computer, or you might need to add more RAM into your PC to keep those programs. If you have an older system, which is not working very well, then having more RAM can be beneficial for you. If you want to save memory on your computer, try not to use memory-hungry programs which can seriously slow down your PC.
It is not difficult to install more RAM into your PC and it is one of the most common ways people improve the speed of their computer’s operating system. Your PC comes built-in with RAM slots where you can insert chips. You can understand the type of memory your system uses by opening Task Manager and clicking Performance. By doing this, you can see any memory slots that your system is using as well as the type of memory slots your system is using such as DDR4.
Additionally, you can also install a new RAM Kit which can speed up your computer, and you can store all your large files and programs without any worry. If you want to know how to install RAM onto your computer, the PC world offers a good article with details on the subject. If you install more memory onto your computer, it will mean that your hard drive would be less exhausted, leading to better overall speed and permanence for your PC.
9. Defragment Your Hard Drive
With time, the files on your hard drive become fragmented. Your disk can store files in more than once place, taking up more space than necessary on your hard drive. If you do not know what the term defragment means, then it is not as complex as it sounds. It just means that with defragmentation the hard drive of your computer puts the old files you have on your computer, back together in one place, so that your operating system can speed up and run more smoothly. It is important to defragment your hard drive because not doing so can significantly slow down your computer.
If you have received Windows updates on Windows 7, 8, and 10, then it is likely that your system has defragmented your files routinely on a schedule. There is also a default schedule that Windows operates once a week, but you can also manually run the process if you feel you might have missed an update.
Whether you need to defragment your hard drive will depend on the type of PC you have. It is advisable to only continue with defragging your hard drive if you have a traditional mechanical Hard Disk Drive (HDD). If you have a Solid-State Drive (SSD) you do not need to defragment your hard drive. You must only defragment the HDD. Even if you have both HDD and SDD, you need to follow this technique only for HDD.
It is quite simple to defragment your HDD if you follow the below steps:
Go to My Computer > Right Click Hard Drive > Properties > Tools > Optimize and Defragment Drive > Click Optimize
After you follow the above steps, you will get an Optimize Drive popup screen. Here, you will need to select HDD Drive and click on Analyze to see how fragmented your hard drive is. It is advisable to keep your HDD below 5% but if it is above, then you can click on Optimize and defragment the HDD.
You should note that if your PC does not have HDD, then you need not defragment it. If your PC has SSD, clicking on Optimize will run the TRIM command which will clean out the data on your computer that is no longer being used. This is a very efficient method to clean your drives.
The latest Windows 10 PCs come with SSD and do not have HDD and it is most likely that you will need to defragment your HDD in an older version of Windows PC, especially if your files are slowing your computer. Following this method can improve the speed of your PC, so it is worth giving it a try.
10. Switch to SSD
We have slightly covered about SSD in the previous step. Adding an SSD on your computer can make it operate much faster than without SSD. If you have an old computer without SSD, it might be beneficial for you to install SSD and have both HDD and SDD on your computer.
SSD has much higher speeds than any traditional computer system and is available on recent computers. Instead of reinstalling Windows again on your computer, you can use a cloning tool to save all your data from an old disk into an SDD. A cleaning tool you can use for free is Todo Backup Free 9.0.
SSD can be simple to install but it will cost you money and it cannot be bought for free. An SSD with 120GB can be bought for under $100. The installation takes place inside your PC in the motherboard and is not something that you can locate outside in a slot. If you want to learn how to install SSD into your computer then this article will be useful in explaining the process in more detail.
It is usually recommended that you buy SDD if you have more than 85 percent of your hard drive full which can negatively impact the speed and function of your PC. We recommend that you use this step and buy an SDD only if your computer is seriously slow in speed and the other steps mentioned in this article do not help in speeding up your PC.
Few More Tips You Can Use to Speed Up Your PC
Remove Browser Extensions:
Browser extensions can be added without your knowledge many times because you might have inadvertently clicked on an extension without much thought. Browser extensions can slow down your browsing experience, so you must clean them up regularly and follow your browser maintenance.
Run fewer programs concurrently:
Running many tasks together on your computer can hamper its speed and cause problems. You should run only a few programs together or one program at a time, without overburdening your PC. You should close your programs instead of minimizing them and running them in the background which can take up too much space. If you run fewer programs, then you should see some improvement in the speed of your computer.
Clean Your Computer Regularly:
It is important to keep your PC in clean and tidy shape. Collected dust and grime on your PC can slow down your computer, especially food and liquid particles on your computer. If you have too much dirt and dust accumulated, then your computer cannot run at its maximum speed. You should not eat or drink near your computer and you should clean any accumulated dust with a cloth every day.
Reinstall or Upgrade Windows on Your PC:
If you have tried everything and your PC is still not at a satisfactory speed, then you might have to reinstall or upgrade Windows on your PC. Many times, upgrading to a better Windows version can improve the speed of your PC and you will have a fresher look on your computer. Alternatively, you can give your PC for servicing where a technician can reinstall or upgrade your Windows.
This article provides some good tips and tricks to follow to improve the speed on your Windows PC. We have mostly followed Windows 10, but most of these functions will also be available in older Windows versions.
It is more likely that you will run with slow down problems, when your PC gets older or ages with time. You can still upgrade your PC to a newer Windows version. You can also follow some suggestions such as not opening too many programs, running troubleshooters or disabling graphics and animation which are simple tools to speed up your computer.
You will need to upgrade and install updates and follow instructions to keep your PC at its optimal level. Remember that the maintenance of your PC is a regular activity.