October 20, 2020

Categories: Uncategorized

Slow computer holding you back? And because of that slow computer you think it is time to buy a new machine? REALLY? In most cases you can save time and money by doing some simple (and some not so simple) tricks to save your computer and your money! If you try the steps below you will more than likely see a great improvement with your computer.

1) Closing system tray programs

If your computer is off to a slow start, then it’s possible you have too many programs starting up at the same time as Windows itself. Items in the system tray often launch at startup and then stay running while you use your computer.

To access these items, click the upwards arrow toward the right side of your taskbar.

If there are any programs you don’t need to have running, right-click them and close.

2) Stop programs running on startup

Similar to programs running in the tray, other programs that automatically run on startup can slow down your computer. Some you may actually want to run, such as antivirus software, but others may be unnecessary.

Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager or hit Ctrl-Shift-Escape to launch. Head to the Startup tab and you’ll be able to view each item that runs on startup, along with its impact.

Go through these and decide which ones don’t need to start automatically. This process is especially beneficial to performance if you can disable some of the high impact ones. But note that some of these programs are vital for Windows to operate. For example, the ones with Microsoft listed as the publisher are probably best left alone. If you aren’t sure, either leave it, or try a Google search to find out more.

To disable, simply right-click and hit Disable. Remember, you’re not disabling the program, just the fact that it runs on startup.

Windows 7: Instead of accessing Task Manager, you’ll need to search for System Configuration.

3) Delete unnecessary files

Just like our closets and drawers, our computers get cluttered. While you can’t really see it, you know it’s there, and it could be having a negative impact on your computer’s performance. This is especially true if you deal with a lot of large files, such as high-resolution images, audio files, and videos, on a day-to-day basis.

Free up space by making a habit of deleting files and folders each week and emptying the recycle bin afterwards. Doing this regularly means it’s more likely you’ll remember exactly what’s in the files and folders and won’t be so concerned about mistakenly deleting something important.

Handy tip: HDDs usually run at peak speed until they reach roughly 90% capacity. So if you check how much space is used up and you’re over 90%, that’s probably what’s slowing things down. SSDs slow down more gradually as they fill up, so it’s good to stay on top of things. It’s recommended not to fill an SSD to more than 75% of its capacity.

5) Find programs that eat up resources

If you find that your computer is suddenly running significantly slower, chances are there is a particular program to blame. One way to identify the culprit is to go into your task manager and find out what’s eating up your resources.

Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager. Click More details to find out information about the programs that are currently running on your computer.

You can click each header to sort the list according to which applications are using the most of that particular resource. If you need to close something, try closing the actual application first. If it won’t close, come back to the Task Manager screen, right-click the application, and hit End task.

Windows 7: Instead of accessing Task Manager, you’ll need to search for System Configuration.

6) Closing system tray programs

Windows comes with several preset ‘power plans’ to suit your needs. The default is set to Balanced, which takes into account performance and energy consumption. But the latter is only really a concern if you’re running off battery or trying to keep the electricity bills down. As such, you may want to change your plan.

The Power saver plan option is not a good idea if your computer is already slow. This reduces the performance of your PC to save energy. As its name suggests, the High performance plan is a better option. Although it uses more energy, it favors performance so should help speed up your machine.

Aside from the standard options, you could choose to create your own custom plan. Go to Control Panel>Hardware and Sound>Power Options>Create a power plan. Enter your plan name and select Next.

Alternatively, you can start with an existing plan and adjust accordingly. To do this, go to Control Panel>Hardware and Sound>Power Options>Choose or customize a power plan and select Change plan settings next to an existing plan.

In both cases, basic options include how long the display stays on for when you’re inactive and how long before the computer goes into sleep mode. These won’t really affect your computer’s speed, but if you go into Change advanced power settings, you can make more adjustments that will have an impact.

7) Uninstall programs you don’t use

We often install huge programs without realizing how much space they’re taking up. If you think that might be the case, then you can easily uninstall any programs you don’t use. Even if it’s a program you do use now and again, if it’s particularly big, it might be worth simply reinstalling each time you need to use it.

To uninstall a program, head over to Control Panel>Programs>Programs and Features.

Go though the programs and decide which ones, if any, you don’t need. If you’re unsure about a particular program, you could simply use a search engine to find out more. Alternatively, you can also use a tool like the aptly named PC Decrapifier to help you distinguish the good from the bad.

8) Turn Windows features on or off

While you’re in the Programs and Features screen, you might want to check to see if there are any Windows components you don’t need. Click Turn Windows features on or off and you’ll see a list of these components.

You’ll want to be careful you don’t turn off anything you actually need. So again, a search for anything you’re unsure about is a good idea.

9) Closing system tray programs

If your computer is off to a slow start, then it’s possible you have too many programs starting up at the same time as Windows itself. Items in the system tray often launch at startup and then stay running while you use your computer.

To access these items, click the upwards arrow toward the right side of your taskbar.

A desktop with the system tray open.

If there are any programs you don’t need to have running, right-click them and close.

10) Run a disk cleanup

Windows comes with a built-in tool for cleaning up junk that accumulates over time. To access the Disk Cleanup tool, go to Control Panel>System and Security>Administrative Tools, and select Disk Cleanup from the list.

Here, you can select the types of files you want to get rid of and click OK. Then click Clean up system files and choose any system files you want to remove.

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