Technology

PC running slow? Try these tips before you buy a new one


Yes I know it’s a sad fact but computers just don’t get any better with age.

But, before you reach for your wallet, why not try these handy tips that might give your PC another year before it faces retirement!

‘Applications are hanging, the computer taking an age to boot, error message after error message’.

We hear you, and we would like to help.

Here are five steps to help improve your PC’s performance. So put away your debit card and read on!

1 – Look at the startup programs

“My PC takes forever to startup”.

If only I had a Euro for every time I heard this being said. Well, have you considered exactly what you have been installing on your PC over the past months and years for that matter?

This can impact performance significantly.

Taking a good look at what exactly is loaded up once your PC boots is a great starting point. For most programs starting them when Windows OS boots are simply just a waste of time, you may not require these programs, yet they sit in memory. Such a waste.


If you do not require the program to be loaded into memory immediately once your PC boots then simply just disable it! Be careful though, don’t go unselecting everything. Only disable what you are sure you don’t need running. Make sure the anti-virus software is left enabled. In Windows 10 this should be enabled by default anyway.


With Windows 8 and 10 operating systems this is how you edit the startup options:

1. Open up Task Manager by right-clicking on the Taskbar.
2. Select the “Startup” tab.
3. Use the disable button on unwanted start-up services.

On Windows XP, Vista and 7 this is how you edit the startup options:

1. From the start menu Type MSConfig in the search box and hit enter.
2. Click on the “Startup” tab.
3. Unselect the startup item boxes that you would like to prevent from starting when
Windows boots.
4. Click OK and restart now or wait until you are ready for a reboot.

hands typing on a laptop keyboard
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

2 – Free up disk space

The more free space that you have on disk, the better your Operating System (OS) will function.

Aside from your files, folders, videos, you must remember that your system is regularly downloading updates for operational and security purposes as well as read/writes. The recommendation from Microsoft is to keep a minimum of twenty per cent of your disk space free for maintenance and performance.

How can I free up some disk space quickly in three steps?

1. Go through your installed programs and uninstall those that you no longer require. Think of all those apps and games you never play anymore or software where the trials have expired.
2. Run a disk clean-up. Once it runs a calculation, it will tell you exactly how much space you can free up by deleting temporary/system files that you may no longer require in a fast and efficient way.
3. Download CCleaner. It’s a more aggressive method of cleaning out temporary junk files and has been around for some time and is a well-trusted piece of software. CCleaner will also delete those junk files you know longer require from any third-party applications that you have installed, something which Microsoft disk cleanup would not do.

Here is the download link: CCleaner

3 – Check for updates

Two fundamental steps are coming up.

Firstly, check that you have the latest operating system updates installed. Are automatic updates enabled?

Unsure, well this is how to check:

How can I check for system updates on Windows 10?

1. Select the Start button, and then go to the Settings icon.
2. Select Update and security and then ‘Windows Update’.
3. Select Check for updates.
4. If Windows Update says your device is up to date, you have all the updates that are currently available.

How can I check for system updates on Windows 7 and 8?

1. Click the Start button in the lower-left corner.
2. In the search box, type “Update”, and then, in the list of results, click Windows Update.
3. Click Check for updates.
4. If you see a message telling you that important updates are available, or telling you to review important updates, click the message to view and select the important updates to install.
5. Choose the check boxes for any updates that you want to install, and then click OK.
6. Click Install updates.

Secondly, check for malware.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be very nasty types of malware, but you could have some annoying software that’s just eating up
all your memory and slowing things down to a halt.
Consider running a scan with an application such as Malwarebytes which comes with a free trial.

Malwarebytes will scan your system and report back on the following.

  • Real-time protection – Detects malware automatically, before it can infect. (14-day free
    trial).
  • Anti-exploit – Shields vulnerable systems and software from exploit attacks. (14-day free
    trial).
  • Anti-ransomware – Stops ransomware attacks before your data is held, hostage. (14-day free
    trial).
  • Malicious website protection – Prevents access to and from known malicious web pages.
    (14-day free trial).
  • Anti-malware/Anti-spyware – Detects and removes malware and advanced threats. (FREE).
  • Anti-rootkit – Removes rootkits and repairs the files they damage. (FREE)

You can download and learn more here: Malwarebytes

4 – Consider a reinstall

If you are running Windows 8 or Windows 10 then this option could be the one for you.

These operating systems come with a reinstall and refresh options built-in. You could save yourself a lot of time and bother and just sit back have a coffee and wait.

You’ll have the options of keeping your important files such as pictures, documents and videos, etc. or what could be the better option of backing up those files yourself first and then doing the complete reinstall of windows.

It sure does save time as it will do all the leg work for you, getting rid of those troublesome programs, junk files and malware, etc.

If you want to go for the refresh option this is what you do:

1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
2. (If you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse
pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
3. Tap or click Update and recovery, and then tap or click Recovery.
4. Under Refresh your PC without affecting your files, tap or click Get started.
5. Follow the instructions on the screen.

If you want to go for the “Reinstall” option this is what you do:

1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
2. (If you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse
pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
3. Tap or click Update and recovery, and then tap or click Recovery.
4. Under Remove everything and reinstall Windows, tap or click Get started.
5. Follow the instructions on the screen.

green motherboard
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

5 – Add some new hardware

If all else fails, you could always add some hardware!

Hardware for laptops and desktops is getting cheaper and cheaper, and you don’t have to spend the earth to add a few upgrades.

Some hardware update considerations could be:

RAM. Standing for Random Access Memory. Adding more RAM will help deliver an instant performance boost for slow running PC’s and help feed those memory-hungry applications that like to use it up.

The more, the better. We recommend first though a visit over to this
website: http://www.crucial.com/. I

t will tell you the max amount of memory that your system supports and then suggest some suitable upgrades.


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John Ryan

I write mainly about tips to achieve your goals as well as technology and personal finance. Click here to contribute an article >>

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