We all own or at least have tackled one of those slowpokes. Whether it happens overnight or overtime, trying to work with a slowpoke is really nerve-racking… sometimes even deadly (for the machine, of course). Some operating systems are more prone to becoming slow (think about Windows 10) than the others.
Here’s your initial checklist:
- Get rid of unwanted programs
- Disk Cleanup utility
- Get rid of malware
- Use a third-party cleanup app
- Defragment the hard drive
- Install a faster/more spacious hard drive
- Install bigger RAM
Practically a machine can become slow for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, which is most of the time the case, some rogue software might be at action. Often you would come across victims of some drive-by installation while they were surfing some apparently innocent looking website. The victim clicks something, and et voila! Some random piece of software starts downloading (sometimes even without notifying).
There are also the so-called ‘system boosters’ that claim to speed up the system while the only thing they practically do is hogging up the system resources. Sometimes your security software might be at fault. It might be scanning and keeping the system resources busy all the time making the system slow.
There is also the chance that your hardware is either slow, outdated, or both. Some of the components that are occasionally at fault are the hard drive, RAM, and the processor.
Get rid of unwanted programs
Windows often come preinstalled with a lot of programs. Chances are you would not even touch most of them. The bad news is as they come preinstalled, these programs often keep running in the background even when you are not using them. So the first thing that you should do is uninstall those programs for good.
Open the Programs and Features window from Control Panel and uninstall all the programs that you are not going to use in a while. But beware: don’t get rid of any system software in this process else the system might become unstable.
Disk Cleanup utility
Windows now provide a disk cleanup utility called Disk Cleanup. This disk maintenance tool is designed to free up disk space on your computer by removing unwanted and redundant data. It searches and analyses the files residing in your hard disk and decides which are currently of no use, and then deletes them.
By using the Disk Cleanup you can get rid of the unnecessary program installers, log files, and temporary internet files. Often you would see drastic memory savings after running the Disk Cleanup, even more so if you decide to do so after a while. Aside from deleting unwanted files, Disk Cleanup also provides a systematic compression scheme. It compresses the files that have not been used over a set period of time.
Get rid of malware
Malware is the most common cause of the total slowdown of your system. Most of the time, the malware are well-hidden under some advertising on some website. You are literally doomed if you, even by mistake, click the advertising.
Your machine would simply go downhill if you grant these dubious (and often malicious) programs the permissions. The less harmful ones might simply go as far as creating unwanted files and directories with strikingly noticeable names. The more harmful ones, on the other hand, can go on to hijacking your system and deleting files.
The best way to deal with them is to use some reputed antimalware software package. That being said, even the best antimalware tools face difficulties detecting and deleting them. In difficult scenarios, you might even need a boot-time cleanup.
Use a third-party cleanup app
Disk Cleanup might not be able to do everything – ultimately it’s a utility application provided by the Windows. If you need more power and control, you better use some external, third-party cleanup applications.
CCleaner has been one of the all-time favorites of the system administrators that gives you a lot of flexibility. As stated earlier, unless you’re absolutely sure about the application, steer clear of it. More often than not, they do more harm than help. These tools can help in cleaning out unnecessary files, registry entries, and tools.
Defragment the hard drive
Over time, your hard drive would become fragmented which means you should defragment it after a while, maybe when your system starts lagging. Fragmentation is a fancy term that is used to imply that the memory blocks assigned to the programs are not contiguous anymore; rather they come in smaller disconnected (fragmented) chunks.
This makes the whole computation procedure slower as the machine needs to access multiple fragmented data chunks. Usually, Windows by default runs a defragmentation process once every week as it can be a bit of a long affair. In case you find the machine crawling, be sure to defragment the drives manually.
Install a faster/more spacious hard drive
If RAM is like the short-term memory of your computer, the hard drive is like the long-term counterpart. You never expect it to be lightning-fast, but it’s always appreciated if it is not crazy-slow. The read/write speed of the hard drive depends a lot on its rotation speed; the higher the number, the better the access rate.
There are many variants in the market – 4500, 5400, 7400, or even 10000 rpm. But if you are willing to spend a bit of money for a quality product, go for a Solid State Drive (SSD). An SSD is way faster than even the fastest HDDs, and it’s quieter as there are no moving parts. Exchanging your HDD for an SSD is a great way of speeding up your machine.
Install bigger RAM
You can never have too much RAM for your machine. Having low RAM is one of the most common reasons for having a slow computer. Some operating systems, for example, the 64-bit version of any recent Windows, hog up a lot of RAM for working optimally.
It’s recommended that you have at least a 6 GB machine, although 8 GB of RAM is preferred for smooth working. The 32-bit versions generally require a bit of less main memory, but it’s better to have a bit of excess main memory for running multiple programs concurrently.
Well, that’s all for today. All the mentioned tips are very standard in general. The software related tricks are usually much easier to handle and won’t require any additional monetary investment. Aside from the mentioned ones, you should also consider tweaking the power settings of your OS and run only a handful of programs concurrently to ensure a swift experience.