In all my years of helping people with their computers the most common question is if I can speed up a computer for free. In many cases the answer is YES!!! There are many things that can and will affect your computers performance. This is not a one size fits all discussion however, because sometimes hardware fails. I have yet to find a free fix for that but I am still looking…..
Spring cleaning – Time to take out the trash
The first thing I do before working on any computer is creating a restore point. You can do this by searching restore point in the start menu. Then click on create at the bottom. This is very important. If anything were to happen you will be able to restore to this point without affecting your files.
Disk space is the first thing that I usually check when I work on a slow computer. Probably because it is so easy. Disk space becomes a problem when your hard drive becomes to full. There is much debate about this being a myth but I have noticed a real difference many times after performing a simple clean.
There is a built in tool within windows called disk cleanup that is efficient which can be accessed through the start menu or through “run” holding the windows key+r. Simply clicking on cleanup system files will scan for any unnecessary files. You will notice that many boxes will be left unchecked. It is safe to delete any of the files but keep in mind that some of those boxes contain saved passwords, (which I am against anyways). Next simply choose to delete files.
I prefer to use ccleaner myself, (free version). It is much more thorough and allows me to wipe free space. When windows removes a file it merely removes the reference leaving the data on the hard drive forever. For security and privacy I prefer it to be deleted. If you do choose to use this function (by clicking the box at the bottom after running the scan), be prepared to wait at least an hour. This action takes time, but, to me, is worth the wait…..
Fragments – Torn to pieces…
Fragments occur when files will not fit within a given space. Windows will then move pieces of those files to other locations. This happens because before you use your computer your hard drive is formatted with specific locations allocated. So each time you access a fragmented file they must be reunited before you are able to use it. When you have many fragmented files it can really slow down your computer.
Disk defrag can also be access through “run” win+r or the start menu. This program should be set to run on a schedule but in the case of a slow PC it is my next step. When you open defrag you will see an analyze button and a defragment disk button. I always just run defrag. It is quicker and the less I have to wait on a computer the better. That is the whole point to all of this. We don’t like waiting….
Malware – The gift that keeps on giving
First off, if you have read my last post, I apologize for the reiteration. But this is necessary, free and painless. It amazes me how my #1 tool can be freeware (free software).
Malicious software (malware) is designed and implemented to damage and or corrupt computers and other devices. They can have a devastating effect on your performance or even take down your whole system. If you do not already have a malware removal tool installed on your computer, I suggest that you get one immediately! Even if the previous steps have seemed to fix your problem. It is vital to have one on hand when it is needed.
A virus can easily stop you from accessing the internet to get one rendering you helpless until you have access to another computer. I recommend Malwarebytes Antimalware. It is a very powerful tool and is invaluable. It will find and quarantine almost any threat out there. This program eats them up like candy.
It is also important to have an Antivirus software. Avira, Avast and Avg all have great Protection for free! See Malwarebytes and antivirus’s work hand in hand. The antivirus will fight to keep the threat from infecting your computer while Malwarebytes will target those that are already infecting it. When all else failed MBAM never let me down….
Programs are the brains of the operation. They are lines of code that dictates what the computer does. Your computer cannot function without programs. However, when you start up your computer there are many programs that run as soon as it boots up. This is why it takes a minute to load. There are usually programs that are not essential to start. They are simply loaded on the ram awaiting a task. This will often bear down on your computer’s performance.
The ram allows your processor to quickly access programs. It takes much more time to access these directly through the hard drive. Too many programs starting up upon booting can drastically slow your booting time.
If you press the windows key+r and type msconfig you should see a box appear. This will be the system configuration. By clicking on the tab that says startup you will see a list of your programs. On windows 10 this will be under task manager/startup. Focus on the ones that say running. This can be a meticulous task because some programs are needed for the computer to function.
No worries though. You can move down the list one by one searching for the ones you can disable. If you feel uncomfortable doing this then please don’t. You should feel free to send me an email with screenshots of your programs and I will help you determine which ones are safe to shut down.
At this point I usually go ahead and uninstall any application that I have downloaded and don’t use anymore. Clutter is a problem for me. There are also many applications that come preinstalled that I usually uninstall as well. Anything not vital or used I trash.
Drivers – The translators
Drivers are installed on a computer to allow communication between the operating system and devices. I look at them as translators. A virus can corrupt or remove driver files causing your OS to lose this ability. This will greatly affect the performance of your system.
To check the drivers you can access the device manager through “run” win+r or the start menu. Once you have opened this you can expand a category showing you the devices. You can right click on the outdated drivers, then on update.
If for some reason this doesn’t work you can download the driver online using the model # of the device. Be sure to check the address bar to ensure a secure connection, ie, https and the green padlock before downloading and always be sure that you download from trusted sources. In this case, the manufacturer.
Can it be done? – I think so….
So here we are. If this did not help you then you might have an issue with your hardware. I am here if you need any help to diagnose your problem. It isn’t as hard as you might think.
No matter how well you maintain your computer, they always seem to slow down over time. There are multiple things that could be the cause of a slow computer but it is usually an easy fix.
The main thing to remember is to create restore points often. This will save you from alot of headache in the future. This is especially important to do before you work on your computer. I also like to create one before major updates just in case.
No matter what problem you face with your computer or devices it can be easily diagnosed and fixed. Please don’t allow yourself to feel incapable. You are an amazing creature that is capable of great things, of all things. Please comment below if you have anything to add or want to ask. You can also feel free to send me a message at the email below.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article and I hope that it has helped you out. We are in this together….
Best of luck,
Founder of tonypcmd.com
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org