Nobody likes a slow laptop. While your machine might be new, that doesn’t guarantee it will be fast. There are many reasons for a low laptop performance, and when taking care of your machine it is important to be aware of each one. It might be a single issue, or a combination of different ones. Either way, there are many ways you can get your computer back up to speed.
In this guide, we will break down the different reasons your computer could run slow and then analyze different ways to boost its performance. Performance varies from computer to computer, but searching or typing on a slow device is never fun. That is where the following tips come in.
1. Update Operating System
When boosting your laptop’s performance, the first thing you must do is make sure you have all of the most recent possible updates. Though most laptops don’t need updates, new software can instill life into your system and make it run much smoother than before.
If you have a Windows computer, click the Start button and select Settings. From there, pick Update & Security, go to Windows Updates, and then Check for Updates. Once there, if your computer says “you’re up to date” you are fine. However, if the status says “updates are available” click “install now.” From there, you can pick the updates you want to install.
In contrast, if you have a Mac, you can check for updates by going to the Apple menu and clicking on System Preferences. There, click on Software Update. If you want this to happen automatically, you should click on “Automatically Keep My Mac up to date.”
2. Virus Check
Viruses are one of the most common reasons that computers don’t operate at full performance. Fortunately, if your CPU is infected, there are several ways to get rid of harmful viruses and make your machine run at a much faster rate.
If you have a PC, Windows Defender can scan your system for viruses and remove any unwanted threats it finds. If you want to go beyond that, there are numerous other virus detection and deletion software programs on the market. Some are paid, while others are free.
As long as you go with a trusted brand, your computer will be back up to speed in no time.
Just be sure to get an antivirus program that doesn’t take up too much space. Some programs, while effective, can actually cause your computer to slow down because they eat up too much memory.
It is also a good idea to pick antivirus software that runs in the background in addition to a standard malware cleanup option. That combination, while a bit more involved, protects your computer on two fronts. That then allows it to run much more smoothly.
3. Delete Unused Programs and Bloatware
When using your computer, you want to pay attention to what programs you use and which ones you don’t. The more stuff you have on your system, the slower it will run. It’s that simple. While there are many different programs you need to use your computer, there are many that you don’t. It always helps to go through your system and remove things you don’t touch.
Even if you think nothing is on your hard drive, it’s very easy to build up extra programs over time. When cutting out that software, focus on utility programs like virus scanners or disk cleaners that you no longer use. That helps your computer performance because such programs tend to automatically start-up in the background when you boot your laptop on, which then slows everything down.
Also, pay attention to any so-called “bloatware” that may be on your device. When you get a new computer, there are many programs already installed onto the system. Most of those you will never touch, and they all use your system’s memory. Getting rid of them is a good way to ensure your machine isn’t bogged down.
If you are on a Mac, see how to uninstall apps here.
4. Switch off Unnecessary Animations
If your Windows computer isn’t running at top performance, you can also disable some of the animations it uses. The system comes with many fancy graphics that, while attractive, don’t add anything to your PC performance.
If you want to turn them off, go to Control Panel and navigate to the Ease of Access Center. Once there, go to the Make the Computer Easier to See and check the “turn off unnecessary animations” box.
If you want, you can also disable certain animations but leave others on. If you want to mix-and-match, right click on the Start menu and pick System. Go to Advanced System Settings. That will take you to a Visual Effects tab and enable you to see a list of animations. Simply check or uncheck the ones you want off.
5. Add More RAM or Upgrade to an SSD Drive
While many of the above tips focus around taking things away from your PC or Mac, you also have the option of adding hardware as well. If you have a laptop that only comes with 2GB of memory, you can buy extra RAM and upgrade it to 4, 6, or 8, depending on the make or model. That will improve your system’s performance and allow it to handle larger programs.
However, do note that those with a 32-bit version of Windows can only have 3GB on their system at one time. Even if you add on more RAM (such as four or six GB) your computer will only use 3GB of it. This is a small quirk, but it’s important to note so you don’t buy extra memory you can’t use.
Beyond additional RAM, you can also improve your laptop’s performance by swapping out your mechanical hard drive for a solid-state drive (SSD). SSDs, while not an option for everyone, can read and write speeds much faster than traditional models.
Though SSDs used to be extremely expensive, they have come down in price over the past few years. However, if you do go this route, know that installing one is not quite as intuitive as it first might seem. There are many key steps you must know before going in. This article and this article cover those in extreme detail.
No one likes using a slow or under-performing computer. Luckily, if your computer’s performance isn’t up to your liking, there are several ways to enhance or speed it up. The above tips all work, depending on what you need and what system you have. It is best to start with the top of the list and then work your way down. As long as you’re diligent, your computer will run better in no time!
What do you do to make your computer run more smoothly? Do you have any tricks you do to enhance performance? Let us know below!
Andreas is a freelance tech writer based in California. He works on a Mac in the office and lives with a PC and many old computer electronics at home. While he is not reading or writing, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends.