Is there anything more frustrating than a laptop that’s moving at a snail’s pace? Whether you’re completing reports for work or just doing a spot of online shopping, a device that seems to be in slow motion is sure to make anyone see red.
While creaky performance is inevitable, it’s worth holding on to that sluggish laptop before you splash out on something new. There are all kinds of tweaks and hacks you can use to give your computer a boost of adrenaline and get it fighting fit once more.
We’ll show you the best of them below.
Why is my laptop so slow?
Before we get into the ways you can start speeding things up, it’s worth understanding why it is that your laptop might be moving so glacially slow right now.
Basically, your operating system has to share out memory, drive space and processing power between the programs you’re running. When these things are stretched across too many applications and programs, your laptop will struggle to perform as it should.
Things that cause your laptop to function inefficiently include:
- Running out of RAM (Random Access Memory)
- Running out of either HDD or SSD disk drive space
- An old or fragmented hard drive
- Too many background programs running at the same time
- Too many programs opening upon startup
- Malware or viruses
- Special effects and visual features
How to make my laptop faster
Stop programs running on startup
If you have programs scheduled to start up every time you press the on button, then right on cue your laptop’s loading is in for the long haul. These unnecessary programs will slow things down to a crawl and can even cause crashes. Not ideal if you’re working from home.
Try this instead:
- Right click the taskbar and select Task Manager (or press Ctrl-Shift-Escape instead)
- Click on the Startup This lets you see what’s set to open on startup, as well as the impact any programs may be having on your device’s speed
- Decide which programs you don’t need to start up straight away. Right click the program and press disable.
Keep your software up to date
Making sure all your software is up to date can be key to your laptop’s speed, security and performance. Take a look at your web browsers, applications, and drivers for things like printers and the operating system itself. It’s tempting to put off updates, but these quick fixes can make a big difference.
Get rid of any unnecessary files
If your laptop is running slow then chances are you’ve had it for a fair while. In that time, you’re bound to have accrued a fair share of clutter in the form of large files like videos, images and audio files.
At the end of each week, try deleting the files you’ve gathered over the course of the previous 7 days, and then empty the recycle bin afterwards.
Identify the programs that are chewing up resources
If your laptop is running noticeably slower, then it may be a program lurking in the background that’s eating up your device’s resources. To give the laptop a bit of breathing room, try this:
- Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager
- Click More details to throw up a list of the programs that are currently running. You should see the Processes tab
- From here, you can sort each header according to which applications are using the most of a certain resource
- Once you’ve found the culprit(s), try closing the application first. If that doesn’t work, go back to the Task Manager, right-click the application and hit End task
Uninstall programs you don’t use
If you once had designs on being a Photoshop whiz or were a keen gamer at some point, then there’s probably apps and programs that have been collecting dust over the years. If that’s the case, then there’s likely a huge amount of space going to waste. Uninstalling these untouched programs should give your device a boost in the speed stakes.
In Windows, head to Control Panel, find Programs followed by Programs and Features, and click Uninstall.
If you’re using a Mac, click the Finder icon, then find Applications in the sidebar. If the app is in a folder, open the folder to see if there’s an Uninstaller. Click it and follow the instructions. If the app isn’t in a folder, drag the app into Trash at the end of the dock.
Run a disk clean-up
Temporary files can also end up weighing your computer down. If you have a Windows OS, then its Disk Clean-Up function can help here:
- Click Start. In the search box, type disk clean-up and then click Disk Clean-up
- From the list of Drives, click the hard disk drive you want to clean. Generally, this will be the C: drive.
- In the Disk Clean-up box, select the type of files you want to delete, click OK followed by Delete files
Switch off animations
Animations, effects and flyouts certainly help to make applications look sleeker and more modern, but they can also slow down your laptop as a result.
Try switching them off by doing the following: Control Panel > System and Security > System > Advanced system settings. In the Performance section, click Settings and look for the Adjust for best performance option. This will turn off all visual effects and transitions like fades and shadows. It should also save on processing power too.
Check for malware
As well as having the potential to cause permanent damage to your system, malware from emails, software downloads and ads can make your laptop move like molasses.
Keeping your system free of malware is essential if you’re looking to boost performance, so make sure you’re running your antivirus software regularly. Don’t have one? There are plenty of options available, and you don’t have to fork out for pricey protection either; even the free options will provide you with some fairly robust defence against viruses and malware.
Upgrade your hardware
If you’ve tried all the above and things are still sluggish, then buying some new hardware might be the next best option.
Opting for a solid-state drive (SSD) can transform your laptop’s performance in an instant, booting up, shutting down and opening programs in no time at all compared to traditional hard drives.
That said, replacing your current hard drive with an SSD can be somewhat fiddly. If you’re all thumbs when it comes to computer repairs and the like, then we’d recommend having a professional install one for you.
CDL is one of the UK’s leading IT disposal companies, working to help private and public businesses and organisations safely retire and recycle their outdated IT assets. To find out how we could help your business, or more of the latest tech news and advice, visit our homepage or call our team today on 0333 060 2846.