5 easy fixes to speed up your laptop
There's nothing quite like taking a new laptop computer out of the box for the first time. It boots right up and everything from navigating the web to launching different programs seems to run at lightning speed. If only that feeling could last throughout the device's life cycle.
After a while, everything just feels like it has slowed down. Whether from overuse or natural degradation, that initial out-of-the-box experience becomes a distant memory. It doesn't have to, though, as CNET has highlighted many quick fixes even novice computer users can make to get their old PCs back to running at a high level.
1. Clean out the dust
No matter how clean your office or home appears, dust is going to collect in the fans and vents on your notebook. Not only is this bad for allergies, but it can also sap the performance of the computer.
When fans can't circulate air and cool the device, overheating invariably follows. That can cause the device to overwork itself to the point where a forced shutdown is necessary. By clearing the dust out of the vents with a brush or a can of compressed air, CNET notes, the computer's cooling system will once again do its job.
2. Check RAM and the hard drive
Age can have an adverse effect on your hardware, CNET says, but users can check on performance with the help of handy monitoring tools that identify if a configuration error or simple deterioration is to blame for a lull in the laptop's performance. CNET recommends running a few of these tests before upgrading or filing a warranty claim with the device's manufacturer.
3. Uninstall useless programs
Taking a look at the PC's Control Panel every once in a while is a good idea, especially the tab for installing and uninstalling software. If there's anything on that list that you know you don't need or have never opened, the chances are good it won't be missed, CNET notes.
There are obviously programs that are always needed -- Windows® update tools, for one -- but some can be deleted without a second thought. Many computers will come with software and files pre-installed, but identifying which of these no longer serve a purpose can free up some storage space and boost performance. CNET does encourage computer users to be sensible when deleting software, however.
4. Upgrade antivirus software
Some times the very software tasked with protecting a system could be the one slowing it down, CNET says. Antivirus solution providers have focused on the speed of their offerings in recent years, but performance may be impacted if a computer is running an older version.
System and malware scans can sap a computer's performance, especially considering they analyze hundreds of thousands of files, folders and other information.
5. Reinstall Windows
When all else fails, according to CNET, you can resort to reinstalling Windows. This should only be used as a last-ditch effort to save a slow-performing computer because it can be tedious and time-consuming.
The New York Times' Gadgetwise blog has also offered computer users some simple tips for improving the performance of their PCs. In addition to those highlighted by CNET, the Times mentions that reducing or deleting a device's web history and disabling add-ons when surfing the internet can also speed performance. Making sure that the operating system and all programs are up to date is also a good idea, the Times says.