In this post, we are going to talk about several ways to make your computer run faster. I’ve seen a lot of people buy a new computer when their old one was perfectly adequate, but had just gotten bogged down with too many things running at the same time. For your computer to make you productive, you want to reduce the amount of time you spend waiting on it to do something. Some of these tips can help.
1. Reboot regularly
Some people leave their computer on for weeks at a time. The problem is that some programs will start other programs, and these don’t always get shut down properly. They can consume memory or use the processor in ways that you might not expect. Doing a reboot will help make sure that you clear everything out and don’t have any of your resources wasted on things you don’t need to have running. Some people find it is useful to get in the habit of rebooting every day. For example, they might reboot their computer when they leave for lunch so it is ready to go when they get back.
2. Clean off spyware
There are a lot of different things that can be installed on your computer without your knowing it. There are programs that will help clean this stuff up so it isn’t installed or running on your computer where it will slow things down. Lavasoft makes a nice free product called AdAware. Spybot is another one I’ve had good luck with. Microsoft makes a product called Windows Defender that might be worth looking at as well.
All of those products are for Windows. Macs and Linux typically have fewer spyware issues, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful what you let be installed on your computer.
3. Reformat and Reload
If you have the original disks that came with your computer or a partition that you can restore from, you might consider restoring your computer to the factory settings once in a while. Back when I was using Windows XP, I’d typically do this once every 6 months. Since I’ve moved to OS X, I don’t do it as frequently, but I still end up doing it every few years.
The problem with this approach is that some computer makers now include a bunch of junk software as part of their “factory image.” This means that once you go back to the original settings, you may have to spend some time removing software to get to a good state. Still, if your computer is a lot slower than it was when you got it, this may be well worth it.
Before you try something like this, make sure you have not only backups of all of your data, but also of any software you’ve purchased and will want to reinstall. You don’t want to wipe your hard drive only to discover that the software key you need to install a very important tool disappeared.
4. Add Ram
One of the biggest causes of computers running slowly is lack of memory. Adding memory on most computers isn’t too difficult and is well within the reach of someone who is handy with a screwdriver. In fact, finding the right memory for your computer is often a lot harder than actually installing it. Crucial has a good tool to help you find the right memory for your computer that I have found very useful.
These four tips don’t include anything earthshattering, but they have the power to extend the useful life of your computer and decrease the amount of time you have to spend waiting on your PC.