One of the questions we get asked all the time is “Why is my computer so slow”.
Well, to quote a long used phrase “it depends”. When you first purchase a PC or Laptop it seems fast but then, over a period of time, it gradually gets slower and slower. There are many reasons for this such as, the free space available on the disk, the number of temporary files, the software installed, background tasks and processes that may be running (these may include unwanted items such as spyware or malware), updates and patches being installed, the amount of free memory available, the condition of the hard disk and the fragmentation of the files system.
In some cases there are also external factors that can affect the perceived speed such as wireless, network and broadband speeds and even links to external file shares or network drives.
So how can you speed up your computer?
Here are series of steps to complete.
Check the free space available for your main disk (C:)
When the free space becomes less than 15% to 20% it will struggle to allocate space to allow it to store files without breaking them into many parts (Fragmentation). This will have a large affect on the time taken to read and write files.
Check the spin speed of your hard disk.
Cheaper hard disks operate at 4200rpm whilst more expensive ones will operate at 7200rpm. The spin speed has a direct affect on the number of read/write operations that the disk can perform in a given time. As a general rule faster is better.
Check the amount of RAM installed into your device.
RAM is used as a buffer between the disk and the processor. If you have insufficient installed RAM the processor will have to offload the stored data to the hard disk to free up space to allow other files to be processed. This puts a much greater load onto the disk and the processor and has a major effect on the perceived speed. Microsoft will tell you that you need as little as 1GB of RAM for running Windows 10 (32 bit) and 4GB RAM for Windows 11 but as soon as you want to do anything serious with your computer it will struggle. For Windows 11 we recommend at least 8 – 16GB.
Ensure that your PC has no Virus or Malware.
Often there may be items running on your PC that you are unaware of and hadn’t installed. They arrive by ‘piggy backing’ on other programmes, from email attachments or from infected sites. Use a reliable anti-malware program to scan and remove any suspect items. One such is Malware Bytes (malwarebytes.com) which has a free version and can be used to perform manual scans on demand. Other Anti-virus software vendors such as Avast or AVG also have free versions available and can be used.
Remove any applications that you no longer require.
By removing items that you no longer use you do 2 things, you free up disk space and you prevent the application from affecting the performance of your PC. Often these applications load into memory when you start your PC and can link to online content or updates, so removing them will prevent any unnecessary activity.
Ensure that your Operating System and Drivers are kept up to date.
Microsoft as well and other software and hardware providers are constantly updating their software, drivers or settings to improve security and to better support hardware and interactions. Use Windows Update to check for new items and allow the system to update them for you on a regular basis.
Consider replacing your traditional hard disk with a faster Solid State Drive.
Solid State Drives (SSD’s) operate much faster than traditional hard disk. Here are some typical speed and cost examples.
|Technology||Read/Write Speed||Typical Cost|
|SATA SSD Drive||500MB/s||£65/500GB|
|NVMe SSD Drive||3500MB/s||£100/500GB|