Like us, humans, your personal computer gets tired, and even ages, too. It is inevitable to experience deteriorating performance of your PC, especially when your workhorse has already seen better days and endured years of constant use. Adding to this are the common factors such as outdated systems, bloatware, disorganized files housed in the internal hard drive, and blatant disregard for regular updates.
If your computer begins to show signs of slow performance like prolonged start-up, unresponsive pages, and programs that take forever to open, that’s your cue that you have to check up on your PC’s overall health.
Here are a few easy steps on how to restore your personal computer’s speedy performance – all free of charge.
Shut down/restart your PC
In most cases, all it takes for your computer to restore its performance is to give it a well-deserved rest. By that, we meant proper shutdown when not in use. While it’s easy to take these fundamental steps for granted and skip the whole rebooting process altogether, leaving your PC on sleep or hibernate mode means all the temporary files and bugs are still lingering throughout your system. Leaving your system on for a long period can also contribute to your hardware’s premature wear-and-tear, which then leads to sluggish performance or even serious damage.
Regular shutdown helps in clearing out RAM and solving system bugs. It also prevents your PC from malware and potential cyberattacks, which also add up to your computer’s efficiency issues.
Remove unnecessary start-up options
Computer programs like Spotify and Viber for desktop have optional features that allow automatic launch upon booting your computer. As such, your computer forces these programs to launch all at once. This creates a bottleneck in your system. This often results to slow startup.
To fix this, go to Task Manager and disable Auto-Launch on the programs that utilize this feature. For Mac users, click on the Apple icon, go to System Preferences, then click on Users and Groups. From the prompt, go to Login Items tab and select all the apps you want to disable. Click the minus icon to remove the apps from your auto-launch list. Alternatively, you can simply right-click the app icon from the dock and hover your mouse over Options. Make sure the Open at login option is unchecked to prevent the app from launching upon starting up.
Scrub your computer’s drive (remove junk files/temp files)
Your computer’s speed and overall performance also rely on your computer’s available space. It’s basically the same way how refrigerators lose their cooling power when you overstuff them with leftovers and what-not. With this, make it a good habit to do routine clean-ups and file dumps at least twice a year. Delete the ones that you have no use for, and transfer the important docs and files to your trusty hard drive. It’s also wise to invest in a cloud storage service for quick file backup, transfer, and storage, in case your HDD or, God forbid, your computer begins to act up.
When scrubbing temp and junk files, make sure to check all the folders before deleting, since some items found on the temporary files are cached data created by other programs to optimize performance. If you’re unsure about deleting them, it’s best to do quick research before hitting the delete button. There are also a handful of free cleaning software available online to do the hard job of scanning and scrubbing junk files on your computer.
Uninstall useless programs
More often than not, your computer comes with pre-installed software and applications that you don’t have any use for. This is also called bloatware. These pesky, useless applications can eat up much of your disk space, and even hog your PC’s processing power, memory, and battery life (for laptops). Leaving bloatware to thrive inside your work rig can cause significant issues in terms of power and performance.
To free up much-needed space, uninstall unnecessary programs from your applications/programs folder. While it’s fairly easy for Windows users to get rid of these filler apps, mac users may have to take additional steps, since some of them require special instructions or processes beyond a simple drag-and-drop or Remove to Trash prompt.
Check for viruses and malware
If in any case your computer starts to act up despite taking all pre-emptive measures, then chances are, your PC may be at risk of getting a virus or malware. it’s almost impossible to avoid virus or malware threats when browsing through the Internet, so make sure to install a formidable antivirus and/or anti-malware onto your system. Programs like AVG, Avast, Norton, and McAfee are among the top antivirus and anti-malware programs that you can get for free online. Another alternative is to use the Disk Cleanup and defragment features of your computer to check its disk space and find out which applications and files are no longer needed.
Update your system and software religiously
Doing regular updates to your OS and programs will greatly improve and optimize your computer’s overall performance. For one thing, these updates provide security patches to protect your entire system and data from potential threats. Regular updates also fix system bugs to make sure your workhorse will work properly with new and existing programs.
Be mindful of your web browser
Don’t put the blame entirely on Chrome. Yes, they’re notorious for being a memory hog, but more often than not, the root cause is in the manner of usage. If possible, avoid opening multiple tabs and windows. This causes your browser to perform multiple tasks all at once, resulting in gigabytes’ worth of memory spent on just running pages on the Internet.
You may also want to check on your cache if it’s building up in your browser history. To clear this, click on the kebab menu button (those three dots at the far right of the Chrome browser). Hover your cursor to More Tools, then click Clear browsing data. From there, you’ll be able to manually delete your cache based on time range and category. Lastly, remove unnecessary Chrome extensions, bookmarked pages, and plug-ins that you rarely or never used to free up disk space.
Resorting to components upgrades maybe your initial response, and that’s fine. But more often than not, slow computer performance stems from common misusage and overlooked maintenance steps, which are all solvable without spending a single cent. So, make it a point to consider doing a few troubleshooting steps and tweaks to address the root cause of your PC’s lethargic state before shelling out some cash for #TechAssured replacements and bump-ups.
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