December 2018

How to Make Your PC Run Faster

By Larry Alton

If you’ve had your computer for more than a year or two, you’ve likely noticed its basic functions slowing down. There are many reasons for this, including the excessive (and increasing) number of files bogging the system down, and bugs in your operating system. Some of these factors can be mitigated or prevented, while others are just a natural part of a computer’s lifecycle.
Fortunately, there are a few important changes you can make to encourage your PC to run faster.
When to Replace Your PC

Note that while the following strategies can be used to make your PC run faster, they can only do so much. If your computer is several years old and has been subject to heavy downloading and installation, even the best strategies may only marginally improve your performance. At that point, it may be time to start shopping for deals on computers, so you can replace your unit entirely.
Strategies for Faster Computing

Try these tactics to make your PC run faster:
• Update your computer. Updating your computer will usually help it run faster. In some cases, you may add new features, programs, or installations that have the reverse effect, but in others, you’ll update your operating system to have fewer bugs and run more efficiently. Ultimately, that results in a faster-running PC.
• Shut down and/or restart your computer regularly. Many consumers make the mistake of leaving their computer “on” and in a hibernating mode whenever they’re not using it, instead of shutting it down all the way. This can be highly convenient, since you won’t have to go through the entire startup process when you open your computer. However, shutting your computer down completely allows it to clear temporary files and start fresh—so you should count on doing it at least once a week.
• Upgrade your RAM. Much of your computer’s performance depends on its RAM, or random access memory. This allows your computer to perform multiple operations simultaneously, holding information in a kind of temporary memory. The more RAM you have, the more processes you’ll be able to perform simultaneously. Upgrading from 2 GB to 4 GB or 8 GB could substantially improve the performance of almost any computer, even one that’s several years old.
• Uninstall unnecessary programs. Installed programs on your computer can also bog your system down. Browse through all your current programs and uninstall anything that you haven’t used in the past six months or so. Chances are, there will be at least a few programs you don’t even remember installing.
• Delete temporary files. Temporary files are technical files used by your system to execute functions, and as the name implies, they’re only necessary for a temporary period of time. After that, they take up unnecessary space and slow your computer down. There are different ways to delete temporary files in Windows, depending on which system you’re using, but all of them have the power to make your device run faster—especially if you haven’t taken the step of deleting temporary files in the past.
• Delete big files you don’t need. Your computer’s speed also relies on the amount of free space on the machine. Go through the files on your local hard drive, and find a way to get rid of whatever you aren’t actively using. Images and videos tend to be major space hogs, so consider deleting them, storing them on an external hard drive, or uploading them to a cloud storage surface.
• Close out your tabs. Many modern consumers have the bad habit of constantly opening new tabs in their browser, while never closing any of their old ones. If you open up Chrome, you’ll see a dozen or more active tabs, none of which are currently necessary. This may seem innocent enough, or even convenient in some cases, but all those open tabs are running processes that slow your other computer functions down. Make sure you close out all your tabs whenever you’re done with an online session.
• Disable auto-launching programs. Some programs will start automatically when your computer starts up. Again, this feature was designed with convenience in mind, so the user doesn’t have to start the program manually. But if you have too many programs starting when you open your computer, it will occupy all your resources, and you won’t be able to get anything done. Think carefully about which programs you want to have at startup, and disable everything that isn’t necessary or beneficial.

Hopefully, these strategies can collectively boost your PC’s performance, and extend its lifespan by at least several months. As long as you keep your PC clear of unnecessary files and junk, you can extend the effectiveness of these improvements for months to years.

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