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How to Speed up your Laptop

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It’s no secret that laptops seem to get slower and out-dated rather quickly these days. Without regular upgrading, users might find their laptop grinding to a snail’s pace before the machine physically breaks. So how can you speed up your laptop?

For those users who don’t want to splash out on annual upgrades, giving your computer a regular tweak might just save you from the frustrations of a slow laptop.

Here are few tips on how you can speed up a laptop:

Delete Old Filesdelete file

Unused documents clutter your computer making the process of searching for files difficult and prolonged.

Think of your Hard Drive like a filing cabinet, if you stuff too many files in there, it’s far harder to find what you want. Your computer acts exactly the same.

To ease the load, delete your old files that are of no use anymore. Video and audio files take up more room than documents so look to remove them first. Just be careful not to delete anything that’s critical to running the system, as it may affect how the computer works.

Stop unused Background Programmes

task bar 22

To keep things moving quickly, Windows often allows programmes to run in the background without your knowledge. Many background programmes are essential to running your computer, but some automatically start without really needing to be there.

These can take up vital processing power which in turn would slow how quickly your computer runs.  Things like Skype, Outlook, games, Office software and Dropbox often automatically start when you boot up, if you don’t restrict them.

To stop these programmes opening automatically you need to open the “Task bar”, located in the bottom right of the screen (usually a little arrow or “hidden icons”), the applications can then usually be stopped individually by right clicking the icons.

Uninstall Unused Programs

uninstall a program

Laptops come pre-installed with a heap of programs you’ll never use, like photography software, webcam editors and messengers. You probably don’t even know half of them exist, so it can be prudent to clear up the space by uninstalling the ones you’ll never use. Again like critical files, try not to uninstall anything that is integral to actually running the computer.

 

Remove the Junk

recycle bin 22

If you deleting a document from a folder, it has not disappeared forever. Most files are usually just moved to the Recycle Bin as a final stage before total deletion.

To get rid of them completely(ish), empty your recycling bin regularly. This technique will only speed up a computer if the hard drive is nearly full. But every little counts.

 

Disk Clean-up

discleanup

Windows has a built-in programme for de-cluttering your hard drive called “Disk Cleanup”. It essentialy scans the computer for dormant or unnecessarily large files, sweepings them away so they don’t take up space.

 

Run a Disk Defragment

disk defrag

Traditionally computers store file data in separate block or chunks of space on the hard disk. When saving, the data is often not filed particularly efficiently, meaning the data ends up taking more room than necessary like a badly packed Tetris game

Running a “disk defragment” tidies everything up, groups programmes together and packs data tighter on the disk.

Upgrading your components

compnants

This option has the maximum effect but does mean you need to get inside the computer and add components. This can be easy on a desktop but many laptops are not designed as easy access, with some requiring specialist tools.

Upgrading a processer, adding a SSD Hard Drive or inserting more RAM memory will certainly make the computer more powerful, but it will cost money. If you do upgrade, make sure the parts are compatible with yourindividual computer and operating system.

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Danny Young

Features Editor

15 comments

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  1. Tony Becker 28 August, 2014 at 09:32

    Simply swap the HDD for an SSD. Use Acronis or Ghost to copy the partition from your old HDD to the SSD and turn it on. The operation takes less than a couple of hours. There’s no need to do anything else, the laptop will run faster than the day it was new and for a moderate cost you’ll extend the life of the laptop by two years.

  2. FatboyKen 28 August, 2014 at 13:54

    If you install the Samsung Evo SSD it comes with all of the SW to transfer your existing system to the SSD and, performance enhancement tools for the SSD.
    Better still, if you have the operating systems disks that came with the laptop do a new install on the SSD.

  3. Anonymous 28 August, 2014 at 16:38

    I stopped buying laptops after my third one in a row overheated.

    Laptops will get clogged with dust & overheat with daily use over just 6 months to a year which can render one useless. When the processor starts to reach it’s max operating temperature, it will slow down everything to avoid overheating and damage. This is the ultimate reason any laptop runs slow over time. So it needs to be professionally cleaned with new thermal paste being applied where possible which wont be cheap. Lots of small components in a very tight space makes the job a nightmare.

    Best solution is to buy a desktop which can be much more easily cleaned inside & components easily replaced or upgraded.

  4. Bryan 29 August, 2014 at 12:25

    Try applying a vacuum cleaner to the air intake whilst laptop is off, suck fluff out the way it came in, works trust me.

  5. Dave Marshall 29 August, 2014 at 12:46

    I do wish some people actually knew what they were talking about. The last comment about laptops overheating is utter rubbish.

  6. Anonymous 29 August, 2014 at 14:21

    @Anonymous

    Sounds like you’ve had a row of bad luck, or maybe the laptops were low quality. I’ve had my current laptop for over 6 years, upgraded the HDD to a larger one, and then added in a SSD for the OS (I have two drive bays). No complaints – superb machine, used daily. My wife has also had two laptops in regular use, one for over 5 years, and the current one for over 4 years.

  7. Crazy Jay 30 August, 2014 at 10:31

    I had a laptop which overheated, slowed down then died.
    It was replaced under warranty with the same model so now before I switch on each evening I blow the vents out with a can of compressed air.
    So far the replacement laptop has kept its’ speed and runs cool for the last 2 years.
    Well worth a couple of ££s on a can of air!

  8. Asterix 8 November, 2014 at 12:17

    I think the overheating problems are attributed to how you use your laptop and its environment. I’ve had mines three years with no problems. This also applies to every computer I’ve owned since the 80s. Simple common sense and a little clean every once in a while will keep it running smoothly. I think some of you probably have pets and are allergic to a bit of housework. You also probably have a habit of sitting the laptop on your bed, lap, couch or anywhere that covers the vent. If you follow the most basic rule that everyone should know and not block your vent then you should never suffer from overheating. The paste drying up is a load of rubbish as it dries up within hours of new. All it does is keep a good bond for dissipating the heat. I’ll bet you were in there removing the processor and putting it back without applying new paste. I once did a test on a laptop by removing the paste, cleaning both surfaces and putting it back together. I ran processor hungry programs for four hours and there was a difference of +2 degrees with the laptop doing the same with paste applied. To have 3 in a row overheating isn’t bad luck, it’s bad responsibility and neglect. People don’t look after their belongings and that’s what brings an early demise. I’ll bet my 3 year old laptop is in better working and physical condition than some that are only months old. Look after your stuff and they will look after you when you come to sell them.

  9. Soliman 8 November, 2014 at 15:25

    Hi Bryan, you are right, I cleaned my fan and the heat sink before and really this enhanced my computer speed too mmuch

  10. Phil Davies 28 November, 2014 at 18:24

    If you are using XP, Run MS config, click on the startup tab and tick the box disable all. Then reboot. You WILL be amazed. Now click ctrl-alt-del to bring up Windows Task Manager and look down the list of programmes running, if there’s more than about 20 you probably have a load of programmes running that you had no idea about. You might be able to get rid of them in the startup window. Some of them you really will want to delete, like Adobe reader which will use up half a gig of your memory to read PDF’s (WHY?WTF?) Remove Adobe reader, and remove acrobat and then set firefox as the programme to use to read PDF’s, it’s MUCH more use to you because it can copy stuff out of a PDF which acrobat won’t do. AND finally get rid of your antivirus software AVG, McAfee and Norton will turn your laptop into a brick by using ALL of your resources. McAfee and Norton are swines to remove, seek advice on the internet. Worried about viruses etc? use Firefox rather than explorer, and get a free virus checker that scans only when you ask it to. Once you have done that, visit Crucial and use their tool to test your laptop and recommend the best memory upgrade. And finally, if you don’t need windows, and want a blisteringly fast laptop where all of the software is free instal LINUX.

  11. Asterix 28 November, 2014 at 22:42

    @Phil, why would you advise removing virus checkers and install one that scans only when you ask it to? That’s just stupid, threats don’t announce themselves so that you know it’s time to scan. Viruses can come from anywhere, pics, downloads, emails, networks, discs, usb flash drives, external hard drives, cameras, phones and the list goes on. A virus checker should be monitoring constantly to catch a threat before it becomes a problem. To take your advice could potentially bring a computer to a snails pace or to a halt instead of speeding it up. If you want more speed, get a better processor and extra ram and also a solid state drive. There’s no point in having a middle of the road pc and stripping it of essential software to make it run fast. Just get a better pc and be content you’re relatively safe. You wouldn’t buy a small car and rip the seats out to make it go faster.

  12. mickiehick 29 November, 2014 at 00:18

    @phil – I would not even consider going anywhere near browser without antivirus installed. I’d love to see what horrors are lurking in your registry files if that is what you do???

  13. Lee 7 December, 2014 at 16:35

    @Phil – removing or disabling antivirus software regardless of how much it slows down your pc is a “very” bad idea. I stress this because not only could you pick up viruses / worms / Trojans as said by others but these would them cause more problems in running more junk that would slow things down even more, open backdoors into your computer, call out their virus friends to come into your computer and potentially allow for the “owners/controllers” of some of the viruses / worms / Trojans to them gain control of your computer and do very nasty things.

    I do agree however that some virus applications do slow computers down to a snail’s pace, but tweaking the settings can help a lot, never disable or remove these programs if you are connected to the internet, opening files from a usb key/drive, cd, dvd or other media. Also DO NOT remove or disable these programs if you DO NOT know if the files you are working with are safe and your computer is clean safe (the internet and accessing files from usb keys/drives or dvd’s can be risky ). The problems you would have to deal with after would take a long time to sort out, cost money to have someone fix, having to reinstall your computer or possibly the loss of files and data.

    My advice would be if your current antivirus package is slowing your computer to a crawl get some advise and try another package that would have less impact on your system.

    On another note using something like a laptop tray would help with air flow and to dissipate heat from building up. Dust getting into the air vents is another big issue, thou can be hard to get out depending on the make and model of the laptop.

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