Tricks to speed up a slow computer

There’s almost nothing more frustrating than a slow-running computer – especially when you know it still has years of mileage left in it. If you can make a cup of coffee in the time it takes to boot up, then it’s running too slow. A slow computer can be caused by many things and usually there’s a simple fix to the problem. Here are five things you can do to speed up your slow PC or laptop.

1. Delete temporary files
Temporary files get stored on your computer through your everyday use, such as browsing the web and playing online games. They can remain on your hard disk and slow down the computer. Sometimes, speeding up your computer can be as simple as freeing up space by deleting these files, including your internet history and cookies.

Learn how to delete temporary files on your PC or Mac computer.

2. Uninstall unused programs
Computers these days come pre-loaded with a number of programs that you will probably never use or don’t even know about. They can take up a lot of valuable space on your hard disk and slow it down by running background processes, even when you don’t use them.

Remove unused programs on your PC or Mac computer.

3. Bust out the vacuum cleaner
This might sound a tad odd but giving your computer a spring clean can actually help it run faster. Dust that gets caught in the hardware’s nooks and crannies can impede airflow, causing the computer to overheat and slow down. You can vacuum out the dust, crumbs and debris by removing the computer’s exterior. First check to see this is possible with your model and that it will not void your warranty. Make sure your computer has been switched off for at least 30 minutes, all cables have been removed and it has been completely disconnected from all power outlets before removing the outer casing.

4. Scan for viruses/malware
If your computer is infected with a virus it can run more slowly than usual. It’s strongly recommended that you install an antivirus program when you first set up a new computer. If your computer doesn’t have an antivirus program installed, you can run a free online utility program called HouseCall to scan for and remove viruses (for PC and for Mac).

Along with doing an antivirus check, try running a malware scan on your computer using this free version of Malwarebytes.

5. Update your operating system
A final simple thing you can do to keep your computer up-to-date and running efficiently is to update your operating system. For PC computers, Windows 10 is the latest version. You can check which operating system your PC is running and then update it if necessary. For Mac computers, the latest operating system is macOS Sierra. Mac computers introduced in late 2009 or later can be upgraded to Sierra. Older models may not be able to support all the latest features of the new iOS and you may be better off keeping an older operating system. All operating system upgrades are free.

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