When your computer begins to slow down and it seems to take an age and a day for applications to load you might naturally think it’s time to spend lots of hard-earned money to buy a new one. But wait a minute. You can actually make simple changes in minutes that bring your sluggish computer back to life.
Are programs slowing down your computer?
If you have programs that use a lot of resources, you need to decide if they’re worth using. These could be high-level apps that you’re using, or it could be programmes that start automatically when the computer boots up.
Some programs use very few resources when they’re idle but others can use a lot of processing power and a lot of RAM storage especially if they’re checking the internet for updates or working on a task in the background.
Disable start-up programs
- To see which programs are using the most resources, press the Ctrl, Alt, and Delete keys at the same time. Select Task Manager. On the Processes tab, you can see programmes that are currently open and how much CPU and Memory each one is using. You can then close programs that you’re not using to reallocate resources to programs you are using.
Computers often have programs that start up when you turn on the computer. To see what programs kick into action when you boot up, press the Ctrl, Alt, and Delete keys at the same time. Then Select Task Manager. On the Startup tab you’ll see the programs that run as you start the computer. Consider what you really need to open when you start up and disable the other programs. If you’re not sure what the programs do search the internet for the program and to establish its importance.
Check your web browser
to make sure that you are running the most recent version of your web browser. Most browsers update automatically so this shouldn’t be a problem but that said if you have lots of browser add-ons and extensions it can slow your browser down.
Defrag the hard drive
If your computer runs a spinning disk hard drive its worth defragging it. The hard drive stores data needed to run programmes and apps. However, over the time the data can become fragmented meaning rather than being stored in groups of data it is spread randomly on the drive.
These pieces of data are accessed by the computer’s RAM (random access memory) for use by programs, the operating system, music, documents, videos and so on. However, when fragmented it takes longer for the system to find each piece of data which in turn creates a performance drag. Defragmenting your disk speeds the RAM process up.
- To defrag your disk, click on the Start menu or Windows button, select Control Panel, then System. Under Administrative Tools, click on Defragment your hard drive. You can select the process to run on a regular schedule.
Depending on the operating system that is on your computer the above process may differ slightly but start with Control Panel and System and you should find it easily. If you are having a problem you can click on the Windows icon (four dark squares) and search for ‘defrag’ which will take you through to the defrag process.
Hardware upgrades can make a sluggish computer feel like new again. It’s also usually a lot cheaper than shelling out for a new computer.
Upgrade storage with a solid state drive
- Two key pieces of hardware related to the speed of a computer are your HDD and your memory (RAM).
- Too little RAM, or using am old HDD, even if it’s been defragmented recently, can slow a computer down.
If your computer’s HDD becomes out of date or slows down, even after defragging it, performance can become a painfully slow crawl. This means it’s time for an upgrade.
Adding more memory (RAM)
- Most new computers today use something called a solid state drive (SSD) which accesses the data digitally with flash memory chips. In practise this means quicker access to data while using less power.
- In contrast a traditional HDD mechanically moves an actuator arm across a spinning platter to find each portion of data which is slower.
- Even if your computer runs a HDD you can still upgrade to a SSD.
Memory stores data that is currently being used, for instance when you’re running an application like a spread sheet, allowing the data to be retrieved quickly. In essence memory functions as a pool of resources for your system to get things done.
- Every time you move your mouse, open tabs on your browser and move between them, create an email or spread sheet, edit photos or videos, play a game, listen to music or watch a video you are using memory.
The more memory you have, the more resources your system has at its disposal, meaning it can do things faster and handle more things at once.
- Memory size on laptops and desktop PCs typically ranges from 4GB up to 32GB.
- When you bought your computer it may have come with 4GB of memory but for instance as you add data intensive applications, download videos, create more documents it can slow the memory function down.
- Upgrading the memory can make a radical difference to performance. 16GB of memory is considered the sweet spot for most computers.
Unless you like taking things part and putting them back together upgrading your drive and memory is better left to a computer shop. It’s far cheaper than buying a new computer and you’ll discover your computer moves from sluggish to lightning fast.
And don’t forget your antimalware software.
BullGuard Internet Security 2021
is the fastest release ever. Using innovative technology the size of virus definition files are significantly reduced. At start up, and running in the background, the various components of BullGuard protection use approximately 60 MB of memory.
This is a small fraction of memory; 1000 MB is equal to 1GB and 4GB is generally the minimum for most computers. In terms of performance BullGuard 2021 is for sure very fast because it uses such z small amount of memory and near negligible processing power.