We’ve all had to deal with a slow computer, I think we can all agree that it can be one of the most frustrating things to deal with. Windows is the predominant operating system with 77.74% of computers running on it as of July 2020. Windows, however, is also one of the most vulnerable operating systems when it comes to malware and other things that can drag down system performance and because of this, it is our topic of discussion. More specifically, I’d like to discuss how you can speed up your Windows computer right now, without a professional. Now, before we get started, it is important for me to note that this is in no way a replacement for professional optimization, instead, this article is meant to give you some basics to hopefully get your computer running smoother. In the end, sometimes you just need professional help, so if you are struggling with a slow computer and would like a professional to help you out, just check out our pricing page, choose the service you would like performed (for example computer optimization), and fill out the form to get remote or in-person service for your computer! Now, time to show you how you can speed up your computer right now, from your own home!
Step by step:
1. Use task manager to see what’s going wrong
Once you are to this screen select the ‘Task Manager’ option. This will bring up the Task Manager. The task manager shows you everything that your computer is doing at any given time. When first glancing at it it might seem overwhelming, don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it looks. To start with we are just going to focus on the top part of the Task Manager.
To make it easier I have highlighted the area we are going to focus on first. This area shows the percentage of system resources being used at a given time. The higher the number the worse it is. For example in the picture above, it seems that the culprit of slow computer speed is an overuse of system memory (RAM). So if you see consistently high numbers in one or multiple categories, you know, in a general sense the source of the problem. Once we’ve narrowed it down to a category or two, we can narrow it down even further by clicking the affected category (‘CPU’ for example), this will order the ‘Apps’ list starting with the worst offenders first. In this case, it would be Google Chrome as it is using a whopping 1,257.4 MB (1.2GB) of system memory. You could have one big thing running like this or multiple, viruses and malware are notorious for filling your computer with junk that weighs down performance, so by doing this check you now have a better idea of what is causing your issues. Before moving on to the next step you may want to jot down some of the worst offending apps for future reference.
2. Run a virus scan to remove any malicious apps
Ok, so we have a general idea of what is causing your computer to drag. Now, it is time to start speeding up your computer. The next best thing to do is to run a scan for malware, you can use many of the countless anti-malware applications out there, however for this tutorial we will be using Malwarebytes because it is free and effective. You can download it here. Once you have your anti-malware downloaded and installed open it up. Now that you have opened Malwarebytes or your preferred anti-malware, run a scan and wait. Once the scan is complete a summary will be shown. You should then be given the option to remove the malware that has been found. In the case of Malwarebytes, that option is called ‘Quarantine’. So upon scan completion click ‘Quarantine’. This will neutralize all threats, as well as remove them from your computer. If your scan turned up a lot of viruses and unwanted programs (PUPs) then doing this step alone may make dramatic improvements to your computer’s performance. Now that we have made sure that there are no viruses or other unwanted programs running on your computer, we can move on to our next step!
3. Stop programs from running on startup
Another big factor that can be slowing down your computer is what apps are set to start whenever you start up your computer. You see, when there are a lot of apps that are set to run on startup it significantly slows down how quickly your computer starts up, as well as performance in general. To do this step we will need to return to the Task Manager. Once in the Task Manager select the ‘Startup’ tab up towards the top.
This will list all the apps that want to run on startup, as well as whether they are allowed to or not (‘Enabled’ vs. ‘Disabled’). Unless you specifically want a certain app to run on startup it is recommended that you disable all unnecessary apps, especially those with ‘High’ Startup impact. Doing this will help you start your computer on a cleaner slate, as well as improve speed.
4. Remove unneeded programs
Remember those problem programs that you were supposed to jot down earlier? Time to see what’s left. Check the Task Manager again, if you see the same offenders as earlier still eating at system resources, we know what to remove. To begin with, you can close any of these still running programs by hitting ‘End Task’. However, this does not keep it from running again, so it’s time to remove the programs for good. The simplest way to do this is by searching “Uninstall” in the windows search bar and selecting ‘Add or remove programs’.
This will open up the default uninstaller where you can select which apps to remove. By removing apps that use heavy system resources you can significantly increase your computer’s performance.
5. Repeat as needed
That’s it, after following these steps hopefully your computer is running much smoother. However, as stated towards the beginning of the article, this is not guaranteed and your best bet is always to get in touch with an expert. If your computer does continue to drag, you can repeat these steps and keep checking your Task Manager to try to pin down the problem. If, however, you are still struggling, please feel free to get in touch or even schedule an appointment.