While how powerful your computer is matters for overall performance, the longer you’ve owned the computer, the slower you’ll find it. Just like with an automobile, it’s important to perform some regular maintenance on your computer’s systems to help it operate faster.
Here are a few tips to improve overall performance for your Windows computer.
Boost Your Internet Speed
A slower broadband connection slows down your whole day because when applications cannot access their data online quickly, they perform sluggishly. This is especially true for any Windows apps that rely heavily on cloud-based access to databases and data stores.
You can check your current internet speed using Best Buy’s broadband speed test which can test your current speed to several U.S. locations. If you discover that your ISP is not providing a fast connection compared to the package speed they’ve sold you, calling them up to check the service is the next best step.
Power Settings Affect Computer Speed
With Windows, there are power setting modes to save on electricity usage. The Power Saver mode is the main one that reduces energy usage doing things like letting your hard drive spin down and reducing the power used by the processor by slowing it down.
There are two other modes in most Windows versions including High Performance and Balanced. Both of these will likely deliver an expected speed bump from the Power Saver mode with the Balanced mode letting the PC rev up and down as needed.
To make the change, access the Control Panel, choose Hardware & Sound, followed by Power Options. Several power plans or modes will be shown including Balanced and Power Saver, plus usually a High Performance plan and perhaps a few others specific to the PC manufacturer’s custom configuration.
Disabling the Eye Candy
Windows comes with some extra eye candy to make it more enjoyable on the desktop. The eye candy includes animations, shadows and other fun visuals to improve the visual appeal. However, depending on whether you’re using on-board graphics from the processor or there’s a dedicated graphics card from Nvidia or another provider, pushing those pixels around slows down the screen refresh time. Even when the speed is unaffected, it visually gives the impression of slowing things down even if that’s just an illusion.
When an application opens directly rather than revealing itself gradually, it gives the sense that it opened faster. Similarly, when reducing the niceties on the desktop, icons reappear sooner and while looking less flashy, things appear cleaner and more responsive. For PCs that are older, the difference is quite noticeable too.
To make the adjustment, type sysdm.cpl into the search field or run it as a program. That will open the System Properties where you can navigate to the Advanced tab and select the “Settings” button. The Visual Effects section will now appear where you can select a “Best Performance” option or pick and choose the visual eye candy you wish to keep.
Defragment Your Hard Drive
Windows does not save files as a single chunk in one location on a hard drive. It breaks the file up into very small pieces and saves them all over the drive. The greater number of pieces comprising a single file and the more scattered they are across the drive, the longer it takes to load or save the file. The file spreading effect is called fragmentation. The usual cause of high levels of fragmentation on the Windows C drive is because there’s too little space, so files cannot be saved together in one location.
From time to time, it’s beneficial to run a defragmentation program that works steadily to reorganize those file pieces to be closer together. The process usually runs in the background while you carry out other tasks. Depending on the file size and the amount of fragmentation, the process may take hours or days to complete. However, once it’s begun, it is self-managing.
Windows has its own defragmenting tool, but the Piriform Defraggler is also worth trying out. It can analyze your hard drive(s) and confirm the percentage of defragmentation before you decide whether to go ahead with a “defrag” process.
Get Rid of Bloatware & Scan for Malware
Whether your PC came pre-installed with bloatware software from the manufacturer that loads up when Windows does, or the PC has picked up a virus or some malware, these could easily be slowing down the computer. Using a package like MalwareBytes Anti-Malware or Windows Defender, scanning your PC for trouble is easy. IObit Uninstaller is useful to remove bloatware hanging around on your drive too.
Performing some basic TLC on your computer is a great way to increase its performance and delay needing to upgrade to something faster. If all else fails, reinstalling Windows results in a faster machine because the operating system tends to slow down the longer it has been installed.