We all get annoyed when our computers are slow but unfortunately most people put up with this state as they do not know what makes a computer run faster. The steps to speed up your computer are very easy to follow.
Whether you need a temporary boost in speed or something long-term, here are 10 tips for making a computer run faster, from easy tips like plugging in your laptop to difficult tips like over-clocking your computer processor.
Computer Tips #1: Turn Off Anti-Virus (Leave On Firewall)
When you need a quick speed boost to play a game or finish an assignment, try turning off your anti-virus software. As long as you don’t open any infected files you should be safe and the speed increase can be significant.
However, make sure that you don’t turn off your firewall when you disable your anti-virus. Firewalls use very little computer processing power but protect you against threats coming from the Internet.
Make sure you turn your anti-virus back on when you don’t need the extra speed anymore.
Computer Tips #2: Plug In Laptops
All laptops built in the last 10 years make their batteries last longer by slowing down the computer processor when you don’t seem to be using all of it. Although this works great to prolong battery life, it means that your laptop runs slower when it runs off battery.
To switch your laptop back into normal mode, all you have to do is plug in your laptop and the computer processor will run at full power, giving you 100% of the speed you expected when you bought the laptop.
Computer Tips #3: Close Unnecessary Programs
Right now my computer says there are 198 programs running—but that’s a lie. Computers can only run one program at the same time for each computer processor in your computer. My computer only has one processor, so it can only run one program.
Computers hide this secret by switching between running programs thousands of times faster than humans can perceive. They switch between programs so fast that computer processor times are measured in nanoseconds.
But keeping up this illusion of running multiple programs at the same time requires extra computer processing speed—speed you can easily add to your most important programs just by closing down your least important programs. If you need a speed boost, start by closing any applications you’re not using; then close any programs in your task bar that you’re not using.
Closing unnecessary programs can easily double the speed of an overloaded computer.
Computer Tips #4: Add Memory
There’s really only one way to make your computer run faster—get faster hardware. All of the other tips in this article tell you how to optimize your computer for speed, but if you’re serious about making your computer run faster, you’re going to need to upgrade its hardware.
It used to be that you could upgrade the processor in computers, but these days that’s mostly wasted effort. The only three pieces of performance-affecting hardware in your computer that you can upgrade are your disk drive, graphics card, and memory.
Super-fast disk drives are expensive and won’t help most users. Faster graphics cards only help those playing games or doing 3-D rendering. But a memory upgrade can help anyone.
There are a lot of things to consider before installing new memory in your computer. You need to know if you have space for it in your computer, whether your operating system can use the extra memory, and what kind of memory to buy. If you don’t feel comfortable buying and installing memory in your computer, your local computer repair shop will do it for $20 to $50 plus the cost of the memory itself.
Computer Tips #5: Defragment
Do you remember how your parents told you to put away your toys as soon as you were done with them—but you never did, so when it came time to clean your room it was a giant mess?
The programmers who wrote Windows also thought it would be a good idea to delay putting away their toys—they knew it would be quicker to save files if they didn’t clean up the filesystem after every save. That means that you need to occasionally clean up your filesystem or Windows will spend longer and longer looking for files under the clutter that builds up.
Luckily, cleaning your filesystem is a lot easier than cleaning your childhood bedroom. Simply go to the control panel and start the defragmentor. Of course we mention this in our computer maintenance checklist. It’ll take a few hours the first time you run it each month, so you probably want to let it run overnight.
Computer Tips #6: Unplug Unused Devices
Just like your computer pretends to run dozens or hundreds of programs at the same time, it pretends to use all of its devices at the same time. In reality, your computer can only do one thing at a time for each computer processor it has, so each device your computer manages takes time from using other devices and programs.
Most devices seem to sit idle. For example, my scanner does nothing most of the day. Yet that scanner does send a message to my computer about once a second just to tell the computer that it’s still there, and that message takes up a tiny bit of my computer’s processing power.
Most devices are like my scanner—unplugging them won’t give you a noticeable speed boost. But some devices are faulty (or have faulty cords) and send hundreds or thousands of messages to your computer every minute, and that does take up a lot of processing power.
Unfortunately, you usually can’t recognize these faulty devices just by looking at them. You need to unplug the devices and test whether your computer runs faster.
Computer Tips #7: Reinstall Windows
Many system administrators got in the habit of reinstalling Windows 95 or 98 every year because they’d fill up with crud and slow down to a crawl.
Recent versions of Windows don’t fill up with crud as fast nor slow down so much, but if your computer is inexplicably running slow and nothing else works, your best solution may be to reinstall Windows. Just remember to make a through backup of everything first. This is where an external harddrive comes in handy, but always double check the files are in fact copied to the new drive before deleting!
Computer Tips #8: Cool CPU
The electricity that powers your computer travels pretty much the same speed—60% the speed of light—no matter what, but when your computer gets hot, the electricity doesn’t travel as far as it does when your computer is cool. That means that your computer may need to send hardware instructions several times before they arrive. And, if your computer gets too hot, it’ll automatically shutdown, which is the ultimate slow down.
Keeping your computer cool is easy. First, if possible, make sure you keep it in a room where the temperature doesn’t go above about 90 Fahrenheit (32 Celsius). Second, make sure you clean the dust out of your computer about once a year (twice a year if someone smokes near your computer). Dust helps trap the heat in your computer, causing it to overheat.
To clean the dust out of your computer, buy a can of compressed air at the local supermarket or office supply store, turn off your computer, carefully open up its case, cover your eyes and mouth, and spray air at every bit of dust you see. Pay special attention to the fan above the CPU and the fan in your power supply (where the power cord plugs into your computer).
Computer Tips #9: Over-clock CPU
Some computer processors can be modified to run faster than normal, which is called over-clocking. Over-clocking will make your computer run faster, but it also generates increased heat in the sensitive areas of your processor, increasing the chance that it will burn itself out. Over-clocking is best done on old machines you can afford to lose.
Over-clocking can also take a long time to set up. The instructions for over-clocking vary from processor to processor, so we can’t include any specific instructions here. We can only include a warning: don’t over-clock unless you’re prepared to destroy your computer processor.
Computer Tips #10: Use A Separate User
If Windows is running slow for you, but you’re not prepared to reinstall it yet, you may find a speed boost by creating a new user account. Your new user account won’t start up as many minor programs automatically and won’t have any accidental misconfigurations.
You can also create separate user accounts for specific tasks, like gaming. I myself have a two accounts on my computer—one for work and one for play. Bonus tips: Besides being able to optimize my play account, I also find that removing all of the game icons from my work account helps keep me focused during the day.
Download this article as a PDF file to save to your computer. Speed Up Your Computer FREE REPORT
Software to make your computer run faster
Trying to make your computer run faster manually can take a serious amount of time. I have already proved this with a computer maintenance video I made that turned out to be very long and boring! Therefore using software to make your computer run faster is a smart idea.
The most famous software to help speed up your computer is PC Matic from PC Pitstop. This software will:
- Accelerate Downloads
- High Threat Security Test
- Malware Detection
- Remove Junk Files & Craplets
- TweakInternet Settings for Top Speed
- Eliminate Registry Errors
- Active Malware Protection
- Hard Drive Defrag & Optimization
- Automatic Driver updates & Enhancements
- Detailed System Specs Report
- Your PC Ranking Worldwide
- User Satisfaction Report
Get a Free Scan from PC Matic to see how you can make your computer run faster.