Before we can make a computer “faster” we need to understand when and why it is running slowly. There are two basic scenarios that fall into “my computer is running slowly”:
1 - If the computer takes a long time to start, but once Windows actually loads up and your programs are running, its speed is OK.
2 - The computer runs slowly all the time (boot times might not even be too bad).
And technically there would be a number 3 - The computer is slow to boot AND slow to run.
WARNING - There is some “tech speak” coming up.
If all of this is more technology geekiness than you want to deal with, Village Tech can set up a remote support session and check all of these settings for you and try to help diagnose the problem and suggest ways to improve the issue.
Computer is slow to boot up
The first thing you can check is to see how many programs are starting themselves automatically when Windows boots. Programs that auto load with Windows fight amongst themselves for available memory and processing power, and all of that competition for resources slows everything down. To see a list of programs that are starting automatically on your computer (if you are running a Windows 10 computer) simply click on the “Start” menu button and type STARTUP. Select Startup Apps from the menu.
The startup apps window will open and show you a list of programs that are starting every time you turn your computer on and log in.
Examine this list and turn off anything you recognize and don’t need to start every time Windows launches. You can always launch them manually if you end up needing them later. It would be best to not turn things off that you do not have any idea what they are (best to consult a professional).
If your startup programs seem to not be an issue, reinstalling Windows on your computer might very well help. This requires some planning as any software you have put on your computer will need to be reinstalled and all of your data will need to be backed up first (you do have a backup plan already don’t you?).
If all else fails, short of getting a new computer, upgrading an older computer from booting using a mechanical hard drive (a piece of hardware in the computer) to booting from a solid state drive (a better piece of hardware that can go in the computer) can increase boot times dramatically. Solid state drives (or SSDs) are not that expensive (starting around $30.00) but will require a full reinstall of windows as above.
Computer runs slow all the time.
If your computer is running slow all the time, operating in fits and starts, pausing for no apparent reason, it is either probably running low on a specific resource (processing power, memory, hard drive space or access speed, or an overloaded network connection), or it could just be overheating, causing things to run slower or “throttle” to try reduce heat.
To check your resources, click on the “Start” menu button and type TASK and select Task Manager from the menu.
If your task manager looks something like this:
Click the “More details” option at the bottom, then click the Performance tab:
Look for things in this tab that are stuck at or very near 100%. These are things your computer needs more of. Adding memory is often not very expensive and fairly easy to do. A full hard drive can be helped by either adding a second drive and moving some files over to it, or replacing the drive ( again making it necessary to reinstall Windows ) with something larger and/or faster. It might even be possible to upgrade just the CPU with a faster chip, depending on the type of Mother Board that is in your computer.
Windows does not provide an easy way to check the temperature of your computer although there are several free software programs that will give you that information.
Core Temp and HW Monitor are both good at this and fairly easy to use. Be careful if you try to install these, Core Temp will install other software unless you clear some checkboxes during the install. There is a full blog post already on our website about cleaning your computer and the effects of overheating.
Again, if this is more than you want to deal with, Village Tech can set up a remote support session and check all of these settings for you and try to help diagnose the problem and suggest ways to improve the issue.