Even the most expensive high-end computer starts to seem slow after a while. That’s because every Windows computer does get slower with time.
Fortunately, it’s a predictable process that you can do something about. You can speed up your computer and eliminate hassle with a few simple, easy-to-implement tricks.
You can even learn to manage the unpredictable events that cause a slow running computer. These include viruses, spyware & adware, and uncommon errors (such as driver errors) to your computer.
By and large the most common problems, however, are registry errors. Here are 7 ways to keep registry errors off of your computer and reverse your slow-running PC.
1. Get Rid of All Programs You Don’t Use
There’s a good chance you have plenty of software on your computer, which you don’t actually use. Much of this software comes pre-installed on your computer on a trial basis. Most of us have other trial software as well. And it’s not uncommon to find programs you didn’t even know you downloaded!
(If so, don’t be alarmed. Certainly they could be malicious programs. But most of us have inadvertently downloaded third-party media playing software, or other programs. Usually these programs come from websites that aren’t malicious, but that are less than honest. These websites will often lead users into believing they are downloading a single file, instead of an entire program.)
You’ll need to access and remove these programs via the Windows Control Panel. The exact method of removing programs varies slightly with each version of Windows. A quick search via Google the official Microsoft Windows website will show you how to uninstall programs on Windows for your PC.
2. Check Which Programs Begin Running when You Start Up Your Computer
There are many programs that start running as soon as you turn Windows on. This can make your computer take twice or three times as long (or longer) to start up.
It can also be a huge drain on your resources even after startup. After all, these programs turn themselves on—but they don’t turn themselves off!
Many of these programs don’t launch their full versions at startup. Instead, they only run certain processes. The theory is that these programs will start up more quickly when you choose them.
In practice, this only serves to slow PC performance. This is true for your long startup time, as well as day-to-day computer performance. All of these “small process” files can really add up to slow your computer down. And the only benefit they give is to start up some of your programs a few seconds faster!
Once again, the official Microsoft Support Site is the go-to place to find out how to do this for your version of Windows. The better registry cleaner programs will also give you an option to control which programs activate at startup.
3. Speed Up PC Performance with One Simple “Trick”
There is a very good simple way to improve PC speed when your computer is running slow. It won’t fix every problem of a slow working computer, but it will help improve things about 80% of the time. Best of all, it doesn’t take much time, won’t cost you any money, and can easily be done by the most un-technical person on the planet!
All you have to do is simply turn off your PC! That’s it. Just restart your computer for a faster PC!
This won’t fix every problem you have, of course. But starting off with a fresh Windows session will usually help your computer run faster. One reason is because many programs leave processes working in the background even after you have stopped using them (and theoretically shut them down).
You can also save a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on your hardware this way. Over time, letting your computer run for 8+ hours when it’s not in use, can really take a toll on your hardware. This can slow your computer down needlessly. You can literally add years to the life of your PC and stop it from aging prematurely by shutting down overnight.
You may also want to reboot your computer in the afternoon—or any other time when you develop a slow moving PC. Sometimes the problem is a little more complicated. But sometimes a reboot can really smooth out poor PC performance.
4. Defragment Your Hard Drive
Fragmentation is one of those processes that occurs on your computer with time, just like registry clutter. Disk fragmentation isn’t actually as bad as it sounds. It simply refers to a sort of “split” in the storage of your data.
How can you defragment Windows on your computer? In most versions of Windows, you simply need to look for the Disk Defragmenter. In Windows 8, this function’s name has been changed to “Optimize Drives”. Like many other changes in W8, this one seems to have no rhyme or reason!
How often should you defragment your hard drive? Once a month is fine for most computers. If your computer receives heavy use (8+ hours/day), try every other week.
5. Clean Up Temporary Files (Including the Browser Cache)
Computers build up stacks of temporary files surprisingly quickly. Fortunately, they are “temporary” for a reason. You don’t have to worry about keeping them around. Cleaning your browser’s cache and deleting temporary Internet files will keep your computer from “clogging up”. You can do this “by hand,” or use a PC optimization tool (such as a registry cleaner).
6. Upgrade Your Computer’s RAM (Random Access Memory)
RAM memory is what helps your computer run programs and other tasks that need large amounts of memory. It works hand-in-hand with your computer’s central processing unit (CPU) to do as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Replacing it is a sure (and usually cheap) method to speed up PC performance.
You can find out how much RAM your computer has in the System or System and Maintenance settings of Windows. Installing new RAM cards is a relatively straightforward process. Still, it pays to be careful. This Wikihow guide to installing RAM explains how to go about it.
7. Scan for Viruses, Spyware, and Other Programs
They don’t have to be malicious. Some, such as “Browser Helper Objects,” often referred to as BHOs for short, slow computer performance even though they are not necessarily malicious. (Keep in mind that some BHOs are malicious, however!)
You may also want to find and uninstall any Adware that is running. While this type of software isn’t necessarily malicious, it does slow PC performance.
Will a New Hard Disk Make My Computer Run Faster?
Sometimes a new hard disk can make a computer run faster and smoother. But not always. And it’s not a registry issue—although it is sometimes related to the problems that cause them.
When can replacing the hard drive speed up your system? Usually either when your hard drive is very old (5+ years—that’s forever in computer years!) or damaged. The most common form of hard drive damage is due to overheating.
A brand new hard drive may make your computer run a little faster. If you’re working with a disk that has been seriously damaged, the speed-up can be significant.
Is your entire computer fairly old (5+ years)? It may be wise to consult your local computer technician. He or she can help you choose a hard disk that is compatible with the rest of your hardware.
Keep in mind that there are new types of hard drive known as “solid state” drives. Unlike the old drives that constantly spin a magnetic disk around, these “disks” have no moving parts. They are much faster than traditional hard drives. They are also much more expensive. “Hybrid” drives are available that combine the best of higher performance and lower pricing.
If you replace your computer’s hard drive to fix your slow running computer, it’s usually best to get help from a technician. Transferring your files from one drive to another can be a tricky and time-consuming task. Your computer tech will also have to decide if you can use your old Windows license, or if you need to have a new version installed.