It’s the most wonderful time of the year. An opportunity to kick back, enjoy time with friends and family and possibly over indulge a little too. But if you find yourself twiddling your thumbs with all that spare time or you’re one of the unlucky few that needs to be at work over the Christmas break then why not try to use the quieter period to breathe some new life into your business or home PC.
Here’s Hardware Associates’ 12 Top Tips to running a faster computer this Christmas and hit the New Year with a laptop or desktop that runs at optimum speed.
- 1. Stop, clean and delete
You can (carefully) open up most laptops to rid them of dust and other gunk, but to truly give your computer a clean, you’ll need to stop a number of processes from happening whilst your computer is running. Have a look at your task manager CPU processes. If there’s a load of programmes that are hogging your computer’s memory that you only use occasionally, then disable them from running on start up. You can do this by using your system preferences.
- 2. Clean up your old computer files
Your computer probably has lots of old files just hanging around on your hard-drive that you simply don’t want. Install something like CCleaner to look through all your temporary files and make recommendations of what to clean to make your system run less slowly. Then, defragment your files so that everything runs smoothly.
- 3. Delete any redundant programmes
Just like you, your computer maybe feeling a little bloated! Go into your control panel and uninstall anything that you don’t want – be careful not to delete anything your system needs to run however. Check the publisher, if it’s Microsoft or your hardware manufacturer, then you should probably leave well alone. You can use tools such as decrap.org or AppCleaner for Mac.
- 4. Put items into storage
Your computer might have enough space for your 5,000 photos of cats/babies/holidays, massive work presentations, film downloads and 100-odd days-worth of music, but that doesn’t mean you should keep it all on your laptop/desktop. External hard-drives can be a relatively cheap way to relieve your system’s workload and free up some memory. Or use an online backup service to automatically and securely protect all your paraphernalia. PCMagazine has just put together a great run down of available services and if you’re a business owner you might want to consider services from the likes of Google and Microsoft, again PCMagazine has a great review of available services.
- 5. Empty the trash and downloads
It might seem obvious but how often have you moved files to trash but not actually emptied it? Free up space on your Mac or PC but right clicking and opting to empty trash. It’s as simple as that!
- 6. Is something wrong?
Slow performance can sometimes be indicative of something going awry for your hardware. Your fan might not be cooling the CPU efficiently, for example. If your computer has slowed down considerably, it might be worth having it looked at and fixed with a computer repairs service.
- 7. Buy more memory or invest in a solid state drive (SSD)
Not the cheapest option, but cheaper than purchasing a new machine, is to look at getting more memory (RAM). Have a look at the memory options available in our spares shop. If you really want to ramp the speed, then upgrade to a Solid State Drive – but this option is pretty expensive and SSDs come with less storage than hard-drives.
- 8. Scan for nasties
Your computer is vulnerable to all kinds of threats, so make sure you’re fully protected with up-to-date antivirus software. You may have installed anti-malware and anti-virus software a few years back but don’t forget times have changed and you need the most robust software out there. Also, do a regular scan to check that there isn’t any malware lurking on your hard-drive, slowing everything down. To get rid of malware, there are lots of free tools out there. We recommend TotalAV Ultimate Anti-Malware 2018 which removes Malware, Adware and Spyware for free.
- 9. Better browsing
The browser you choose to use can make yourinternet searching experience faster or slower, so it's best to shop around and find the best one for your needs. Updating to the newest version can help your browser run faster, as well as regularly cleaning out all cookies, caches and history data.
- 10. Adjust your settings
Speed up your computer by changing the display set-up in advanced settings. You can adjust ‘for best screen performance’ - and also change your screen resolution if you feel that your super high-res display is affecting processing speed.
- 11. Update your software
Make sure you’re running the most up to date software for your Mac or PC. Lifewire lists a number of free software updater programs to help you ensure you’re optimising your machine as much as possible. Once installed it will automatically identify all of your software and determine if an update is available – leaving you time to hit the mince pies.
- 12. And finally, shut it down.
If you don’t have a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) then we’d recommend you shut down your computer for a number of reasons. Firstly, when it restarts it will identify available software updates, and secondly, if you do have a sudden power cut then you won’t lose work but more importantly your computer does have a limited lifetime. Heat and temperature can have a negative impact on a variety of parts from the processor, RAM and graphics cards to name a few. So, if you’re planning on being idle for a few days why not let your computer rest too.
Tuning up your PC with these (mostly) free and easy methods should see your processing speeds going from snail’s pace to cheetah sprint. But if you’re still experiencing problems, it could be that your computer has had its day.
About Hardware Associates
Hardware Associates has been providing refurbished IT equipment to large and small businesses and organisations across many sectors for over 20 years, helping them to keep on top with their technology, in the most cost-effective way possible. For more information, please visit www.hardwarespares.com
Nicola Williamson/Victoria Melville