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Hardware Associates 12 Days of Christmas

William Champness - Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas is an opportunity to relax, overindulge and make use of the extra free time to plan for the New Year. If you find that your work or home computer is running a bit slow over this period, and it’s interfering with your experience, it can also be a time to breathe new life into your PC.

To help you, our team have created 12 top tips for running a faster computer this Christmas and how to hit the New Year with a laptop or desktop that runs at optimum speed:

1. Stop, clean and delete

It’s possible you have a lot of programmes running at once that are taking up your computer’s memory and slowing it down. If you only use these occasionally, you can go into your task manager and disable them from running on start-up.

You can also clean your laptops by carefully opening them up and removing any dust and gunk that may affect the performance of the internal fans and cause your device to overheat.

2. Clean up your old computer files

It’s likely you have old files taking up memory on your hard drive that you no longer need or want. By installing PC cleaner software, such as CCleaner, you can get recommendations on what to clean from your system. This will speed up your machine and, once they’ve been removed, you can defragment your files to ensure it all runs smoothly.

3. Delete any redundant programmes

Whether you have a PC Windows device or an Apple computer, it’s beneficial to delete anything you don’t need - old programmes or apps you no longer use. Just be careful not to delete anything essential to your system. These are usually published by Microsoft or your hardware manufacturer.

To make the process efficient, you can use tools such as AppCleaner for Mac.

4. Put items into storage

It’s likely you have a lot of large files, such as holiday photos, film downloads, music and work presentations, however these can be removed from your device and stored on an external hard-drive. This is a relatively cheap way to free up your computer memory, reducing your system’s workload, and ultimately making it faster.

Alternatively, you could automatically save these files to the Cloud via an online backup service. PC Magazine has a great review of available services you might want to try.

5. Empty the trash and downloads

We’re probably all guilty of this at one time or another but it’s important to ‘empty trash’ after you’ve moved files here to delete. It’s easy to keep them here for extended periods of time, forgetting that they actually need to be fully deleted from your machine.

6. Is something wrong?

A computer being slow may be a sign that something isn’t working properly with its hardware, and it may be the best option to get this fixed via a computer repairs service. If you notice it’s considerably slow and none of the above has helped, it’s recommended to have a professional review the health of your machine. Issues could include the fan not cooling the CPU efficiently, which is difficult to fix without experience.

7. Buy more memory or invest in a solid state drive (SSD)

Another way to speed up your computer is to get more memory (RAM). You can look at the memory options available in our spares shop. Whilst this isn’t the cheapest option, it is cheaper than investing in a new machine.

Alternatively, you could upgrade to a Solid State Drive (SSD) which would really ramp up the speed. However, it has less storage than hard-drives and is quite expensive.

8. Scan for viruses and attacks

It’s always important to be aware of your cyber security and to ensure your machine is protected with antivirus software. Over Christmas, take time to make sure you have up to date software installed and if you haven’t researched in a few years, you could benefit from a more robust software.

Once you’re happy with the protection in place, run regular scans to confirm there is no hidden malware slowing processes down. To get rid of malware, there are lots of free tools available. We recommend TotalAV Ultimate Anti-Malware 2018, which removes Malware, Adware and Spyware for free.

9. Better browsing

Your browser of choice can really impact your Internet experience by making it faster or slower, so shop around for the best one for your needs. On top of this, make sure you’re running the latest version of your preferred system and that you clean out your cookies, caches and history data to make it run faster.

10. Adjust your settings

A quick way to speed up your computer is by changing your display set-up in advanced settings. You can adjust your machine to operate ‘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

If you’re running an older version of your software, it’s time to update to the latest version to optimise your speeds, whether you’re on a Mac or PC. There are a number of free software update programmes, as listed in Lifewire, which will make this an easy, automatic process for the future.

12. And finally, shut it down.
Do you often just leave your computer on standby and rarely shut it down? If you don’t have a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), we recommend you shut down your computer when you’re not using it. Doing so will allow it to restart and identify available software updates, and will prevent you losing work in the event of a power cut.

Additionally, machines do have a limited lifetime, with heat and temperatures having a negative impact on parts of the processor, RAM and graphics cards. As a rule of thumb, when you rest, let your PC rest too!

If you put some or all of these into action but are still having problems, it may be time to replace and upgrade your machine for a better experience.

If you need to replace your laptop or desktop quickly and cost-effectively, a refurbished computer could be the answer. Call us on 01408 707900 for more information on our services.

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© Hardware Associates 2017