How to Fix a Slow Computer or Laptop

There’s nothing that kills productivity faster than a slow computer or laptop. If you’ve ever felt like throwing your computer out the window because it’s just that slow, we hear you!

Just because your grandparents put up with slow technology, doesn’t mean you have to. Especially not in today’s fast-paced society.

Thankfully, you’ve got Mobile PC Pro in your corner and in this article our experts share their top tips on how to fix a slow computer at home.

Why is My Computer Running So Slow?

If you’re wondering why your computer is running slow all of a sudden, there could be one of many reasons. Slow loading computers are the most common complaint PC repair technicians hear.

Some of the most common reasons why a computer or laptop is running slow include:

  • Running out of RAM (Random Access Memory)
  • Full disk space (HDD or SDD drive)
  • Old, fragmented or corrupted hard drive
  • Too many programs running
  • Too many browser tabs open
  • Too many applications that open automatically
  • Invalid or corrupted system elements
  • Incorrect system settings
  • Viruses, spyware or malware
  • Misconfigured internet settings leading to a slower connection
  • Falling behind with system updates
  • Special effects and visual features (e.g. from gaming)

 

If you suspect you’re experiencing any of these issues, try the following steps to fix your slow computer.

9 Ways to Fix A Slow Loading Computer

The best method to speed up your computer will depend on the reason behind why it is running slow. In general, here are some quick and relatively easy fixes you can implement at home as you try and diagnose exactly where the problem is coming from.

If these methods don’t work, it’s best you let a professional take a look. For anyone in the Gold Coast looking for a computer repair technician nearby, give our friendly team a call!

Method 1: Restart Your Laptop or PC

The quickest and easiest method to speed up a computer is to restart it. This isn’t a magic pill that will speed up all computers, but it sure works a treat for most

The biggest problem a restart will help solve is freeing up some RAM. Your computer’s operating system allocates random access memory space to different programs as they run. Over time, the available RAM space will fill up and start slowing down your computer.

If you have maxed out the RAM space, your computer will resort to using other resources and hardware that are so much slower than RAM. This is why you might notice the computer slowing down or freezing all of a sudden

Sure, you can close all the programs your computer is running. But, completely restarting it will allow the RAM to be refreshed and ensure memory won’t be allocated to any hidden, background programs too.

Method 2: Clean Your Hard Drive

Hard drive memory can also slow down a computer. If your hard disk is full, it prevents the operating system from working properly. Operating systems use space on the hard disk for the following reasons:

  • To use the swap file when RAM is full
  • Prevent disk fragmentation
  • Create temporary files

 

It is ideal to reserve at least 500 megabytes (MB) of disk space for these functions. If you notice your disk space is getting quite full you can try the following.

  1. Empty the recycle bin.
  2. Remove programs you no longer use.
  3. Move your files to an external hard disk or to cloud storage.
  4. Find and delete unnecessary temporary files.
  5. Clear your web browser’s cache and cookies.

Method 3: Defragment Your Hard Drive

As you start freeing up space on your computer, you may notice that you’re not seeing the level of speed and performance improvements you were expecting. This is because your disk creates fragments, or little isolated pockets, where the deleted data once was.

After a while, your hard disk fills up with many of these small fragments and starts creating your documents or running programs from a number of locations instead of simply using one location. Your computer will not experience the desired performance boost as it can take a long time to load files on a disk with many fragments.

Defragmenting, or “defragging” is the process that helps keep your hard disk organised. Defragmenting your disk ultimately groups all these little pockets of free space together into an orderly fashion so they are more easily accessible when needed. 

Method 4: Disable Background Programs

A very common cause of computers slowing down is that there are far too many programs running at the same time. Computers and laptops have limited resources to go around and they perform far better when those resources can be focused on a single program at a time.

However, in reality, that’s not going to be the way most people use their computers. So it’s a great habit to get into checking if there are any background programs running that can be taking up valuable resources.

If you run a Windows operating system, check the “Task Manager”. On a Mac, you’ll want to view the “Activity Monitor” instead. In these areas, you can see exactly what programs are running and how many resources are allocated to them.

You can also force quit any programs that you do not need for the task at hand.

Method 5: Disable Or Limit Start-Up Programs

If you notice that in addition to your computer slowing down it also takes longer to start back up again, you may have an issue with the number of programs that are starting up. It’s likely there are too many programs trying to start up all at once.

Many programs have an option to automatically start up when you boot up your computer. This is a very useful feature when you intend on using those programs. However, there are many that do not need to be included in the start-up sequence.

In your “Task Manager” pane on a Windows computer, check the “Startup” tab to see which programs you can disable so that your computer starts up quicker and runs faster with fewer background programs running.

Method 6: Install System Updates

Making sure your computer or laptop is running on the latest software can have a great impact on improving performance. 

New operating system updates and drivers aim to improve performance and to fix any bugs in the previous versions.

Falling behind on such essential updates can easily cause your computer to slow down. If you suspect that your machine isn’t up to date with all the latest updates and software fixes, check the “Settings” area and look for any notifications about updates there.

Method 7: Upgrade Your Hard Drive to a Solid-State Drive (SSD)

If your computer is using a hard drive, you will be able to improve its performance by upgrading to a solid-state drive. 

Hard drives rely on a moving disk that spins around and allows data to be extracted from it. After booting up your computer, it can take some time for the disk to reach maximum speed.

However, an SSD does not have any moving parts. Instead, it uses technology that can access data lightning fast, even when booting up.

If you have a PC, upgrading to an SSD is easier than it is if you have a laptop. Either way, our experts can help source the best drive for your computer (and we can install it) so you can enjoy the best performance it is able to deliver!

Method 8: Add More Memory (RAM)

Your computer’s memory stores data that is currently being used. RAM allows your computer to retrieve all the information it needs quickly and it acts like a pool of resources for your system to get things done.

Adding more RAM allows you to do more things without your computer slowing down as much. For instance, any time you do any of these things, you are using your computer’s RAM:

  • Moving your mouse
  • Opening a new tab
  • Surfing the web
  • Playing a game
  • Listening to music
  • Watching a video
  • Typing an email
  • Creating a document or spreadsheet
  • And so on…

 

Most people are doing most of these things all at the same time! Extending your memory can go a long way to getting the best performance from your computer.

Method 9: Run Your Antivirus & Security Scans at Night

Antivirus software is one of the most common culprits for computers going slow all of a sudden. It’s worth checking your antivirus settings.

If you notice that it is set to scan randomly or when it sees fit, consider changing it to times when you’re not likely to be using your computer (such as overnight or during a lunch break).

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FAQs About Fixing a Slow Computer

Why Is My Computer Running So Slow All of a Sudden?

The reason why your computer is running so slow suddenly can be difficult to diagnose on your own. Always start by checking the Task Manager or Activity Monitor panel to see what programs are taking up the most resources. 

If you have tried all the methods in the list above, there may be something else affecting your computer’s performance. Typically, the age of your machine and its parts will also impact its operating speed.

If you’ve tried everything you can to fix your slow computer at home, give our team a call. If we can’t fix it either, you won’t pay us a cent!

How Do I Clean Up My Computer to Make it Run Faster?

If you are using a Windows computer, you can go to File Explorer > Right-click “C” drive > Properties > Disk Cleanup.

You can select all items under “Files to Delete” that you no longer need and then click “OK”. You can also repeat the same process and delete all unnecessary system files too.

If you run a Mac, check out the instructions from Apple on how to clean up and optimise your storage.

How Do I Make Sure My Computer Is Running At Its Best?

To make sure your computer is running at its best, make sure you actively maintain it on a frequent basis. Check for updates to the operating system and its drivers as often as you can. Also, make it a habit to defragment your hard disk weekly. 

Investing in an SSD with more storage can go a long way too. All in all, getting the best performance out of your computer is easier done when you take good care of it in the first place.

Can I Make An Old Laptop Run Like New?

If you want to make an old laptop run like new, it will depend on the age of your laptop and how well you’ve taken care of it over the years. In many cases, a simple replacement of parts that are no longer performing can do the trick. In other cases, you may be better off buying a new laptop altogether. In any case, a professional IT technician can help you figure out the best course of action for your laptop.

Need Help With Fixing a Slow Laptop or Computer?

If you’ve tried everything listed above to improve your slow laptop or computer and it’s still not working, it’s time to take it to a professional. 

At Mobile PC Pro, we offer a “no fix, no fee” guarantee for all our clients so you don’t need to worry about paying someone to take a look if they can’t fix it either! We’ll tell you straight up if you’re better off buying a new computer or if a simple part replacement will do the trick.

Why Choose Mobile PC Pro?

  • No fix, no fee guarantee
  • 10+ years of experience
  • Over 1,450 happy customers
  • Large service area
  • We come to your location
  • Excellent, professional service