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pc gone mad

Here's 11 ways to make your computer run faster

And all without breaking the bank.

COMPUTERS ARE NOTORIOUS for slowing down with old age, but there are a few tips and tricks to give them a speed boost.

From small tweaks to your settings to purchasing some new RAM, there’s plenty of options for everyone’s budget and skillset.

So before you toss your computer aside for a new one, try out these suggestions to get your PC chugging along again.

1. Run cleanup programs frequently

run-cleanup-programs-frequently Piriform Piriform

CCleaner is an amazing app that will help you find and delete caches and temporary files in many of your applications. You can download CCleaner here.

2. Remove unnecessary visual effects and animations

remove-unnecessary-visual-effects-and-animations chriizzz chriizzz

Yes — some of these things you’ll be removing make your operating system look nice, but wouldn’t you rather have a speedier computer?

On Windows 7, try disabling the pretty albeit resource-hungry “Aero” theme. Right click your desktop and then click “Personalise”. Choose the “Window Color” tab and then uncheck “Enable transparency”.

3. Update and use your antivirus software.


Viruses and malware can bog down your computer in a hurry, so it’s best to prevent them in the first place. If you’re using a free trial of antivirus software whose notifications are as annoying as a virus itself, uninstall it and try using Microsoft’s free Security Essentials antivirus software, which won’t bombard you with ads.

To stay diligent, try scheduling daily quick scans and weekly full scans.

4. Buy more RAM for faster multitasking

Memory Eric Hamiter Eric Hamiter

RAM, or random-access memory, is a cheap and easy upgrade that can make a sluggish PC feel brand new again.

You can use this nifty “Memory Finder” tool from Newegg to figure out what kind your computer needs. You can then either install it yourself or have a computer technician slot it into your motherboard. It’s a very easy DIY upgrade though.

5. Buy a solid-state drive (SSD) for snappy load times.

Samsung SSD 830 Series 128Gb 2,5 SATA Tolbxela Tolbxela

Upgrading your hard drive is an easy way to see far faster load times. There are two types: the traditional hard drives (HDD) and the newer solid-state drives (SDD).

While traditional hard drives are cheaper and feature moving parts, SSDs are based on flash memory which have no moving parts. They’re getting cheaper by the day, and having an SSD means faster startups and load times.

6. Reduce the number of apps that launch when you start up your PC.


Waiting around for your computer to boot up is a pain, so it can help to limit the number of programs and apps that start on launch.

To see a list of these programs, click the Start menu and search for “msconfig.” Next, click on the Startup tab and you’ll see the list. You can then uncheck any programs that you don’t need running on start up.

Note: Don’t delete anything you don’t recognise without first searching Google to see if it’s a necessary program.

7. See what’s running on your computer to find resource-hogging processes.


Your computer is always running multiple processes at any given time, but it can be helpful to make sure they all belong.

On Windows, right click the Taskbar and then click “Start Task Manager” to bring up Task Manager. If there’s a process taking up a ton of RAM or processing power that you haven’t heard of, trying Googling it. If you can’t find anything, it might be a sinister process.

8. Perform a fresh reinstall of Windows if you’re infested with viruses or malware.

Windows 7: Disc bfishadow bfishadow

You can usually weed out viruses with a reputable anti-virus software, but sometimes you just need a fresh start.

Performing a fresh-reinstall of your Windows operating system will set the clock back to zero, so make sure you have your important documents and media beforehand. When you’re ready to reset, insert your Windows installation disk or USB stick into your computer and then shut down your PC. Then start it back up and follow the on-screen directions.

9. If your internet browser is running slowly, try clearing your cache.


If your computer is struggling to surf the web, the problem could be with your browser, not your hardware.

The directions are slightly different for each browser, but in general you want to navigate to the Settings menu, and head over to the History option to clear the cache.

10. Refresh your computer’s search index.


This tip will greatly speed up the process of searching your computer by having your computer re-index your entire hard disk. This process can take a while on large hard drives, but it’s definitely worth it.

On Windows, use the “Disk Defragmenter” application that comes with your PC. Try scheduling a weekly de-fragmentation.

11. Restart your computer regularly.

Windows Start Button freestockimages freestockimages

When you leave your computer on constantly, programs can end up taking up more memory over time than they need.

Turning off your computer regularly lets your computer start over and gets rid of any “memory leaking” that may have been occurring from a background program or application, and often installs important updates that you might not have known were available.

One other, more drastic option…

Ubuntu okubax okubax

Some computers are inherently slow, such as low-end netbooks. They come cheap, do the job, but can falter under more intensive tasks. One option is to dump Windows and go for Linux, which is more lightweight and can make better use of a computer’s limited resources.

You can often try out these operating systems using a DVD or USB without going all-out and installing it. Full instructions here for Linux – but proceed with caution.

- Steven Tweedie, with additional reporting by Nicky Ryan

Read: Smartphone a little slow? It may have a memory problem >

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