Over time, and particularly with Windows based machines you may have noticed that your machine is no longer as fast as it used to be – there are various things you can do to speed it up. Perhaps you’ve used a friends more modern, newer machine, maybe even with Windows 10 and have been thinking about getting a new one yourself. Actually, you may not need to, there are a number of things that can be done to speed up your machine, or even upgrade it. I’ll list some of them below for you to consider.
As you work on your machine files are saved and deleted many times to your computer’s hard disk. The operating system will find some spare room to save your file and begin storing it there, if that particular section of the disk isn’t big enough to fit all your file, it will split it into parts and save the parts of the file in other locations on the hard disk. With this, over time, you get many files that have many parts scattered all over your disk, this is called fragmentation. Each time you load the file, it takes longer because the operating system has to find and re-constitute each part. Defragmenting your disk using either the built in Windows utility or other software on a regular basis can help alleviate this.
If your hard disk is running low on space, it’s probably time to empty the recycle bin (when you delete files they simply get moved to the bin until you empty it, so they are still using room on your disk.). You can also uninstall programs you have installed and no longer use using the control panel. The Windows operating system needs a certain amount of free space to operate correctly and quickly as it uses this as a kind of ‘backup’ memory when you are using multiple applications/programs on your computer – so if you have Google Chrome running surfing the web, Microsoft Word editing a letter, and your e-mail program open at the same time – you only use one at a time, so the working memory for the others is temprarily saved to disk until you click on that program again at which point it is brought back into main memory. This is known as caching by the way! You might also hear it referred to as ‘paging’.
To save costs and to increase the manufacturer’s profit, when you bought your machine (especially if several years ago) it probably only came with either 1Gb or 2Gb of RAM (if you were lucky, 4Gb) – on most laptops, there may be a second memory slot where you can add more memory, or replace the existing memory with new increased capacity. This is actually about the best performance boost you can give to an ailing machine, and not all that expensive either.
The other key piece of hardware you could upgrade is your hard disk, not only to increase capacity but also performance. Many standard hard disks fitted in older laptops spin at the rate of 5400 RPM (revolutions per minute), more modern ones spin at 7200 RPM which means access to your data would be quicker. Even better still is to replace the hard disk with an SSD disk (solid state drive) – this has no moving parts and is often quoted to be more than 10 times faster than a standard hard drive – my own machine has one of these and Windows 10 boots in about 20 seconds or less!
Increase the speed of your downloads on the Internet. If you are able, connect directly to your router with a cable. Using WiFi you will never realise the full benefit of a 300 Mbs fibre optic connection when you consider the theoretical maximum of many WiFi (802.11g) is 54Mbs and only if you have a strong signal. Your wired ethernet port on your machine may give you 100 Mbs or more.
There are also a range of other performance tweaks too.