Unfortunately, as computers age, they inevitably slow down and have to be replaced. However, you can make adjustments to improve the computer’s performance and this could give you longer usage. There are likely other solutions, these are just a few simple ones.
Adjust visual settings
Open Start and type in “performance”.
Select “Adjust Appearance and Performance of Windows
Use the radio buttons to choose for best performance or set custom. Note that the “best performance” setting will remove all the effects and can make interacting with the start menu etc feel a bit bland. I suggest leaving “smooth edges of screen fonts” on.
Check for viruses 👩💻
Viruses on your computer can consume resources as well as spy on your behaviour. Make sure to run a virus scan either with Windows Defender (default), the Mac equivalent, or a third-party scanner such as Norton or Kaspersky.
You may be running out of space
Your computer needs free space in order to perform tasks properly so if your hard drive is almost full it can inhibit performance.
Open File Explorer (previously Windows Explorer), go to This PC and check the bar for C Drive, which will give you an overview of how much space is being used. If you are running out of space you could try the following:
- Delete unnecessary files
- Move files to external hard drives, pen drives, and other external storage
- Uninstall programs you don’t use very often
Programs can add non-system processes to the background which may eat up your computer’s performance. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc and expand the Task Manager or switch to the Processes tab if using an older OS and check which processes are eating up the most CPU and memory by clicking the title to sort by greatest/least usage. It may jump around quite a bit.
Too much running
If you have too many programs, be it word processors, creative software, browsers, etc, this will put more strain on the performance. Try to trim these down to only what you are actually using at the time where possible.
It just can’t cope
A mouse cannot pull a carriage (mouse-scaled carriages aside, which would be rather adorable). It may be that your computer simply cannot handle what you are trying to run with it, especially regarding games. Check that your computer’s specs are sufficient to run what you are trying to run. In some cases, especially with desktop PCs, you can upgrade the hardware such as adding extra memory to improve performance. It’s advised to speak to a company or individual who knows about this if you are unsure.
Computers can accumulate dust in the vents and prevent them from being able to properly cool the components, which puts additional stress on the computer. Cleaning this out such as with a pressurised air blower (use the right type) can help to dispell the debris inside. Also, make sure the computer tower/laptop is in a good place to be able to ventilate. If you are using a laptop you can also buy a riser which elevates your laptop to ventilate and make include an independent fan.
This is something of a last resort but you can reset, essentially format the computer. If you clear apps only then your files will be safe though you’ll have to reinstall any non-default applications you want to use. Open Start and type in Reset