Even if you have bought the fastest desktop or laptop possible in your budget, you will notice it slowing down considerably with time. This happens due to a variety of factors, including mechanical performance degradation, accumulation of files, and unused software. However frustrating a slow-running computer may be, it does not mean that the hardware calls for a replacement or that a software professional is engaged in sorting things out and making your computer fast again. With just a few simple maintenance routines or software upgrades, you yourself can restore the speed of your computer.
Check the Hard Disk Space
As you can very well appreciate, the available space on the computer’s hard disk progressively gets reduced when you install programs, create files, download photographs, music, utilities, etc. The Windows operating system also occupies a part of the hard disk and also requires a certain amount of space to be kept free for smooth operation. You need to keep a watch on the hard disk space utilization from time to time because you will notice a significant slowdown of the computer speed once the space in the hard disk gets filled up to a certain point.
It is best that you keep at least 15% of the total hard disk space free; if you have accumulated more files, you should consider deleting some of the unnecessary ones or shifting them to another hard disk. To check on how much space it is free on the hard disk, you should click on Computer, and then see the properties of the local drive; a pie chart will be displayed showing the space occupied and the space that is free.
Remove Temporary Files
Every time you work on the computer, a number of temporary files are created, of which some are automatically deleted but many of them remain on the hard disk. Over time, these temporary files can occupy a very large space on the hard disk and act to slow down the computer as it becomes progressively more difficult to locate the actual file from among the multitude of junk files. It is a good practice to clean up your hard disk regularly so that you can free up space. Do this especially, if you notice that you have less than 5GB of free space on your hard disk. Use the ‘Disk Cleanup’ that comes with Windows or any one of the many smart utilities that can do the job in a flash. If you have any confusion regarding the types of temporary files that can be safely deleted, you can ask any of the numerous Walnut Creek companies specializing in computer maintenance.
Don’t Keep Big Files on the Desktop
While saving files on the desktop can be very tempting as it offers easy access, this practice can really slow down the computer. This is because all the files in the desktop are represented automatically as images that eat up a lot of the memory, leaving commensurately much less for the other operations. If you do need files to be very easily accessible then store them in a different folder and make a shortcut to the folder that is available on the desktop. Doing this will free up the memory, and improve the response time of the computer, making it run far faster. Make it a point to clean up your desktop every couple of weeks.
Defrag the Hard Drive
Over time, files on the hard drive get broken up into little bits and get stored all over the place instead of existing as a single file. As a result, when the computer is trying to read a file, it needs to search for hundreds of broken bits and access the data – the process can take quite some time. When you defragment a hard disk, you are basically reorganizing all the broken files so that they reside in contiguous places on the hard disk making them easier to access. You can get a noticeable improvement in performance after you defragment the hard disk.
Install More RAM
One of the very common reasons why computers become progressively slower is because of the unavailability of adequate random access memory or RAM. While certain programs may require a lot of RAM, running many programs at the same time may also leave you without adequate RAM, causing the computer to run very slow or even freeze. A standard computer for home use may be okay with 4GB RAM, but if you are using a lot of heavy programs, you will perhaps like to double that to ensure that your computer does not run out of steam.