Looking to speed up a slow laptop or PC? We reveal a few free, easy steps that anyone can take make a Windows laptop faster.
Regardless of whether you invest in the top-notch laptop available in the market, it is inevitable that you will observe a decrease in its speed over time. You may be inclined to take it to a repair store or even purchase a brand-new laptop altogether. However, by dedicating some time to trying out the tips mentioned below, you might discover effective methods to enhance your laptop’s speed without incurring any expenses!
In this article, we will discuss effective techniques for enhancing the speed of a sluggish laptop or PC running on Windows 11, 10, 8, or 7. It is important to note that our primary focus will be on addressing system performance problems rather than network-related issues. Although the screenshots provided are specific to Windows 11, users of other versions need not worry as most settings will be located in similar locations. In case there are any significant variations, we will make sure to inform you accordingly.
How to make your laptop faster: checklist
- Close unnecessary system tray programs
- Stop programs running on startup
- Update Windows, drivers, and applications
- Delete unneeded files
- Identify resource-hungry applications
- Adjust your power options
- Uninstall programs you don’t use
- Turn Windows features on and off
- Run a disk clean up
- Defragment your hard drive
- Adjust graphics and animations settings
- Check for malware
- Disable Cortana
- Restart your browser
- Closer your browser tabs
- Try a different anti virus program
- Try not to multi-task as much
- Upgrade your hardware
We recommend working through the points above in order to improve your laptop speed. For more information, on each of the points, scroll below.
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Effective techniques for enhancing the Laptop Speed
There are several effective techniques that can help enhance laptop speed. One way is to uninstall any unnecessary programs or applications that may be taking up valuable resources. Another method is to disable any startup programs that automatically run when the laptop boots up, as these can slow down the system. Clearing out temporary files and running regular disk cleanup and defragmentation can also improve performance. Upgrading hardware components such as RAM or SSD can also significantly boost laptop speed. Additionally, regularly updating your operating system and drivers can help ensure optimal performance and compatibility with newer software and applications.
How To Increase Speed For Windows 11, 10, 8, or 7 Laptop?
If you want to increase the speed of your Windows 11, 10, 8 or 7 laptop, there are several things you can do. Firstly, uninstall any programs that you don’t use or need as they can take up valuable space and slow down your system. Secondly, clear out temporary files and folders using the built-in Disk Cleanup tool. You can also disable any unnecessary startup programs to improve boot times. Additionally, running a malware scan or updating your drivers can also help boost performance. Lastly, consider upgrading your hardware such as adding more RAM or installing an SSD for faster storage access.
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Here’s how to make a laptop faster:
1. Close system tray programs
Certain applications do not fully close when you click the X in the top-right corner. Instead, they will minimize to the system tray while continuing to run and utilize your laptop’s resources in the background.
Fortunately, it is quite easy to effectively close these applications. To access these elements, simply click on the upward arrow located on the right side of your taskbar. If there are any programs that you do not need to be running, simply right-click on them and select the options to close, quit, or exit.
2. Stop programs running on startup
Frequently, when you install a new program, it will come with a pre-selected option that enables it to automatically run every time you start your computer. Having too many of these can significantly slow down the startup process of your PC, so we suggest regularly reviewing and removing unnecessary ones from the list.
To access the Task Manager, simply right-click on the taskbar or press Ctrl-Shift-Escape. Once there, navigate to the Startup tab where you can see a list of all the items that run when your computer starts up, along with their respective impact.
Please review these programs and determine which ones do not need to start automatically. Keep in mind that some of these programs are essential for the proper functioning of Windows. For instance, it is recommended to leave alone the ones with Microsoft listed as the publisher. If you are unsure, you can either leave it as is or conduct a Google search for more information.
To avoid a process from initiating during boot, all you need to do is right-click and select the option to disable it. It’s important to note that you are not disabling the program itself, but rather preventing it from running automatically when the system starts up.
Windows 7: Instead of using Task Manager, you will have to look for System Configuration.
3. Update Windows, drivers, and apps
You may have already been informed that it is advisable to keep your software updated for security purposes. This is indeed true and it can also enhance performance. Windows will send you a notification automatically whenever an update becomes available. It is important to ensure that you do not continuously postpone the update.
If you suspect that you may have overlooked an update, you have the option to verify it. Navigate to the Start menu and select Settings or the settings icon. From there, access Windows Update (or in older versions, go to Updates & Security > Windows Update).
Aside from your Windows operating system, drivers and apps should be kept up to date too. Again, this is good for both security and performance. If you think you might have missed an update, a quick online search should tell you which version you should be using.
4. Delete unnecessary files
Similar to our closets and drawers, our computers also tend to accumulate clutter. Although it may not be visible, we are aware of its existence and understand that it can negatively affect the performance of our computers. This is particularly applicable for individuals who regularly work with large files, such as high-resolution images, audio files, or videos.
Create more space by developing a routine of removing files and folders every week and then clearing the recycle bin afterwards. By consistently doing this, you will have a better recollection of the contents of the files and folders, reducing your worries about accidentally deleting something significant.
Handy tip: Typically, hard disk drives (HDDs) operate at their maximum speed until they approach approximately 90 percent of their storage capacity. Therefore, if you observe that the amount of space used exceeds 90 percent, it could be the cause of the slowdown in performance. On the other hand, solid-state drives (SSDs) experience a more gradual decrease in speed as they become filled, making it important to monitor their storage usage consistently. It is advisable to avoid filling an SSD with more than 75 percent of its total capacity.
5. Find programs that eat up resources
If you notice a sudden decrease in the speed of your computer, it is likely that a specific program is responsible. To determine which program is causing the issue, you can access your task manager and check for any resource-intensive activities.
To access the Task Manager, simply right-click on the taskbar. Once the Task Manager window opens, navigate to the Processes tab where you can view details about the programs currently running on your computer.
6. Adjust your power options
Windows offers a variety of preconfigured “power plans” to cater to your requirements. By default, the system is set to “Balanced,” which considers both performance and energy usage. However, energy consumption becomes more significant when operating on battery power or aiming to minimize electricity costs. Therefore, you might consider modifying your current power plan.
The High performance plan, as its name implies, is the ideal choice if your PC is experiencing sluggishness. Despite consuming more energy, this option prioritizes performance and should assist in improving the speed of your machine.
In addition to the regular choices available, you have the option to design your own personalized plan. To do so, navigate to Control Panel, then Hardware and Sound, followed by Power Options. From there, click on Change power-saving settings and select Create a power plan. Choose an existing plan as a starting point, provide a name for your new plan, and click Next.
The basic choices involve determining the duration of the display staying on when there is no activity and the duration before the computer enters sleep mode. These options do not significantly impact the speed of your computer, but by accessing “Change advanced power settings,” you can make additional adjustments that will have a noticeable effect.
7. Uninstall programs you don’t use
Many times, we unknowingly install large programs without considering the amount of space they occupy. If you suspect this is the situation, you can effortlessly remove any programs that are not utilized. Even if it is a program that you use occasionally, if it is especially large in size, it may be beneficial to reinstall it whenever necessary.
To uninstall a program, head over to Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a program (or Programs and Features > Uninstall a program in older versions)
Take a look at the programs available and determine which ones, if any, you can do without. If you are uncertain about a specific program, you can easily conduct a search on a search engine to gather more information.
8. Turn Windows features on or off
When you are on the “Programs and Features” screen, it would be a good idea to verify if there are any Windows components that are not necessary. To do this, simply click on “Turn Windows features on or off” and you will be able to view a list of these components.
Be careful not to turn off anything you actually need. So again, a search for anything you’re unsure about is a good idea.
9. Run a disk cleanup
Windows includes a default feature that allows users to eliminate unnecessary files that gradually accumulate. To access the Disk Cleanup utility, navigate to Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Tools > Disk Clean-up. In case you are using an older version of Windows, you can locate it under Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools instead.
In this section, you have the option to choose the specific file types that you wish to delete. Once you have made your selections, click on “OK” to proceed. Afterwards, select the “Clean up system files” option and decide which system files you would like to eliminate.
If you prefer not to do this task manually, there is software available for purchase that can assist you. For instance, Iolo System Mechanic has the capability to identify and eliminate unnecessary files instantly, alleviating any concerns you may have about them.
The software is equipped with various additional functions that are specifically designed to enhance the performance of your computer. These features include clearing your browsing history, optimizing settings and application processes, as well as defragmentation (refer to the details below). Currently, the price for a one-year subscription of this software is approximately $50.
10. Defragment your hard drive
As time passes, the files on your hard drive tend to become fragmented. This fragmentation causes your computer to search in multiple locations for the different pieces, resulting in slower performance. Although the term ‘defragment’ may sound dramatic, it simply refers to the process of reassembling those files in order to enhance the efficiency of your system.
Windows automatically performs this task on a predetermined schedule. By default, it is set to run once a week, but you have the option to manually initiate it if you suspect any problems.
To begin with, it is crucial to understand that this action is only necessary for computers equipped with a conventional mechanical Hard Disk Drive (HDD). The functioning of a Solid State Drive (SSD) differs from that of an HDD, rendering defragmentation unnecessary. If you possess both types of drives, it is advised to solely defragment the HDD.
Start by pressing the Windows key and typing “defragment”, then clicking the first result.
You’ll then get an Optimize Drives screen popup.
Please take note that in the screenshot provided, all the drives shown are SSDs. It is not necessary to defragment these drives. Just like in the image, the “Analyze” option will be disabled for SSD drives, while it will remain accessible for hard drives.
Choose a hard disk drive (HDD) and click on the “Analyze” button to determine its level of fragmentation. It is generally recommended to keep the fragmentation level below five percent. If it exceeds this threshold, you can select the “Optimize” option to defragment the disk.
If you have an SSD, you’ll notice Optimize is actually an available option. Clicking it will run the TRIM command, which wipes data that is no longer considered in use.
Windows 7: Search for the Disk Defragmenter using the search bar and choose a hard disk drive under the Current status.
11. Adjust or disable graphics and animations
Newer iterations of Windows are equipped with a multitude of graphic features, which encompass animations like fading effects and flyouts. These additions enhance the aesthetics and sophistication of applications, thereby enhancing the overall user experience. Nonetheless, it is important to note that these elements can potentially result in decreased computer performance.
Fortunately, making adjustments to these settings is easy and can potentially result in saving some processing power. Navigate to Control Panel, then System and Security, followed by System and Advanced system settings. From there, access the Performance section and click on Settings to view a comprehensive list of options.
You have the option to choose “Adjust for best performance” which will eliminate all visual effects, or you can choose to remove certain ones individually. It ultimately depends on your personal preference, but features such as fade and shadow are ones that you may not necessarily need.
Windows 7: Search for Performance Information and Tools, select Adjust visual effects, and use the Visual Effects tab.
12. Check for malware
Malware, which refers to malicious software, encompasses a wide range of harmful programs that can inflict damage on your computer. These malicious programs can originate from different sources such as email links, software downloads, and even advertisements referred to as malvertisements. In addition to the potential of causing permanent harm to your system, certain types of malware can also significantly slow down the performance of your computer.
Installing reliable antivirus software is essential for safeguarding against malware and other potential risks. Fortunately, there are several reputable free options available, meaning you can protect your device without incurring any additional costs.
We highly recommend Avira’s free tool, which is capable of scanning and removing malware while also providing tuneup tools. This ensures the protection of your data and the optimization of your PC’s speed. If you are willing to invest in antivirus software, we suggest Norton, TotalAV, or McAfee, which require a fee.
If you have a suspicion that your computer is already being affected by malware, you have the option to verify this using a scanner like Zemana AntiMalware. Afterwards, you can utilize a removal tool such as Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit to eliminate it. We have personally tested both of these products and were extremely pleased with the outcomes.
13. Disable Cortana
Although Cortana, the digital assistant for Windows, is a useful feature, it consumes significant system resources and raises privacy concerns. Previously, removing Cortana was a simple task, but in the latest versions, it has become more challenging. However, if you are willing to make changes to your system’s registry, it is still possible to remove Cortana.
14. Restart your browser
If your computer is running into issues with slow internet speeds, it might be due to your browser being overloaded. Remember that your browser is how you access the internet, so if it’s taking a long time to load pages, it can be quite perplexing.
In order to promptly resolve this problem, you can simply attempt to close your browser and then restart it. This should be sufficient to provide the browser with a refresh and restore your internet connection to its optimal speed. If webpages are loading slowly, you may also consider installing an adblocker (such as Adblock Plus) and extensions that block trackers (like Privacy Badger or uBlock Origin).
In order to maintain optimal efficiency and speed of your browser, it is recommended to ensure that it is kept up-to-date. If none of the previous steps prove successful, you may consider uninstalling and reinstalling your browser for a fresh start. Another option would be to attempt clearing the cache and removing cookies in your browser to potentially improve its speed.
15. Close your browser tabs
If restarting your browser does not resolve the issue, it is possible that you may need to close some tabs..
If someone is used to having ten or more tabs open on their browser, they may notice a decrease in speed. This is because each of these tabs uses up RAM, and your computer will dedicate more resources whenever you open a new tab.
If you find yourself looking at your browser and seeing a row of tabs taking up the entire top of your screen, it may be a good idea to take 5 minutes to close any tabs that are open but not needed.
Make sure to also look for any other Windows that might be open behind your main browser window. These additional windows may contain multiple tabs which could be the reason why your computer is slowing down.
16. Try a different antivirus program
In order to prevent accidentally downloading malware or becoming infected with other malicious infections, it is essential for everyone to have a trustworthy antivirus program. A dependable antivirus will consistently operate in the background and even scan incoming files in real-time. This guarantees that no harmful elements find their way onto your laptop, making it crucial to utilize such software.
One potential issue that may arise is that certain antivirus software can be quite demanding on your laptop’s CPU and RAM usage. This could be problematic if your laptop has limited processing power, as the antivirus program may consume a significant amount of resources, causing your laptop to slow down significantly.
If you are utilizing an antivirus software that is notorious for consuming system resources, it might be worth considering alternative options. To gain further insight into the most effective antiviruses available, we recommend perusing our comprehensive collection of antivirus reviews.
17. Limit multi-tasking
On occasion, we tend to demand too much from our computers. Considering their limited processing power, it can be a challenge for most laptops (especially older models) to simultaneously run a game and a music app. While adjusting graphics settings can help to some extent, often the best approach is to lower your expectations.
In addition, when you are downloading a large file, you may experience a lack of bandwidth to stream videos in high resolutions. As a result, the playback on Netflix might appear to be jerky when there is heavy internet usage. If you intend to engage in activities like torrenting or other data-intensive tasks, it is advisable to allow them to run overnight so as not to disrupt your daily activities.
18. Upgrade your hardware
If you have attempted all of the techniques mentioned previously, it could be advantageous to allocate funds towards purchasing new hardware. Here are a few factors that you might want to contemplate investing in:
- Add an SSD: WWhile HDDs provide a greater storage capacity at a lower cost, incorporating an SSD into your computer can significantly enhance the speed at which programs load and files are written.
- Add more RAM:If your system is older, it might not have sufficient memory to efficiently run modern applications. Furthermore, if you frequently use multiple programs at once, you may not have enough Random Access Memory (RAM) to support them adequately. The addition of more RAM could provide the necessary enhancement you require.
What Effect the Laptop Potential Speed?
The way in which you utilize your computer has the potential to impact the speed at which your machine operates. Therefore, it is crucial for you to monitor the running applications and identify any potential causes of system congestion, as this can result in reduced speeds. To assist you further, we have provided a few extra tips below:
A few more tips
- Keep your computer clean:It may seem like common sense, but the build-up of dust and dirt can actually cause your computer to slow down. Regularly cleaning your computer can help improve its speed and prevent overheating.
- Remove unused browser extensions: Regularly performing some maintenance tasks in these areas can help improve your browsing experience by reducing any slowdowns.
- Use a memory-saving extension: When it comes to extensions, there are a few well-liked choices such as Auto Tab Discard and New Tab Suspender that can help decrease the amount of memory used by open tabs.
- Restart regularly: At times, all that is required is a reboot. By restarting your computer, you allow updates to be implemented and unresponsive programs to be closed. If you’re taking a break, it might be a suitable moment to restart while you go and prepare yourself a cup of tea.
- Run fewer simultaneous programs: Similar to how multitasking can negatively impact our productivity, running multiple programs at the same time can slow down your computer. It is advisable to develop a practice of closing programs instead of simply minimizing them, as this should result in some improvement in performance.
- Reinstall the operating system: If you have exhausted all options and are still encountering issues, reinstalling Windows may be the final solution to consider.
FAQs about slow laptops (and making them faster)
Can my VPN make my computer slow?
Using a VPN will not have a significant effect on the overall performance of your computer, although it may slightly prolong the time it takes for webpages to load. This is particularly noticeable when using a service with servers or algorithms that are not well-optimized.
Recently, there has been significant improvement in this area by larger VPN providers. Therefore, unless you are accustomed to exceptionally high speeds, it is unlikely that you will perceive any disparities. For additional details, please refer to our comprehensive guide on the top-performing VPNs currently available.
My laptop is still slow after trying all of the tips in this guide. What else can I do?
If your laptop continues to operate slowly even after extensive maintenance or a new installation, it is possible that the hardware itself is becoming outdated. Put simply, recently developed applications require more powerful hardware, and your laptop is unable to meet these demands. Regrettably, since specific components of a laptop cannot be upgraded, you may need to consider upgrading the entire device soon.
Will Windows 11 slow down my laptop?
Rest assured, upgrading to Windows 11 will not result in a slower performance on your laptop. Microsoft has specifically designed the operating system to be highly efficient and lightweight, minimizing its resource requirements while still delivering an exceptional user experience. Furthermore, Windows 11 incorporates various performance-enhancing elements such as enhanced memory management and improved startup times, which should actually improve the speed of your laptop. Therefore, you can upgrade to Windows 11 without any concerns about decreased performance on your device.
How often should I clean my laptop’s hardware components to keep it running smoothly?
Is your laptop becoming slow and experiencing overheating issues? It’s time to get ready to take action and provide it with some tender loving care!
In order to maintain optimal performance for your laptop, it is advisable to annually clean its hardware components, including the fan and vents. The accumulation of dust and debris can have a significant negative impact on the laptop’s functionality, leading to overheating and unexpected shutdowns. It is important to keep in mind that there is nothing more frustrating than losing valuable work hours due to an overheated laptop.
No need to be concerned! Cleaning your laptop on a regular basis can effectively combat these destructive adversaries that pose a threat to your hardware components. By eliminating dust and debris, you can enhance the performance of your laptop and restore its appearance to a polished, pristine state.
Prepare your cleaning supplies and treat your laptop to a well-deserved spa day. Your laptop will express its gratitude, and you will be able to work and enjoy leisure activities without any bothersome disruptions.
Which parts of a laptop can I upgrade?
The ability to replace components in your laptop depends on the type of laptop you have. Generally, most laptops allow you to upgrade the RAM and hard drive. However, higher-end models may also support CPU-swapping. It is important to note that in many cases, you will need to remove the entire casing and sometimes even the motherboard to perform routine cleaning. If you are not confident in doing this yourself, we highly recommend seeking professional help.
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By following the checklist provided in this blog, you can significantly improve the speed and performance of your laptop. From optimizing your startup programs to cleaning up your hard drive, each step in the checklist is designed to help you get the most out of your device. Don’t let a slow laptop hold you back any longer – take action today and experience the difference of a faster, more efficient machine.