How to Fix a Slow Computer (Desktop PC & Laptop)
Is your computer running (very) slow?
Looking for a way to fix your slow computer (desktop PC or laptop)?
Then you've come to the right place, because this tutorial will show you how to make your Windows PC faster.
How to Fix a Slow Computer & Make it Faster
Many people leave their computer running the whole day, or put their pc into sleep or hibernation mode rather than shutting it down completely.
A full (cold) reboot (turning it completely off and on) can help sometimes.
Uninstall Unused Programs
If you have programs installed on your PC, that you don't use, then it's better to uninstall them to free up disk space.
1. Open "Programs and Features".
Three ways to open "Programs and Features":
- Open the start menu, enter programs into the search bar and click on "Programs and Features".
- Open "Control Panel" and click on "Uninstall a program" located under "Programs".
- Open "Control Panel" and click "Programs and Features".
2. Select the program you want to delete and click on "Uninstall" (located at the top of the programs list). Or right-click on the program and choose "Uninstall".
3. Choose "Uninstall" if asked.
4. Click "Finish" or "OK" when the process is completed.
Maybe you've made some changes recently, like installed a new program, new hardware (hard drive, cd/dvd drive, webcam etc...) or updated a driver. If this is the case, then try to undo what you did and see if that helps.
Before installing a new program or a new Windows version, you always must check the system requirements that's printed on the box or located on the company's website.
To get the best experience your system must at least comply with the "recommended" requirements. New software often requires new hardware or the other way around.
After a while there may be a lot of unnecessary files stored on your computer, so it's best to delete these files with the built-in Windows tool called "Disk Cleanup".
1. Open "Disk Cleanup".
Three ways to open "Disk Cleanup":
- Go to the Windows searchbar and search for cleanup and click on "Disk Cleanup".
- Press the Windows + R key on your keyboard, enter cleanmgr.exe, and click on "OK".
- Open Windows Explorer or File Explorer (Windows 10), right-click on the (C:) drive, choose "Properties" and click on "Disk Cleanup" (General tab).
2. If you have more than one drive or partition, then select the drive (partition) where Windows is installed (if not already selected) and click on "OK".
The (C:) drive is the default installation location for Windows.
Disk Cleanup will now calculate how much space you will be able to free on your system drive. This may take a few minutes to complete.
3. If you are using Windows 8, 8.1 or 10, then click on "Clean up system files" to get a full cleanup.
4. Select the files you want to delete. I always select everything, like:
- Windows Defender: Non critical files used by Windows Defender.
- Setup Log Files: logs that just record what happens during an installation, and are used to diagnose problems when an install fails or is incomplete.
- Downloaded Program Files: ActiveX and Java applets downloaded automatically from the internet when you view certain pages. They are temporarily stored in the "Download Programs Files" folder on your hard disk.
- Temporary Internet Files: webpages stored on your hard drive for quick viewing.
- Device driver packages: Windows keeps copies of previously installed device driver packages from Windows update and other sources, even after installing newer versions of drivers. This option will delete older versions of drivers that are no longer needed. The most current version of each driver package will be kept.
- Delivery Optimization Files: files that were previously downloaded to your computer and can be deleted if currently unused by the "Delivery Optimization" service.
- Temporary Files: programs sometimes store temporary information in the "TEMP" folder. Before a program closes, it usually deletes this information.
- Windows Error Reporting: files used for error reporting and solution checking.
- Previous Windows installation(s): If you upgraded your PC from a previous version of Windows, Previous Windows Installation(s) will contain files from that installation.
- Thumbnails: Windows keeps a copy of all of your picture, video and document thumbnails so they can be displayed quickly when you open a folder. If you delete these thumbnails, they will be automatically recreated as needed.
5. Click on "OK".
6. Click on "Delete Files".
This may take a while. The time it takes depends on how many files need to be deleted. When it's finished it will close by itself.
Fragmentation happens to a volume over time as you save, change, or delete files.
The changes that you save to a file are often stored in a different place on the volume than the original file.
This doesn't change where the file appears in Windows—only where the bits of information that make up the file are stored on the actual volume.
Over time, both the file and the volume itself become fragmented, and your computer slows down as it has to look in different places to open a single file.
Windows has a built-in tool called "Disk Defragmenter" and this tool rearranges data on your drive and reunites fragmented data, so that your computer can run more efficiently.
1. Open "Disk Defragmenter".
Three ways to open "Disk Defragmenter":
- Open the start menu, enter disk defragmenter into the search bar and click on "Disk Defragmenter".
- Open "Control Panel", "System and Security", then click on "Defragment your hard drive" located under "Aministrative Tools".
- Open "Control Panel", then open "Aministrative Tools" and click on "Defragment and Optimize Drives".
2. Select the Windows drive and click on "Defragment disk" or "Optimize".
3. When the defragmenting is finished, you can close the tool by clicking on "Close".
Malware (viruses, spyware, adware, rootkits, trojan horse, worms, etc..) can make a computer slow (sometimes even extremely slow).
First you should update your antivirus software and then perform a full system scan with your antivirus and after that you should scan your PC with multiple malware scanners and removal tools.
Background Processes (Advanced)
Too many processes running in the background can slow down the performance of your computer.
Sometimes there are processes running in the background that are not needed, so it's better to stop them.
Windows has a built-in tool called "Process Explorer" that can be used to list all programs running on your Windows system.
Process Explorer is more comprehensive than the Windows Task Manager.
Note! If you don't know what a process does, search its name. Do not disable processes if you are unsure, as some processes are necessary for Windows to function normally.
1. Open "Process Explorer".
Two ways to open "Process Explorer":
- Open start menu, click on "Run", enter "msconfig" and click on "OK".
- Right-click on the start menu, click on "Run", enter "MSCONFIG" and click on "OK" (Windows 8, 8.1 and 10).
2. Open the "Services" tab.
3. Check "Hide all Microsoft services" (located at the bottom).
4. Unceck the service(s) (that don't need to run) and click on "Apply".
Note: If you don't know what a process does, search its name. Do not disable processes if you are unsure, as some processes are necessary for your PC to function normally.
5. Click on "OK".
6. Click on "Restart" to restart your computer.
System File Checker Tool
System File Checker is a utility in Windows that allows users to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and restore corrupted files.
1. Open "Command Prompt" as administrator.
- Windows 8.1 and 10: Right-click on the start menu and choose "Command Prompt (Admin)".
- Windows Vista and 7: Click on the start menu, open "All Programs", open "Accessories", right-click on "Command prompt" and choose "Run as administrator".
- Windows Vista and 7: Click on the start menu, enter cmd into the searchbar and then press the CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER keys on your keyboard.
2. Run the following command:
The sfc /scannow command will now scan all protected system files, and will try to replace corrupted files with a cached copy.
Note: Do not close the Command Prompt window until the verification is 100% completed.
The scan results will be shown after this process is finished.
Performance Settings (Laptop & Netbooks)
On laptops and netbooks the processor speed is altered in accordance to energy settings (and if you are running on battery power).
1. Open "Power Options".
3 ways to open "Power Options":
- Open start menu, enter power options into the search bar and click on "Power Options".
- Open "Control Panel" and click on "Power Options".
- Open "Control Panel", open "System and Security" and click on "Power Options".
2. Select "High Performance" and close the window.
Keep Windows always Up-To-Date
It's very important to keep Windows and programs always up-to-date, because some updates (especially security updates) can prevent Malware (computer viruses, spyware, adware, rootkits, trojan horse, worms, etc..) from infecting and slowing down your PC.
Keep your Computer Cool
When a computer gets too hot, the CPU fan will speed up and this can lead to slow processing speed.
Don't Clean the Registry
Don't clean the registry, because it can fragment your registry. The registry doesn't need to be cleaned.
Web Browser Extensions
Some web browser extensions can also make your PC slow.
Disable or remove browser extensions and toolbars you don't really need.