How-to: maximise the speed of your computer
This is a complex topic, but there is a simple rule of thumb - the more things your computer needs to do, the slower it goes. Therefore, to speed it up, reduce the number of things it needs to do.
Of course, buying more RAM (memory) or upgrading your graphics card might help too - this article doesn't cover hardware tweaks. These are an option, but before spending money on new gear, try the tips below:
- Remove malware - Viruses and spyware slow your machine down, in addition to any other badness they may be doing. Remove any that may be present using a virus scanner and optionally, another anti-spyware or anti-malware scanning tool.
- Uninstall non-essential apps, using the Windows control panel. Each application is constantly updating itself, checking for things on the internet, etc - this all uses RAM and CPU, slowing the machine down.
- Close unused apps - Programs that are not immediately in use should be closed. The more applications that are open, the more RAM and CPU they use. If all the RAM gets used, the computer will start using "swap space", this works but is slow.
- Close unused tabs - Tabs inside Firefox, Chrome etc that are not immediately in use should be closed. Each tab uses RAM and CPU, just like an application does - the more there are, the less RAM and CPU there is for everything else.
Slowness on good hardware is mostly due to too many apps open at once, and maybe also too many open tabs, compounded by too many non-essential apps installed.
Note: a crashed program can make your machine run slowly - as a first step, try restarting the computer. If slowness returns after a reboot, especially when you've got a lot of things open, try the above.