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Easy ways to speed up your Windows computer

downloading-updatesIf you’ve had your computer long enough, you’ll probably find yourself thinking, “Why on earth is it running so slow?” While the main reason will be due to aging hardware, there are a few tricks you can try that will help increase the speed of your computer so you’re not waiting five minutes for a web browser to load or a program to open.

Some of the tricks you can try to increase computer speed and efficiency are easy for even the most basic of computer users. Others require a little more computer know-how, and are recommended only if you are 100% confident in what you are doing.

Check for viruses and malware (beginner)

The first place to start is running a virus and malware scan of your computer. Elon University faculty, staff, and students have access to Microsoft ForeFront Endpoint Protection, which may be downloaded from E-Academy. Additionally, you can download and run the free version of MalwareBytes, a handy malware-eliminating tool.

Empty the Recycle Bin (beginner)

Simply deleting files from a disk doesn’t really get rid of them at all. Instead, they are moved to a temporary holding area on the hard drive for easy restoration. Once emptied, the space on the hard drive that was occupied is made available for reuse. Please note, this generally only increases speed if your hard drive is nearly full.

Run Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter (beginner)

Navigate to Accessories from the Start Menu and then choose System Tools. Here, you’ll find two nifty tools: Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter. Disk Cleanup will help remove a lot of temporary files and folders you might not have realized were clogging up your machine. Disk Defragmenter will clean up fragmented files and consolidate free space on the drive, making it easier for your computer to run.

Keep Windows up-to-date (beginner)

It always helps to use the Windows Updater to make sure that you have the most up-to-date patches for your computer. If your machine falls too far behind in updates, newer software and programs will require more from your computer to run.

Uninstall programs that are no longer needed (intermediate)

Navigate to your computer’s control panel to where you can uninstall programs. Scroll through the list and find things that you aren’t using or don’t need. Then, simply select the uninstall option. This will result in increased free space on your hard drive. Make sure that you don’t uninstall programs that are required by others (e.g., iTunes will not work if Quicktime is uninstalled).

Install more RAM (advanced)

This is an action you can’t complete without the assistance of the Technology Help Desk. If you are in desperate need of more RAM to increase your computer speed, contact the Technology Help Desk at 278-5200 to request a price quote on how much this will cost. A Campus Technology Support technician will have to take care of the installation process for you.

As you can see, there are plenty of things you can do to speed up your computer and increase efficiency and productivity. If you have questions about any of the tips outlined, feel free to contact the Technology Help Desk at 278-5200.

Remixed image by Flickr user Uuzinger

Ryan Gay

Ryan Gay

Ryan is a Technical Writer and Help Desk Associate for Campus Technology Support. He has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in English from UNC-Greensboro.

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