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Work Faster, Not Harder – How to Speed Up a Slow Computer

23 March 2021

Now many businesses have reached the one year mark of working from home, it’s safe to say that most employees have suffered at least one technical issue during the past 12 months!

But what if your computer or laptop is slowing you down on a daily basis? There’s nothing more frustrating than spending time waiting for your machine to turn on, to open a specific programme, or to run more than one application at once, so we’ve put together our top tips on how to speed up a computer that is slowing you down. 

1. Don’t put off your software updates

It’s tempting to just click ‘Update Later’ when those system update notifications pop up on screen, but it’s important you’re updating your software when prompted. Whether it’s your operating system, web browser or any applications you’re using, this is the simplest way to speed things up quickly and with minimum effort.

2. Check what’s powering up first

Some programmes are set up to start running as soon as your computer is turned on, and if there’s a substantial number of applications running in the background, your laptop or desktop will struggle to get going straight away. 

This also counts for applications which you’ve left open from a previous computer session – without knowing, you could have tens of applications running silently and using up that all important processing speed.

3. Free up some disk space

Applications and files can quickly fill up your hard drive – perhaps even more so now if you’re working from home. With this in mind, we recommend you spend some time sorting out your disk space. Empty your recycling bin, your desktop and your downloads folder as these are all areas which can get congested easily. 

If you’re dealing with lots of documents or photos, consider moving your files to a cloud system such as Microsoft OneDrive – not only will the move make a difference to your system speed, but it’s a safer way to store those precious files and photos, and can make sharing with other colleagues a lot easier.

4. Get rid of unwanted programmes

Now your desktop and files are more streamlined, take a look at any unwanted software or applications you have on your computer. Whether you have multiple video conferencing applications that are no longer needed, or programmes which offer similar functionality, removing your unused software will have a noticeable effect on the speed of your computer or laptop.

5. Check for viruses and other malware

We would always recommend having a certified anti-virus malware programme on your computer, but you also need to make sure the scans are running regularly. 

Viruses can cause a huge range of problems, from slow processing speed to wide scale data loss, so it’s important that you’re often running regular scans of your computer to check that nothing sinister is lurking in the background.

6. Clear your cache and cookies

If you’re coming across speed issues when using your web browser, the problem may be with the application rather than your laptop. If you’ve tried the usual steps such as running updates and closing multiple tabs that have built up, you may need to clear your cache and cookies. 

Each time you head to a page on the web, your browser stores – or “caches” – it as a small file. It also collects these files in the form of cookies, which can contain different information, including your personal details and browsing preferences. Plus with new regulations on the necessity of cookie policies on all websites, you may discover your browser has stored cookies more than ever before. 

By clearing your browser’s cache and cookies regularly, not only will you have a better experience when visiting your favourite web pages due to the increased loading speed, but you’ll also save on your valuable disk space. In most browsers, this can be cleared within minutes by heading to the ‘options’ or ‘preferences’ tab and following the steps.

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