Many people will be planning on upgrading their laptop or PC this Christmas, but here are a few Tech Tips to avoiding a costly new purchase.
Uninstall unused programs
New PCs come with a whole load of programs you will never use, and you probably don’t even know they exist.
Some programs even run background processes when you load your computer, even though you are not using them.
To remove all these pointless programs, open the Control Panel’s Programs and Features page, and have a trawl through the list of installed software. Uninstall those that you do not need, while being careful to leave programs your computer’s hardware needs (typically their publisher will be listed as the PC maker’s name or as Microsoft).
Automatically delete temporary files
Temporary files amass on your computer through everyday tasks and can remain on your hard disk, slowing the computer down. Getting rid of these files, including your internet history and cookies, should give you a larger amount of hard disk space, speeding up your PC.
Windows also includes a built-in disk de-cluttering tool called “Disk Cleanup.”
It searches through the system for unnecessary large files such as temporary Internet files, program installers, and so on.
Open Disk Cleanup by clicking “Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup.”
Install a solid state drive
Hard drives are the biggest cause of slow speeds and especially slow startup speeds on your PC.
While they are not cheap, installing a solid state drive, which have extremely fast read times, can speed up your startup considerably.
More hard drive storage
Even if you make sure to regularly clean out all your temporarily files, if your hard drive becomes 85 percent full, it’s going to affect your computer’s speed.
If you regularly film videos or use your PC for recording television, then you will want as big a hard drive as you can get, upwards of 1TB in size.
RAM, which stands for Random Access Memory, is the temporary storage memory used by your computer and is in use when tasks are being executed by different programs. Therefore, the more programs you use, the more RAM you need, and the slower your computer will be if you don’t have enough.
A clear indicator of not having enough RAM is if your computer slows down every time you try and process large files, or it freezes while carrying out several different actions at once.
You can either add more RAM with an extra memory stick or two, or by getting completely new memory if all the slots are taken. There is theoretically no upper limit on the amount of RAM that you can have with a 64-bit operating system, but in practical terms 4GB is more than enough for most people.
Hoovering out the dust
Again, this sounds a tad radical, but dust is your computer’s enemy. It can impede airflow, which is vital to keeping your computer’s temperature down, and if your computer is overheating, it is likely it will slow down its performance to cope.
(Incidentally, overheating will also make it impossible to use programs such as Skype, because for the person on the other end of the conversation it constantly sounds like an airplane is taking off).
If you have a desktop or a laptop, you can take off the computer’s exterior and use a hoover on a low power setting to try and remove some of the dust. Make sure your computer has been switched off for at least 30 minutes and that all cables are disconnected before starting your cleanup.
Use your hoover with a small attachment, and try either the reverse setting to blow air into the vents and push the dust out, or use its standard suction to try and extract some of the dust.
If you have any questions about upgrading your computer please contact us. We offer a comprehensive PC Tune-Up Service for $69.