When your laptop is new, you expect it to boot up fast and perform without any glitch. As you save files and run programs over time, it will start to slow down. Processes take longer and simple tasks such as opening and closing a website or programs take longer. This is inevitable and can be quite infuriating, especially if your work has piled up and you’re trying to make a deadline. A slow laptop can sometimes feel worse than a broken one.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to fix this. First, identify what’s dragging your computer’s performance down so you can make the necessary changes. Here are some tips and tricks for diagnosing and fixing a slow laptop.
Note: For this guide, we will only talk about Microsoft Windows laptops.
1. Simple Fixes
You can fix slow performance by freeing up space on your hard drive. It is also recommended that you run Windows hard drive utilities. For a faster startup, prevent specific programs from automatically launching upon boot up. This will be good for your RAM memory, helping your device go faster.
If you put your laptop in ‘Sleep’ mode and have not rebooted it recently, then try to reboot. Restarting your computer is advisable after installing a software program. Rebooting is ideal after Operating System updates, error recoveries, or after initializing hardware devices or drivers.
Now, let’s dive into more specific troubleshooting and their repairs.
2. Too Many Programs Running on Startup
If you’re not using a program regularly, you don’t need it to be running at startup. It will consume unnecessary resources from your computer. From ‘Start’ menu, type in “msconfig” and a window will pop up. Select “Start up” to see which programs are currently running all of the time. Remove or disable these programs.
Scheduled processes such as antivirus scanning or your security utility running a full system scan can slow down your laptop. Make sure they’re not running in the background as you work. You can schedule these processes at a more convenient time.
3. Too Many Background Programs Consuming Resources
Open your Task Manager via the Windows menu. Click processes and sort by both Memory and CPU to see which programs are consuming all of your laptop resources. You may find background programs that are running you don’t really use or need. Going through this process will help identify websites that froze. Close (click on End Task) these programs to help improve your laptop’s performance.
4. Loads of Temporary Files
As you run programs or visit a website, temporary files are stored on your computer’s hard drive. This will accumulate through time and affect your computer’s performance.
Use the Windows Disk Cleanup utility. This will delete temporary files you don’t need on your computer.
Unfortunately, this utility tool may not delete all temporary files. Delete the remaining ones manually.
From Start menu, type in %temp% in the search bar. A Temp folder will show up. You can delete all files inside this folder. This will free up space on your laptop. Some files may be in use and can’t be deleted, so you can skip them.
5. Corrupted or Fragmented Hard Drive
As you use your computer over time, data on its system becomes fragmented into different places on the hard drive. You can deal with this by going through the defragmentation process.
First, you need to verify if there are physical issues with your hard drive. To do this, you must run ScanDisk. Different OS versions have slightly different steps in running the scan and defrag tool. The easiest way to do this is to:
- Go to Start menu and type in the word “defrag” to search and open the Disk Defragment program.
- Click “Defragment and Optimize Drives” to open the tool. Find your hard drive, which is usually “OS (C)” with the Windows logo on its left.
- Then, click “Optimize” to start the defrag process.
- Wait for the process to finish. You will see “0% fragmented” when it’s done.
You can clean up the temporary files using the previous step.
6. Too Many Files on Your Drive
Go to “My Computer” and check how much space is left on your drive. You should have at least 20% free space to keep it running smoothly. Your disk drive utilization can get inefficient if it’s carrying too many files.
7. Too Many Open Windows
It is pretty common for most computer and laptop users to multi-task. This means opening multiple tabs and windows of websites, programs, and files simultaneously. Running too many programs at the same time can cause your laptop to slow down significantly. Make sure to avoid this whenever possible.
8. Not Enough RAM
Low memory almost always guarantees slow performance and stability issues. If you are multi-tasking with different programs and websites, higher memory is required to ensure your laptop runs smoothly. You can opt to upgrade your laptop’s RAM to a higher capacity to deal with slow performance.
Checking Your RAM
- Check how much RAM you have by going to the taskbar. Right-click the taskbar and choose Task Manager.
- For Windows 7, click Windows and type in “Task Manager” in the search field. You can also see the memory in use and available space for adding memory.
- Click “Open Resource Monitor” to see how much RAM you’re currently using. If your current computer processes are close to the amount of memory available, you need more RAM.
Unfortunately for most laptops, you cannot add more RAM. To find out if your laptop qualifies for an upgrade, check with the manufacturer. You can also take your laptop to a computer repair expert such as HelloTech to inquire about adding more RAM.
You can also identify the type or speed of your RAM (DDR2, DDR3 or DDR4). Use this information to purchase a new one to install.
Different laptops have different setups for their RAM. So make sure you follow the specific installation instructions for your device.
HelloTech for Computer Repair
These are just some of the many things you can check to diagnose a slow laptop. Every laptop is unique, so it is important to read the manual for your specific model. These general tips can give you a good starting point and solution for common issues.
If you need additional help, trust the professionals at HelloTech. We offer a range of computer support services including tune-ups, data back-ups or transfers, new computer setup, virus removal, computer training, and more.