There are several ways to improve performance on computers, such as upgrading to an SSD (Solid State Drive) or adding more RAM, all these so-called “fixes” cost money. To learn how to speed up your laptop without spending any cash, check out the seven simple steps outlined below.
Update Your Drivers
Your laptop’s drivers provide the software that allows your computer’s different hardware components to communicate with one another. This means, for example, when you play a movie on your laptop, the drivers enable the screen to show the video and the speakers to play the audio, all in perfect synchronization. If you don’t update your drivers regularly, they can become inefficient at “communicating” with each other; if this happens, your machine is likely to slow down and could eventually face compatibility problems that prevent certain components from working at all.
Although drivers can be updated manually by downloading the latest software patches from the manufacturer’s website, it is always much more efficient to use an automated utility software to update them for you. There’s an extensive set of free driver software currently available; however, Driver Booster is still a popular choice and often an ideal place to start if you’re a Windows user.
Clean Your Registry
Your laptop’s registry stores thousands of pieces of information related to your system, from your hardware settings to the last document you opened in Word. The issue is that this may also be true for programs you have uninstalled a long time ago – their files may have been deleted, but their registries could still exist.
A single leftover registry is not something to be concerned about, but having multiple leftover registries generally is. This is due to how the system stores and searches the registry. When the system needs to locate a registry, it needs to read all the files, including any leftover ones, to be able to identify when it has found the correct one.
A straightforward way to remove outdated registry files is to use a utility software like CCleaner that can perform the entire process with a single click.
Turn Off Windows Notifications
If you are using Windows 10, you will find that it constantly gives you advice on how to better use the system. The problem with this is that in order to give you advice on how to optimize your system, Windows must continuously monitor what you are doing. Apart from possible privacy concerns, this constant monitoring will affect the performance of your PC.
To turn off these notifications, proceed as follows:
- Go to “Settings”
- Select “System”
- Under “Notifications and Actions,” disable notifications and tips.
The next four tips have been taken from Laptoid and are perhaps the easiest to apply since they can all be performed in a matter of minutes.
Switch to “High Performance” Mode
By default, Windows is configured to run in “Balanced” mode to help its battery last a reasonable time. However, if you normally leave your laptop connected to the mains or need a little extra power, you can change your computer to run in the “High Performance” mode.
You can achieve this by following the below steps:
- Go to “Control Panel”
- Click on “Power Options”
- Click “High Performance” (Note: for some users this option may be hidden under the “Additional Plans” section. If so, click the downwards arrow button to reveal the option)
Close Unnecessary Programs and Processes
Generally speaking, unless you still need to use an application that you have opened, you should close it.
It’s also worth knowing that even though a program may appear to be closed, it could have several processes running in the background. You can check for instances like these in the Task Manager by doing the following:
- Press the “Ctrl” + “Alt” + Delete” keys at the same time.
- Click on “Task Manager.”
- Click on the Processes tab if this is not already the default view.
If you spot any process that belongs to a program that you have previously closed, right-click on the process and click “End task.” This closes the task and frees up the CPU and RAM that was associated with it.
Additionally, you can also make use of CCleaner to “optimize” your laptop by controlling which programs automatically start when your operating system boots up. Take time to review your automatic startup list and revoke access from any application that does not need it, such as iTunes, Spotify, Skype, etc.
Schedule Updates for Sensible Times
To fix problems, update bundled software, and ensure compatibility with newly released hardware, Windows receives frequent updates. Although these updates are necessary, they’re often considerable in size and severely slow your laptop down while being installed.
Since you aren’t required to run these updates immediately, you would be better off scheduling them to run shortly after midnight or at another time during which you know you won’t be using your machine.
Remove Programs and Files You No Longer Need
Admittedly, we sometimes download programs that we only use once or not at all. Similar to unused registry files, unused programs can accumulate on our computer and negatively affect its performance. Take an honest look at your programs and remove any that you know you are no longer using or have been meaning to use but haven’t.
This rule also applies to your files. However, if you don’t feel comfortable removing files on the off-chance that you may need them later, consider migrating them to an external device or cloud-based storage platforms such as Dropbox or Google Drive instead.
And there you have it, some simple steps to speeding up a laptop without spending a single penny! If after carrying out these steps your laptop is still performing slowly, consider exploring hardware upgrades, reformatting, or sending it to a repair shop for a more thorough analysis.