Life Hacks: How to speed up your laptop

Have you recently installed new software on your laptop?

Have you recently installed new software on your laptop?

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ARE you getting impatient with the time it takes to boot up your laptop? Is Netflix taking an age to buffer movies? Give your laptop a much needed boost with these handy tips.

As computers and laptops get older they often begin to operate at a slower pace, leaving owners annoyed and frustrated as they wait for their machines to whirr through a lengthy start-up process.

Quite often we get the complaint of slow computers when the problem is actually a slow internet connection.

Craig Millar, technical director, CPL IT services

Fixing a slow computer can be a bit of a ‘how long is a piece of a string’ problem. There are so many specific issues that can affect your laptops performance such as an individual piece of software or the hardware itself.

Nevertheless there are a number of steps you can take to address general problems associated with a slow processing speed.

We spoke to IT expert Craig Millar, technical director of Glasgow-based CPL IT services, to discover his top tips for squeezing out every ounce of speed from your ageing laptop.

1/ DO YOU HAVE A VIRUS?

Through the course of your internet browsing you may be unfortunate enough to pick up a virus. These pesky pieces of software are designed to spread from one computer to another and to interfere with computer operation.

If your laptop is running slow, particularly if its speed has recently dipped, then you need to check for a virus.

Craig said: “ If you suspect you have a virus infection that is hoovering up all your processing power, running a virus scan using Windows Defender or a third party application such as Hitman Pro or Malwarebytes is a good place to start.”

Once a virus has been detected, you can use antivirus software like Norton and McAfee to permanently remove unwanted software and prevent it from being installed in the first place.

2/ CHECK YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION

A common mistake, often a laptop’s poor browsing speed is blamed on the hardware instead of the users internet connection.

Craig explains: “ Quite often we get the complaint of slow computers when the problem is actually a slow internet connection.

“Is your computer only slow when you are browsing the internet or streaming video?

“If so, it could be your internet speeds or your wifi connection. If it’s your internet connection then speaking to your internet service provider to see what options are available to you.”

3/ HAVE YOUR RECENTLY INSTALLED NEW SOFTWARE?

It’s important to ensure you make sure all your software is up to date. This includes web browsers, applications, drivers for devices such as printers and, most importantly, Windows itself, as Microsoft issues regular updates to plug security holes or fix glitches in the operating system.

However if you have just installed new software and suddenly your computer’s performance has deteriorated then there may be a problem with the new program.

“Try to roll back by uninstalling the new program or using system restore to return your computer to an earlier state”, advises Craig.

4/ UPGRADE YOUR RAM

If the laptop is a few years old it might just be struggling with the additional demands that Windows update and software packages put upon it.

“ If this is the case then your options are limited as you cannot really upgrade a laptop too much but you can install additional memory (RAM) or a faster hard disk drive with something like a Solid State Drive which has no moving parts so it can access your data much faster, “ Craig says.

“The RAM upgrade is straight forward and doesn’t usually require any additional configuration steps but replacing your hard disk with a Solid State Drive will usually involve reinstalling everything and copying over your data.”

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