Spring-clean your PC
If you’re stuck with an ageing, slow PC don’t rush to dump it – here are a few things you can do to make the best of a bad situation
BEEN sitting with the same PC for a few years? Chances are it’s just not what it used to be even though its running Windows 10. But fear not – this doesn’t mean you have to fork out big bucks for a new machine. We have a few tricks to try to speed things up.
1 GIVE YOUR PC A SPRING CLEAN
When last did you clear out pics, docs and PDFs you’ll never need again? Hint: start with your Downloads folder. Also go through your Documents, Pictures, Videos and Music folders – the latter two often contain big files. Then head on over to your Recycle Bin and empty that out too.
2 GO A LITTLE DEEPER
There’s a reason Disk Cleanup is still a feature on Windows. The trusty old process finds unwanted junk and files you probably had no idea were there – such as temporary files, offline web pages and installer files. To use it in Windows 10, simply open your Start menu and type Disk Cleanup.
On other PCs, from the Start menu choose All Programs > Accessories> System Tools > Disk Cleanup. Once you have the dialogue box open, simply select Clean Up System Files.
3 GET RID OF THE ‘BLOATWARE’
These days new machines often come loaded with apps, programs and games you really don’t need. To remove these in Windows 10, right-click on the Start icon on the bottom left of your screen, select Apps and Features. Then just click on the programs you don’t need and select Uninstall.
In older operating systems click Start > Control Panel > Programs. Under Programs, click on the ones you want to be rid of and select Uninstall.
Be careful here though – you might not recognise several programs that are important for basic functions. If you’re uncertain, google the program to find out what it does.
4 LIGHTEN THE STARTUP LOAD
If your computer takes ages to start up when you turn it on it could be because you have too many programs trying to begin at startup. To change this on Windows 10, hit Control + Shift + Escape to open Task Manager. Under the Startup tab select the programs you don’t need to run immediately and hit Disable.
On older systems you’ll need to use a tool called MSConfig so the process is a little trickier – but don’t panic! To run MSConfig, open the Start menu and type msconfig.exe in the Search box. When it pops up in your results, select msconfig.exe.
From there it’s simple! Select the Startup tab and choose programs to disable.
5 DO DEFRAG
“Defragmentation” sounds a little ominous but it’s a pretty simple process. As you add and delete files, gaps are created on your hard drive where new data can be written. But sometimes files won’t fit neatly into these gaps so they’re fragmented and written into multiple areas on the drive. This can slow your PC down because it has to scan all those areas to read one file. Defragmenting your hard drive will fix this right up!
Your computer should be running a disk defragmentation weekly but you can check up on this by clicking on Start > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter on older systems or just open your Start menu and type “defrag”.
Once you have the dialogue box open, select Drive and click Analyse. If the disk is more than 10% fragmented, it’s worth running the defrag by clicking the Defragment Disk button. This process can take a while so if you can, let it run overnight.