Does your old computer’s performance make your face twitch and your hand reach for a hammer? Are you seriously considering shelling out a few hundred or a couple of thousand dollars for a new computer? Don’t do it just yet! Windows 10 is scheduled to be officially released sometime in 2015, and it just doesn’t make sense to buy a Windows 8 computer now when this operating system will become outdated within months if not weeks. Read this article in its entirety, and it will help you save money or at least wait out the months or weeks left before Windows 10 is released to the general public.
Despite what a lot of people may believe, an old computer doesn’t necessarily have to run slow. It slows down from the stuff that gets stored on it or is set to run in the background, from the dust that accumulates on the inside and a number of specific factors, most of them easily curable with proper tools. What are the things you can do to try and revive your old computer? Here is a quick list of the easiest fixes in the order they should be applied.
1. Get rid of dust bunnies
The dust that accumulates inside your PC’s case or inside your laptop makes hardware components overheat and lose speed or downright fail. Dusting is recommended at least once a year. If you are brave enough, you can try doing it yourself using a compressed air can (never use a vacuum cleaner on your PC’s hardware!). If you are afraid to open up your PC and not sure you’ll be able to put everything back together, get a professional to clean your computer for you. If you haven’t cleaned it in a long time, you may be in for a surprise, as your PC may get a significant speed boost from dust cleaning alone. However, this is far from the only thing we’ll be doing to breathe new life into your old machine.
2. Delete unneeded programs
The first step you should take after the actual physical cleaning of your computer is to get rid of the software you no longer use. Sometimes we accumulate a long list of programs we’ve installed over the years, many of which we stopped using a long time ago. Besides taking up disk space, these programs often have background tasks scheduled to run at specific times or running all the time, which can reduce overall PC performance. To remove software, regardless of what Windows version you use, go to Control Panel and find the ‘Remove Programs’ (or similar) menu item. That will bring up a list of installed software that you can go through removing one program at a time.
When you are done, you will have more free disk space, although it may be broken up into chunks and there may be leftover entries in the registry that will have to be cleaned out. This brings us to the next logical step…
3. Run maintenance software
There are a lot of factors that may slow down an old computer, but can be easily cured with the help of good PC optimization and maintenance software. These include heavy disk fragmentation that reduces data access speeds, corrupt or invalid registry entries that may cause errors, too many programs launching automatically on Windows logon leading to longer startup times, too many unneeded processes and services running all the time using processor power and memory, loads of junk files that cause slowdowns and reduce efficiency.
Instead of downloading a program for each specific task (which would reduce free space on your drive), get an all-in-one suite that can handle all or most of the problems mentioned above. It should include a disk defragmenter, a registry tool and tools to clean out junk files, manage startup list, to disable unneeded services and processes. A good PC optimizer can make a tremendous difference in your computer’s performance and may just make you reconsider replacing your old machine with a new one.
Keep in mind that whenever tweaking the registry is involved, you have to be absolutely sure the tool you use is safety-tested and comes from a reputable publisher. It’s always a good idea to make a backup or create a system restore point prior to running maintenance on your system.
4. Consider upgrading memory
If the amount of RAM (physical memory) on your computer is less than 4GB, adding more memory should really make a difference. Check to make sure your system setup allows adding RAM, then upgrade to the maximum amount of memory that can be installed on your PC. This is a very easy upgrade that does not cost an arm and a leg even when done at a computer repair shop.
Performing all four of the fixes described here can resurrect your old clunker of a PC and give you the extra time you may need if you want to get a newer computer with the latest Windows version coming out in 2015.