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Why Is My Laptop So Slow? 8 Tips to Speed Up a Slow Computer

published 3/28/2020

There's nothing worse than a slow computer.

If you've got a laptop on its last legs, then it's perfectly understandable why things aren't loading properly or why you get the spinning ball of death (for Mac users). But, when you've got a reasonably new unit, there shouldn't be any underlying issues that keep it from functioning.

If you're one of the people asking themselves, "why is my laptop so slow?", then you've come to the right place. At Data Doctors, we've seen just about every computer problem there is, so we can help you diagnose your speed issues and, with these 8 special tips, we can even help you fix them.

Sometimes it can feel like your laptop hates you, but that's just because you aren't treating it right. Follow this guide and solve your laptop speed issues once and for all.

"Why Is My Laptop So Slow?"

There are numerous things that could be causing your laptop's lethargy, some of them are fixable, while others are a little more complicated. Regular laptop maintenance will help you stave off most of the issues, especially the ones that aren't too serious.

As you live with your computer, it's normal to start out being diligent with deleting things you don't need, keeping your browser clean, and preserving your computer's memory. After a few months, your maintenance schedule relaxes and you start to accumulate programs, files, and in some cases, viruses that slow everything down.

Most laptop owners go through this, so you're not alone. That doesn't make it any less annoying when it does happen, though. Here are some of the more common reasons that your computer is being slow:

  • You've got too many startup programs.
  • Your hard drive is failing or full.
  • You've got too many add-ons fixed to your browser.
  • You run too many programs at once.
  • You've got a virus or your anti-virus is too overzealous.
  • You don't have enough memory.

Next, we'll go over some tips to keep your laptop in tip-top shape so that it can perform whatever tasks you need it to, quickly.

8 Tips to Speed Up Your Computer

People often ask us what they can do on their own to speed up their computers. Without looking at a computer, it can be difficult to properly assess what's going on, but these tips should help.

1. Change Power Settings

Newer OS's, like Windows 10 has a "Power Saver" setting that reduces the performance of your PC in order to save energy/battery. If you go to the control panel, find "Hardware and Sound" and then "Power Options", you should be able to choose between "Balanced", "Power Saver", or "High Performance".

Unless you're worried about your battery dying on a long trip, there's no reason why you'd need to have "Power Saver" selected. Instead, try "Balanced" and see if your laptop moves any faster.

2. Disable Some of Your Startup Programs

When you install new programs, they're often configured to open when you boot up the laptop. The more programs you install, the more work your computer is automatically doing as soon as it starts, which ends up slowing it down because of all these programs that are running in the background.

Go into "Task Manager" and under the "Startup" tab, you should see a list of programs there. Disable the ones that you don't absolutely need launching right away.

3. Uninstall Programs You Don't Use

As we said earlier, laptop users tend to let their guard down with overall maintenance. Part of this includes installing programs, using them for a bit, then forgetting about them entirely.

Even though you aren't using them, they're still taking up valuable space on your hard drive and, sometimes, they're even running in the background. Instead of letting them suck your laptop's power, uninstall them and watch your computer lighten its load.

4. Disk Cleanup/Defragmentation/Scan for Malware

When you have your computer for a few months, you accumulate "stuff" in the background and foreground that you probably don't need. Running the disk cleanup tool will help you get rid of the things that you haven't opened and don't need to keep your computer running.

While you're at it, run an antivirus program to catch any malware that might be hiding on your PC. If you use a program called "Malwarebytes", you can find malware and PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) that other antivirus software might miss.

5. "Bloatware"

"Bloatware" is software that comes with a new laptop, but the kind that you'll never ever use. They're little games and apps that you didn't ask for but can really slow things down by loading processes when booting up.

You can disable, uninstall, and delete these things yourself, or you can use the "PC Decrapifier" (pardon the name) to help you locate and rid yourself of these useless programs.

6. Reduce Animations

The newer operating systems have lots of little flashy animations that look great but slow things down considerably. You can easily disable these by going into "Performance Options", then underneath the "Visual Effects" tab, where you'll be able to unclick whichever animations you'd like.

7. Manually Delete Files

When you do a disk cleanup, the system will go through and delete things that you've never used or haven't opened in a long time, but it will overlook a lot. If you want to do the job right, you have to do it yourself.

Take some time and go through all your folders, cleaning things up and deleting what you don't want. You'll be surprised what an hour or two of tidying up can do for your laptop's speed.

8. Have It Looked At By a Pro

If none of the previous tips did anything to improve your computer speed, there could be something more serious going on. To get a proper diagnosis, you need to take your computer into someone that knows what they're looking at.

At Data Doctors, we specialize in computer repair and data recovery for both residential and commercial purposes. If you've got a slow computer and you've tried everything, we can get to the bottom of what's going on.

Speed Tells You a Lot

"Why is my laptop so slow?" isn't always an easy question to answer. Usually, it's because there's too much clutter on your hard drive or too many programs running at the same time, but sometimes it's more sinister than that.

If you can't figure it out, contact Data Doctors ASAP. You can reach us over the phone, make an appointment online, or visit one of our locations.