If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re the proud owner of a somewhat elderly PC a computer that would have been cutting edge back in the early 2000s. These dated machines can be great secondary devices for browsing the internet and checking email, but if you want to do anything more taxing on your computer.
Like editing photos or videos, playing games or streaming Netflix, then performance probably isn’t what it used to be. But don’t worry there are some simple things you can do to get your old PC back up to speed.
So what exactly is an “elderly” computer? Well, any device that was manufactured before around 2010 could fall into this category. It really depends on how new your device feels to you personally.
Depending on how much processing power or RAM (Random Access Memory) your machine has will also determine its age. So if any of these characteristics apply to your system, read on!
Install An SSD
SSDs (Solid State Drives) are state-of-the-art storage devices that have become ubiquitous in the last few years. They can boost your computer’s performance in various ways.
But their most useful feature for an older computer is that they don’t have moving parts. Those parts are what cause the computer’s hard drive to make that noisy clicking sound that interrupts your music-listening.
If your computer is old enough to have a hard drive, then installing an SSD will have a significant impact on its performance. Not only will it be much quieter, but it’ll also load programs and open files much faster.
If you’re buying an SSD for a new computer, you should check that your PC can support it. You probably already have a compatible slot built into your computer look for an M.2 port on your motherboard.
If you’ve used your computer for a while, you’ve got a ton of programs and files stored on the hard drive. Over the years, all of this data can really add up and slow down your computer.
If you’ve been using your computer for years, it might be worth considering reinstalling Windows to get it running like new again. It’s common for Windows PCs to accumulate a lot of junk over time.
One of the best ways to speed up an old computer is to do a complete Windows installation and get rid of the excess files that it’s built up over the years.
If you’re worried about losing files, you can try backing up your computer first. If you don’t have the time or patience to reinstall Windows, there are some other ways to speed up an old PC.
Switch To Linux
Linux is a free and open source operating system that many people recommend as an alternative to Windows. It’s usually more lightweight than Windows. So it runs faster on older computers.
Plus, it doesn’t have the same bloatware that can slow down your computer. If you’re switching from Windows to Linux, you’ll have to re-install your programs.
Most of your favourite software can be found online as open source just Google around for a Linux version of your favourite apps. As with reinstalling Windows, you might lose some data if you don’t back it up first.
Update Your Device
Keeping your device up to date is a good way to keep your computer running smoothly. It helps fix security vulnerabilities, patches bugs that cause crashing, and improves performance in various ways.
It’s also necessary if you want to install the latest version of pretty much any program. Most major software like Windows, Adobe, and various internet browsers has a built-in way to check for updates.
Just open the program and look for the “Check for updates” button. If your device is really outdated, it might not have those features. In that case, you’ll have to manually look for updates.
Turn Off Unneeded Services
Every computer program you install runs its own special set of instructions in the background. Unfortunately, these instructions also use up your computer’s resources. There are many programs out there that can scan your computer and tell you which services are running. Just search online for “program name + system scan.”
There are also a few built-in Windows programs that let you turn off background services. Press the Windows key and type “services” to find them. If you’re not sure what a particular service does, you can Google it.
Add More RAM
RAM (or memory) is one of the most effective ways to speed up an old computer. Adding more memory to your computer will make programs run faster, open more quickly, and generally feel smoother.
If you open up your computer, you can add more RAM to your motherboard. However, this is only really worth it if you’re computer is really old newer computers probably won’t have any spare slots. You can also buy an external RAM stick, but these aren’t as effective they’re slower and don’t fit into your computer.
Roll Out The Disc Cleaner
The discs inside your computer are covered with dust, and that dust can slow down your computer. You could go and clean your computer’s insides, but that’s very dangerous and you might break something.
Instead, you can use software to clean out your computer’s discs while it’s not running. Online, you’ll find several programs that claim to clean your computer’s discs.
You could also just download a disc scanning program like Disc Cleanup. These programs are safer than manually cleaning out your computer, but they probably aren’t as effective.
Disable System Visual Effects
If your computer is more than a few years old, it likely runs Windows 7 or 8. While these operating systems are more than capable of tackling basic tasks. If you’re hoping to do more demanding work on your computer, such as editing photos and videos, you’ll likely want to upgrade to a more recent version of Windows.
For example, Windows 10 is a great option for older computers because it features a power-saving mode that lowers the amount of processing power needed making it well-suited to creaky computers.
When using Windows 10, make sure you have disabled all of the visual effects, such as transparency and shadows, as they put additional strain on your system.
And while you’re in the settings, check to see if there’s an option to put your computer to sleep after a period of inactivity. This will help save electricity and extend the life of your computer.
Fling Some Files
If cleaning out your computer’s discs doesn’t help, you could also try flinging some files. You could move rarely used programs to a secondary device, like an external hard drive. For more commonly used files, you could try cloud storage. Cloud storage services, like Google Drive or Dropbox, let you store files online.
They’re usually free to use and don’t take up much space, so you can store pretty much any file you want. The easiest thing to do is to move some of your files to an external drive.
This will free up some space and make things run faster. If you don’t have an external drive, you can just remove the files from your computer and put them back when you’re done.
How do you know what’s slowing things down? There are a variety of free online tools available, such as the Windows 10 Health Report, that can scan your computer to let you know if there are any issues. These are also a great way to make sure your computer is running optimally.
Defragment Your Disk
Hard drives are divided into fragments. If you leave these fragments alone, you’ll speed up your computer. However, if you keep adding files without defragmenting your disk, you could slow it down.
There are several ways to defragment your computer. Most computer programs come with defragmenting tools just look for them in the program’s settings. Defragmenting isn’t something you need to do often. If you’ve owned your computer for a while, it’s likely that files on your hard drive are fragmented.
This happens when files are placed randomly instead of sequentially, which can cause your computer to slow down. You can fix this by defragmenting your hard drive.
There are a few ways to do this. You can either open up your computer’s settings and look for an option that says “Defragment your computer’s hard drive” or you can download a third-party defragmenting tool.
No computer lasts forever. Even the latest and greatest can slow down after a few years. If you’ve made it this far and your computer is on the older side, there are a few things you can do to speed it up again. Install an SSD, update your computer, and defragment your hard drive and you’ll be good to go.