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Speed up a slow laptop or PC (Windows 10, 8 or 7) for free

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How to speed up a slow laptop or PC (Windows 10, 8 or 7) for free


1. Close system tray programs
If your computer is off to a slow start, then it’s possible you have too many programs starting up at the same time as Windows itself. Items in the system tray often launch at startup and then stay running while you use your computer.
To access these items, click the upwards arrow toward the right side of your taskbar.


If there are any programs you don’t need to have running, right-click them and close.

2. Stop programs running on startup

Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager or hit Ctrl-Shift-Escape to launch. Head to the Startup tab and you’ll be able to view each item that runs on startup, along with its impact.

Go through these and decide which ones don’t need to start automatically. This process is especially beneficial to performance if you can disable some of the high impact ones. But note that some of these programs are vital for Windows to operate. For example, the ones with Microsoft listed as the publisher are probably best left alone. If you aren’t sure, either leave it, or try a Google search to find out more.

To disable, simply right-click and hit Disable. Remember, you’re not disabling the program, just the fact that it runs on startup.

Windows 7: Instead of accessing Task Manager, you’ll need to search for System Configuration.

3. Update your OS, drivers, and apps

If you think you might have missed an update, you can always check. Go to Start and click Settings or the settings icon. Then go to Updates & Security>Windows Updates.

4. Delete unnecessary files


Just like our closets and drawers, our computers get cluttered. While you can’t really see it, you know it’s there, and it could be having a negative impact on your computer’s performance. This is especially true if you deal with a lot of large files, such as high-resolution images, audio files, and videos, on a day-to-day basis.

Free up space by making a habit of deleting files and folders each week and emptying the recycle bin afterwards. Doing this regularly means it’s more likely you’ll remember exactly what’s in the files and folders and won’t be so concerned about mistakenly deleting something important.

5. Find programs that eat up resources

Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager. Click More details to find out information about the programs that are currently running on your computer.
You can click each header to sort the list according to which applications are using the most of that particular resource. If you need to close something, try closing the actual application first. If it won’t close, come back to the Task Manager screen, right-click the application, and hit End task.
Windows 7: Instead of accessing Task Manager, you’ll need to search for System Configuration.

6. Adjust your power options

The Power saver plan option is not a good idea if your computer is already slow. This reduces the performance of your PC to save energy. As its name suggests, the High performance plan is a better option. Although it uses more energy, it favors performance so should help speed up your machine.
Aside from the standard options, you could choose to create your own custom plan. Go to Control Panel>Hardware and Sound>Power Options>Create a power plan. Enter your plan name and select Next.
Alternatively, you can start with an existing plan and adjust accordingly. To do this, go to Control Panel>Hardware and Sound>Power Options>Choose or customize a power plan and select Change plan settings next to an existing plan.
In both cases, basic options include how long the display stays on for when you’re inactive and how long before the computer goes into sleep mode. These won’t really affect your computer’s speed, but if you go into Change advanced power settings, you can make more adjustments that will have an impact.

7. Uninstall programs you don’t use

To uninstall a program, head over to Control Panel>Programs>Programs and Features.

8. Turn Windows features on or off

While you’re in the Programs and Features screen, you might want to check to see if there are any Windows components you don’t need. Click Turn Windows features on or off and you’ll see a list of these components.

9. Run a disk cleanup

Windows comes with a built-in tool for cleaning up junk that accumulates over time. To access the Disk Cleanup tool, go to Control Panel>System and Security>Administrative Tools, and select Disk Cleanup from the list.
Here, you can select the types of files you want to get rid of and click OK. Then click Clean up system files and choose any system files you want to remove.

10. Disable Cortana

While the Windows 10 digital assistant, Cortana, is a handy feature, it uses up a lot of resources and also poses a privacy threat. Cortana used to be easily removed but in the up-to-date versions, it’s a little trickier. Nonetheless, if you’re willing to make an edit to your system’s registry, it can be done.
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