Tips to make your computer feel like new

We’ve all experienced a time where our computer slows down, lags, and just generally doesn’t feel like it used to when you first got it. Depending on the extent of your computers slowness, we’ve compiled some tips and tricks that you can try yourself to make your computer speed up a little.

1. Clear out the clutter

To start off, you should uninstall all of those programs that you don’t use anymore – stick to the essentials.

For example, if you’ve made the move from iTunes to Spotify in recent years, remove iTunes. If you don’t use it, it’s time to remove it from your computer. We accumulate all of these programs throughout the years that we have no use for anymore but refuse to part with, or just simply don’t think of it.

By removing unused programs on your computer, you are freeing up space as well as ensuring they don’t run in the background when it is unnecessary to do so.

How to remove programs on Windows OS:

Go to your computer’s Control Panel, find ‘Programs’ and click on ‘Uninstall a program’. This will load up the list of programs currently installed on your computer. Simply right-click on the program you’d like to remove and click ‘Uninstall’ and follow the on-screen steps.

How to remove programs on Mac OS:

Open your Finder and select the Applications folder. Find the program you want to delete and click the icon once to select it. Then click on File in the top-left corner of the screen and choose ‘Move to Trash’ from the drop-down menu. When you’re done removing all unwanted programs, simply empty your Trash.

 

Note: It is best to not touch any of the programs that have come with your computer. For example, if you have an Acer computer, you wouldn’t remove the programs that have the ‘Publisher’ as Acer. More than likely these programs are there to help your computer run smoothly.

Note

It is best to not touch any of the programs that have come with your computer. For example, if you have an Acer computer, you wouldn’t remove the programs that have the ‘Publisher’ as Acer. More than likely these programs are there to help your computer run smoothly.

2. Minimise your startup load

Minimise your startup loadWe all unknowingly have programs opening when we turn on our computers. Some of these programs, however, may not need to open when the computer starts.

I’m sure that anyone with Skype installed on their computer and that rarely use it can all agree that it gets tiring to close it each time you start up your computer. If you don’t need a program to open each time you start up your computer, disable it from starting until you open it manually.

By disabling a program from loading on startup, you save disk space and it decreases the time it takes for your computer to start up normally.

How to disable programs on startup for Windows OS:

If you right-click your Windows Start Bar you can click on your ‘Task Manager’. In this new window you will select ‘More details’ which will open up the window slightly. Here you will see various tabs, we’re looking for Start-up. This tab will show you all the programs that load upon startup. If a program has the status ‘Enabled’, it starts with your computer. Simply right-click the programs you don’t need to start with your computer, such as Skype, and click Disable.

How to disable programs on startup for Mac OS:

On Mac, you can open your System Preferences, go to Users & Groups, and choose your name on the left-hand side. On the top tabs you will choose ‘Login items’ to show you all the startup programs. Click on the checkbox of each program you want to disable and then press the “-” symbol at the bottom. You can press the “+” symbol to undo the change if you decide you want a particular program to load on startup.

3. Clear some disk space

We are all guilty of hoarding photos, videos, music, and more on our computers. We keep them there ‘just-in-case’ we need or want them.

Gone are the days of downloading music to our computer and manually creating playlists in our Windows Media Player or iTunes. With music streaming services such as Spotify and Tidal that can be installed on our computers, we don’t really have a need to store music on our computers. Same goes for services such as Netflix, we no longer have a need to store an abundance of movies on our computers.

Cleaning up your computer to get rid of large unused files can make a big impact on computer speed and performance. A big culprit we often overlook is our ‘Downloads’ folder that holds everything we have ever downloaded to our computer.

It is recommended to regularly remove files that you no longer need to clear up space on your computer.

4. Utilise the Cloud

Moving your files to the Cloud can free up a lot of space on your computer and increase PC performance.

Services such as OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive can be utilised to keep your files stored safely in the Cloud, yet still at arms reach should you need them. A bonus to storing in the Cloud is that should your computer ever get lost, stolen, or break, your files will still be safe and accessible.

Pro Tip

Microsoft OneDrive allows you to store all your files in the Cloud while still being able to see them on your computer. The files are technically not stored on your computer, but you can double click on a file to download it from the Cloud so that you can view/edit your file in a matter of seconds.

Already using OneDrive? Go to a file or folder on your computer and right-click it. You can choose to ‘Clear space’ – this will remove the space this file/folder takes up on your computer and store it solely in the Cloud. You can still double-click the file to re-download or right-click a folder to ‘Always keep on this device’.

5. Browser Cleanup

Ensuring that your computer is running efficiently is very important, as is being able to browse the web with ease. Lagging internet can be very frustrating, and although most of the time this is down to your internet speeds, there are steps you can take to lessen the lag.

With reference to point 1 above, if you have more than one browser program installed, choose the one you want and delete the others.

 

ToolbarsToolbars
Whichever browser is default for you, (whether it be Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.), you may have toolbars installed that do not need to be there. Toolbars are those annoying bars that appear underneath your address bar at the top of the page. These normally appear after you’ve downloaded something from an untrustworthy site.

To remove these toolbars, first check if the toolbar has been installed as a program in your computer’s Programs (see point 1). If you see a toolbar installed, simply uninstall it and then follow the below steps:

  • Chrome – Click the Menu (☰) button, hover over “Tools”, and then click “Extensions”. Find the toolbar in the list of installed extensions and click the trashcan icon to remove it. Restart your browser.
  • Firefox – Click the Menu (☰) button and select “Add-ons”. Click the “Extensions” tab and locate the toolbar that you want to remove. Click Remove to uninstall it. Restart your browser.
  • Internet Explorer – Click the Gear icon and select “Manage add-ons”. This will open a new window. Select “Toolbars and Extensions” in the left menu, and then find the toolbar you want to remove. Click Disable to remove it.
  • Safari – Click the Safari menu and select “Preferences”. Click the “Extensions” tab. Select the toolbar that you want to remove and click Uninstall. Restart your browser.

 

Clear browser cache
Browser cache can take up a lot of space and therefore make a browser to slow down. Browser cache essentially stores the pages you have once visited to allow for faster viewing should you return. Many of us would visit enough webpages in one day to increase our browser cache. You can clear cache easily by following the steps outlined in the link below.

Learn how to clear your browser cache

 

Remove Extenions and Add-ons
Browsers such as Chrome and Firefox allows you to install a multitude of extensions and add-ons that attach themselves to your for ease of use. Some of these include an Ad Blocker, for example. If is recommended to uninstall and remove any unused extensions or add-ons in your browser.

6. The nuclear option

The Nuclear OptionThis option is normally used as a last resort and is not for the faint-hearted. However, if you feel it is absolutely necessary you can reset your computer to go back to how it was when you first bought it.

Resetting your computer puts everything back to its original settings and can be useful to those who have no use for any of the programs or files on their computer and just want to start from scratch. Especially useful to thos who have been infected with some sort of malware of virus.

It is highly recommended to backup any files or folders you may need before resetting your computer. You can do this by saving your files to an external device (such as a USB/external hardrive), in the Cloud, or by using backup software.

How to reset your Windows computer:

In your computer’s settings, go to Update & Security where you will see the Recovery button on the left-hand side menu. You will want to click Get Started underneath ‘Reset this PC’. You will be prompted with two options: Keep my files and Remove everything. If you choose to keep your files, it is still recommended to take a backup of your files just in case.

How to reset your Mac computer:

Before resetting, you can take a backup by moving your files to the iCloud or another backup service. To reset, you will want to restart your computer and then open in Recovery Mode. Once the computer turns off during the restart, hold Command + R until you see the Apple logo appear. Release the keys and let it booth up. On your screen you will see ‘Disk Utility’ where you can click the Erase button. Once clicked, a dialog box will appear. You will click ‘Format to Mac OS Extended’ then click Erase. Once the process is complete, you will need to reinstall MacOS through the Recovery Mode screen. 

Note

Resetting a computer is a very time-consuming task. Depending on the amount of data you have on the computer, it will take time to erase as well as re-install your operating system. Once reset, you will also need to re-download and install all system updates for your computer to make sure it is up to date with security patches, etc.

And there you have it – our top tips on how to make your computer feel like new again. Should you wish to reach out for external help in speeding up your computer, you can contact us at Bluescope Technologies at info@scope.ie.