Easy Fixes for Slow Computers

Your computer is likely more sluggish today than when it was new. Computers get slower as their hard drives filled up with old files, but it's easy to clean up your hard drive for a faster operating machine.

Easy Fixes for Slow Computers

Free up hard drive space

Empty your trash

Keeping at least 15 percent of the space on your hard drive empty will help prevent the worst of these slowdowns.

  • First, check how much space is available on your drive. In Windows, go to Start -> My Computer. Right-click on the hard drive named C: and select Properties from the menu that appears. You'll then see how much space remains on the disk. Mac users can click on the hard disk icon and then go to File -> Get Info.
  • Empty the bin. Any files you delete from your computer first go into the Recycle Bin (Windows) or Trash (Mac) and remain on the hard drive, occupying valuable space, until you empty the bin. In Windows, right-click the Recycle Bin icon and click Empty Recycle Bin. If using a Mac, go to Finder -> Empty Trash.

Declutter your drive

Spring-clean your files and applications.

Sort through your work, pictures, music, videos and emails. Be ruthless — delete anything you don't need (especially large video files) and move anything you might need onto an external disk.

  • To do this in Windows, go to Start -> Control Panel -> Programs -> Programs and Features. Select the program to delete and click Uninstall. Then, clean out any unnecessary files by running "Disk Cleanup": go to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories-> System Tools -> Disk Cleanup.
  • Mac users should drag unused applications from the Applications folder into the Trash, then go to Finder -> Empty Trash.

Defragment your drive

Order your data

Over time the data on your hard disk gets broken up into ever smaller "chunks" so that when you open a file, your computer needs to do a lot of work to piece it together. A process called defragmenting puts the chunks of data back into order and can improve performance. Defragmenting the drive is easy: do it regularly to prevent problems.

  • In Windows, go to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter and click on Defragment Now.
  • Mac OS does not require regular defragmentation.

Carry out a security scan

A virus will slow you down

If spring-cleaning your hard drive doesn't boost your computer's performance, scan your disk for viruses and spyware, both of which can seriously compromise operating speeds.

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