I think everybody noticed that after a few months of use, even with fresh OS install, every laptop starts to hiccup and suffer from the snail syndrome. That means lack of performance, Windows freezes, and everything starts to be so slow that you want to throw your laptop out of the freaking window…Throwing your laptop out of the window won’t solve the problem, so here are some pieces of advice on how you can boost your overall laptop speed and enjoy its performance…
Upgrade your hardware
- Install more RAM Memory. Nowadays, the software uses a lot of memory, especially the browsers. If you own a laptop bought 6 years ago, you might need to install an extra RAM stick just to be able to surf the web.
- Install an SSD. SSDs are famous for being able to revive old computers. Everything will be snappier and much faster with flash storage memory, instead of the mechanical hard drive. SSD is the biggest upgrade you can do to old computers or laptops.
Clean the laptop
- Clean the dust inside the laptop. Dust inside a laptop can cause a lot of problems including overheating. When laptops are overheating, they lack performance, they restart apparently for no reason and you feel like you’re able to fry an egg on their keyboard…
- Clean the laptop from malware and viruses. Malware and viruses can be a nightmare for computers. They can make your life miserable and they are hard to remove. My advice is to scan the laptop with Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool anytime you feel a sudden lack of performance or strange behavior.
Change some Windows settings
- Disable startup processes. Every time Windows starts, it loads a lot of programs which you don’t really use. When you install software on your laptop some of those programs are set up to start automatically when Windows starts. It’s the way developers think they will make that software more popular or there are programs that need to startup when Windows starts. But maybe you don’t need all those programs, so start searching with Win+S, the so called “msconfig” or “startup” utilities, and disable what you don’t really need.
- Uninstall unused programs. In 6 months or one year you might install a lot of software and use it once or twice. Time passes and your system gets strangled by a ton of unused programs and your laptop starts to suffer from the snail syndrome. Go to Control Panel and search for “Add/Remove Programs” or “Programs and Features” or how on Earth the programs uninstaller utility is called in other versions of Windows and start uninstalling those unused programs.
- Empty temp files. Temporary files can be deleted via Disk Cleanup utility. You can search for it using the taskbar search. All those files will take an important piece from your hard drive and are not used for something specific. That’s why they are called temporary, because they don’t have a long-term purpose.
- Use non-Aero Windows Themes (classic themes). Old laptops can struggle with nice Windows Aero themes. Keep it simple, keep it classic. Use classic Windows themes with no fancy visual effects. You can also turn off those visual effects from Control Panel.
- Clear cache and cookies on your web browser. If you feel a lack of performance when browsing the web and you are sure it is not because of your internet connection, empty the browser cache and clear cookies. It will help a lot.
- Check hard disk for free space. Even though Windows is not on the edge of popping up that low disk space notification, your laptop will be affected if the Windows partition starts to get full. If you feel things are slowing down, check how much free disk space is left on your hard drive, on your Windows partition.
- Defragment HDD. Hard disk defragmentation is a way of putting things to the right place and free up some storage. This is one problem that the mechanical hard drive did not solve in almost 50 years of computer evolution. Well, we can call SSD a solution though…
- Stop apps in background (Windows 10). There are a lot of apps in the background in Windows 10 which run without a notice. To find and disable them just search “Background apps” in the search bar near the Start Menu. Turn off everything you don’t use.
- Enable Fast Startup (Windows 10). To enable Fast Startup, go to Control Panel -> Power Options -> Choose what Power Button Do -> Change Settings that are currently unavailable -> and check the Turn on Fast Startup
- Uninstall bloatware (if any). Bloatware is something encountered by those who buy new computers/laptops. Manufactures load those machines with a lot of apps which nobody uses and those can really be a pain in the ass. Just uninstall everything you don’t need if you feel any lack of performance.
- Be careful with TABS in Chrome. Opening 15 tabs in Google Chrome nowadays can eat all your RAM memory so be careful. It is something everybody gets for using Chrome and even though you might have a lot of RAM memory installed, Google Chrome will kill it fast and easy. Don’t open and leave opened tabs which you don’t need that day. Use bookmarks instead if you need those tabs later on.
Reinstalling Windows must be the last solution for the snail syndrome because it takes time and puts your data in danger. Even though the installation can affect only the OS partition, there are situations when you need to nuke the entire hard drive. Viruses and malware are just some of those reasons. My experience in using and fixing laptops urges me to tell you that reinstalling Windows can be the fastest solution for reviving a laptop. If you have important data on it or you don’t know how to backup/install Windows you can try every step above, but if you are a techy guy able to manage backups and Windows installations, you certainly don’t want to waste your time. Just nuke the whole damn thing and do a clean install.