There are simple tips you can follow to see a quick performance boost on your machine, which can be handy when you’re out with your laptop and need to get stuff done fast.
It’s frighteningly easy to pick up malware on the modern web, whether through watering hole attacks, drive-by downloads or malicious email attachments. Malware isn’t necessarily something that instantly renders your computer unusable though; it can often lurk on your system for years, leaking data and spying on your activities. It can also slow down your machine, and unlike startup programmes, it can be difficult to identify when malware is the cause of a slowdown. A free security suite should protect your system from the majority of common threats on the web, and setting up regular recurring virus scans will help keep your system zipping along without being gummed up by malicious processes.
Defrag your hard
Old mechanical hard drives can often suffer from fragmentation. This happens when the various bits that make up a complete file are scattered across the physical surface of the drive platter. Because the drive head has to travel further across the surface of the disk to read all the separate portions, this slows the machine down. Defragmentation – or defragging – restructures the disk so that all of the bits that make up various files are grouped in the same physical area, which hopefully increases the speed of hard drive access at the same time. It’s easy to check whether a physical disk needs defragging; simply head to the storage tab in Windows 10’s system settings menu, and click the option labelled ‘Optimise drives’.
Uninstall programs you don’t need
This one is quite simple but one of the most effective methods to free up resources. If you find yourself repeatedly closing programs when they auto-start and not opening them for a long time, you might want to consider uninstalling programs
for the time being. These can be work-related programs, games or any other software.
Improve your cooling
A lot of laptops come with built-in cooling systems such as fans or heatsinks which aim to facilitate delivering its topmost speeds before the processor’s temperature escalates too much. However, in many cases, this simply isn’t sufficient to experience the full potential of your processor’s capabilities. Fortunately, there are some options available on the market which are worth investing in, such as an external cooling pad. This device is placed underneath your laptop to cool it down by blowing cold air into its underside, keeping the internal components from overheating. These are optimal when used with laptops that have airflow vents situated at the bottom of their chassis, and are available for as low as £10.
Add more RAM
Many of the tweaks we’ve listed already are based on freeing up additional system memory to be used in general operation. However, if your laptop has 2GB of memory or less, adding some additional capacity is a great way of eking out extra performance. There are some caveats to this, however. If you’re running a 32-bit version of Windows, the maximum amount of RAM you can have in one system is 3GB. With these systems, if you have 2GB and you add another 2GB, Windows will only use 3GB of RAM. This is because of the limits 32-bit operating systems have when addressing memory.
Remove web results from Windows 10 search
Search indexing in Windows 10 has come a long way from its origins in previous Windows versions. What this feature does is create an index of files and folders throughout your system, along with their metadata, to find them more efficiently when you try and look them up using the operating system’s built-in search function. First, you can disable the web results that appear in Windows 10’s search menu, because let’s face it, you’ll almost certainly use a web browser for searching. Simply hit the Windows key, type gpedit.msc and hit enter to bring up the Group Policy Editor. With this open, click on Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.
Switch off unnecessary animations
Ever since Windows Vista, Microsoft’s operating system has become cluttered with fancy graphics and animated flourishes that do little to improve productivity. By default, Windows will automatically disable some of these based on how powerful your system is, but if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit more aesthetic appeal for the sake of speed, it’s easy to switch all of the graphics off and run on the bare essentials. To do this, open that Start Menu and start typing in ‘Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows’. Click on this option and from the scroll menu untick everything you don’t wish to see on the desktop (such as shadows, smooth fonts, et cetera). Click OK and this will change the desktop to something more basic looking.