When you’re on the move, there’s nothing like a laptop to help you keep up-to-date with your workload. Being able to access your files in the field is a real help but if your laptop’s performance takes a dive, so will your productivity.
Rather than wait around for your laptop to catch up with you, there are a number of simple steps you can take to help it work faster again. Here’s a guide to clearing your portable PC of the remnants of old projects and reducing its workload, so it can focus on the task in hand. This will take you about an hour to do.
Part 1: Free up your hard disc and memory space
Clean up your start tasks:
- Press the Windows and R keys at the same time.
- Enter msconfig into the text box that appears.
- Click the Startup tab. Now you can see the full list of programs that begin running when your laptop starts up.
- Deselect any that you don’t need by unticking them.
- If you're not sure what you're looking at, you can find more information on each program by widening the Command section.
- When you are finished, click Apply and restart your machine.
- If you are unsure of what the files do, untick one line at a time and restart.
- If you deactivate a program you still want to run, go back to the Startup tab and put the tick back.
Clean up Internet Explorer:
- Open Internet Explorer.
- Click Tools and select Internet Options.
- Under Browsing History click Delete.
- Make sure Temporary Internet Files and Cookies are selected. You can select any other options you want at the same time.
- Click Delete.
Empty your Recycle Bin:
- Go to the desktop and right-click on the Recycle Bin icon.
- Choose Empty Recycle Bin.
Delete unwanted programs:
- Open the Control Panel.
- Double-click Add or Remove Programs.
- This will bring up a list of all installed software on your computer.
- Click on any programs you no longer need.
- Choose Change / Remove and select to uninstall them.
- Repeat this until you have uninstalled all the software you don’t want any more.
Part 2: Tidy up and speed up the hard disc
Error checking and defragmentation:
This section may take more than an hour to complete because of defragmentation time.
- Go to the desktop and open My Computer.
- Right-click on the icon for the C:/ and select Properties.
- Click the Tools tab.
- Under Error Checking, choose Check Now.
- Make sure Automatically Fix and Scan for and attempt are both selected, then click Start. You may get a message saying the process will commence when the machine is restarted. If so, restart your computer.
- When the computer has finished error checking or has restarted, go back to the Tools tab.
- Click Defragment now, then Defragment.
- Leave the PC while it does this; it can take some time.
Part 3: Improve performance
This section is optional. By following the steps above, your laptop should be running more efficiently. Following the next steps will give its speed a boost.
- Open the Control Panel.
- Double click to open System.
- Click on the Advanced tab.
- Under Performance, click Settings.
- Choose Adjust for best performance and click Apply.
Changing your laptop's performance options lets your computer use part of your hard disc as memory, which can give a speed boost.
1. Open the Control Panel.
2. Double-click to open System and click the Advanced tab.
3. Under Performance, click Settings.
4. Click on the Advanced tab and choose Change under Virtual Memory.
5. Make sure Custom Size is selected.
6. Under Minimum size, enter double the default amount.
7. Click OK.
Finally, to ensure that all these changes take effect and that any old settings are properly removed from the computer, you must restart your laptop.
1. Shut down your laptop.
2. When the computer is fully shut down, wait at least 30 seconds. Waiting this long makes sure the power fades from every component and any functions stored in the memory are fully removed.
3. Restart the computer.
After going through these steps, you should find a noticeable improvement in your laptop's performance. If you continue to have problems, or decide your laptop is running too slowly, it may be worth looking into installing more RAM (memory). Many programs are optimized to run with a minimum of 4GB of memory. Once the computer is working at a good speed, you'll be able to power through your work in double-quick time!