Stop stressing over your slow PC.

Sign up for AOL Computer Checkup. Then sit back, relax and let our 24 powerful PC tools clean, speed up and optimize your PC automatically.
Computer Checkup by AOL

Quick ways to improve computer performance

Whether you use your computer for work or leisure, you want it to run at optimal performance. Generally, that means that you want your computer to be lightning-fast and glitch-free. Here are some easy ways to perform a computer cleanup that can quickly improve its performance and speed up a slow PC.

Defragment Hard Drive

Defragmenting your hard drive is not difficult, but the process is time-consuming (fortunately, not for you). In other words, it will take you about two minutes to set up a defrag operation, but it could take a few hours to run. The recommendation is to defragment at a time when you’re planning to be away from your computer for a while, like overnight.

Why defragment? Defragmenting is a function that your PC can do on its own to keep files organized and clean, and to purge any unnecessary files from your system. These include “junk” like files that are left behind from software that is no longer in use, or items that were downloaded. It’s one of the easiest ways to speed up a slow computer.

Check Network Connectivity

While it may not seem as though it’s related to the actual computer function, if there’s a performance slowdown, it can be because of a networking issue. There are so many of your computer’s operations that rely on the Internet that if there’s a hitch in your network, it can cause a slow PC.

To see if this is the case:

  • Test network cables, switches, routers and Wifi access points. If you have access to another computer on which to try them, that’s your first step. If not, try different combinations of accessibility to see if eliminating one speeds up your overall performance.
  • Call your Internet Service Provider (ISP); if you’re on cable, find out how many splitters are between the line from the pole and your modem. If it’s more than one, ask them to rewire so that there is only one two-way splitter between the modem and the pole. This way, you’ll have the cleanest possible signal. If you use satellite, have the network check to be sure that your dish installation is tight and pointed in the correct direction.

Machine Cool Down

If you have a sudden PC slowdown, it’s possible that your computer is overheating. See if the exterior feels very hot. Ensure that your system has adequate air-flow around it, is on a flat surface (i.e. a table or desk, but not a bed or couch) and is not surrounded by extra clutter. If your fan doesn’t seem to be working or the computer is getting very hot, shut it down immediately and wait for it to cool.

Regular Maintenance

This is, possibly, the most important thing you can do to keep your computer functioning optimally. “Maintenance” means a lot of things, though. First, it could be actually removing dust and physical debris from your computer, either inside or outside. Second, it could be keeping your hard drive clean and free of unnecessary files. One way to do this is by using a program like AOL Computer Checkup, which can perform scheduled checks to identify problems and repair broken registry entries, as well as cleaning up the useless files left behind when software was installed or uninstalled.

Try a Different Browser

Sometimes, there are compatibility issues between your browser and some other software that you’re using. It’s not the “fault” of either, but maybe they just don’t play nicely together. If one or the other seems to be glitch or crashing frequently, try using a different browser and see if that helps.

Remove Junk

Do you clean your closet? Garage? Basement? Every now and then, we all need to purge our lives of certain types of junk. Your computer is no different. Files that you don’t even realize are there can clog up the works and cause a major computer slowdown. By doing a scan and clean, you can free up the system’s processor to work on what really matters, which is the function you’re trying to accomplish. Again, AOL Computer Checkup can help, or you can take matters into your own hands. Weed through any unrecognizable files and purge them, but be sure that you aren’t getting rid of something that you’ll need later on.

By completing these tasks, you should be able to see some improvement in your computer speed. All the better to make you (and your computer) more efficient!