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How to speed up your slow computer

HARRY TUCKER

WE’VE all experienced it. The frustration, anger and sadness as our computer begins to slow down to an almost unusable state.

But thankfully, unless your computer is 10 years old, it can be saved.

Here’s what could be causing your pain. But first, have you tried turning it off and on again?

Get rid of all the stupid pointers and plug-ins

Your computer only has a certain amount of resources at its disposal, so don’t fill it up with things it doesn’t need. That fancy mouse pointer you downloaded or those Chrome/internet Explorer add-ons you installed automatically with a free program need to go, they’re just slowing you down. Not to mention all that ‘free’ trial software that you accidentally downloaded.

Fixing it is easy. To get rid of all the useless programs you don’t need just go to Control Panel > Program and Features and find what you want to delete. If you’re on a Mac, simply two finger/right click on the program in the app folder and hit delete.

Make sure everything is up to date

Software makers regularly tinker and improve their programs to make them better and fix issues. Everything from your computer’s operating system to web browser gets regular updates. So before you do anything else, make sure everything is up to date and you could see a big difference.

Check to see if you have a virus

Viruses and Malware are known to slow your computer right now. If you have a fairly new computer and it suddenly becomes unusable, odds are you have a virus. If you don’t have an antivirus, install it and give your computer a scan. Be careful what you pick, some antivirus programs can be hardware hogs and can slow your computer down themselves. If you want a free option, we recommend AVG Free.

Upgrade your RAM

As programs get more powerful and are able to do more things, they often need more resources to make that happen. Perhaps the most common reason computers slow down is that they have so many programs open and not enough RAM to store all the temporary data the program uses. If you have a desktop computer, it’s as easy as opening the side and putting in some more. If you have a laptop though, you might be out of luck.

Your harddrive might be messed up

Your harddrive might be fragmented, and you might need to defragment it. Your harddrive is something that likes to be organised, but is always in a hurry to do things as quickly as possible. Because of that, it leaves things in different places to find them quickly next time. But after a while, that can become cluttered and your harddrive finds it harder to find things and slows down. Once you defrag your drive, it’s like spring cleaning a house – everything is back in its rightful place so its easy to find and things can speed up again.

Another thing worth considering is upgrading your harddrive to a solid state drive which is much faster than your standard drive. This results in your computer starting up much quicker and feeling fresher in every way. Samsung is the leader in this area and has 250GB SSDs starting at around $200.

Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 could be a good replacement computer.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 could be a good replacement computer. Source: Supplied

Or you could just need a new computer

Your computer could just be too old and slow to run modern programs. So time to go shopping! These days, your best bet is a laptop unless you need something really powerful for gaming and video producing. Otherwise, laptops are perfectly adequate computers for everything else. Our picks are the Apple MacBook Air or theMicrosoft Surface Pro 3 tablet/laptop hybrid.