It’s kind of a law of nature: your computer slows down over several years even though nothing seems to have changed. This has been happening to computers over the years and early on, it was probably kind of true. But in reality nowadays it’s not your computer getting slower, it’s all the stuff that gets added to it when you install software or even just save or delete a file.
After all, you current computer is probably not that old. It’s likely running XP or Vista. Why should you spend hundreds of dollars replacing it, especially when you know deep down that it will only start slowing down again as soon as you’ve bought a new PC.
So how to make your computer faster again without buying a new machine? What can you do to breathe any life into your computer and make it a joy to use again?
Firstly, check how much memory your machine has. Windows always has liked to use lots of memory and modern operating systems like XP and Vista are especially greedy. If your machine has less than 2Gb of RAM memory, it’s time to treat it and you to more. No matter what the “in your dreams” minimum requirements there were on the box of the operating system.
Upgrading your memory to this level will make near enough everything on your computer run faster. If Windows doesn’t have enough memory to work with, it will use space on your hard disk as an alternative. But hard disks are lots, lots slower than regular memory. Swapping information to your hard drive takes a lot longer than switching it around in memory.
A memory upgrade is simple enough to do yourself – there are plenty of tutorials online to show you how – or your local computer store will be happy to help you for a small fee. The whole operation should be over quickly – it will probably take you longer to unscrew the screws on the case than it will to upgrade the RAM. It’s then a matter of earthing yourself (touch a water pipe, for instance) so you don’t suddenly jab your machine with static electricity. Then just add the extra RAM in the slots that are almost certainly sitting vacant.
If it’s only print jobs that are running slow, do the same treatment for your printer if it’s possible. Color lasers especially will appreciate any extra memory you give them and will allow Windows to pass them across more of the printing job, freeing up your machine for other tasks. Putting extra memory in your printer works much the same way as adding it to your main computer. I’ve done this to printers in the past and they’ve really appreciated it their print performance came right up to the advertised pages per minute speed rather than the speed you’d expect from an ancient dot matrix.
If that still doesn’t do enough to make your computer faster, there are other things you can try as well.