Fess up — at some point, you’ve gotten so frustrated with a computer that you’ve imagined hurling it out a window. Maybe you actually did … and we aren’t here to judge.
After months or years of constant use, your once lightning-fast machine may be struggling to keep up. Is it time to throw in the towel?
Before consigning your computer to the scrap heap, give these tips a try. You may be able to restore your clunker to its former glory.
DELETE OR REMOVE UNNECESSARY DATA AND PROGRAMS
The sheer amount of “stuff” on your machine may be bogging it down. Your computer only has so much processing power, so if it’s trying to do too much, its performance and speed will suffer.
• If you’re low on space, get rid of files, software and programs you don’t need.
• Over time, your computer’s storage gets cluttered with temporary files and other unnecessary data. Running a disk cleanup or repair can free up a significant amount of space.
• It’s also a good habit to periodically empty your trash/recycle bin and move files you want to keep but don’t use regularly to the cloud or an external drive.
DISABLE/CLOSE UNNECESSARY APPS/PROGRAMS
Notice that it’s taking a while to boot up? You almost certainly have programs you don’t need, but your computer is launching them and running them in the background — slowing you down. However, you can disable them and prevent them from launching automatically.
If you’re on a Mac and have unnecessary apps running in the background, force quit to close them and stop their drain on your resources. Also, make sure you’re restarting your machine regularly rather than just putting it to sleep; shutting down completely closes background applications and clears caches.
UPDATE YOUR SOFTWARE
When you get those notifications that software updates are available, resist the temptation to hit the “remind me later” button. These updates fix glitches, patch security holes, allow you to access the latest features and have other benefits that keep your computer running optimally.
INSTALL GOOD ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE
If your usually reliable computer is acting up, malware could be the cause. Anti-virus software can protect your machine from a host of cyber threats.
Like a human virus, a computer virus is an intruder that attacks, replicates and damages a system. Without proper defenses, your data is at risk and your performance is compromised. Norton, McAfee and Bitdefender are some of the most popular antivirus brands.