Nowadays, a perfectly usable PC can soon feel obsolete and outdated. Especially as newer and more powerful computers with heavy-duty GPUs (such as Nivia’s recently revealed unit) come out every year. While it’s tempting to do an upgrade every time an exciting new product hits the shelves, you don’t always have to throw your old device if you find it has started to lag.
Fortunately, there are a few simple best practices to do on your machine to ensure it can keep up with the latest hardware. That said, keep your PC running at top performance by the following tips:
Free up disk space
A cluttered hard drive is often one of the main causes that results in a laggy computer. Hidden files like leftover data from uninstalled apps, duplicate files, and other kinds of digital detritus all slow down your system’s processing speed. But there are some easy ways to clean up your hard drive.
For instance, while it may seem counterintuitive, installing optimization programs like CCleaner can actually help you get rid of cached files that are no longer being used. These tune-up utilities de-fragment system files, delete cookies and browser history, and repair the Windows Registry (which is known to slow down over time). Most of them are free, but users have the option to pay for licensed versions, which come with additional features to speed up your computer.
Use a more efficient browser
Not all web browsers are created equal. Some of them eat up more memory compared to others — even while doing the same tasks. If you find yourself struggling with your surfing speed, the problem may lie not with your internet service provider, but with your browser. As such, you can try out different browsers such as Safari to see which one is the most compatible with your system. Additionally, you should get rid of any unwanted extensions that only take up disk space and slow down your loading time.
Install a lightweight operating system
Operating systems (OS) like Windows 10 come with plenty of features out of the box. Typically included among them are “bloatware” — background programs that users can’t uninstall. And while this shouldn’t pose a problem if your PC has enough space, the same can’t be said for old computers that need to squeeze out every bit of processing power they can get.
As an alternative, consider installing a lightweight OS. For example, Ubuntu MATE is a simple, entry-level Linux distribution that’s great for users coming from a Windows OS. Its interface is intuitive and simple to use, and it can even run graphics-heavy Linux PCB design software without lagging. This is thanks to the incredibly efficient Linux kernel, which acts as the core of the OS. The best part is, it’s free to download — thus saving you the hassle of forking out cash for a faster PC.
Change your power settings
If you’re running on Windows 10, check your power preferences to see what battery plan you’re on. The “Power Saver” option slows down your computer significantly in favor of prolonging battery life, so be sure to change to the “Balanced” option to speed things up a bit. But if you’re plugged in, the best option would be switching to the “High Performance” setting for the maximum processing speed.
Update your drivers and apps
It’s a good idea to keep your drivers and apps up to date, not just for security, but also for performance. These updates usually include changes to software coding to iron out kinks that bog down your PC. By removing these bottlenecks, processes like gaming can run a lot faster.
Few things are more frustrating than an old PC with sluggish loading speeds. But before throwing out your well-worn machine for a shiny new one, try out the above tips to see if you can improve its performance.