If you've noticed that your PC or laptop is unresponsive and things take an age which once were instant, it's time to take action. A computer doesn't usually lose power over time, but background processes and limited storage capacity can keep it running slowly.
Over time, you'll install a wealth of apps, games and other things, while a constant flow of software updates can fill up storage and use up resources such as storage and memory. The good news is there are apps which can remove this detritus automatically, as well as free up precious storage space.
If you're having troubles with internet speed, that is a separate issue to your computer itself being slow - and something that is likely going to be more significant with more and more of us working from home, home-schooling, or trying to keep ourselves entertained during the pandemic and beyond. We've outlined advice on how to speed up your internet and how to speed up your Wi-Fi, but read on if it's the machine itself that needs a speed bump.
We’re also going to recommend some tools that ensure you have all the latest drivers installed and other that help you dispose of sensitive personal information properly.
How can I increase the speed of my computer?
One of the apps for this task is CCleaner. This program examines your PC for any redundant, duplicated, broken or corrupted files and removes them with the click of a mouse. It will also automatically remove cookies and browsing data if you should so desire.
You can download CCleaner for free. There's also a paid-for version, CCleaner Pro, which currently starts at £24.95 / $29.95 per year.
EF StartUp Manager
Windows will automatically start programs when your PC turns on. If you have a lot of programs set to run upon startup this could dramatically increase the amount of time it takes your PC to power up.
EF StartUp Manager lets you know which programs will automatically run when your PC starts and will manage the process in a more efficient way to get you up and running sooner.
However, you can also use Windows 10's built in Task Manager for this job, too, and it will tell you which start-up programs are making your computer take ages to boot up.
Should I Remove It?
Even the most experienced PC user will occasionally come across a program or file on their PC that they don’t know the purpose of. Should I Remove It? is a great bit of software that looks at the programs installed on your PC and tells you what they do, giving you information with which you can make a more informed choice on whether to remove the program or not.
You can head on over to the Should I Remove It? site and download the app for free.
Secure Eraser provides an alternative to your Recycle Bin, removing files and information in a way that ensures it can’t be recovered.
If you deal with sensitive data often or want to make sure that any personal information you want to remove is unrecoverable then Secure Eraser is the perfect tool.
UpdateStar helps ensure that all the software you’re running on your PC stays up to date. It’s a great little tool that reminds you of updates to your software all in one place and keeps your drivers ready to go.
You can download UpdateStar here.
Of course, there are other ways to speed up a laptop or PC. And the main one is to replace an ageing mechanical, spinning hard drive with an SSD. Even the slowest SSDs are around 10x faster than an old hard drive which immediately makes Windows more responsive and apps load faster.
Another reason your PC might be unresponsive is because of a problem causing the hard drive to be maxed out. Here's how to fix 100% disk usage. You may also be interested in our separate guide on how to speed up Windows.
A version of this article was originally published in German on our sister site, PC-Welt.