Ways To Speed Up Your PC

PC working slow? This is how to speed things up.

You don’t need to throw the whole pc away. Instead, we’ll walk you through simple ways to get your PC back in shape.

Whether you are using your PC to get work done or have fun, a slow pc can make life way more irritating than it needs to be. Laggy performance speed can render your computer pretty useless, especially when you can barely open a window, load a website and even start up your system.

If you’ve been struggling lately, now’s the perfect time to take a few minutes to go through some of the tried-and-true troubleshooting steps. You can make it so much easier to use your PC. You can give yourself a reprieve from saying bad things about your pc under your breath. Better yet, you can do all of it without spending a dime.

I promise it’s doable on your own. Well, technically, on your own — I will walk you through tips on fixing your computer’s sluggish performance by digging into Task Manager, controlling how many apps open at startup and some other tips and tricks I’ve discovered along the way.

And if you need to purchase a new computer, these are the best desktop PCs.

 

Task Manager is like a magic crystal ball.

Think of Task Manager as a window into your PC’s health. The app provides insight into what’s taxing the processor, how much memory something is taking over and even how much network data a program has used.

A simple way to open Task Manager in Windows 10 is to right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager from the list of options. In Windows 11, click the magnifying glass on the Taskbar and search for Task Manager.

Task Manager’s default view would not show much information beyond which apps are currently working. To view what matters, click More Details in the bottom left corner.

By default, this list is broken down into Apps and Background Processes. It is refreshed, with the various columns constantly updating. My advice is to let Task Manager run for a couple of minutes and watch it. Watch for apps that shoot to the top of the checklist and disappear a few seconds later. Search for processes that stay at the top of the record with high memory or CPU use. Not sure what a process is? Google its name to find out more.

To close an app or process that you suspect may be partly responsible for slow performance, click on the listing, then click on End Task.

Three more common reasons for a slow PC

There are far too many apps and services to create a brief list of what’s likely slowing down a PC, but that does not mean there aren’t likely culprits. Below are some of the top points we all experience on a PC.

Antivirus scans

After watching your system working slow with Task Manager open, you may have seen that your antivirus software program is routinely near the top of the listing. This is because antivirus software can slow down your system while actively scanning your pc for malware and viruses.

Instead of letting your antivirus program scan every time it sees fit, schedule it to run at times if you’re not using your PC, such as overnight or during your lunch hour. Changing the scan schedule will depend on the program you use; however, you can generally open the app and go to the settings pane.

 

Too many apps are running at login. 

If your PC takes forever to be responsive after you log into your Windows account, you probably have far too many apps attempting to run at startup. You can edit the list of apps and services that begin running if you log in to your pc by opening Task Manager and clicking on the Startup tab.

Go through the list and remove things you don’t want running when your PC turns on by clicking the app name, followed by Disable.

 

Some web browsers are resource hogs.

Your web browser might be the culprit, especially if you’ve lost count of the windows and tabs you have open. Each browser window and tab takes up memory and processing power, and over time, that will start to slow down your PC.

You can view a breakdown of extensions and tabs that could be responsible in Task Manager by clicking on the arrow next to your browser’s name. Alternatively, if you use Chrome, it has a built-in task manager. Launch it by pressing Shift+Esc while using Chrome, or click on the menu button > More Tools > Task manager.

If your browser is often causing your PC to slow to a crawl, try another browser or keep an eye on how many tabs or windows you have open at a given time.

 

Battle-tested solutions

There’s a wide range of ways available for troubleshooting and speeding up your PC. Below are some steps to take to temporarily speed up your slow pc:

  • Shut running apps when you’re done. Ensure they’re not running within the notification tray (next to the volume and Wi-Fi indicators). Once you close some apps like Slack, they keep running in the background. Usually, you can close apps that keep working at the background with a right-click on the app icon and choose quit.
  • Pause OneDrive syncing. This is something even Microsoft admits can slow down your pc. Pause OneDrive by clicking on the OneDrive icon in the notification tray, select More and then Pause syncing.
  • Check available storage and hard drive health. If your hard drive is running out of storage, it might fail. I use CrystalDisk Info (Standard Edition) to get basic insights into my drives. It is a free app that quickly scans your drives and tells you their health status. For those who aren’t comfortable testing your hard drive, take your pc to a technician who can properly diagnose the issue and, if possible, upgrade your storage.
  • Frequently turn off your computer. Don’t just restart it; completely power it off and walk away for a few minutes. This offers your pc a chance to clear out the memory and start fresh the next time it is turned on.

If any of the above suggestions speeds up your computer, you can try reducing animations, changing themes and toggling other Windows 10-specific settings. For those trying to get remote help, ensure you know the best way to take screenshots on Windows 10. Finally, if you’re more of an Apple household, you’re in luck: We have recommendations for speeding up a slow Mac, too.