Tech how-to: Improve computer performance

 In Hardware and Software

This article is a technical how-to related to the article Life’s too short for a slow computer – here’s how to get yours back in shape; which outlines some simple ways to add life to your middle-aged PCs and laptops.

If you need help with a hard drive or RAM upgrade, or if you need help with any other aspect of maximising your computer’s performance, contact Proactive IT Solutions for support and advice.

Manage automatic start-up programs

On a PC, you can disable automatic start-ups in your Task Manager. Here’s how for Windows 10.

For a Mac, you can manage automatic start-ups in the Users and Groups menu of your System Preferences.

Free up hard drive space

In Windows, you can review and uninstall programs in the Programs and Features/Apps and Features menu in the Control Panel. You may also want to consider using third-party uninstallers to free up additional space.

On a Mac, you can drag unwanted programs from the Application folder to the trash to remove them.

Check out a storage visualiser such as WinDirStat for a PC, or Disk Inventory X for Mac, to give you an idea of where else you can free up storage space. You can then delete files, or move them to an external hard drive.

Check your hard drive status

Check your hard drive specs to see if you could upgrade to a better performing hard drive. On a PC, how to find hard drive specs can vary, but here are some options.

On a Mac, you can find your hard drive details in the Storage menu of your system report, provided in About This Mac.

If you’ve got a drive of a decent size and speed, consider running a hard drive health check with a program such as HDTune, or on most HP computers, you can perform a hard drive self test with the built-in hardware diagnostics.

Check how much RAM you’ve got

Check that you have enough RAM. For Windows 8 and 10, type ‘ram’ into your start menu, and click on the ‘view ram’ option to find out how much RAM you have.

On a Mac, your memory will be displayed on your About This Mac menu.

Many computers come with a standard 4 GB, but modern operating systems run best on 8 GB of RAM. Depending on your hardware, you may or may not be able to add more RAM.

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