Step 1: Uninstall long-forgotten programs
First things first: take inventory of all of the programs on your PC or laptop and figure out what is actually being used and what isn’t. Before uninstalling any programs, make sure you don’t need them. Once a program is gone, it’s gone.
Step 2: Update your drivers
Believe it or not, but there’s more software installed on your PC than Windows, your applications, and your games. There are “drivers.” These are little pieces of software that make sure all the different parts of your device work together. However, if you’re using outdated drivers, which is often the case, you may not be using your PC’s potential to its fullest.
Step 3: Defrag your hard drive
You haven’t heard that one in a while, have you? Well, “defragging” is still a thing if you’re running a PC with a traditional mechanical disk drive – and chances are high that you are if you are reading this article. While new PCs come with flash-based storage (SSDs), older drives still use mechanical platters grouped into clusters. If you’ve stored and deleted a lot of programs and files on your disk, the bits and bytes will be in disarray. Your mechanical disk will make it hard to piece it all together, and this slows things down.
Step 4: Upgrade your hardware if possible
In many cases, you can give your PC a significant boost by adding more RAM, a faster disk, or a better graphics cards. Most laptop components can’t be physically removed as they’re soldered to the motherboard. However, there are three areas where upgrading makes sense. First, if you’ve got an old mechanical drive (see above), get an SSD. With an SSD, you can realise 10-20x improvement in loading speed. By and far the best ‘bang for buck’ upgrade you can do these days.
Some laptops also allow the option for installing more RAM. Going from 4 to 8 or 16 GB really doesn’t make much of a difference if you’re not running massive programs like PhotoShop or games.