Ever find yourself asking, “Why is my laptop so slow?” A slow computer can be frustrating and expensive to fix, but here are some ways you can fix it for free from the comfort of home.
In this article:
- Programs Running in the Background
- You’re Running Out of Disk Space
- You Have Malware on Your Computer
- Your Laptop is Overheating
- Updates are Downloading in the Background
- You Have Too Many Browser Tabs Open
- Your Hardware is Outdated
Why is My Laptop Slow? Budget-Friendly Ways to Fix It
1. Programs Running in the Background
One of the main reasons your laptop can slow down to a crawl is all the unused programs running in the background as soon as you open your laptop. To make your laptop run faster, you can prevent your operating system from running all those tasks the moment you boot up your machine.
- Click on the Start button (the Windows logo usually found on the lower-left corner of your screen).
- Look for the Settings icon on the navigation bar found on the left side of the Start menu.
- Select the Privacy icon, then Background Apps. You should then see a list of background apps currently running on your account.
- Click on the switch right beside the application you want to disable to turn them off.
- Next, right-click on your taskbar and select Task Manager.
- Once Task Manager opens, click on the Startup.
- Right-click on the app you want to disable and click on Disable.
- Go to System Preferences.
- Click on Users and Groups.
- Choose your account name on the left side of the dialog box.
- Click on the Login Items.
- Tick the checkbox next to the apps you don’t want to open when you start up your Mac.
- Click the “-“ button at the bottom.
Once you reboot your computer, the apps you choose to disable shouldn’t run anymore unless you choose to run them. Note that if you happen to run certain programs frequently, it’s better to keep the background tasks for that application running.
2. You’re Running Out of Disk Space
The more you use your laptop, the more junk files accumulate in your hard drive. This eventually slows down your computer because it runs out of space to store these files.
- To find out about how much disk space you have left, click on the Explorer icon on your taskbar.
- You should see several blue bars indicating how much disk space you have left.
Now you can start cleaning up some unnecessary files.
- Click on the Start button (usually found on the lower-left corner of your screen).
- Type “disk cleanup” in the search bar until you see the Disk Cleanup icon in the results.
- Select the drive you want to free up space on.
- Click on OK.
- Tick the checkbox next to the types of files you want to delete.
- Click on OK.
- Wait for Disk Cleanup to finish.
- Click the Apple menu, then select About this Mac.
- Navigate to Settings.
- You should see a big picture of how much space you have left.
- Click on Manage to start clearing up disk space.
To clear up some disk space:
- Store files in your iCloud account: If you have an iCloud subscription, select the Store in iCloud button and tick all the types of files you want to offload to your cloud storage.
- Optimize Storage: Click on Optimize and you’ll be able to enable options like removing movies and TV shows you no longer watch and only download attachments if you choose to.
- Turn On “Empty Trash Automatically:” This cleans up files stored in your Trash folder for 30 days or more.
- Reduce Clutter: The Reduce Clutter option allows you to review the files that take up the most space and choose which ones to delete.
3. You Have Malware on Your Computer
Malware (or viruses, as others call it) take up resources on your computer which can slow down your laptop. Make sure to run your antivirus scanner regularly and update its signature to ensure your computer is malware-free.
More importantly, make sure to form and maintain good internet browsing habits like:
- Not clicking on links from sources you don’t know
- Deleting emails with attachments you’re not expecting
- Disabling features that track your exact location, among others
- Not using common words or personal information in your passwords
RELATED: How To Speed Up WiFi On A Budget
4. Your Laptop is Overheating
Is your laptop extremely hot to the touch and you can hear the fans whirring inside? Your laptop may be overheating.
To prevent your motherboard and other components from burning to a crisp, your computer automatically slows itself down. What can you do about this?
- Purchase a cooling pad for your laptop.
- If you can easily open the bottom of your laptop, do so and spray some compressed air to get the dust out.
- For those who know a tech-savvy friend or family member, ask them if they can open the laptop up and replace the thermal paste inside.
- Avoid opening several heavy programs at the same time as games, photo, and video editing programs.
5. Updates are Downloading in the Background
There’s nothing much you can do about it in this case but wait. Microsoft and Apple roll out software updates on your computer to keep it secure and protected from the latest security issues.
6. You Have Too Many Browser Tabs Open
Only open the tabs you use. When you leave a tab open, it eats up some amount of memory.
When you run out of RAM, your laptop will have a hard time processing everything else, leading to slowdowns and crashes.
7. Your Hardware is Outdated
If you’ve done all of these but your laptop is still very slow, chances are you need to upgrade your hardware. Short of buying a new machine, here are the most affordable components you can upgrade.
- Adding more memory (RAM): Having more RAM allows you to run more programs at the same time.
- Replacing a mechanical hard drive with a solid-state drive (SSD): Because SSDs have no moving mechanical parts, your computer won’t struggle as much reading and writing files on your computer.
Because it can be tricky to know what type of hardware your laptop supports, you’re better off asking your geeky friend if they have spare parts lying around and to do the upgrade for you. If you happen to own any MacBook models from the past 5 years, you’re out of luck as the components in newer MacBooks are not user-replaceable.
Want more tips on how to make your computer run faster just like new? Watch this video from ThioJoe:
A slow laptop can be a major source of frustration for many homesteaders. With these tips, you can get to the bottom of your tech woes and have more time for your many projects.
Why is your laptop slow and how did you fix it? Share your tips in the comments section below!
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