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Speeding up a laptop


#1

so I’m visiting my parents in a few days and their year old laptop is running super slow. I want to try and fix it for them while I’m there but not that blessed in computer stuff (I only use mobile/tablets nowadays).

Any tried and true and relatively cheap options for this? CCleaner or something like it?


#2

Go faster stripes! Speed holes!

Ok, seriously, there are basic and easy things you can do (for free!) that will be a good first step whatever the problem. (I’m assuming this is a Windows based laptop, if it’s a Mac, disregard this).
Run Disk Clean-up (Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools), which should compress unneeded old files, clear temporary files etc. That’ll help. Then look at running Disk Defragmenter (same location). Also make sure they’ve got a good anti-virus program and spyware remover and run those.


#3

There are a few things you can do.

Martin is right, although what I’d do first is look into add/remove programs and clear out anything that they don’t use. Quite often there are programs bundled with the PC that they have never even seen let alone used. Then do the disk clean-up and defragment.

My work laptop started running slowly, mainly because I just have too many things running at the same time as part of my role and this little tip sped it up hugely. It does leave it looking more low tech but for me usability was the most important thing.

To adjust all visual effects for best performance:
Open Performance Information and Tools by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type Performance Information and Tools, and then, in the list of results, click Performance Information and Tools.
Click Adjust visual effects. Administrator permission required If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
Click the Visual Effects tab, click Adjust for best performance, and then click OK. (For a less drastic option, select Let Windows choose what’s best for my computer.)


#4

In practice this keeps all but one of the “slow” visual gimmicks, so it’s completely pointless selecting this. (Maybe it’s different on different hardware, but it seems unlikely.)


#5

No you are right, that was part of the cut paste from the MS site. I probably should have deleted it.


#6

One thing I will caution, though, is if you do choose “Adjust for best performance”, you should then turn back on “Smooth edges of screen fonts”. Everything else that gets turned off is just visual flash and gimmickry that you can live without, but un-smoothed screen fonts look horrible and will seriously affect your reading experience.


#7

If it’s a Mac I have some diagnostics you can run, but it sounds like it’s not.

May want to buy more memory, too.


#8

yes, it’s a basic ASUS starter laptop. They are VERY tech naïve and my old man probably has gobs of malware and un-needed files running on it. Thank you guys for your help!


#9

Have you tried speed-stripe?


#10

ASUS starter - probably has loads of bloatware.

There’s mainly 2 reasons why a computer runs slow: hard drive is nearly full (you know how to deal with that) and too many programs are running on startup.

Here’s how to remove programs from startup: http://www.howtogeek.com/74523/how-to-disable-startup-programs-in-windows/

Also use two programs to remove spyware and malware: Avast and Malwarebytes. Both are free, both are reliable - I use them on all my computers.


#11

I also have an old slow laptop that I was thinking of trying to resurrect, so thanks for this advice guys, I’ll try and make use of it.

It’s particularly good to hear recommendations on malware/virus removal programs as I’m pretty clueless about that stuff.


#12

Another thing Dave is that Windows always slows down with age, it’s rarely the hardware, that either works or it doesn’t. If you wipe it and reinstall it can add a lot of zip to the system but I didn’t suggest that for JL because he said he wasn’t that techy.


#13

I could probably give that a try. We’ll see how I get on. It’s over five years old now so it doesn’t owe me anything.


#14

From one autobot to another…thank ye.


#15

Likely there are NO updates.

I’d do all the above, restart, find ALL updates (iTunes and Shockwave always have updates). Run that lot, restarting as needed, and at the end of the entire process restart, run Defragmenter again (whether the laptop says it “needs” defragmenting or not - it does!). Restart one last time.

Then wait for the parents to call and ask “What is my password?”

God have mercy on your poor helpful soul! :laughing:


#16

The one we use as a media centre suddenly slowed, mid movie, despite having been formatted and having nothing installed bar Chrome and VLC - the battery is weak so a power saver setting makes it drop performance to save power (even though it’s plugged in to the wall socket) - turning that off seemed to have helped.


#17

[Quote]Here’s how to remove programs from startup: http://www.howtogeek.com/74523/how-to-disable-startup-programs-in-windows/1

Also use two programs to remove spyware and malware: Avast and Malwarebytes. Both are free, both are reliable - I use them on all my computers.[/quote]
Thanks again for these tips. I’ve been running my laptop through pretty much all of the above advice this morning and these two have been particularly helpful.


#18

One thing to note with the free version of Malwarebytes Dave is it won’t schedule a scan, you have to upgrade for that function, so remember to manually kick one off every now and again.


#19

Thanks Gar. I also noticed that you don’t get the full functions of Avast on the free version (improving system efficiency and so on), but it seems to do enough for me as it is.

I’m posting on MW from my laptop for the first time in over a year. It feels very strange. :slight_smile:


#20

I’d love to hear your Mac tips.