How to Speed Up Your Windows Laptop: 9 Ways to Boost PC Performance

Do you suffer from a slow laptop or desktop computer? Before you go out and get a shiny new one, there are several things you can do to give your current PC a speed boost. Tinkering with startup programs, defragmenting the hard disk drive (HDD), and using a third-party cleaner are just a few ways to boost PC speed and give old computers new life or newer computers faster speeds. Regardless, there are even more gains to be had if you’re willing to get your hands dirty.

Here are nine affordable and relatively easy ways to squeeze every ounce of performance from your old PC or laptop. We’ve highlighted them all in the bulleted list below, but you can get more details on each one by scrolling down for more information.

Top Nine Ways to Boost Speed in Old PCs

  1. Upgrade your Random-access memory (RAM)
  2. Switch to SSD
  3. Install third-party optimization tools
  4. Run Windows ReadyBoost
  5. Defrag your HDD
  6. Disable startup programs
  7. Use lightweight versions of programs
  8. Disable animations
  9. Switch to Linux

Now that you see the possibilities, here are the details.

PC Booster #1: Upgrade Your RAM

How to speed up a laptop or PC

If you want a little more multitasking performance but don’t want to shell out money for an SSD, then a cheaper option is to start looking at RAM upgrades.

If you’re running on a system with under 2GB of RAM, sticking an extra few gigabytes in won’t cost you too much and can make all the difference. Microsoft originally stated that 2GB would work for Windows 10, but times have changed, and so has the number of processes running in any PC. Combine a RAM upgrade with an SSD, and it’s safe to say that your old PC or laptop won’t feel quite so old anymore.

PC Booster #2: Switch to a Solid-State Drive (SSD)

One of the best ways to rejuvenate any laptop or PC is to install an SSD. SSDs work on everything from old Lenovo ThinkPad laptops to dusty old AMD desktop PCs, and the results are always worthwhile. Boot times are faster, read/write actions speed up dramatically, and even the most frugal processors feel alive with an SSD working alongside them.

How to speed up a laptop or PC

Because there are no moving parts in SSDs, the read/write speeds are far superior to older optical (spinning disk) HDDs. Buying one won’t break the bank, but you might have to compromise a little on storage space, as SSDs still cost more per GB than mechanical hard disks.

Before you worry about finding your old Windows disks, it’s easy enough to clone the current HDD onto a new SSD. Download a third-party OS cloning tool and copy your old drive, sector-by-sector. Just be sure that the cloning application converts the boot sector to SSD, or the PC won’t boot. Programs like EaseUS Todo Backup establish a proper SSD boot sector, so you don’t have to deal with boot repairs later.

PC Booster #3: Install a Third-Party PC Cleaner

Sometimes, even the fastest hardware can get bogged down. There’s no point in shelling out big money for a pricey SSD or even RAM upgrades if your Windows installation is cluttered with tens or hundreds of programs and apps that you never use.

Before you reach for the credit card, the first thing anyone with an ailing computer should do is make sure that the PC is not clogged up with unnecessary data. Over time, various “scraps” of code build up like “digital cobwebs,” slowing your machine down and making it work harder. Your PC is also full of personal data used for tracking and marketing, not to mention devious purposes such as identity theft.

Wise Care 365 PC Cleaning and Speed-Up Tool

Fortunately, there are many utilities designed to hunt down and remove personal information and unwanted/unnecessary files and extensions. One popular program is Wise Care 365.

The software is FREE, but there is a paid Pro version that unlocks additional features.

This program is fast yet reliable. The application includes several optimization processes, such as Registry Cleaner, Common Cleaner, Advanced Cleaner, System Tuneup, Privacy Protector (cleaner), and more.

Wise Care 365 is the fastest we’ve seen that produces very effective and safe results. If you navigate to WiseCleaner’s “About Us -> Awards” webpage, you’ll see row upon row of awards from sources like Softpedia, PC World, PC Magazine, ZDNet, and more. No, this is not a sales pitch, although I’ve used it for over five years now without having any problems. Regardless, it is recommended that you back up your system and important files before making any advanced changes to your system, such as the Services optimization options found under System Tuneup -> Startup Manager.

CCleaner PC Speed-Up Tool and Optimizer

Another great third-party PC optimizer is CCleaner, which provides many useful optimization features and privacy tools.

The program is FREE, counting almost all features. You can also opt for a paid Professional version that offers scheduled cleaning processes, software updates, and more.

CCleaner scours your hard drive for all the pesky files that hog your disk space, including temporary files, internet cookies, and unused or erroneous registry files. Features include a file cleaner, registry cleaner, uninstall tool, disk analyzer, drive wiper, and more.

Be careful with any changes you make to your system. Back up your PC before performing advanced cleaning/optimization tasks as some changes can cause Windows to have issues.

An added benefit is the ‘Registry’ tab, allowing you to scan and fix redundancies or other problems in your PC’s registry archive. In the “Tools” tab, you can uninstall software, disable startup programs, find large-sized files, and even locate duplicates.

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