Even though a lot of people get online, visit social media sites and even check their email primarily through mobile devices these days, there are still millions of people who use their computers to stay connected. In fact, a lot of people divide their online time between their smartphones/tablets and their PCs/laptops. The problem is, though, that computers can get a bit sluggish after a bit of time. You can get a new computer and notice that it runs at turbo speed, only to find that same computer is slow as molasses just a few months later. Is it even possible to get an older PC to start working a bit faster these days?

Before you give up hope and buy a new computer, you can take a few steps to help speed up the one you already own. Here are some proven effective tips that will help to make your computer pick up the pace a bit.

Make it Startup Faster

There is nothing worse than sitting down in front of the computer at the beginning of the day, in the hopes of taking care of some business, only to find that after you hit the power button you have to wait 5 or 10 minutes for the darn thing to boot up. This is a common issue, and one that you can fix with relative ease.

What happens is that over time you install programs and a lot of them start up when your computer does. Over time, these programs add up and they ALL have to finish loading or starting services behind the scenes before you can use the OS. There is a program called Autoruns that identifies all programs that start. It also allows you to stop programs from starting when you power your computer up. You can pretty much stop just about every program, other than security software from loading and this step alone may improve startup times from several minutes to just a minute or two, if you’re lucky.

De-Clutter Your Computer

Think of the hard drive of your computer as a filing cabinet. It has plenty of space in the beginning, but as you begin to add folders and papers (computer files and programs) it quickly fills up. Opening the drawer of a filing cabinet that is filled to bursting is a lot harder than opening one that is organized, cleaned up and free from clutter. That same principle applies to your hard drive. You need to eliminate clutter in order to allow your PC to run optimally. You can manually run checks every so often to find folders and files that can be deleted, or you can use a program like WinDirStat to tell you which directories are taking up the most space. Larger files that you need, but not all the time, can be moved to a thumb drive or external hard drive. The key is to keep only the files and folders that you really need on the actual computer’s hard drive.

Get Online with a Better Browser

Some people are only concerned with speeds when they are online. If you find that despite having a fast Internet connection that your computer drags online, you may need to switch to a faster browser. This is especially true if you use Internet Explorer. You should switch to Chrome or Firefox, as they are both known for being faster and more efficient. If you already have one of these browsers, check to make sure you have the latest version, as older versions may be causing poor online speeds.

Before you throw the old PC out the window and spend money on a new one, try these simple steps to see if they help to put some pep back in your computer’s step.

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