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Kim's column

5-minute tech fix: Finally speed up your PC

When your computer slows to a crawl, it’s frustrating, and you want to fix it as fast as possible. Occasionally, your internet is actually to blame. Tap or click for the best ways to fix a pokey Wi-Fi connection.

If your computer is on its last legs, there’s not a ton you can do aside from buying a new one. Not sure where to start? I can help. My team and I created a laptop quiz to help you find the right model for you. Tap or click to take our 60-second quiz to find a perfect laptop based on your needs and budget.

Now, let’s breathe new life into your PC.

1. The IT pro secret

It’s not a huge secret, but it is the first step an IT person takes when a PC is finicky. Why? More often than not, it just works. Shutting down your computer clears your RAM out and shuts down all the extra programs and processes running in the background. Give it a shot.

Do you forget to shut down your computer, or would you like it to happen at 2 a.m. when you’re not working? Simple. Get this free download to make your Windows PC shut down automatically.

2. Change it up

Windows 10’s power saver mode saves your battery. The downside is it slows down your computer’s performance. By staying in low power mode, you’re slowing down your computer’s operating speed. It’s easy enough to change:

  • Open Settings > System.
  • Select Power & sleep from the left-hand menu.
  • On the right side, choose Additional power settings.
  • A new dialog box will appear. Choose High performance.
  • Select Change plan settings for even more control over when your computer goes to sleep or the display shuts down.

Stop squinting. It’s easy to change the text size on any device. Tap or click for a guide to do it on Windows, Android, iPhone, Mac, and your browser.

3. Disable startup applications

Admit it. You click “yes” on notifications to get them to go away. You may have inadvertently allowed specific programs to start automatically. Those programs slow your computer down from the minute you turn it on.

If you aren’t using them, shut them down. Minimizing how many programs run when you turn your computer on will make it run more efficiently.

There are a few ways to do this, but here’s an easy shortcut:

  • Type Task Manager into the Windows search box.
  • Choose the Startup tab. Here you’ll see all the programs that automatically start when you turn your computer on.
  • Right-click on the programs you don’t need and choose Disable. Done!

4. Ditch the fancy stuff

Windows has a few special effects up its proverbial sleeve. They look nice, sure, but they will cost you some speed. This is especially true if you’re using an older PC.

To disable all shadows, animations, and visual effects:

  • Type sysdm.cpl into the Windows search box and press enter.
  • The System Properties dialog box will appear. Choose the Advanced tab.
  • Under Performance, choose Settings.
  • You can choose to enable or disable any of these animations and effects. If you’re unsure which to choose, select Adjust for best performance at the top of the screen.
  • Click OK.

Who doesn’t love free? Tap or click for 15 tech upgrades you can get without paying a dime.

5. Dump the junk

Many of us have applications we installed, used once, then completely forgot they are there. These programs still occupy hard drive space and may even have temporary files and folders installed.

They could even be running in the background, sucking out memory and resources from your PC, which is why it’s been so sluggish lately. Track these programs down and uninstall them.

To uninstall from the Start menu:

  • Click the Start button and look for the app or program. Press and hold (or right-click) the app and select Uninstall.

To uninstall from Settings:

  • Click the Start button > Settings.
  • Choose Apps > Apps & features, then select the app you want to delete.
  • Click Uninstall.

Bonus Tip: A woman was being harassed and stalked. How we found the guy.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player.

One woman called my national radio show for help with a malicious stranger who stalked her daughter’s every move. Over time, the abuse escalated; the creep targeted her whole family, even posting the mom’s photos on risqué dating sites. Listen and learn how we unmasked the stalker!

Tap or click here to listen to how a stalker took over her life and steps to find out who he was.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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