Skip to Content
computer speed
Smartphones & gadgets

How to speed up your computer

With how quickly technology is evolving, we seem to have less and less patience with even the slightest lag or wait time. Whether we’re trying to download a file or open a program, if it takes too long, our frustration reaches full capacity in record time.

While it’s important to remember the good old days of downloading songs on Napster and waiting for a video to buffer as long as possible before hitting play, there are ways to accommodate this new level of impatience we have acquired over the years. If your computer is moving slow and keeping you from getting things done at lightning speed, there are a few quick and easy solutions.

But first, let’s talk about why you may be having this problem in the first place.

Why is my computer so slow?

When you open your brand new computer, it’s clean. It doesn’t have a year’s worth of saved files, dozens of downloaded programs and a cluttered desktop.

On top of that, when you “close” a program on it may not really be closed. Don’t believe me? Just open up your task manager to see all of the programs running on your computer right now. It’s more than likely a higher number than you expected.

Of course, there’s a possibility that your computer itself is not the culprit for your lack of speed. If your internet connection is slow you may want to consider looking into the quality of your router or the specifics of your high-speed internet plan. But if that’s not the problem, and your computer is to blame, try out the following methods to get things back up to par.

When in doubt, check the obvious

Take a moment to really take a look at your computer’s exterior. Are all the cords and wires a tangled mess? Make sure they are all securely plugged in correctly. Is your computer filthy? Take a moment to wipe it down (making sure to turn it off first) and clear any dust or dirt. It may sound silly, but it’s entirely possible that something extremely small is causing a big problem.

Time to reboot

If you’re looking for a quick fix, a simple restart may be your answer. In many cases, restarting your computer can resolve some basic underlying issues. Whether you have background processes running that are slowing things down or are in need of critical system updates, shutting everything down may just get you back up to speed.

Lose the junk

By using free software like CCleaner, you can quickly locate all of the programs and files that are slowing things down. Decide which ones to clean up and voila! If you’ve had your computer for a while, you’ve probably acquired a great deal of “junk” and this step alone should have a big impact on your PC’s performance.

Computer Speed Image 1Another digital junk drawer to tackle is your desktop. The more cluttered your desktop is, the harder your system has to work to load the icons and folders every time your desktop refreshes.

Finally, if your device storage is reaching full capacity, it may be time to clean house. Move all your photos and videos to Google Photos, Amazon Photos, or one of the many other options available.

Assess your programs and settings

Take a look at your programs and decide if there are any that can be deleted. It may be that one or more of these unused programs is the culprit. While you’re at it, take a quick peek at your visual settings to see if there is anything you can do without. Do you really need your computer operating at the highest resolution? Or how about that animated screensaver? Making your computer work hard to look cool will take away from its ability to perform well.


Taking the time to defrag your hard drive is another surefire way to bump up your speed. This process consolidates all of the empty spaces created on your hard drive as you accumulate files and folders. Essentially, the defragmentation process makes it easier for your hard drive to think faster.

Get rid of malware

Make sure you have a good anti-virus program installed and use it to scan for malware. If you set it up to automatically update and delete problems detected, you’ll be doing your computer, and yourself, a big favor.

Computer Speed Image 2

Make necessary repairs

There are a variety of activities that can cause errors in your Windows system files without your knowledge. While it may take a few extra minutes to make repairs, it’s worth taking the time to address them. If you’re using Windows 10, just type command into your Ask Me Anything taskbar, click on the command prompt at type “sfc /scannow” (keep the space between c and /) and you’ll be notified if any problems have been fixed. If so, reboot your computer and you’ll be good to go!

Reinstall your OS

If all else fails, it may be time to consider uninstalling and reinstalling Windows. The reason it’s the last resort is that you will lose everything. If you have important files or folders you need to keep, make sure to back them up to an external hard drive before beginning this process. When you’re ready, all you need to do (if you have Windows 10) is type Reset this PC into your Ask Me Anything taskbar, click on get started and follow the on-screen instructions to start fresh.

Take these steps and your computer will be running like new in no time!

Komando Community background

Join the Komando Community

Get even more know-how in the Komando Community! Here, you can enjoy The Kim Komando Show on your schedule, read Kim's eBooks for free, ask your tech questions in the Forum — and so much more.

Try it for 30 days