If you’ve dealt with a computer that’s slow or lagging, you know how frustrating it can be. The spinning circle on a Mac or a delayed response time on a PC can cause major headaches, whether you’re in the midst of a work project or just trying to browse the web.
Computers can start running slowly for a number of reasons, whether you’ve had yours for six months or six years. At times, it can be caused by outdated or cheap hardware, but in other cases, the issues are due to other problems instead — like glitchy downloads. Tap or click to find out which popular security app has been crashing Windows.
If you’re dealing with a dragging cursor or slow load times, you need to take some steps to clean up your computer. Luckily, that’s pretty simple to do with the pro tips below.
6 pro tips for speeding up your computer
1. Find and get rid of bloatware or crapware
Most computers come preloaded with unwanted apps and software. Whether it’s free game trials or apps you won’t use, this bloatware needs to be removed ASAP. Otherwise, it can slow your computer down and eat up valuable storage space. If your computer is lagging due to an excess of bloatware or crapware, it’s relatively simple to remove it.
On a PC:
If you’re on a PC, you can use Windows’ default uninstaller to get rid of unwanted apps. Or you can use a program designed to get rid of any trace of the software instead. Revo Uninstaller is a good option — plus it’s free.
If the app or program is stubborn and not easily uninstalled, you can also opt to reinstall a new copy of Windows instead. You can learn more about this method — and the others mentioned above — by tapping or clicking here.
On a Mac:
- Go to the Applications folder.
- Pick an app you would like to delete and click Get Info.
- Click Sharing and Permissions.
- Enter your admin password after pressing the lock icon.
- Make Read and Write privilege accessible to everyone. It will enable you to delete unwanted software.
2. Adjust your startup programs
Most people have at least a few programs set to automatically launch on startup, but unless you really need access to these programs immediately upon logging in, take the time to remove the ones you don’t need. The less that happens on startup, the faster your computer will be.
Luckily, it’s pretty easy to do, both on PC and Mac. Here’s how.
How to adjust your startup programs on PCs with Windows 10:
- Select the Start button.
- Select Settings > Apps > Startup.
- Make sure any app you want to run at startup is turned On.
- If you don’t see the Startup option in Settings, right-click the Start button, select Task Manager, then select the Startup tab.
- Select the app you want to change, then select Enable to run it at startup or Disable so it doesn’t run.
How to adjust your startup programs on a Mac:
- Open System Preferences > Users & Groups.
- Choose your name, located on the left.
- Select Login items.
- In Login items, add a checkmark to the startup programs you want to remove and then click the “–” sign.
- Restart your Mac to see the changes.
3. Run native Disk Cleanup or a similar utility
If you want to speed up your computer, it’s wise to run native Disk Cleanup or another similar utility on your desktop. Doing this removes unnecessary files, temporary files and other unneeded junk that’s lingering in your files. This, in turn, speeds up your computer.
To run Disk Cleanup in Windows 10:
To delete temporary files:
- In the search box on the taskbar, type disk cleanup, and select Disk Cleanup from the list of results.
- Select the drive you want to clean up, and then select OK.
- Under Files to delete, select the file types to get rid of. To get a description of the file type, select it.
- Select OK.
If you need to free up more space, you can also delete system files:
- In Disk Cleanup, select Clean up system files.
- Select the file types to get rid of. To get a description of the file type, select it.
- Select OK.
To run a similar utility on your Mac:
4. Clear out your downloads folder, old files or other space hogs
Your downloads folder can cause your computer to slow down significantly if you aren’t clearing it out on a regular basis. Take the time to clear out your old downloads folder, files and other space hogs to speed up your computer.
Do it the old school way: Open up your downloads folder and sort by size. Find anything big you don’t need anymore and start deleting.
5. Reconsider your browser
You may be surprised to learn that the browser you use can have a significant effect on your computer’s resources. The wrong one can slow you down every time you browse the internet. Google Chrome in particular is a notorious resource hog.
If you want to speed up your Mac and think your browser is the issue, consider switching to Safari, which tends to run much faster on Macs. If you’re a PC user, try Edge. It’s optimized for Windows PCs; tap or click here for more info on the Internet Explorer replacement that’s a whole lot better.
6. Stay up to date
This last tip is perhaps the simplest way to keep your computer running at top speed: Keep up with regular updates. These knock out bugs, keep you safe from security holes and can often make things run a little smoother.
On a PC:
- Click the Start button, then Settings (it looks like a cog).
- Click on System, then select About.
- Scroll down and you’ll be able to double-check your version of Windows.
On a Mac:
- Click the Apple icon on the menu bar at the top of the screen and click System Preferences.
- Click Software Update.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the updates.