Can't change PCs? Ways to make your old computer run faster

You bought a PC a few years ago, and it's already gone outdated. Don't worry, it's happened to all of us. You can buy a new one or update it, but maybe you don't have a budget, or you want to take advantage of it even more.

Fortunately, there are many ways to speed up the performance of a computer, without spending money, or too little.

By simply making a few simple adjustments to the operating system, or installing a couple of very specific improvements that will hardly cost you 30 or 40 euros, you can improve the performance of your PC very noticeably. It's worth a try.

Three things mainly influence PC performance: computer hardware, operating system, and the applications we use. We can act on all of them to improve their performance without having to change PCs.

Reduce Windows visual effects

The operating system uses several animation effects to open and close windows, activate icons, etc. These visual effects consume some CPU resources.

They don't affect PC usage, so if your computer is old you can turn them off to gain some performance.

In the Desktop taskbar search engine, type Advanced System Settings.

Open the tool and tap the Advanced tab. In the Performance section, click the Settings button:

On the Visual Effects tab, check the Adjust box for best performance. You can also turn specific effects on or off in the center box.

Use lighter alternative apps

If your PC can no longer with the most popular applications, the least intrusive solution is to use lighter alternative programs, which do the same but consume fewer resources.

 For example, if you use Microsoft Word to write documents or clean up high school or university notes, a notepad is enough to write simple texts. Or you can use free apps that consume fewer resources, such as LibreOffice.

Something similar happens with the Google Chrome browser, which when integrating so many Google apps and so much tracking, consumes a lot more memory and resources than others, especially if you open many tabs.

You can use lighter and more private alternatives like Firefox or Brave.

Practically for every application, you use you will find another one with the same functions and that consumes fewer resources from your PC.

Switch to cloud apps

Using the same reasoning as in the advice above, if any of the tasks you perform with your old PC become too slow, you can choose to look for an alternative app that works in the cloud.

Running on a remote server does not consume resources from your PC, so it will perform well on any old computer.

Today you can find free cloud apps for any task. From the Google Docs office suite to video editors or anything else.

 If you play video games, you can take advantage of services like GeForce NOW the NVIDIA, which allows you to play all the games you have on Steam and others like Fortnite for free, but in the cloud.

Free up storage space

When storage drives, especially the hard drive or SSD where the operating system is stored, they have little free space, application data is fragmented to fill in gaps, and Windows has trouble doing temporary operations and updating files.

It is advisable to have at least 20% free space on all drives, a little more where Windows is installed.

You can automatically free up space with the Disk Cleanup tool, search for it with the Desktop taskbar finder:

When you use it, don't forget to check the Clean System Files option to delete old Windows installations and restore points. You'll be able to recover several Gigas of space.

We also recommend that you manually browse storage drives and move as many videos, photos, and personal files as you can to the cloud or external disk.

Activate the Storage Sensor

In one of the Windows 10 updates, Microsoft added a Storage Sensor. It is a function that eliminates unusable disk space, to free up space. For example, temporary files or what's in the Recycle Bin.

 It basically does the same thing as the Storage Space Liberator from the previous point, but automatically.

To activate it, press the Windows Start button, tap the nut icon to access Settings, and go to System and Storage.

The new sensor appears at the top. Tap Configure Storage Sensor or run it now:

Here you can decide if you want the sensor to clean only when there is little space left, or on a fixed date.

You can also tell her what you want me to delete, and the deadline for each deletion: once a day, weekly, etc.

Optimize units

Years ago you had to do a couple of times a month a task called defragmenting the disk. It consisted of moving the files on disk to place all those belonging to an application in a row, so Windows accessed them faster.

 Today it is not so important because SSDs are used that it does not require moving ahead on a rotating disk, as is the case with hard drives. Also, the operating system is responsible for defragmenting the disks that require it on its own.

Still, Windows may not have had time (it does so when your computer is powered on but with little use). If you have internal or external hard drives, it is advisable to check that all your drives are defragmented. Now Windows calls it Optimize.

If the Status column indicates a fragmented percentage, select the drive and tap Optimize.

Uninstall what you don't use

Many applications (more than you can imagine) run processes in the background, even when they are not up and running. This reduces available RAM and consumes CPU resources.

It is a good measure to uninstall all programs that you do not use at least once a month. This will reduce background applications and recover system resources.

Right-click the Windows Start Button, and choose Apps & Features. In the upper right corner tap programs and features to access all the software installed on your PC:

Desinstalar

Uninstall what you don't use often by tapping on each app.

Remove startup apps

As we've explained, many programs work in the background even if you're not using them. Others even boot with Windows when you turn on your computer, and perform checks to check for updates or load into memory to be ready when you need them.

This, in addition to consuming unnecessary resources, causes the computer to take a long time to boot.

Luckily Windows 10 includes a new way to manage applications that are installed on Windows boot.

In the desktop search engine type Startup Apps, and launch the tool. You will see all the software that is installed in memory when you turn on the PC:

Windows 10

For example, we probably don't want the Amazon Music or CCleaner module to load into memory when we turn on your computer if you only use them from time to time.

 Leave only what you use every day, and be careful not to disable important Windows features, such as the graphics card driver or sound card, than that if it needs to be activated when you turn on your PC.

Change the energy plan

Windows 10 has several power consumption plans. By default, the balanced plan is activated, which reduces the performance of the computer when working on simple tasks, to save energy.

The problem is that on old computers even simple tasks go slow, and using 100% hardware would improve performance.

In the Windows browser type Power Settings. Launch the tool and on the right tap on Additional energy configuration. The energy plans will be displayed:

Trucos rendimiento

In the list that appears, check the one that says High Performance. The PC will consume a little more (not much else), but it will always work at peak performance.

Restart often

When you've been using your computer for a while, free memory decreases, and processes slow down, especially on an old computer.

After a couple of hours of use, especially if you've used many apps or games, restart your PC to regain its optimal state.

Turn on virtual memory

The operating system uses a portion of the storage drive as a cache to speed up processes. If this memory is not active or small, Windows 10 will slow down.

In the desktop taskbar search engine, type Advanced System Settings.

Open the tool and tap the Advanced tab. In the Performance section, click the Settings button.

In the new window tap Advanced Options, and in the Virtual Memory section, tap Change:

Memoria virtual Windows 10

Make sure that the check box is checked: Automatically manage the page file size for all drives.

Restart Windows. Keep in mind that you only have to do this if you have less than 8 GB of RAM on your computer.

Activate ReadyBoost

Windows 10 has a feature called ReadyBoost that allows you to use a high-speed USB external drive, such as a pen drive or SD card, to expand RAM instead of buying more memory.

Logically it's a much slower alternative than adding more RAM, but if you have an older PC or want to use an app that demands more RAM than you have, it can work.

You must insert a high-performance pen drive or SD card (high read/write speed) into a USB port or SD reader.

Windows will perform a drive check. In the above screenshot, it does not allow you to use ReadyBoost because your computer has 16 GB of RAM, but in one with 4 GB or less, you would accept it.

It will reserve a portion of the drive as additional RAM, and you will be able to improve the performance of the PC.

Update Windows 10

It is true that lately, Windows 10 updates are very controversial because they create more problems than they solve. But in most cases, they fix bugs, optimize tools, install more modern drivers, and generally make your computer go faster.

That's why it's best to keep your operating system up-to-date so that your computer runs at full capacity.

Unnecessary Windows features

Windows consists of dozens of modules and tools. Many of them don't use them, so you can uninstall them so they don't take up space or don't slow down Windows.

To customize Windows features, right-click the Start button and choose Apps and Features. In the upper-right corner tap Programs and Features.

In the window that opens, search the left column, and tap Turn Windows features on or off:

Windows 10

You will have access to all the features of Windows and you will be able to activate them simply by checking or unchecking. For example, if you don't use the virtual printer feature (convert a document to PDF), you can remove it.

But be of not removing important functions...

Remove browser extensions

Over time, we end up installing numerous extensions to browsers. Sometimes the websites themselves do it.

These extensions cause web pages to load slower, slowing down browsing. So you should disable or uninstall them completely.

In the browser, enter your settings (usually the menu with the three dots or stripes, or a nut icon), and look for the section dedicated to Extensions:

Extensiones de Chrome

Disable or uninstall non-essential ones.

Takedown viruses and malware

We all know that viruses and malware slow down your computer, and even cause crashes and restarts. But some people still don't do routine checkups.

Windows antivirus is pretty good, so it's solid protection, but it's a good thing to perform a full system scan at least once a month, to locate possible sleeping malware.

In the desktop browser type Antivirus, and launch the Anti-Virus and Threat Protection tool.

Install a Wi-Fi 5 or WiFi 6 adapter

If your PC is old, chances are you have a WiFi adapter... because that's improbable. Maybe it's 802.11 b/g/n WiFi when there are faster ones.

Or better yet, one of the new WiFi 6 adapters (802.11 axes) with speeds of up to 2.4 Gbps, although in this case, you must install a PCIe card on your computer. And you must also have a WiFi 6 router:

tarjeta ssd

A classic: install an SSD

When a computer goes slow, the logical thing to do is to think it's because of the processor, or the lack of RAM. But it's not always like that.

In many cases, the hard drive is to blame, which is slow and this causes the operating system to take time to assign tasks or communicate with peripherals, slowing down computer usage.

One of the most effective and inexpensive ways to improve PC performance is to change the hard drive where the operating system is installed, to an SSD.

This is something that almost everyone knows, but many users have not yet put it into practice. It's time to do it because it's extremely cheap.

All disks come with cloning software that allows you to automatically copy the contents of the hard drive to the SSD, before making the change. It's very worth it.

Add more RAM

If your computer has 4 GB or less of memory, Windows 10 will work a little fairly. When you open a couple of programs, it will slow down quickly.

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