Friday tip: three ways to make your computer faster

By: John McGarvey

Date: 7 June 2013

Speeding car - make computer faster{{}}

For this Friday's IT tip, we look at how to make your computer faster without breaking the bank. So whether you just want things to run a bit more smoothly, or need to keep your old computer going for another for months, here are three simple things you can do:

1. Clean up your hard drive

Over time, your computer's hard drive will become strewn with all manner of unnecessary files and data.

Your software is constantly reading and writing data, and over time this can clog your disk and slow your computer.

All major operating systems - including Windows and Mac OS -  come with tools to clean up your hard drive and make your computer faster. Running them once in a while will prevent errors building up and improve performance.

See instructions for:

2. Upgrade your RAM

We've covered this one before, but it bears repeating: in many situations, upgrading your computer's RAM (random access memory - the space software stores data while you're using it) is the best way to both make your computer faster and extend its life.

There's a good tool to find RAM for your computer on the Crucial website, or you can try this one from Data Memory Systems. You can also read our advice about upgrading your RAM.

3. Remove programs you don't need

Many computers come stuffed with a mass of pre-installed programs that you'll never use and don't need. They take up space and often open automatically when you turn your computer on, which slows everything else down.

On the other hand, if you've had your computer a while then the chances are good you've installed software that you no longer use. If it's running in the background, it could be causing a slowdown too.

The fix? Review the software on your computer and remove anything you don't use. That'll make your computer faster - here's how to do it in Windows.

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