So, you are working from home, and using your personal computer to connect into the office. Are your programs taking a long time to load? Are your clicks not registering? Is typing slow to show up? Below is a list of quick and easy ways you can troubleshoot these issues on your own.
PLEASE NOTE: These tips are for general troubleshooting only and can be found all over the internet. And, if you have a computer that is more than five years old, you may not gain as much from these troubleshooting fixes as you otherwise should. Consider a replacement computer soon if your laptop or desktop is over five years old.
Yes, you read that right. Rebooting continues to be a thing. If your computer has not been restarted in a couple of days this is the first thing to do. Reboot is like taking a nap mid-day; you feel refreshed and faster and smarter after a nap, so does your computer.
Check your antivirus
Not to overstate the obvious, but sometimes we need to offer a little reminder. Maybe take that nap? Anyway, make sure that you do not have two antivirus programs. Having multiple security suites on your computer will generally conflict and the combination will not provide better protection. Quite the opposite happens, it causes a ‘race condition’ where both programs perpetually scan each other. So, if you have two, simply remove one of them. This is a surprisingly common problem as often things like McAfee or Norton get bundled in with other software and then a ‘helpful’ friend or family relative installs yet another program. On old computers with Windows 10, you may benefit from just using Windows Defender which is built in (and usually steps to the side when other security software is installed).
Run an antivirus scan
Run Windows updates. Click on Windows 10 start > Click the settings ‘gear’ > Click Update & Security. From there you can click ‘check for updates.’ You may see optional updates for a cumulative or feature update. These are good, but take a long time to run, so plan to complete this at a time when use of your computer isn’t critical. Or start it before your nap or at your real bedtime.
Run disk cleanup
Click on Windows 10 start and type ‘disk cleanup.’ This utility will allow you to remove old and temporary data on your computer along with old updates. You can generally click everything listed EXCEPT the downloads option (this is your downloads folder, so you may want to keep that unticked). You can also run the program as an administrator by right clicking the start menu result and run as administrator to clean up system files to speed up Windows.
Defragment/optimize your drive
Click on Windows 10 start and type ‘defrag’ and open ‘Defragment and Optimize Drives.’ Anything with more than 5% fragmentation is not ideal, more than 20% can cause noticeable slowdowns. Simply click drives and click the optimize button (you can also schedule settings to make sure things are automatically maintained for you).
This may read like an old tip, but what is old is new again. Especially after you run a defrag on a 20% situation.
Clean your Windows WinSxS Folder
This is only for those with a bit of more technical know-how. This process will mash all the previous updates into the core system, which means you cannot go back, but it is much more efficient for space and performance. Here is a good guide on how to do this:
Windows uses a system folder called WinSxS to store files that are needed for your Windows installation, as well as backups or updates to those files. It’s a space hog, however, taking up several gigabytes of space and growing with each Windows Update you perform. Use the steps below to clean up unnecessary files in that WinSxS folder and reclaim valuable hard drive space.
Here is the guide on how to do this:
For more general tips…
10 Quick Ways to Speed Up a Slow PC Running Windows 7, 8, or 10
Windows PCs don’t have to slow down over time. Whether your PC has gradually become slower, or it suddenly ground to a halt a few minutes ago, there could be quite a few reasons for that slowness.
As with all PC issues, don’t be afraid to give your computer a reboot if something’s not working properly. This can fix quite a few problems and is faster than attempting to manually troubleshoot and fix the problem yourself.
Read the full story here:
If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen
Your computer doesn’t love heat, dust, and humidity. If your computer gets too hot, the processor may slow down. It will then work harder to keep the stuff inside cooler or even shutting down.
Always being hot can shorten the life expectancy of your computer.
For desktop computers, make sure your case has adequate airflow, with enough vents and fans to keep cool air moving throughout. You probably want to clean out the dust occasionally with an electric duster.
Be kind to your laptop
Yes, it is portable. However, no, it should not be lifted by its display or tossed onto the bed. Miss that bed once and that can end your relationship with it.
Hinges are almost always plastic, they wear out. Be nice when opening the laptop and do no lift it by its display.
If there is a spinning hard drive instead of an SSD (solid state), movement is the enemy. Be gentle.