Since it’s WFH (work from home) season, there are no tech-savvy employees a few cubicles over with computer tricks to get you out of a tech-related bind when you work. Instead, you must rely on your own computer proficiency and tech wizardry to get through each day. If your machine is sluggish, the quality of your work will suffer. Here is a list of things you can do to bring the best out of your machine.
Lag isn’t just a problem with older machines. New computers can have it too, thanks to bloatware that manufacturers preinstall on their laptops. This can include third-party programs that are preloaded as part of commercial distribution agreement between the manufacturer and software providers, as well as the company’s own software and services. Some preloaded applications, such as the Microsoft Office suite or the Dropbox desktop client, may be beneficial, but there’s a strong probability that at least a couple of them aren’t, so it’s worth spending the time to browse through a new laptop and discover any preinstalled software that can be uninstalled.
Defragment Your Hard Drive
Fragmentation is a common problem with older mechanical hard drives. This occurs when the numerous bits that make up a whole file are dispersed throughout the drive platter’s physical surface. The machine slows down because the drive head needs to travel longer across the surface of the disk to read all of the distinct parts. To combat this, it is important to defragment your hard drive. Simply go to the storage tab in Windows 10’s system settings menu and choose the option marked “Optimise drives” to see if a physical disk needs defragmentation. This will launch the optimisation wizard, which will allow you to examine each of your machine’s disks individually and provide a percentage indicating how fragmented they are. Do note that if your system uses a solid state drive, it is immune to fragmentation.
Limit Startup Programs
Many apps are set up to start automatically and launch in the background when Windows starts up. This is to ensure that when you click on a program’s icon, it’s ready to use right away. This is useful for apps you use frequently, but for apps you use occasionally or never, it wastes valuable RAM and slows down overall system performance, as well as makes your machine take longer to boot up on the desktop. Thankfully, adjusting which programs are permitted to execute on startup is now easier than ever. Simply go to the settings menu, select “Apps,” and then the “Startup” option. This will display a list of every application that has the option of starting at boot, together with a label describing the impact on system resources and performance, and a toggle button to prevent or enable it to start at boot. Simply turn off any programs you don’t want to run, and you should notice a difference in performance and boot times.
Windows 10 constantly saves cached data on your hard drive and then retrieves it when it’s needed. The time it takes to retrieve cached data is determined based on your hard disk’s speed. There is a hack that can significantly speed up your cache if you have a regular hard disk rather than an SSD: utilize the ReadyBoost function in Windows. To utilize ReadyBoost, first plug a USB memory drive into an empty USB slot on the laptop. You’ll be asked what you want to do with the flash drive in a dialogue window that appears. Select ‘Use Windows ReadyBoost to speed up my PC.’ You’ll be sent to a new window where you can choose how much of your drive you want to increase. Once that’s done, click OK to save your changes, and the window will disappear. Whenever the drive is plugged in, it will be immediately detected and utilized as extra memory.
All in all, as long as you adhere to these tricks it’s safe to say that your laptop won’t be breaking down anytime soon. Do share this article with your friends and family to help them become a small tech wizard as well.