How to Speed Up a Windows Laptop?

From Lag to Lightning: Your Ultimate Guide to Speeding Up a Windows Laptop!

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Last week one of our readers reached out to us and asked us to suggest a laptop because the one which he got a few weeks back was really slow. He mentioned that it was quite good, but it became very slow after installing a few software. He also added saying, it is not a high-end laptop but has the Intel i3 processor, 8GB RAM, and 1TB HDD, and opening the very basic Notepad app took 3-5 minutes.

We handed this case to our tech support team, and after 17 hours of proper troubleshooting, they figured out a few things that slow down a Windows laptop’s performance. They came up with fixes and improved the performance by over 85%, and now it hardly takes just 1-2 seconds to open the Notepad, Windows search, and even high-resource intensive web browsers like Google Chrome work smoothly.

It is a myth that new laptops are faster than old ones. It all depends on the components – and the junk – in it.

You can format the disk and get rid of the unwanted software, and install the new one, but it is tedious & time-consuming, and still there is no guarantee that the system won’t slow down again! Right?

So what should you do and how do you speed up a Windows laptop?

This article aims to answer that – so let’s find out!

12 Simple Ways to Speed Up a Windows Laptop/PC

Most of the steps listed here are very easy to follow and it takes only around 30-40 minutes to follow all the things we’ve mentioned.

There are 2-3 ways, such as formatting your PC or upgrading the laptop with SSD, upgrading system memory (16GB RAM is enough), which might add up to your cost and requires technical skills and toolkits. But if you’re not looking for a hardware upgrade, check out the other methods that could improve the speed of your Windows laptop by 40-60%.

1. Turn Off Real-time Protection

Turn Off Real time Protection Windows 10

Real-time scanning is a feature of Windows 10 that enables the Windows Defender to time scan your system drive. It adds an extra layer of security to your system, but the continuous scans use up a lot of disk speed.

If your laptop has an SSD, then you won’t notice any lags due to this, but if it has an HDD, you’ll notice that the disk usage in the task manager is always around 90-100%.

Follow these steps to turn off real-time scanning in Windows 10.

While Windows Defender could be a great inbuilt utility, what’s the point in securing a system that isn’t even able to perform tasks? Also, if you’re using other antivirus software such as Norton, McAfee, or Kaspersky, then disable their continuous scanning feature.

2. Add Virtual Memory in Windows

Add Virtual Memory in Windows

This works best with a system with an SSD but less RAM, but if you had a solid-state drive, would your system even be slow? NO, right? All the software you run uses RAM, but when the RAM is limited, the laptop can’t handle the tasks as well. That’s why Windows OS allows you to create a virtual memory (paging file) in your HDD.

When your system has a 7200 RPM HDD, it isn’t very FAST like the RAM or SSD, but it still pushes the dormant tasks there so there’s enough RAM for new tasks or existing tasks that might require more resources. Here are the steps to be able to add virtual memory in Windows 10.

3. Using the Windows Performance Troubleshooter

The first thing that you should do before looking over to any other solution is perform the troubleshooting process. Windows Operating system has a special function that scans the system and tries to find the issues with your system’s performance.

If you have multiple files running or any files that have caused the system to slow down, those can be detected by this method. And fixed with just a click of the button. To troubleshoot, do the following:

  • Click the Start button, and open the Control Panel
  • In the search box, type troubleshooter, and then click Troubleshooting
  • Under System and Security, click Check for performance issues.

4. Clear Junk Files

One of the many ways you can practice giving your system a little heads up is by clearing the junk files from your system. The Windows operating system comes with Disk Cleanup which allows you to clean such junk files and unwanted cache. There is also a similar tool in MacOS.

You can also use a Defragmentation process – just enable it on your Windows OS. It will automatically defrag your Hard disk to organize all files and remove the junk.

Above all, you can do the cleanup manually as well for the files that are not needed, such as videos, audio, documents, images, etc. Simply cleaning up your recycle bin could be helpful, too!

Do not consider a Chromebook if your college major or courses require specialized software made only for Windows or macOS. 

5. Upgrade the RAM

Well, it may seem like upgrading the RAM in the system is an unnecessary process. But sometimes, the RAM is the main reason for a slowdown. If you have 4-6GB RAM on your system and have been using very heavy apps, it will likely slow down. A small upgrade can bring huge benefits in the long run.

Simply search for the best RAM on the e-commerce site – it’s not that expensive. Before searching for one, check on the internet if your laptop model supports RAM upgrade at all. Laptops such as Surface Pro, the latest Apple MacBook laptops, and many other slim ultrabooks do not allow RAM upgrades.

The more RAM you add, the more system will occupy a part of it. All the applications will have more space to work on thus giving your laptop even more speed.

6. Upgrade to the SSD

You might already know that SSD or Solid State Drive has been introduced as a better alternative to the Hard Disk Drive for better performance. Since there are no movable parts involved, the issue of parts wearing out isn’t an issue anymore, and thus, it will last longer than the regular Hard Disks.

SSDs can be a little high-priced when compared to the traditional hard disk components. They’re pretty mainstream nowadays, so odds are you’ll be getting an SSD laptop. If you have a Mac, you won’t have to worry about the type of storage since it already has an SSD drive.

With the latest Macbook Pro, you can increase the SSD storage to about an incredible 4TB storage. There are some technical aspects to installing new hardware into the system, and it is better to do so with the help of someone who has a better understanding of the system.

7. Scan for Virus or Malware

One of the many reasons your system is running slow could be the advent of any virus or malware in your system. Simply use Windows Defender on your Windows Operating system or any other external anti-virus.

Some of the well-known antivirus software are Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky, Avast Antivirus, Bitdefender, etc. You can try the free version of the software and later buy the premium version if things work out well.

8. Limit Startup Programs

Is your system slow at the startup but works smoothly after a few minutes? In that case, it’s the startup programs that are to be blamed but don’t worry, just disable them and your laptop will purr like a kitten!

No matter which operating system you use, some apps launch automatically after your system boots up. It could be one of the biggest concerns when the system is slowing down or not having the same speed as before. Well, simply reduce the number of applications opening up after the system boots.

For this, you need to open the Task Manager on Windows 10 and then go to the Startup tab to view the number of applications running on your system as soon as you start your system. You may not be aware of some of the applications until now. So it is better to remove whichever you do not need.

Do not consider a Chromebook if your college major or courses require specialized software made only for Windows or macOS. 

9. Delete Programs You NEVER Use

Another thing you do is to delete applications or programs you do not need. It is not the same as removing junk files. This process involves removing unused applications as a whole. For example, you may have some games on your system that you never play and have been taking up too much space.

Or simply remove any extra browsers you have downloaded and focus on Chrome or Opera.

There are times when the Antivirus itself reduces the system speed since it may not be compatible enough. Getting rid of it and getting something else is a smarter choice.

10. Shut Down Your Laptop More Often

There is no hiding the fact that users who have been using a PC or a laptop for work purposes do not shut down their PC quite often. Even if the system is in sleep mode or you have just shut down the screen, it is still working.

Your system needs rest too to process all the work in it. This is the main reason why shutting down your system at least once a week could be a huge factor in the overall speed.

Just remember that whenever you install any new application, it always asks for a system restart so that all the processes are carried out smoothly. It is high time for people to know how important it is to shut down a laptop every now and then.

11. Turn off Visual Effects

Among the many solutions, we can also turn off the visual effects or just reduce them. Who does not like a better-looking view on the system screen – but no one wants too much of it. So you can simply reduce the intensity or shut it down entirely.

The visual effects take up huge part of battery life and slow down the entire system. There are 20 visual effects you can control, such as the transparent glass look, the way menus open or close, and whether shadows are displayed.

Here is a way to adjust some settings and limit Visual Effects:

  • Click on the Start button, and open the Control Panel. 
  • In the search box, type Performance Information, and Tools, and then click on Performance Information, and Tools.
  • Now click Adjust visual effects.
  • Type Admin authorization if needed.
  • Click on the Visual Effects tab, and press on Adjust for best performance option. 
  • Now, click OK.

12. Format Your System

This is the last resort if nothing of the above seems to be working. Either you can reinstall the OS, or simply perform a factory reset. Before that, you need to create a backup of all your data and files on an external hard drive, so no data is lost and you can retrieve it back once you are done formatting it.

Such a case will ensure that all the malware and system errors are removed, so the laptop is as good as new. Also, make sure all the drives and Operating system are up-to-date and then retrieve back all the files on the system as it was.

Yes, it is a little too hefty a process but may work for the best if the issue has been stuck around for way too long.

Verdict: Unlocking Speed

These are just some of the ways to speed up the system and your laptop. You can also try reducing the visual effects of the system from the settings. If you are a regular user and looks do not bother you, this is something you can do to increase system performance.

The bottom line is very simple: the more data and files you put in your system, the slower it will become over time. It needs proper maintenance and care to avoid any long-term mishaps such as this. Burning cash by adding RAM, increasing SSD, or even reinstalling OS are not necessarily the best solutions.

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