Slow PC? It may be your fault!

FYI: I’m offering a TL;DR (too long, didn’t read) list at the bottom of this article. I started to carry on for each step because there’s a lot of information to be had. If you don’t care about the details go ahead and scroll down.

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Personal Computers (and yes, Macs too) like any good thing require maintenance and upkeep that are usually forgotten by the masses. It’s not your fault, really. I like to think that computer maintenance is much like mechanical maintenance and just because I can sit here and spew tech-talk, doesn’t mean I know how to fix anything on my car besides a flat tire or dirty oil. The reason computers don’t come with maintenance software installed is the same reason they come packed with bloatware. Those dirty IT guys (yeah, I need a shower) want you to think that you just shelled out $500+ for a computer that’s still a piece of crap. The reason iUsers feel more power straight of the box is because there usually isn’t greedy companies like Best Buy filling them up with this “bloatware” (unnecessary software) hoping to only get your business again next year when you finally become fed up with the speed of your computer.

But enough of me bashing the corporations’ wallets, we’re passed that. You decided to shell out as much money as you could for a decent computer and I’m sure it runs better than you think it does. I’m here to prove that. I spent $300 almost 4 years on my laptop from Micro Center (the next time you’re PC shopping go there instead of Best Buy – trust me). The shell of my laptop is falling apart but it stills runs like a champ. It’s proof that a budget PC can still compete with some of the best. Besides running a top notch game (you’ll need to research hardware for that) I can do just about anything at once and this thing does not freeze.

So now that I’ve filled your head with a bunch of gibberish let’s move on to the actual maintenance.

Optional Step: Re-install your Operating System (OS).

If your computer is running awfully slow, almost to the point where you can’t handle it this is probably where you want to start. Most pre-packaged PCs from any major retailer comes with a recovery disc or leave a “factory settings” option in Windows recovery. You can check this by hitting the Windows Key, typing “recovery”, and hitting “enter”. Now, as your computer will warn you, you need to backup all of your files before you do this. This will erase everything which is why it’s the best thing to increase performance. Redoing your OS is a lot easier than it may seem to someone who has never it before. Once your disc is in, or you’ve managed to find the Recovery options; it’s as simple as following on screen directions. Now, in many cases there won’t be a system restore point, or you don’t have the disc needed which is why I declared this step “optional” but it still should be considered.

First things first. We should be checking for “Malware” (malicious software). Many people don’t even realize it’s in their computer and can be causing far too many different issues. But, there’s a chance you don’t have any. Either way you should install and run Malwarebytes. Just to be safe.

Step 1: Update your drivers.

Windows has a built in driver updater but it’s tedious to click on each device inside of your computer so we’re going to install IObit Driver Booster. You’ll find I plug the IObit suite a lot and I’d like you know that I in no way benefit from plugging them. I just love their programs that much. The scan takes quite awhile so go ahead and let this run. Either way, once all of your drivers have been updated you can remove Driver Booster, which you can include in the next step.

Step 2: Remove unnecessary software / bloatware.

Again, Windows comes with a built-in uninstaller (and if you didn’t know this – you NEED to keep reading since we’ve found your problem) but IObit Uninstaller 3 tops Window’s default uninstaller in many ways. Primarily; it scans for leftover files that Windows would leave to bog down your machine (remember, they want you to buy new operating systems too). It also lets you batch uninstall; which if you don’t keep this list down, you might need. Once Uninstaller 3 is installed, simply tick everything you don’t use, and click “uninstall” at the bottom. This will trigger each program’s uninstaller and then scan for the leftovers. It’s a little time consuming time consuming but the pay off is so worth it.

Step 3: Run system scans & defrag.

A lot of people don’t know but your computer is constantly saving logs and “temporary internet files” that don’t always get removed as they’re supposed to. These files can stock up and slow a computer down quick. When you’re poking around your documents and turning your computer on, it’s constantly scanning your C drive. More files and directories means more scanning. This is why it’s also good to go through your documents, ect and remove anything you’re not using anymore. Every file removed is a fraction of a millisecond saved. I know it doesn’t sound like much but clean up your whole PC and tell me it doesn’t run faster. This is why it’s also good to save all your documents to a flash drive or external hard drive.

Anyways, there’s programs that will scan beyond your documents and remove those pesky system logs and internet files that are buried deep within your C drive. Most people prefer CCleaner (also known as “Crap Cleaner”) but of course IObit has their own “Advanced SystemCare” which is what I use. The problem with ASC is it comes packed with “Surfing Protection” and a “Performance Monitor” that can slow a budget PC down just slightly. They’re not a big deal, but I would recommend to uninstall / turn off both of these. Unless you did pay top dollar for a machine,  every program removed helps performance.

The next part of this would be to defrag. What this does is a little complicated. It moves all the o’s and 1’s that makes computers do what they do closer together by filling the gaps from removed/moved files. This could help and extreme amount, especially if you’ve never done it before. This is where Windows’ system application would actually be plugged. Of course IObit has a Smart Defrag, which again is what I use. But unless you have >1TB of space, you can go run your system’s “Disk Defragmenter”. Just hit the Windows key and type “defrag”. Should be the first result.

TL;DR

0) Run MalWare Bytes. If your computer is REALLY bugging you may have malware. Try this first.
1) Update your drivers: Install DriverBooster. Scan, and update.
2) Install IObit’s Uninstaller; uninstall all the apps you don’t use. Including DriverBooster (you don’t need it anymore).
3) Remove any saved files you don’t use. Optional: Move all your personal files to a flash drive.
4) Install CCleaner or Advanced System Care. Run all the scans possible.
5) Defrag. Use Windows’ built in defragger or IObit’s Smart Defrag.