How to speed up a laptop

Lynn Wright / 06 May 2016 ( 10 March 2017 )

A slow laptop is frustrating but there’s no need to upgrade. These seven simple tips demonstrate how to speed up your laptop with a major speed boost.



How to speed up laptop performance

As your laptop ages, it can get clogged with unwanted programs and files, reducing its performance to a crawl. 

Rather than splash out for a brand new laptop, our easy tips will show you how to speed up your laptop and give it a new lease of life. 

1. Check for viruses

Serious laptop slow-downs can be caused by virus infection or malware. 

Make sure real-time protection is switched on in Windows’ built-in anti-virus program Windows Defender. 

Run a full scan of your laptop to detect and remove any malware.

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2. Delete unused programs

Over time, your laptop may get bogged down by programs you no longer use. 

Removing unwanted software will help speed up your laptop. Click 'Start' > 'Control Panel' > 'Uninstall a program'. 

From the list of programs that appears, click the program you want to remove and then click 'Uninstall'. 

Windows 10 users can uninstall programs from the Start menu by right-clicking the program listed under 'All apps' and selecting 'Uninstall'.

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3. Remove temporary files

Temporary files created through everyday computing tasks can clog up your laptop’s hard drive. 

Use Windows’ built-in Disk Cleanup tool to delete these, freeing up hard disk space and speeding up your laptop. 

Click in the Taskbar search box, type disk cleanup and select it from the results. Select the type of files you want to delete and then click 'OK' and then click 'Delete files'. 

To free up even more space, click 'Clean up system files' too.

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4. Add more hard drive storage

Your laptop’s hard drive needs enough free space to work effectively. Once it’s more than 85% full, it will start to perform slowly. 

A quick and easy solution is to move some of your files onto an external hard drive to speed up laptop performance. 

Large files, such as photos, music and video clips, are good files to offload.

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5. Stop programs starting automatically

If your laptop takes ages to start up, there may be too many programs trying to launch when you switch it on. 

You can stop programs that you don’t need from loading automatically in Windows 10 by right-clicking the Taskbar and selecting 'Task Manager'. Click 'More details' and then select the 'Startup' tab.

Here you’ll see a list of programs that load automatically when your laptop boots up, along with the impact this has. Right-click a program and select 'Disable' to stop it loading.

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6. Add extra memory

Adding extra memory (RAM) will dramatically speed up laptop performance, especially when working with large files or running several programs at once. 

Without enough RAM, laptops can slow down when opening or switching between applications. 

RAM can be bought in strips that fit into slots inside your laptop, though first you’ll need to know which type is suitable and how much you can add. 

There are lots of websites that can help you with this. Crucial.com, for example, can scan your laptop and then tells you the type and amount of RAM that you can add.

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7. Install a solid-state drive

Get a major speed boost by swapping your laptop’s old hard drive for a solid-state drive (SSD) instead. 

Unlike mechanical hard drives, SSD have no moving parts so deliver a faster performance when accessing or writing files. 

As prices for SSDs have fallen in recent years, replacing your old hard drive is a more economical solution than buying a new computer. 

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.