10 ways to fix a slow PC
System a bit slow? Remember a time when it used to be faster?
Assuming the memories aren't wishful thinking, there's a bit you can do to clear out the cobwebs and get your computer running up to speed again, both on the hardware and the software side.
So before you pull the plug and buy a new PC, here are a few things you can do to possibly recover some lost speed.
Last ditch options
Is everything still running slow? It might be time to back up all your files, format your hard drive and then reinstall Windows from scratch. While modern operating systems reduce the frequency in which this is needed, sometimes it's just the only sane way to return things back to how snappy they once were. Plan out at least a day, triple check everything is backed up and that you have some way of getting online in case things go wrong — then dive in.
If you've got a desktop, you'll need your original Windows installation disc. If you've got a laptop, though, you very likely have a recovery partition — somewhere on your hard drive where your manufacturer stores the original state that your laptop arrived in. Usually you can access this by loading Windows' built-in recovery environment, often launched by holding (or in most cases, repeatedly hammering) the proper key from boot. While it can change from laptop to laptop, here's a "rule of thumb" chart for what needs to be done on a brand-by-brand basis to get into the recovery environment.
|Acer||Press F8 at the Windows boot menu, select "Repair your computer"|
|Alienware||Download and run Alien Respawn in Windows. It can sometimes be found in the Alien Autopsy program.|
|Apple (OS X Lion and newer)||While restarting, hold down the Command + R until the Apple logo shows.|
|Asus||Press F9 at the BIOS loading screen.|
|Dell||Press F8 at the Windows boot menu, select "Repair your computer"|
|Fujitsu||Press F12 at the BIOS loading screen.|
|HP||Press Esc at the BIOS loading screen, then F11 for HP Recovery|
|Lenovo||Run OneKey Recovery software from within Windows|
|MSI||Press F3 at the BIOS loading screen|
|Samsung||Press F4 at the BIOS loading screen|
|Toshiba||Press F8 at the Windows boot menu, select "Repair your computer"|
You should then be walked through the process of recovering Windows. There are usually two options, to keep your files or to wipe everything and start again; despite the time it'll take to set up everything again, you'll most likely get the most speed out of the latter option.
It's still slow!
If all the above didn't work, perhaps it's time to finally admit what you own is old hat, and to get a brand new system with much faster parts and a spanking new Windows 7 64-bit operating system. Or a Mac — whatever floats your boat.
As a positive, if you buy a PC these days it will last you significantly longer performance-wise than it would even five years ago, and battery life has improved greatly for laptop users. Even price has dropped massively across the board in the last five years, with laptops under AU$1000 actually representing good value.