Why is PC speed important to businesses?
The PC speed determines how quickly the Central Processing Unit (CPU) can process instructions – these are the simple tasks you carry out on your PC; hitting return, typing or sorting on a database. If the CPU can’t carry out these demands in a specified period of time, it can result in error messages, or the PC crashing; all of which is not aided by the users’ frustration at the delay causing them to repeat the demand again and again which just backs up the CPU further.
This is something we have all experienced at some point. Generally speaking the older the machine the more processing power it requires to run updates for software or to process the software’s basic functionality.
Sometimes hardware is simply too old to be fit for purpose in a modern business environment and there is little choice but to replace the PC, but before doing that there are numerous things you can do yourself to improve computer speed and squeeze a few more years out of your machine.
How to improve PC performance
- Shut down your PC properly – It’s a common joke about IT professionals that their mantra is “have you tried turning it on and off again?” Whilst amusing, there is a reason why it’s important to shut your PC down properly, and with laptops to shut them down fully at least once a week. When a PC is left running, even if software is closed there are always processes running in the background which can slow your machine down. By turning your PC off, those processes are also shut down, until you open the software again. Rebooting frees up RAM used by these background processes and can therefore make your machine work faster.
- Remove Power Saver plan – With Windows 10, if you activate the Power Saver Plan, although you may feel you are doing your bit for the environment, the Plan actually reduces the performance of the PC to save power – therefore slowing your machine down. To speed up the processor it is preferable to change the setting to High Performance or Balanced instead.
- Disable programs to run on start-up – Unless you are going to use the programme straight away it is best to disable programmes which run on start-up. By having a number of programmes automatically launch when you turn your PC on will dramatically slow down the system.
- Upgrade your RAM – Whilst businesses using Windows 10 may not have RAM issues as it uses less RAM than previous editions, it is possible to increase the RAM on a PC and therefore improve computer speed. Installing RAM to a desktop PC is relatively straightforward and would take an IT professional less than an hour to do so. It is trickier to add RAM to a laptop, but not impossible.
- Clear history – Essentially your history stores a number of temporary files, cookies, and caches which all take up space on your hard disk but don’t actually offer a great deal of value. They can however, slow your PC down.
Running the Windows disk cleaner or the Mac CCleaner will remove a number of these files. It is also possible to clear your registry which may also have residual files from deleted applications. To do this will require another tool such as Avast Cleanup or Norton Utilities 2020 but can be set to run automatically and will help speed up your PC.
- Disk clean up – All PCs have an automatic tool for disk clean-up and in activating it at least once a month is a good habit to get into. This tool will remove all unnecessary files from the hard disk including temporary files, old versions of Windows as well as emptying the recycle bin and removing thumbnails. If this isn’t done regularly it can slow your PC down substantially. In addition to a disk clean-up it is also advisable to schedule a disk defragmentation which will clean up your hard disk and inform you of how much disk space you have left.
- Scan for any viruses – This should be something that you do regularly as a matter of course in order to keep your PCs safe from potential viruses, malware and ransomware but it can also be useful to try this if your PC is running particularly slowly. In addition, malware clean-up software is particularly effective at dealing with popups and speed issues.
There is a myth that running anti-virus software can actually slow down your PC by as much as 50% but this is no longer a factor. If you find that your anti-virus software has slowed down your PC is could be due to the memory being full, meaning there isn’t enough room for the anti-virus processes to run effectively.
- Upgrade to an SSD drive – A Solid State Drive (SSD) will make everything faster on your laptop from booting up to shutting down and there will be no more waiting for apps to open. This is an inexpensive hardware upgrade which will give your PC a new lease of life. Upgrading to SSD is particularly effective if you use a lot of programmes at once or are using photographic software which takes a lot of processing power.
- Uninstall unwanted software – In the same way you spring clean your home every year spring cleaning your PC can vastly improve PC performance. Often your PC will come pre-loaded with numerous apps which you are unlikely to use but still take up valuable disk space. By removing these pre-loaded apps as well as old and unused programmes and apps you will be freeing up a lot of disk space, which will speed up your PC.
If you have tried all of these tips to speed up your PC and it is still slow and sluggish give the team at CIS a call and we can discuss how to improve your business PCs and ultimately improve your working day.