1. Check for malware: Run a full system scan with anti-malware software such as Malwarebytes to detect and remove harmful programs.
2. Disable startup programs: Many programs will launch themselves when you turn on your computer. This can slow down your system, so it’s best to disable any nonessential programs that start at boot time.
3. Clean out your disk space: Free up disk space by deleting unneeded files, such as temporary internet files, or old documents and programs.
4. Defragment your hard drive: Fragmentation occurs when the operating system can’t store pieces of a file in contiguous sectors. This can slow down your computer, so try using Windows’ built-in defragmenter (under Accessories -> System Tools) to improve performance.
5. Update your operating system and software: Security holes in outdated software can be exploited by malicious programs and hackers. Be sure your operating system and all installed software, like your web browser, are updated regularly.
6. Adjust your virtual memory settings: Some computers are set to use too little virtual memory, which can slow down performance. To adjust your “paging” size, right-click “My Computer” and choose “Properties”. Then go to the “Advanced” tab and click “Settings” under “Performance”, and then click the “Advanced” tab again.
7. Upgrade your hardware: If you’ve followed all of the above steps and your computer still feels slow and sluggish, it may be time to upgrade some of its hardware components. Consider adding more RAM or replacing your hard drive with a solid-state drive to get a boost in performance.