Here's How to Speed Up Your Laptop

Category: Laptops

Lots of people spend more time on their laptop computers than they do on desktop models. For them, speed is just as important. Unfortunately, laptops generally make a trade-off between weight, price, and performance that can leave them running slower than their desktop counterparts. Here are some things you can do to squeeze more speed out of your laptop...

How to Speed Up Your Laptop

First, remove all unnecessary programs. Laptops often arrive with tons of "extras" that user don't want or need. This "bloatware" (sometimes called crapware) is not malicious software. Rather, it's the term for all those unnecessary and trial software packages that computer vendors are paid to load onto each new computer they ship. Many of these nuisances load automatically at startup, slowing your PC and annoying you with reminders to try them out. Essentially, they’re just advertisements that you pay to be annoyed by.

Go to Control Panel, click Uninstall Programs, and review the list of the software installed on your laptop. Un-install things you aren't using. Alternatively, PC Decrapifier is a free utility that scans your hard drive for hundreds of bloatware programs and uninstalls them automatically. Another option is Revo Uninstaller, which will remove any stubborn programs that the above options can’t handle.

Check the Power Management settings to make sure you're getting the right balance between battery life and performance. From Control Panel, select Hardware and Sound, then click Power Options. If you usually run on AC power instead of battery, choose the High Performance power option. You can open the "Change plan settings" link on a Power Option to tweak the settings for that plan.

Faster Laptop

Many bargain laptops come with the bare minimum of RAM memory. Adding another gigabyte or two of RAM often provides a significant performance boost. If your applications load slowly, or if videos display jerkily, add more RAM to speed things up. As a general rule, 2 GB of RAM is barely enough; 4 GB is usually enough for the average home user; 8 GB will run multiple programs smoothly; and more RAM is needed for memory-hungry gaming, video editing, or business applications. See my article Does Your Computer Need More Memory? for help finding and installing RAM memory.

High-definition or animated screen backgrounds (wallpapers) look cool but can be real resource hogs. Right-click on your desktop and select the "Personalize" option from the context menu. Then choose a solid color background.

Before you start making changes to speed up your laptop, I recommend using a benchmarking program to see where things stand. My article [SPEED] How Fast Is Your PC? will give you some tips on how to find free software for that purpose.

More Speed Tweaks: Under the Hood

Hidden processes and startup programs can steal resources and make your laptop run slower. You can use the Windows utility MSCONFIG to control which programs load at startup. My article on Startup Programs will help you tune your startup settings.

Try using the Disk Cleanup function built into Windows, which deletes temporary files and Internet browsing histories that may clutter up and bog down hard disk operations. See also [FREE] Tools to Tune and Optimize Your Hard Drive.

Generally, a laptop computer can benefit from the routine maintenance and tuning that you use on a desktop machine. The keys are to minimize the number of applications and processes that run simultaneously; provide adequate RAM; use wall outlet power whenever possible; and keep your hard disk in good working order.

Do you have tips for speeding up a laptop? Post your comment or question below…

 
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This article was posted by on 2 Mar 2020


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Most recent comments on "Here's How to Speed Up Your Laptop"

Posted by:

Charley
02 Mar 2020

If your laptop has a hard disk, you may gain some speed and reliability by replacing it with an SSD drive.


Posted by:

gARY
02 Mar 2020

My problem is with boot time. Oh, I long for the early 90's and Windows 3.1. I though 10 was supposed to have a fast boot time. Nope.


Posted by:

hifi5000
02 Mar 2020

The tip from Charley regarding replacing a hard drive with a SSD is a good one.I changed out the drive in my Asus laptop and it works fine.Just be careful when you open up the case to do the work.I found some delicate cables that had to be put aside to allow the change.


Posted by:

Stuart Berg
02 Mar 2020

These are my two suggestions:
1. Replace your hard drive with a Solid State Drive (SSD) as mentioned by Charley above. This should make boot time about 4 times faster.

2. Use Autoruns which is from Microsoft Sysinternals, is free, and can be downloaded here:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/autoruns
The beauty of Autoruns is that it gives you control of everything that starts automatically. All you have to do is click on an item to uncheck it and reboot and it will no longer start. Should that cause any problems, simply click on the same item again to check it and reboot and it will start again. It also gives you the ability of NOT showing internal operating system items so that there is little likelihood of doing damage. To do that, make sure that Options>"Hide Microsoft Entries" and "Hide Windows Entries" are both checked. If you don't know what an item is or does, right-click on it and choose "Search Online...".


Posted by:

EEastman
02 Mar 2020

Yes, I concur, the best speed improvement you can make these days for laptop with windows 7 or better is a solid state drive. And for $40-50$, one of the most cost effective. -Ed


Posted by:

NB
02 Mar 2020


Another hint to speed up boot times is to put your laptop to sleep instead of shutting it down.

I use my laptop at work with a conventional keyboard, monitor and mouse, and at home on my lap. Wake-up at both places is instant-on! I only reboot a couple of times a month.


Posted by:

Nigel
02 Mar 2020

My laptop (purchased in 2011) was still doing OK until I installed Quickbooks for my volunteer position as treasurer of our hospital auxiliary. Then it slowed right down and was almost unusable. I replaced the HDD with an SSD and added memory to bring it up to 8GB. I'm using W 10 64 bit so that's OK. My trusty laptop sped up amazingly and worked a lot faster than I could deal with. So yes install an SSD and add lots of memory.


Posted by:

JP
03 Mar 2020

"4 GB is usually enough for the average honme user" - typo alert.


Posted by:

Mervyn Clay
03 Mar 2020

Privazer better


Posted by:

Jonathan
03 Mar 2020

The decrapifier link takes you straight to download page that says a download will start shortly. Not really Bobish..... I just wanted to check the details before downloading.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Fixed now.


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