Seven tips for getting the best performance
1. Update your software
Updates don’t just add new features, they fix bugs and plug security holes so your computer doesn't fall prey to malware.
- Windows updates usually occur automatically, and that’s best. Let them do their thing.
- If you have other Microsoft products like Office, make sure the settings are set to enable updates as well.
- To check your settings on Windows 8 and 10:
- Click the ‘Start’ then select ‘Settings’
- Select ‘Windows Update’
- On Windows 7:
- click ‘Start’ then select ‘Control panel’
- Select ‘Windows Update’ then ‘Change Settings’.
2. Add some security
- Activate any Windows inbuilt security features
- Check out the free anti-virus and firewall apps available, and load one
- Buy a security package that protects several devices for one price.
3. Backup your stuff
No-one loves doing it, but it’s essential if something goes seriously wrong. The smart option is to create a System Image which takes a snapshot of your entire system that you can restore:
- Plug a portable hard drive into your device
- Then in Windows 10, select ‘Start’ then ‘Settings’
- Then select ‘Backup’ and follow the prompts.
- In Windows 7, select ‘Start’ then ‘Control Panel’-
- Then select ‘Backup and Restore’.
Good to know
Windows 10 also lets you use the Windows 7 backup option.
Create a system repair disc to boot your computer and repair errors. It's essential if Windows won't start and you don't have a Windows disc:
- Get a blank CD or DVD
- In Windows 7 select ‘Backup and Restore’
- Then select ‘Create a system repair disc’.
4. Spring clean
Regularly delete unneeded folders and files and uninstall unused programs to help reduce clutter. They can hog memory and slow performance.
5. Defrag your disc
Over time, data on your hard disc gets fragmented, so it takes longer to ‘read’. To defrag your disc:
- In the search bar type ‘optimise’ or ‘defrag’
- Select the app and a window will pop up giving you options to analyse the disc, defrag, or set a schedule for defrags. It's best to defrag when you're not using the computer to save time.
- Defrags should not be performed on Solid State Drives (SSDs), in some circumstances they can damage the drive.
6. Stop useless apps starting up
Some apps start up with your computer whether they're in use or not. And they tie up memory. To see which apps do this;
- Right-click on the taskbar and select ‘Task Manager’, then select ‘Start-up’
- Right-click on any app that's not necessary and select ‘Disable’. The app will still work, but won't start up with your computer.
7. Reduce visual effects to improve speed
Did you know you can get more speed with less visual effects? To reduce visual effects and increase performance:
- In the search bar type ‘Control Panel’
- In Control Panel, select ‘System’, then ‘Advanced System Settings’
- In the pop-up menu, select ‘Performance’. You'll see whether your screen is set for appearance or performance. You can choose between them, or customise settings to suit.
- This should normally only be performed if the visual effects are impacting the performance of the computer or for visibility issues. If the computer is not being impacted by the visual effects, there likely won’t be any performance improvement.