Currently, computers are used by billions of people around the world. Some people use them for work, many people to learn, some also for entertainment. The speed of the computer (both desktop and laptop) is therefore crucial these days.
This article explains how you can make your desktop computer or laptop faster. These will include upgrading hardware as well as the acceleration of the computer with proper software optimizations.
Let’s get started!
How To Make Computer Faster With Software Optimizations
In the first stage of speeding up a computer, I will show you solutions that do not require replacement of any components. You will need just 3 programs for this. One of them is paid, while the other two are available in paid and free version.
This option is crucial for all HDD owners. If you have an HDD drive and an SSD drive, you should configure the defragmentation to be done automatically on the HDD. SSDs do not need to be defragmented. Instead, they are optimized using the TRIM option, which is available, among others, in Windows 7/8/8.1/10. Therefore, if you have only an SSD on your computer or laptop, you do not need any defragmentation software.
What Is Defragmentation And Why Is It Necessary?
In order to explain the concept of “defragmentation” one must first define what fragmentation is.
When you use any computer, you regularly save various files on its disk. These can be, for example, files created in a spreadsheet, in a graphics program, or in a word processing program. Many files are downloaded from the Internet.
Furthermore, most operating systems and most of the software download updates and install them on disk (often automatically). Many files are also deleted from the disk or replaced with a newer version.
As it is easy to guess, after a few months or a few years all those files may become scattered over your hard drive. Admittedly, those files can be elegantly arranged in catalogs, but their location on the surface of the disk is not optimal from the point of view of read speed.
Hard disk drive (HDD) consists of plates, on which the head reads and writes data. The disk surface is also divided into sectors of only a few hundred bytes or a few kilobytes. After many cycles of saving and deleting files, there are free spaces between them (free sectors).
The next files to be saved go first to the initial free sectors. As a result, the newly installed application can be scattered all over the disk, despite the fact that it is installed entirely in one directory. With the increasing amount of data flowing through the computer, the degree of scattering of files on the surface of the disk increases. This phenomenon is called fragmentation.
Disk defragmentation, in turn, is the process of such ordering files on the surface of the disk, so that all data will be read as soon as possible.
The Best Disk Defragmentation Program
Over the last few years, I have tested several programs (more or less well-known brands) for defragmenting disks. My definite number 1 is O&O Defrag Pro. Alternatively, you can also check Raxco PerfectDisk, but in my case O&O performed the task faster and the results were better.
Below is a screenshot of the main window of O&O Defrag Pro.
The Degree of fragmentation column shows the degree of fragmentation of files on particular disks. The most favorable value for the user is 0.00%. It may be slightly higher. If the degree of fragmentation exceeds 5%, it is already an average value. Above 10% is a high degree of fragmentation.
Generally, the more a disk is fragmented, the slower the entire system will run. Defragmentation aims to reduce the degree of fragmentation to the lowest possible value. The duration of defragmentation depends to a large extent on the condition (usage) of the disk, the amount of data being recorded on the disk and removed from it, the performance of the disk, processor and RAM, and the settings of the program used for defragmentation.
Below, you can see how to configure O&O Defrag Pro.
The only tab I show you here is Automatic defragmentation. This is the only tab where you need to make minor changes in settings of the program.
To enable automatic defragmentation, select all logical discs on the HDD and choose appropriate time interval for fast and for thorough defragmentation.
It can be, just like in my case, one day in case of fast defragmentation and 3 days for thorough defragmentation.
During defragmentation, the computer may work significantly slower, but after its completion it will work much faster than it would without defragmentation. However, one should not set too much time interval between successive defragmentation processes, because it would significantly increase the time needed to perform defragmentation.
Delete Unnecessary Files And Do Other Optimizations
In this section, I will describe two programs. One of them works great as a free version, the other one should be used in the paid version.
This program helps to remove a large part of unnecessary files from the disk and to clear the registry of unnecessary entries.
In the left column of the main window there are buttons Cleaner, Registry, Tools, Options, Upgrade. At first, let’s describe the Cleaner tab. Programs from which unnecessary files can be removed are divided into two categories: Windows and Applications.
Under these two categories, you can select and deselect the data you want to delete or leave on the disk. It is worth, for example, to leave data from web browsers – the history of visited websites, downloaded files, etc. Nobody would rather like to enter all addresses by hand after every use of CCleaner. It is more convenient to use hints based on previously viewed pages.
So it’s worth to deselect options related to web browsers. Then click the Analyze button at the bottom of the window. After a while, a report similar to the one on the above screenshot will appear.
Then press the Run Cleaner button and wait until the process of deleting unnecessary files is over. The window should look more or less like the screen below.
The next step is to clear the registry from unnecessary entries. To do this, go to the Registry tab and click the Scan for Issues button. An example of a registry scan report can be found in the following screenshot.
After clicking the Fix associated Issues… button, you will see a window asking to create a backup of the registry.
I never create such a copy and I have never had a problem caused by CCleaner application. For security, however, it may be worth to create a backup.
In the next step, click Fix All Selected Issues.
Finally, there is an information about successful removal of unnecessary entries.
In the automatic cleaning settings (Options -> Smart Cleaning), it is worth to disable all available options if you are going to use the third program described in this article.
Wise Care 365 is the second of the best programs for those who want to speed up a computer using software optimizations.
The main window has 5 tabs at the top of the screen.
In the PC Checkup tab, click the Checkup button.
After a short analysis, you will see an information about the amount of data to be deleted.
Note that despite the earlier use of the CCleaner program, Wise Care 365 still finds a lot of files and registry entries to be deleted.
After clicking the Fix button all issues are solved.
Another important tab is System Cleaner. Go to the Common Cleaner subcategory, where in the first place you should view the list of data to be deleted.
As in the case of CCleaner, so this time I recommend not to delete the data stored on the disk by web browsers (at least the ones you use regularly). These data can be found in Web Browser Cache and Web Browser Trace categories.
When you click the Scan button, the scan results appear.
As you can see, there are quite a few files to delete.
Clicking the Clean button removes unnecessary data.
In order to find and remove even more unnecessary files, go to System Cleaner -> Advanced Cleaner.
Select all available partitions (logical drives).
While scanning, you can find hundreds of megabytes of subsequent files to be deleted.
Of course, they should be removed with the Clean button.
Another important point when working with Wise Care 365 is System Cleaner -> Registry Cleaner.
As you can guess, the registry scan will also allow you to find unnecessary entries that you can safely remove without risking system damage.
If any field in the list is unchecked, as in the above screenshot, you can easily select it before deleting entries. So we clean the Windows registry and go to the next stage.
Tuneup System -> System Optimizer allows you to apply various fixes to speed up the Windows system. If you see any patches that you can apply in your system, click Optimize.
The Disk Defrag option in the menu on the left should be omitted. At the beginning of the article, the two most effective defragmentation tools have been described.
So we’re going to Registry Defrag.
As you already know, unnecessary files stored on disk can be easily found and removed. In addition, defragmentation should be performed (in the case of magnetic disks – HDD).
The situation with the system registry looks the same – unnecessary entries should be deleted and the register should be additionally defragmented at least once every few weeks.
The analysis of the degree of registry fragmentation usually lasts from a few seconds to several minutes. The computer may not respond during the analysis. The image is displayed in grayscale, and the system may appear to have crashed.
Depending on your hardware, software and condition of your system, the analysis can take up to several minutes. If the computer still does not respond after 10-15 minutes, you will most likely need to use the Reset button. However, such a situation really happens very rarely. If you take care of your system by following the advice provided in this article, the analysis of the degree of fragmentation of the register does not exceed a dozen or so seconds!
It is worth closing all programs for the time of defragmenting the registry, as the system will have to be restarted.
After system reboot, return to the Wise Care 365 and go to System Tuneup -> Startup Manager.
Speedup and Startup tabs contain a list of programs launched at the moment and launched at the start of your system.
You can disable the automatic launch of some programs with Windows, which will reduce the load on the disk, CPU and RAM, and thus affect the system operation.
In the settings (available in the menu in the upper right corner of the application), ii’s worth to disable the functions of Bootup Booster and Wise Turbo, because they do not affect the speed of the system in any significant way.
The function that must be turned on is located in the lower left corner of the screen in the PC Checkup tab.
After clicking the ON/OFF button, the window of the automatic cleaning configuration appears. You should specify how often and at what time you would like this program to delete unnecessary files. It is best to set the program for daily cleaning at any time. If the computer was turned off at the specified time, cleaning will take place as soon as the system is started.
You should also check the Silent mode option. With this function, cleaning will take place fully automatically, and you will be informed about the results using a rectangular small window, which will appear briefly in the lower right corner of the screen.
After cleaning, you may need to restart the web browser. Otherwise, it may not be possible to properly load web pages.
How To Speed Up Computer With Hardware Modernization
To speed up a computer by changing its hardware configuration, you can replace 3 components that are mainly responsible for the speed of the computer: disk, RAM memory and processor.
The magnetic disks (HDD) have a write and read speed of about 30 MB/s. SSDs – over 500 MB/s. SSD disks are also much more expensive than HDD disks, but their prices have already decreased significantly.
Solid state drives (SSD) are available in three formats: mSATA, M.2 and 2.5 inch with SATA connector. My favourite option is the third one. Such a disc is mounted and connected pretty much like a HDD. In addition, you should pay attention to the fact that HDD disks (as well as CD/DVD drives and recorders) first appeared with the IDE/ATA connector, and then (about years 2008-2010) with SATA connector.
If you have a power supply equipped with a large number of Molex connectors and too few SATA power cables, you can buy a Molex -> SATA adapter.
The SSD drive is mounted the same way as the HDD. The only difference with a desktop computer may be the need for using a 2.5-inch 3.5-inch adapter, as SSDs have a 2.5-inch format, while HDDs mounted in PCs usually have 3.5 inches. Some manufacturers include such adapters in the box together with the drive, some do not.
In laptops, 2.5-inch drives are a standard solution, so there is no need to use any adapter.
In addition, in case of desktops, it is possible to transfer data easily from an HDD to an SSD. The process of disk assembly and data transfer has been shown on this video recording produced by Kingston.
Replacing a HDD drive with SSD is the most effective and one of the cheapest methods to make your computer faster. Currently, SSD drives cost about $0.25 for 1 GB of capacity.
Particularly noteworthy is the fact that you don’t need to store all your data on the SSD. In order to speed up the work of your computer, it is enough for you to have a sufficiently large SSD to accommodate the operating system and the most important applications.
If you plan to collect photos, audio-video files, pdf, doc, xls and others, you can still store them on the HDD. The most cost-effective internal HDD disk with a diagonal of 3.5 inches is WD10EZEX from Western Digital. I’ve been using this drive myself for over 5 years. The previous HDD drive from Seagate stopped working after only 3 years. WD, however, after 5 years of work, is still great!
The above screenshot comes from Ashampoo HDD Control. I always use it in version 2.10. This is the program which foresaw a failure of my previous disk. Its performance dropped in 3 years to about 30%. As you can see, WD is doing a lot better.
Coming back to SSDs – another advantage of having such a disk is the fact that SSDs do not require defragmentation. As is generally known, defragmentation temporarily slows down your computer, which can be quite tedious, though not as burdensome as a fragmented, slow-running disk. Since SSDs do not require defragmentation, there is no factor that would slow them down regularly every few days. This is the second very important advantage in addition to much higher data read and write speeds. The third plus is the lack of having to spend money on paid defragmentation tools (no free program gives such good results as the previously mentioned O&O Defrag Pro and Raxco PerfectDisk).
RAM (Random Access Memory)
Although mounting an SSD, which will store the operating system along with all the software gives the best results in terms of speeding up the computer, RAM is also an important element of this process.
There are currently 4 types of RAM: DDR, DDR2, DDR3 and DDR4. The type of memory used in any computer depends on the motherboard that is in it. Each model of motherboard supports limited types of RAM and a limited number of RAM modules.
RAM should be selected to be compatible with the motherboard. It is also best to check frequency of the currently mounted memory and select the memory with the same frequency.
Of course, RAM can be replaced with new modules or expanded by adding a new one. If you decide to expand, look for the memory in the same DDR standard (1/2/3/4) and the same frequency as the memory installed on your motherboard. However, if you plan to completely replace RAM, check the compatibility of each memory type with your motherboard on Google. In my case, you’d need to look for a phrase DH55TC RAM compatibility.
If you already know what memory you need, it’s time to look for specific modules and check their prices. In order to do that, I recommend checking google.com, amazon.com or any online computer store in your country.
If you don’t know how to install RAM on your motherboard, here are some YouTube instruction videos.
Also, remember that you need a 64-bit system to fully support 4 GB or more RAM memory.
At the end of this section it is worth mentioning that there is a virtual memory in addition to physical RAM in the computer. The mechanism works in such a way that when physical memory is running out, a part of the disk is used to emulate RAM. As you might guess, it would be better to be part of an SSD than HDD. So if you have a solid-state drive (SSD), you do not have to worry about insufficient RAM.
Processor (CPU) also has an influence on speed of the computer, but there are some limitations if you’d like to replace your CPU. If you have any dual core processor (at least Intel Core 2 Duo) and you don’t play any games or run too many heavy applications, your processor is powerful enough for your computer to work efficiently and quickly. If you have an older processor and you would like to replace it with one of the latest models, you will have to replace the motherboard and most likely the RAM memory as you replace the CPU.
In such a situation, it is worth considering whether it is better to invest in an old computer and exchange components for new ones or simply buy a new computer.
Some Other Valuable Tips On How To Speed Up Your Computer
1. Use the best possible operating system. Among the systems from Microsoft, the two best-performing systems are Windows 10 and Windows 7.
2. Take care of system updates and device drivers.
3. Avoid collecting too many programs on the disk (especially for HDD).
4. Avoid running too many programs or tabs in your web browser at the same time (especially for HDD and small RAM).
5. Try not to overload the disk on which Windows is installed. If there is only 10%-20% free space on such a disk, the system runs slower regardless of the disk capacity.
6. Avoid collecting too many icons on the desktop, because it also slows down the system.
That would be enough when it comes to the topic of making computer faster.
If you find this article useful, share it with your friends. Perhaps you can help them speed up their computer, which will translate into less stress and less frustration in their daily lives, which in turn will translate into a generally better life. 🙂