There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that won’t run efficiently anymore. Most people experience this with their laptops as they get on in years, with five years being the time when most choose to replace their devices. What a lot of people don’t realize is that laptops can often continue working fine after five years old, provided you know how to maintain them and optimize their performance.
You don’t need to be a tech genius to make simple changes to your laptop and get the best out of it. Some options might require a little know-how, but you can often find a qualified computer repair person to do some work upgrading your laptop if you don’t want to give it a go yourself. Most ways you can improve your laptop performance are simple and quick to manage with a little guidance from Google.
Slim down on apps
Over time we download all kinds of apps on our laptops – five years' worth of apps can lead to significant clutter, much of which you might not use at all. You could consider opening up your app manager and organizing the list of apps from largest to smallest. Uninstall any apps you don’t use or use very infrequently to help you free up space and speed up your laptop’s processing power. A significant chunk of laptop space and processing power is used up by apps, and if your computer doesn’t have much storage space remaining, it can seriously hinder its performance.
Clear out your downloaded files
Downloads are another part of your laptop that can cause clutter that will slow down its performance. We download things every day while browsing or working: tickets, menus, itineraries, manuals, and more. While these are often useful in the short term, it is best not to let them clutter up your laptop storage for longer than needed. Going through five years of downloads in one go can be daunting, so you might want to break it up into sections and tackle a bit each day. Once you have your downloads under control, make sure to keep decluttering on a regular basis so the folder doesn’t end up unmanageable again.
Use quality antivirus software
Viruses and malware are another Achilles’ heel for computers of all kinds – as well as posing a risk to your data, they can significantly limit a laptop’s performance. You should use quality antivirus software that can detect, isolate, and remove malicious software. Most laptops will come with their manufacturer's standard defense software, along with standard software on the operating system.
Limit file sizes
If you have a lot of important documents that need to be stored on your laptop’s hard drive, it is best to ensure they aren’t taking up too much space. You should learn how to compress essential files so they aren’t taking up too much room – it is simple to do for most formats, and you can use helpful online tools to compress files quickly and easily. Have a look at Smallpdf’s PDF compressor tool that can help you keep your PDFs at the right size for long-term storage.
Upgrade RAM and SSD
Increasing the capacity of your laptop is a good choice if general decluttering hasn’t been very effective. It’s best to aim for at least 8GB of ram to help your laptop run fast and smoothly, and if your computer is on the older side, you’ll likely have less than this. 8GB will allow you to do basic tasks on your laptop, such as:
- Browsing the internet
- Basic photo editing
- Streaming TV and films
You might consider getting more if you have more specialist needs. Unfortunately, the desire for ever smaller laptops means that the RAM is now often soldered to the motherboard, making it hard (or even impossible) to replace. If your laptop supports it, you should consider upgrading the internal hard drive with an SSD for faster performance.
Replacing your laptop unnecessarily is a waste of money and resources that few people can afford nowadays – with the cost of living rising, we need to get as much as possible out of our tech. It is best to start with the tips above that you feel confident doing yourself. If you can’t upgrade the RAM on your laptop by yourself, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a professional to do it for you; it will cost less compared to buying a new laptop. Normally, simple digital decluttering is more than enough to keep your laptop running well as the years go by.