How To Revive Your Sluggish Laptop
A few decades ago, if you wanted a laptop for home or work, not only would it cost a small fortune, but the capabilities of the device were likely just enough for 2 hours of battery usage, and you would have access to a tiny range of software.
Times have changed, however, and today laptops are more powerful, versatile, portable, and convenient than ever before. Not only can we get our hands on compact 11.6” devices that are perfect to travel with, but there are also huge 17-inch gaming laptops that can play all of the latest titles without breaking a sweat.
For the most part, a laptop is a self-contained unit that doesn’t need nearly as much cleaning as a large desktop computer. But over time, you will likely find that your laptop is beginning to slow down somewhat, and while it’s usually not much of a problem at first, after some months or years your laptop might become unusable. Microsoft 10 and 11 are generally quite good at keeping your laptop running smoothly on a software level, but nothing is fool proof when it comes to computers.
So, if you find that your laptop is really beginning to slow down, whether it’s because of bad software, hardware, or simply just age, we’re here to help you bring it back to life and give you many more years of productivity.
A Purge Can Help
There’s so much different software in the world that it can be tempting to give it all a try. Installing the software is easy and straightforward, but uninstalling it isn’t quite as simple. While an operating system like Windows will allow you to uninstall most of the underlying components of the computer, there will almost always be something left behind. And despite the fact that there’s lots of “cleaning” software on the market, these generally can’t remove much of the remnants of old software and the other many files that can build up over time within the operating system.
The way we use software is also changing, with much more of a focus on being online. A great example of this is video and casino games. At one point, you had to go to much greater lengths to play games on your computer, and it all had to be local: so instead of signing in to play Grand Rush casino online games, for example, you would instead need to install an entire suite of games. This often leads to the slowdown of computers, although it’s becoming less of an issue these days.
If you have a decently new device and you’re finding that it’s slowing down quite a lot, reinstalling the operating system might fix all the issues; and this is how to do it:
- Make sure to back up all your files to another device, like a second computer, or ideally a backup hard drive.
- Get a hold of a copy of windows, either on a CD or a USB stick. This will be the medium necessary to reinstall Windows as well as to fix any issues that come up. Ideally, it will be the same Windows medium that you used to install the version of Windows you have already.
- With everything backed up, boot into the medium, like the USB stick, and then follow the prompts to reinstall Windows. This can take a few hours, depending on how fast your computer is, but once it’s done, you will be back to a fresh, clean install of Windows which should also help speed things up significantly.
Consider Moving Operating Systems
The advice above is perfect if you have a newer laptop, but if you’ve got an old one, you might find that Windows just doesn’t work that well on it anymore.
Windows 10 and 11 are much better-suited to laptops that are from 2019 onward – and even then, if the hardware specs are low, there’s a good chance that you might battle with slowness. This might make it painful to do even basic tasks, like watching a show on Netflix, play a video game, or use Zoom for meetings.
Thankfully, there are some options here, with the number one being Linux. GNU/Linux is an operating system that has long been used for server hardware, but in recent years there have been many successful variants made for home systems. Linux comes in many different flavours, but the most part you will want to choose one of the following:
- Linux Mint
- MX Linux
- Zorin OS
These are good choices if you just want a system that works straight away without much tinkering, but if you’re IT-minded, Linux can provide you with lots of opportunities to tinker and learn about computers. Either way, Linux is known for being much lighter on hardware resources than Windows, which is perfect for an older laptop – but keep in mind that might not find quite as much software being offered on Linux. For the most part, however, Linux tends to have everything you need to cover both your personal and professional needs.
Upgrade The Hardware
If you’ve tried both reinstalling your current operating system as well as installing something like Linux and you’re still battling, it might be time to focus on the hardware. Another stick of RAM can make a tremendous difference to how functional your laptop really is, providing the system with a lot more memory to work with.
Perhaps one of the most profound upgrades you can make to a laptop is by removing the old hard drive and instead installing a Solid State Drive, or SSD. SSDs have no moving parts, meaning that not only are they much faster than conventional hard drives, but they also tend to work for much longer.
SSDs are relatively cheap to buy today and remain one of the very best upgrades around. If your laptop is exceptionally old and no upgrades will benefit it, then it might be time to consider looking for a new laptop. Some of the very best brands on the market right now include Lenovo, Dell, Acer, HP, Apple, Asus, and Microsoft.