Everybody likes a fast PC. Unfortunately, not everybody knows how to get one. Today, we’re going to make owning a fast PC a little easier for you by teaching you about some of the most pervasive myths surrounding PC performance.
Here are the top 4 myths about speeding up a PC free that many people mistakenly believe:
4) Defragmenting my hard drive will improve its performance
In the past, defragmenting your hard drive was a really good idea. It was a powerful way to increase the efficiency of your hard drive and make your files easier to access. So why is defragmenting your hard drive a bad idea today?
Well, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 all defragment hard drives automatically. Each of these operating systems defragments hard drives according to a pre-defined schedule. For example, Windows 7 usually defragments your hard drive once per month. And, the operating system has become so good at indexing data on the drive that defragmentation isn’t always necessary even on a monthly basis.
You should also not defragment your hard drive if you use an SSD. Today, many laptops feature a full SSD setup. SSDs are not like traditional hard drives – they don’t use any moving parts. Defragmenting an SSD shortens its lifespan while providing no measureable benefit.
So if you use Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 – or if you have a full SSD setup – then defragmenting your hard drive is simply not necessary. It won’t speed up your PC in a noticeable way.
3) I need antivirus software to speed up and protect my PC
Viruses will slow down your computer’s performance faster than anything else. However, some antivirus software isn’t much better than a virus in terms of PC performance. Some antivirus software will force your computer’s performance to slow to a crawl due to the numerous filters, scans, and other background processes that are running to “protect” your computer.
Unfortunately, no antivirus software is 100% effective, and the best defense against viruses is smart browsing. Smart browsing means:
-Don’t click on suspicious links
-Think twice before downloading any file – particularly if it’s free
-Install an ad-blocker or refusing to click on suspicious advertisements
If you can practice smart browsing on a consistent basis, your computer will rarely – if ever – get a virus. Sure, antivirus software might protect your computer from eventually slowing down due to a devastating virus, but the performance impact today – even on a perfectly healthy PC – is not always worth it.
2) Upgrading my RAM will always increase PC performance
If you talk to any PC expert about speeding up a PC, they’ll most likely recommend boosting your computer’s supply of RAM. But is this a surefire way of speeding up performance? Will it automatically boost the speed of any computer?
No, it won’t – at least not in a noticeable way. You see, slow PCs have something called a “bottleneck”. This is the hardware or software component that is slowing down the rest of the PC’s performance. You might have 8GB of RAM (more than enough for any task) but only a 1GHz CPU. Even if you doubled your RAM to 16GB, your 1GHz CPU would still be struggling to handle basic tasks.
For that reason, you have to take a careful look at your computer’s hardware components before you make a RAM upgrade. In general, if you purchased a computer within the last 3 years and have fewer than 4GB of RAM, then upgrading your RAM should make a difference. But if you already have a lot of RAM and are held back by some other component, then save your money and upgrade that component instead.
Another good way to determine the effectiveness of a RAM upgrade is to open the Windows Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete. Then, keep track of how much RAM your computer uses on average by looking at the Performance tab. The Performance tab shows your CPU usage and RAM usage over time. If your computer is using less than 50% of its RAM, then an upgrade may not provide the performance boost you’re looking for.
1) Your computer’s hardware becomes slower over time
There’s a reason this myth is at the number one position on this list: many people wholeheartedly believe it. After all, how many times have you purchased a new computer and been totally happy with its performance, only to watch that computer become slower and slower as time goes on.
While PCs all slow down over time, it generally has little to do with our hardware. Instead, it has everything to do with the software and our operating systems. You install new programs, add new files, and do all of the things you’re supposed to do with a computer. However, all of these tasks also clutter up the hard drive and slow down performance.
Your hardware is still as powerful as it was on the day you first bought your PC. However, the software on your computer is holding it back. The best way to fix this problem is to back up your most important data and then reinstall Windows. To do this, simply put your Windows disk into your CD/DVD drive and restart your system. During startup, Windows will ask you if you want to reinstall your operating system.
So how can I actually speed up my PC for free?
There are some things that will always speed up your PC for free. One of the best things to do is optimize your computer’s boot load order by typing msconfig into a run command and then clicking on the Boot tab.
Another way to improve performance is to shell out a few extra dollars for new hardware. Two new sticks of RAM costs less than $50 and can drastically improve computer performance – especially if you’re constantly using over 50% of your existing RAM.
Here are a few more ways to speed up any PC for free:
-Uninstall any programs you don’t use
-Switch to a faster internet browser like Google Chrome
-Dust out the interior of your computer to optimize air flow
-Install PC Cleaner Pro