Do you remember how fast your computer would come to life when you first purchased it? It seemed like you pressed the button, blinked, and then you were ready to go.
After a few fun years, you may find that your computer takes what seems like forever to start up. This could be the result of a number of factors, all of which will be addressed in a simple seven step process to make your computer run like it was brand new.
1. Start with start up.
When you want to reduce the time it takes for your computer to start up, the first aspect that you should investigate is the programs that start up at the same time as your computer. These programs are often one of the main reasons for slow start up times. A list of programs that start automatically can usually be found in your system’s notifications panel or system configuration tool.
Once you have a list of the programs set to start up at the same time as your computer, look for items such as messaging programs (Skype), internet browsers, applications like UTorrent, or other large programs. These programs, for the most part, do not need to start up automatically and can actually be significantly slowing down the start-up time and as such you should remove them from this list.
In fact, the only programs that should be starting up automatically are any anti-virus programs you have installed and other programs essential to allow your computer to function properly.
2. Rearrange your hard drive.
Your computer should have a disk defragmenting application already installed on its system. Often this runs regularly by itself, but if you are experiencing a very slow start up time, you should consider running it manually. These programs will analyze the fragmented files that you have on your hard drive and rearrange them so that they are all easier to read and your hard drive can work more efficiently.
3. Clean your files and programs.
Every so often, you should go through all of your saved files and installed programs to figure out which ones are taking up a lot of space on your computer and which ones you don’t need anymore. Anything that is no longer necessary, especially if it is taking up a lot of space, should be deleted from your computer.
For example, if you are finished with your education you no longer need PowerPoint files of your presentations. If you have seen that movie already and are not going to re-watch it? Delete it. Your computer could very well be low on space to save new files (example: 50GB left on a 500GB hard drive). Low storage space on your computer contributes to slower start-up times, so free up any space that you can.
4. Use external hard drives.
If you find that you can’t delete many files and are still low on space on your computer’s internal hard drive, you should consider purchasing an external hard drive.
You can move a lot of your files over to it, freeing up space on your computer’s internal drive and thus increasing its start-up speed. If you like organization, you might want to consider saving specific file types on your external drive. One great suggestion would be to store all music and video files on the drive as these are often the ones that take up the most space.
5. Increase your RAM.
RAM, or Random Access Memory, is described as the main memory of a computer and acts as the memory that is available to programs. If your computer is experiencing slow start-up times, you may not have enough RAM to support all the programs that you are running on your computer.
Unless you are able to uninstall some of these programs, your only option will be to purchase more RAM and install it onto your computer. This is often impossible with laptop computers, but if you own a desktop computer you can usually open up the computer tower and insert more RAM into a free slot inside. If you choose to do this, you may want to consult a professional unless you are completely comfortable with taking apart and putting back together parts of your computer.
6. All systems go.
If you are still experiencing a slow start up time at this point, you will want to backup all of your necessary files and programs. Once that is finished, you will want to completely restore your computer to factory defaults.
This will delete all files and programs that did not come preinstalled on your computer when it was first purchased. This is often the step that you take if you suspect that a virus may be on your computer and you have not been able to get rid of it using anti-virus programs.
7. Replace your computer.
If you have tried all of the above steps and you find that you are still experiencing slow computer start-up times, then there is only one more option available to you and that is to purchase a new computer. In a few cases, the cause of the slow start-up time is the age of your computer.
Many people have to use their PC daily for work or school, so it’s safe to say they go through a bit of wear and tear. They are not meant to last forever, so people have to periodically replace their computers with a newer model. While this can be frustrating, especially if you are on a tight budget, you can still keep the previous steps in mind when you make your purchase.
For example, when you purchase your new computer you might want to look for a larger hard drive (look at 1TB rather than 500GB), or one with a higher amount of RAM (if your current computer has 4GB, look for 8GB). Additionally, after you make your new purchase, follow step 1 and limit the programs that start automatically to anti-virus programs and those essential for your computer to function safely and properly.
If you follow these steps you will be sure to have a computer that will no longer have a slow start-up time. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to buying a new computer!