When you’re out and about, there’s nothing like a laptop to help you keep up to date with your workload. Being able to access your files in the field is a real help, but if your laptop’s performance takes a dive it doesn’t assist your productivity.

computer speed boost

Rather than wait around for your laptop to catch up with you, there are a number of simple steps you can take to help it work faster again. Here’s a guide to clearing your portable PC’s desk of the remnants of old projects and reducing its workload so it can focus on your latest tasks.

The Knowhow

Step 1: Free up hard disc and memory space

Start Tasks:

  • Press the Windows and R key at the same time
  • Enter msconfig into the text box that appears
  • Click the Startup tab
  • This will show you a full list of all programs that run when your laptop starts
  • Deselect any that you don’t need by un-ticking them
  • You can see more information on each program by widening the Command section
  • When you are done, click Apply and restart your machine
  • If you are unsure of what the files do, un-tick and restart one line at a time
  • If you deactivate a program you still want to run, go back to the Startup tab and put the tick back

Internet Explorer:

  • Open Internet Explorer
  • Click Tools and select Internet Options
  • Under Browsing History click Delete
  • Make sure Temporary Internet Files and Cookies are selected. You can select any other options you want too.
  • Click Delete

Recycle Bin:

  • Go to the desktop and right-click on the Recycle Bin icon
  • Choose Empty Recycle Bin

Delete unwanted programs:

  • Open the Control Panel
  • Double-click Add or Remove Programs
  • This will bring up a list of all installed software on your computer
  • Click on any programs you no longer need
  • Choose Change / Remove and select to uninstall them
  • Repeat this until you have uninstalled all software you don’t want any more

Step 2: To tidy and speed up the hard disc

Error checking and Defragmentation

  • Go to the desktop and open My Computer
  • Right-click on the icon for the C:/ and select Properties
  • Click the Tools tab
  • Under Error Checking, choose Check Now
  • Make sure Automatically Fix and Scan for and attempt. are both selected, then click Start
  • You may get a message saying the process will commence when the machine is restarted. If so, restart your computer.
  • When the computer has finished error checking or has restarted, go back to the Tools tab
  • Click Defragment now, then Defragment
  • Leave the PC while it does this; it can take some time

Step 3: To improve performance (Optional)

Performance options:

  • Open the Control Panel
  • Double click to open System
  • Click on the Advanced tab
  • Under Performance, click Settings
  • Choose Adjust for best performance and click Apply

This step lets your computer use part of your hard disc as memory, which can give a speed boost.

Virtual memory:

  • Open the Control Panel
  • Double-click to open System and click the Advanced tab
  • Under Performance, click Settings
  • Click to the Advanced tab and choose Change under Virtual Memory
  • Make sure Custom Size is selected
  • Under Minimum size, enter double the default amount
  • Click OK

The final step ensures all changed you’ve made take effect and any old settings are properly removed from the computer.


  • Shut down your laptop
  • When the computer is fully shut down, wait at least 30 seconds
  • Waiting this long makes sure the power fades from every component and any functions stored in memory are fully removed
  • Restart the computer

With all these changes, you should find a noticeable improvement in your laptop’s performance. Should you still be having problems it may be worth looking into installing more RAM. Many programs are optimised to run with a minimum of 4GB of memory. Once the computer is working at a good speed again, you can power through your work double fast.

If you'd like help from our experts at Knowhow, we offer a PC Tune Up service. Click on the links below for details:

Updated On:

Nov 27, 2013

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