How to Improve Slow Notebook Performance

Your shiny new notebook might perform like a dream straight out of the box, but before long, that lightning-fast speed can slow to a snail’s pace if you don’t put in that little effort required to keep your new purchase running smoothly. Slow performance can be caused by anything from spyware to hard drive errors, but we’re here to show you how to prevent these issues, fix existing ones, and get your notebook back up to speed in no time.

Slow Internet Performance

If web page response is sluggish, or streaming video takes an age, the problem might lie with your broadband connection rather than your notebook. It is common knowledge that many internet service providers (ISPs) cap user’s speeds during peak hours – typically between 8pm and 1am – and when they exceed their monthly usage limit. Check your ISPs monthly usage and traffic management policies to see where they stand on these issues. If you find you’re frequently going over your monthly usage limit, it could be time to switch to a more generous package. If you find your browsing speed slows during peak usage hours on a regular basis, you might want to consider jumping ship to a better equipped ISP, such as Sky, one of the only broadband internet providers who don’t implement a traffic management policy, so you can wave goodbye to broadband internet caps. There is also the option of Sky’s fibre optic broadband package (Sky Fibre Unlimited), which is ideal for homes with very high internet usage.

Delete Temporary Files

Operating systems like Windows use several directories to store files that are only intended for temporary use. Over time, these files can build up and slow you down. By regularly deleting these files, you can help free up hard disk space and reduce the time needed to access the hard drive – and it’s easy to do too. In Windows, just click on the start menu, select System Tools within the Accessories folder, then click Disk Cleanup. You’ll be prompted to select the name of the drive you want to clear up, the hard drive is most commonly drive C:\, then just place a check next to the files you want to delete. Deleting temporary files is always safe, and their file names – .tmp, .spc – are easy to spot.

Hard Drive Errors

Once you’ve deleted your temp files, it’s time to give your hard drive a scan for errors. If you’re using Windows, the ScanDisk program will do the hard work for you, scanning the hard drive for file structure and physical errors that could be slowing you down. Just close all programs you have running, including background programs like virus scanners, and click on My Computer. From there, right-click the hard drive icon (usually C:\), select Properties, then the Tools tab, then Check Now. Place checks next to Fix File System Errors and Attempt Recovery of Bad Sectors, click Start, then select Yes to schedule a full scan of your computer on restart. Restart your computer and the scan will get underway automatically – and be prepared to wait, as a full scan of the hard drive can take a while.

Beware Adware and Spyware

One of the major causes of notebook, PC and tablet sluggishness is adware and spyware. Adware is any program that displays advertising banners and annoying pop-ups while it’s running. Clandestine spyware applications can often use up valuable processor speed by collecting information from your notebook and sending the information to another computer over the internet. Alongside viruses and worms, spyware and adware can negatively affect your notebook’s performance, so installing virus and spyware protection software, such as Spybot, is an essential step in combating these issues. Whichever software you choose, make sure you use its automatic update feature to ensure that your notebook’s always protected from the latest threats.

This article was produced in association with Sky.


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