How to Get an Old Computer to Run Faster

by Gregory Hamel

The older a computer is, the slower it's likely to run. The reason for this is twofold: Computers become bogged down with unnecessary data over time, and computer hardware becomes outdated and potentially runs less efficiently. There are several steps you can take to speed up an old computer without purchasing any new hardware.

Run a full anti-virus scan with an up-to-date anti-virus program. Sometimes older computers are neglected in terms of staying up to date with anti-virus software and can become bogged down by malicious programs. Running a virus scan with one or several different updated anti-virus programs can eliminate issues caused by viruses.

Run disk cleanup. Disk cleanup is an accessory that deletes unnecessary files that pile up over time, such as temporary Internet files and cookies. To run the disk cleanup, click "Start," "All Programs," "Accessories," "System Tools" then "Disk Cleanup."

Download and run a registry cleaner program. When programs are installed on a computer, entries are made on the computer's registry that may not be deleted even if the program is uninstalled. These remnants can slow down the computer as they build up over years. CCleaner is a freeware program with a reliable registry cleaner tool. Always back up the registry before making any changes as altering the registry may cause stability issues.

Defragment your hard drive. Defragmentation is a maintenance task that should be carried out every couple of months. It organizes the hard drive to optimize data access speed. To defragment, go to "Start," "All Programs," "Accessories," "System Tools" and select "Disk Defragmenter." Select your boot drive from the list of drives to defragment. Defragmentation can take a long time, especially on an old computer that has never been defragmented, so you may want to run the process overnight.


  • check * Taking proper care to maintain your computer and making tweaks can improve speed significantly, but at some point you will need to upgrade the computer's hardware to increase its speed. *Upgrading random access memory (RAM) is usually the cheapest and easiest way to upgrade hardware in order to increase computing speed.

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About the Author

Gregory Hamel has been a writer since September 2008 and has also authored three novels. He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College. Hamel maintains a blog focused on massive open online courses and computer programming.

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