Your computer will slow over time, but not for the reasons you think.
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Contrary to popular belief, your computer hardware does not run any slower than it did when it was new. Instead, it’s now required to run so much more software than when it was new. Remember all those updates you’ve endured and cursed at over the years? Yeah, they make the computer do more and more while still using the same hardware.
You’ll notice the computer takes longer to start. Programs you click on take longer to appear. Windows, and the programs you have on the computer, whether they appear to be running or not, are constantly gobbling up updates. Updates NEVER make the computer run faster. It’s made worse by updates being issued in the last year or so related to a serious security issue with nearly all processors made in the last 10 years. It’s relentless.
Sure, there are the very rare and not so rare instances where a hardware failure can make a computer run slower, such as a fan failure generating excessive heat. The computer may radically slow down its processor to protect itself, generating less heat, but run slower. Super thin laptops have a reputation of running the processor slower when they get hot. Thin laptops can’t dissipate processor heat very well.
Making your computer faster
Extremely important points need to stated:
- DATA DOES NOT SLOW DOWN YOUR COMPUTER. Moving your pictures and documents to an external device DOES NOTHING to improve the performance of the computer. Don’t do that. It’s dangerous because the copy process is error prone and the external device is more prone to failure, loss, theft, and damage than an internal drive. So-called experts always say “move those pictures” to an external. This is way wrong.
- Upgrading the processor will do little to improve the overall performance of your computer unless it’s a big jump from, say, a Celeron to an i5, which probably is not possible on your hardware anyway.
- If you are running 8GB of RAM, upgrading to 12GB or more of RAM will do nothing to improve performance unless you are doing major gaming, video editing, engineering, or open 100 Chrome tabs. If you are currently running 4GB and tend to open a lot of browser tabs with other programs running, you may notice a notable improvement in performance jumping up to 8 GB.
- Upgrading the storage capacity of your hard drive, say from 500 GB to 1000 GB ( 1T ), WILL DO NOTHING to improve the performance of your computer if the replacement drive is the same, mechanical, spinning type. Drive capacity has no bearing on performance. If you are upgrading from a mechanical, spinning drive to a solid state drive ( SSD ), the performance improvement will be significant.
- Performance significantly deteriorates due to upgrades, updates, and additional programs being installed into your computer. Some of those program inevitably will always run in the background, no matter if you started them or not. Windows itself runs many programs and services in the background which slows down the computer.
- Removing unused programs, not data, will improve the performance of your computer. This is done in Control Panel > Uninstall a Program or Settings > Apps for Windows 10. You will see many things listed. Other than junk programs, you may need everything installed such as Quickbooks, Office, Antivirus, Fitbit, etc. You will see unknown, weird things that also should NOT be removed.
Alright already! How do I make my computer faster?
If you are purchasing a new computer or laptop, make sure it satisfies what we consider our most basic “must haves”.
- Intel i5 Processor or faster
- 8GB RAM
- 256 GB Solid State Drive ( SSD )
- See here for buying advice or upgrade services.
That’s it. Everything else is considered optional.
But, you may ask, “I already own a computer”, what do I do then? There is one thing and only one thing that will offer a dramatic performance improvement – SSD. Change your existing, mechanical, hard drive to a solid state drive (SSD). The minimum improvement we see, depending on the quality of the original drive, is 3x faster. We have seen 5x or more improvements in overall performance. It’s that dramatic. We consider SSD’s the greatest invention in 20 years of computing. It’s been the bottleneck for quite some time.
We offer an upgrade service including:
- Upgrading the hard drive to an SSD of some size large enough to hold all your data and programs with at least 40% free space. Most everyone can get by easily with a 256 GB capacity SSD drive.
- Updating all software, including Windows itself to Windows 10.
- Removing junk, expired, unused, or un-needed programs.
- Stopping background programs from running that don’t need to be. An example is your printer software might have a customer feedback program running secretly in the background. Definitely not wanted or needed.
We have recently ceased offering new computers for sale. Before that, for the last 4 years, we only offered computers and laptops with an SSD. To date, we have not had a single failure. The primary downside to SSD’s is their cost. They cost more per GB than mechanical drives. However, this cost is mitigated because so few people need a 500 GB or more drive. 256 is great plenty for nearly everyone. From what we’ve heard, another downside to SSD’s is that if they do fail, data recovery is almost impossible where mechanical drives offer some hope. Backup, anyone?
SSD Advantages are:
- Faster everything except websites. However, websites will seem to run faster because the programs to view them such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox, etc run radically faster. Although your Internet service is not any faster, the computer “reads” the Internet faster.
- Programs start much faster. We have found that people will click multiple times because they think the program did not start, when it actually did, which can cause troubles. SSD’s lessen this issue.
- Computers and laptops start much faster. Boot times on our new machines start in under 20 seconds.
- Much more durable. The computer can be hit with the vacuum cleaner or a laptop can be dropped and at least the drive might survive.
- Much more reliable program operation. Again, often times people will click multiple times trying to get something running only to find it’s been started multiple times. Other times the old drive is so slow that there is too long of a delay starting and running programs.
- No noise.
- Less weight.
- Power consumption actually is about the same, we’re told. Never formerly tested it because we consider it a non-issue.
We have yet to find an operational downside to SSD’s other than some computers 8 years or older may not run right, so SSD is not an option. We want to only install SSD’s in Windows 7, 8, or 10 computers. As I type this, Windows 7 is being retired and, along with Windows 8, should be upgraded to Windows 10.
SSD’s equipped computers are a must. We have found that if the computer is about 8 years old or newer and capable of upgrading to or comes with Windows 10, you’re good to go.