20 Simple Ways to Make Your Windows Office PC Faster

One of the biggest reported frustrations with office IT systems is computers that are running slowly. A slow PC can turn a job like booting up and checking your emails into a long drawn out process.

There are a number of steps you can take in order to speed up your office PC. The effectiveness of these tips depends on your hardware and operating system. There is only one definitive answer which is guaranteed to get results and that is upgrade to a new PC.

We have rated each step with a difficulty rating, one star means that it is a job that anyone can do whereas for three stars, we believe that you are best contacting us before you try it.

* = Easy.   ** = Medium.   *** = Professional help advised.

1 ) Add More RAM: Difficulty rating = ***  
Upgrading your Random Access Memory should make certain programs and applications run faster. This is especially the case when running applications like image editing tools or large databases. Before considering obtaining additional RAM, you must first ascertain the type, speed and combination of modules for your particular system or motherboard. You also need to make sure that adding RAM will not void any warranty that applies to your hardware. Contact us for advice.

2 ) Uninstall Unused Programs: Difficulty rating = *
A really simple way to free up space and speed up your PC is to remove programs that you don’t use. These are often the ones that come pre-installed on your PC. Go to Control Panel/Add Remove Programs, but take care not to remove anything important or anything you need.

3 ) Change Your Background Image: Difficulty rating = *
If you have a background image on your computer, make sure that it is a small and simple image rather than a large picture for example, taken straight off your camera. This makes sure that your PC is not wasting resources loading up and refreshing a huge image every time your desktop changes.

4 ) Check that the Fans are Clean and Functioning: Difficulty rating = *
When a computer gets hot, this can affect the performance. Make sure that the power supply fan, CPU fan, Graphics fan and any case fans are clean and functioning properly to maintain your computer’s best operating temperature. They are best cleaned using compressed air from an air duster can or compressor. Take care not to void any hardware warranty by breaking the seal on your PC.

5 ) Create Multiple Folders: Difficulty rating = *
Having your files spread among multiple folders rather than one big folder can help to improve performance when browsing for your files.

6 ) Delete Cookies: Difficulty rating = *
Cookies are files containing information about websites you’ve visited and data you entered on them. After a while, cookie files can soon accumulate into numbers large enough to take up space and start to affect performance of drive access and Antivirus scans. Deleting them via the internet settings menu in your browser could help performance if you have a large volume of them.

7 ) Free up Disk Space: Difficulty rating = *
Use the Windows disk clean up tool to improve performance at the click of a button. Go to: Start Menu/Programs/Accessories/Disk Clean Up, or Go To: My Computer,/Right Click on Drive/Select Properties/Select Tools Tab/Select Disk Clean up. This utility will help identify temporary files located on your hard drive that are no longer needed.

8 ) Get an External Hard Drive: Difficulty rating = **
You can store large amounts of data on an external hard drive rather than all in your computer. This frees up valuable space without having to upgrade your internal hardware. They are available in various sizes and connection formats so if you are unsure of what you need then contact us for advice.

9 ) Install all Updates: Difficulty rating = *
Make sure you have installed all available Microsoft updates for your operating system. Keeping them up to date makes sure that your PC’s operating system is running at the optimum level. Use the Windows/Microsoft Updates tool, normally found by clicking Start, Programs.

10 ) Limit the Number of Programs Running: Difficulty rating = ***
Using the MSConfig utility you can limit the amount of programs that are running in the background whilst you use your PC. However, you do need to exercise extreme caution and ensure that the programs you are disabling are not vital to your everyday use or it could have the opposite effect on performance, or even render your PC useless. Go to Start Menu/Run/Type “msconfig” and press enter.

11 ) Perform a Malware Scan: Difficulty rating = **
Malware such as worms, trojans, rootkits, dialers, and spyware can infect your P.C. and slow it down considerably. In order to get rid of it you will need a piece of Anti-Malware software. There are free versions available but often these do not offer the same capabilities as a paid for product from one of the leading suppliers. It may also be necessary to use several products to remove a malware infection. If you are unsure or have persistent problems contact us for advice.

12 ) Perform a Virus Check: Difficulty rating = **

Viruses can seriously affect the performance of your PC. Installing Anti-Virus software and then running a system scan should help to remove any viruses and speed up your PC, although some viruses will in fact prevent you from installing any such software.  As with Anti-Malware software, free Anti-Virus software only goes so far in removing the virus threat. Contact us for comprehensive anti-virus software advice.

13 ) Shut Down Your PC: Difficulty rating = *
Many people never turn off their PC. As well as causing unnecessary power use, your computer will also slow down over time. Turn your machine off when not in use to conserve energy and help keep optimal performance.

14 ) Defragment: Difficulty rating = *
Defragmenting your hard disk is an easy way to speed up performance, especially with older systems that have slower drives. The disk defragmentation tool built into windows pieces back together dislocated file fragments so they can be accessed quicker when needed. Go to: My Computer/Right Click on the Correct Drive/Select Properties/Select Tools Tab/Select Defragment.

15 ) Speed up Folder Browsing (Windows XP): Difficulty rating = *
Windows XP automatically searches for networks and printers when you open Windows Explorer. Speed up performance by turning this option off. Go to: My computer/Tools/Folder Options/View/Uncheck “Automatically search for network folders and printers/Click Apply/Restart your computer.

16 ) Turn off Background Graphics (Windows XP): Difficulty rating = *
It may not look as pretty, but this can really speed up a PC’s performance. Go to: Control Panel/System/Switch to Classic Mode/Advanced Tab/Settings/Select “Adjust for best performance”

17 ) Turn off Unnecessary Features (Vista): Difficulty rating = *
Things like Tablet PC components, DFS replication service, Windows meeting space etc are programs that are rarely used and can affect your computers performance. Turn them off by going to: Control Panel/Uninstall a Program/Turn Windows Features On and Off.

18 ) Turn off Windows Defender (Vista): Difficulty rating = *

If you have already installed anti-spyware on your PC, turning off Windows Defender could help to speed up performance without compromising security.

19)  Format Hard Drive: Difficulty rating = ***
This is a fairly extreme measure and is time consuming but it can be carried out in order to completely refresh your system. Before you format your hard drive, make sure you back up all important files and make sure that you have your copy of the Windows/Office/Software/Driver installation disks and license details to hand. Reinstalling can require a certain amount of knowledge and expertise so if you are uncertain it is best to have a professional to hand

20 ) Buy a New Computer: Difficulty rating = **
A last resort but if all else fails and your machine is on it’s last legs, it may be the only course of action. Buying new hardware can be difficult, especially if you don’t know your exact requirements. Contact us for impartial advice about replacement hardware.