DOES YOUR LAPTOP FEEL SLUGGISH? - TRY THESE 9 THINGS BEFORE YOU GIVE UP
PCWorld|October 2021
DON’T DITCH THAT AGING LAPTOP UNTIL YOU TRY THESE SPEED-BOOSTING TRICKS FIRST.
MATT SMITH

Does your laptop feel sluggish? Do you have to wait five minutes after rebooting the laptop before it responds? Does it struggle to switch between browser tabs even when you have less than half a dozen open?

A slow, frustrating laptop may have you shopping for a new model, but you should try these tips before you give up. Improving the performance of your aging laptop can extend its life by several years and keep it out of the landfill.

1. RESTART YOUR PC

Have you tried turning it off and on again? It’s a cliché for a reason. If anything, this trick is even more relevant today. A modern laptop is reliable and can be placed in an efficient sleep mode to save power. There’s no reason to turn it off unless you’re installing a Windows update or troubleshooting.

Give it a try. Shut down the laptop and turn it back on using the power button. It only takes a minute.

2. CLEAN STARTUP APPLICATIONS

A fresh start also lets you see what applications launch when your laptop boots into Windows. Many applications are designed to launch when Windows loads, and they tend to pile up over time. A large pile of startup apps can really bog down a laptop.

You can clean startup applications by opening Windows 10’s Settings app. Select “Apps from” and then Startup. You will see a list of apps that launch at startup. Toggles next to each app let you enable or disable them. Windows even has an estimate of how much they impact boot times (though this estimate hasn’t proven accurate in my personal experience).

Most applications will appear in this list, but some may not. You can disable these apps the old-fashioned way with the Windows System Configuration application (go.pcworld.com/olfs).

3. CHECK YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION

Odds are most tasks you regularly perform on your laptop require an internet connection. Web browsing, Netflix streaming, and online gaming all require a healthy connection. A slow one can drag down performance.

You can check your internet connection with a speed test utility like speedtest.net (go. pcworld.com/spts). Run the test several times while recording your ping time, download, and upload speeds. You’ll ideally want to see a ping time in the single digits with download and upload speeds above 10Mbps.

Also take note of wild swings in performance between tests. That’s a sign your internet connection works but is unreliable.

Suspect that connection is the problem? Check our guide to fixing a wired internet connection if you use ethernet (go.pcworld. com/fxin), or our guide to fixing Wi-Fi problems for wireless (go.pcworld.com/fxwf).

4. FREE UP RAM

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM PCWORLDView All

Valve's hotly anticipated Steam Deck handheld delayed until 2022

Supply chain issues strike again

1 min read
PCWorld
December 2021

Tested: Start11 solves Windows 11's worst Start menu and taskbar sins

If you want a Windows 10–style Start menu within Windows 11, then Start11 may be for you.

3 mins read
PCWorld
December 2021

Windows 10's November update is a lot smaller than we're used to

With Windows 11 getting all the attention, new features are thin on the ground for Microsoft’s former flagship OS.

1 min read
PCWorld
December 2021

Intel Core i9-12900K: Intel. Is. Back..

Clash of the titans: Core i9-12900K versus Ryzen 9 5950X

10+ mins read
PCWorld
December 2021

Is Nvidia's GeForce Now cloud gaming worth it?

How it works, potential drawbacks, and price

5 mins read
PCWorld
December 2021

How Amazon's new Kindle Paperwhite e-reader compares to the old one

Amazon’s latest revamp of its mid-tier e-reader is out now. Here’s what you get compared to the previous version.

3 mins read
PCWorld
December 2021

Get Office 365 on the cheap

With a little foresight, you can always manage to get Microsoft’s Office subscription at a deep discount.

2 mins read
PCWorld
December 2021

LG Gram 17 (2021) : Lightweight and primed for productivity

Big screen, light weight.

8 mins read
PCWorld
December 2021

3 Things We Love in Windows 11 (and 3 Things We Hate)

Windows 11 has some great features, as well as reasons not to upgrade.

4 mins read
PCWorld
November 2021

How to make Windows 11 look like Windows 10

Windows 11 gives Microsoft’s operating system a bold new look, but you can still make it feel (mostly) familiar.

5 mins read
PCWorld
November 2021
RELATED STORIES

I take laughter for granted

MAMATA VENKAT looks back over the last year, which has been full of tragedy, and finds the moments of light and laughter that bring joy and celebration to life.

2 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
December 2021

EYE MAKEUP

Palette For Spring/Summer 2022

3 mins read
Women Fitness
December 2021

Life (and Gelato) in the Raw

Kailey Donewald took a vacation to Bali and discovered a cure for her lifelong asthma and allergies—a raw, plant-based diet. Now she’s serving up vegan, coconut-based gelato with a superfood twist.

3 mins read
Better Nutrition
December 2021

Orange Is the New Shred

DEAN GUITARS MD24 FLOYD ROASTED MAPLE

3 mins read
Guitar World
January 2022

AI in Streaming Services

The shows you ‘choose’ to watch aren’t entirely your decision.

3 mins read
Innovation & Tech Today
Fall 2021

CAVEMAN FOR HIRE

DONNY DUST HAS BUILT AN EMPIRE OUT OF SIMPLY SURVIVING. WE SPOKE WITH HIM ABOUT CARVING TOOLS OUT OF STONE, HIS PREFERENCE FOR WEATHERED TATTOOS AND HOW WE ALL NEED TO RECONNECT WITH THE NATURAL WORLD.

8 mins read
Inked
2021 Holiday Issue

RIDE FROM HELL!

Lyft driver was abducted, shot 7 times & left for dead!

1 min read
National Enquirer
November 29, 2021

Shop for a New WIRELESS PLAN and Save Big

Competition is fierce, and carriers are dangling free phones and streaming subscriptions.

10+ mins read
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
January 2022

THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING (Hint: It 's you)

Because you don’t have to spend a single babysitting dollar to totally make someone’s season. Cue the cheer!

3 mins read
Girls' Life magazine
December/January 2022

‘RED NOTICE,' ‘SQUID GAME' TOP NETFLIX HOURS-WATCHED METRIC

Netflix rolled out a new website that measures its most-viewed films and series by the amount of hours users spend watching them.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
November 19, 2021