Some of us would like to squeeze every dollar out of our investments – whether it is a car, house, or a computer. The way to get more out of a computer is to upgrade hardware or software or both. Sometimes a fresh install of Windows Operating System or an upgrade to a later version of Windows OS could do wonders. You can give your PC a second life with these performance tweaks.
Make your old PC perform like new
Your PC can have a second life, that is, however, dependent on certain choices you made when you were buying. When you choose to purchase a new PC, it is best to do some research. Before you buy a new PC, you should try to make it as future-proof as possible:
- Get the latest Windows Operating System
- Research the brand laptop and version, make sure it is upgradeable (Should support additional memory, newer hard drive technology, etc.)
- Make sure that the hardware is the latest but backward compatible
- Create a bootable copy of the Windows Operating System from your new laptop. Use CD, DVD, Flash Drive.
- Keep this bootable image of the OS safe for future emergencies.
You may not have been able to get all the latest hardware at the time of purchase, but you can take all you can get, but also make sure that the PC is upgradeable. When all the above have been done, then the PC will be likely to be tweaked later.
- Upgrade to a new version of Windows OS
- Refresh your Windows 10 OS
- Run regular system maintenance
- Tweak your Power Plan
- Change to Solid State Drive
- Add more RAM
- Use cooling devices.
Let us explore these in detail.
1] Upgrade to a new version of Windows OS
Some of us are very resistant to change, and when we find something that works, it is hard to let go. However, it is sometimes in your best interest to upgrade to a newer version of Windows OS. Unless you are using custom software, you will likely find a compatible version of your software to go with the new Windows OS. The new Windows OS will come with a wealth of upgrades and security features. These will be even more capable of making use of your hardware. Remember that your hardware will be as good as the software that controls it.
1] Refresh your Windows 10 OS
This might seem obvious, but it is not necessarily as easy as you think. Some persons are reluctant to do a fresh install of their Windows OS because they were not prepared. The best preparation is to create a bootable copy of your Windows OS when your PC was new. It is also easier to do a fresh install of your Windows OS if your important files are backed up. This is so because they will be safe if you decide to do a full format. Uploading these important files to Microsoft One Drive, an external drive, or on another computer would make this easier.
Resetting the Windows 10 OS or restoring to the OEM image would remove all old files, programs, and residual Registry & File junk that may be slowing up your PC. Old cookies, cached items, and duplicated files would be removed. Refreshing your Windows OS would be like spring cleaning. Refreshing your Windows OS would take care of fragmented files, registry items, old software settings, etc.
3] Run regular system maintenance
A wide range of utility software is available that will make maintaining your Windows PC much easier. Windows 10 OS has some built-in utility software that will help to defragment the hard drive, check the hard drive for bad sectors, scan and clean malicious apps, and also to clean up junk files.
There is also third-party utility software that can do these on schedule. It is good to note that software will most likely be built with general/default features. This leaves it up to the user to make changes to suit their intended purpose. Most utility software can do much more than the default settings would allow, so it is good to read up and then set them to do more.
Maintenance can also be on the hardware of the PC. Depending on your environment, the PC will suck in things such as dust, lint from materials, pet and human hair, and other things in the environment. Dust and other particles will clog vents and will cause overheating. Over-heating will cause devices to deteriorate faster. Heat also causes circuits to become honeycombed (holes in the solder). Honeycombs are like potholes on road surfaces – they do slow down traffic flow. This will cause the PC to be slower. Honeycombs will also compromise the integrity of circuits, and they will eventually break, causing them to stop working.
The largest and most important circuit in the PC is the motherboard; all hardware devices go through the motherboard. If there are honeycomb circuits on the motherboard, then it will cause everything to slow down. This could cause the motherboard to fail and need replacing. Hardware components should be cleaned as often as possible to keep dust out. Dust also causes a build-up of moisture; moisture in the dust will cause short-circuit of devices.
Try making your PC working environment as clean as possible. Whenever you are cleaning, be sure to turn off or put the PC to sleep. This will stop the cooling fans from sucking in the dust and chemicals that are in the air due to the cleaning.
Scanning for malicious software is another way to maintain the health of your PC. Malicious software can help to slow down your PC, so it is good to have proper anti-malware software. Windows Defender is a good anti-virus and anti-malware software. Be sure to keep it up to date with the latest updates.
4] Tweak your Power Plan
Your Power Plan can do much more than you think. With more power going to a device, it will perform better. Set the Power Plan to work differently based on your needs at a given time. High performance could be for software that requires a lot of power to tum properly. Balanced keeps between performance and energy use for capable devices. Balanced Power plan could be for hardware and software with moderate use. Power saver saves energy by reducing PC performance where possible. Each power plan can be further tweaked by going into their Advanced Power Options and tweak settings for software and hardware. The High-Performance Power Plan could give you good performance, but you will have to decide which Power Plan you should be using on your PC.
5] Switch to Solid State Drive (SSD)
One simple way of tweaking your PC is to make the hard drive faster. Faster seek, read, and write time means faster retrieval and storage of data. This might not seem like it would make much difference. However, just think of the fact that the speed of your hard drive also affects the speed of your internet browsing. The faster hard drive would be a Solid-State Hard Drive.
Solid State Drives are so much faster than traditional drives. SSDs have no moving parts, so there will be no long seek time. Reading and writing are much faster; browsing is a breeze. With no moving parts, SSDs produce less hear, thus they will not wear out fast. However, remember that in most cases, you get what you pay for, so look for brands that are known to be good. They might cost a little more, but it will be worth it.
Before you buy the SSD:
- Know the current hardware and their interface in your computer (SATA, IDE, etc.)
- Find out the cost of adapters if you need any
- Decide if you are willing to stand the cost of the upgrade, keep it the same or just buy a new system
- Research the SSD, look for one that will be fast yet durable
6] Add more RAM
In anything in life, there has to be a balance, and computing is no different; there is no magic formula. If you increase one thing, then you will have to increase another. If you have fast SSD and other components, but the RAM is low, you could end up with a bottleneck. Think of two six-lane highways being lined by a narrow bridge. To get from one to the other would be a drag as there would be standstills as traffic trying to get across. It is the same when you increase some hardware and software components but do not increase the RAM. The RAM holds information/data for quick retrieval. However, if the RAM is too small, the PC will have to slow down at that point. Be sure that your PC can handle an increase in RAM before buying any more. Research your PC before purchasing it to make sure that it can be upgraded later.
7] Use cooling devices
Like our bodies, PCs are created to be able to regulate their heat. PCs can sense the heat of their components and will slow down performance if the components are too hot. You can tweak PC settings to improve cooling. Sometimes manufacturers will use cheaper ones when putting the PC together, or better ones were manufactured after your PC was made. You can choose to invest in these and make your PC last longer and perform better, remember too much heat is an enemy of PC components. You can also use additional cooling fans and heat sinks depending on the design of your PC. Some persons go for water-cooled PCs. These can be bought, or PC can be modified after purchase.
Some persons use PCs in Air-Conditioned rooms; laptops can be used on cooling mats. You can also simply put an external fan close by and turn on when PC is in use. Your PC’s heat will also be influenced by the surrounding temperature. Extra care needs to be taken during hot summer months or in a tropical climate. Be careful not to use a PC where the vents are blocked. If you notice a sudden drop in performance, check to see if vents are blocked, feel if the PC is extremely hot. For desktop PCs, the sides can be removed, and components cleaned. However, laptops might be a little more challenging; if you are not skilled at pulling it apart, you may have to have it professionally done. You could also use a laptop cooling software.
The easiest way to be able to give your PC a second life with performance tweaks is to buy the right PC. Be sure to research before you buy. If you decide to buy a car that you can turbo boost, you research to see if it will be able to handle it. Do the same when buying a PC; see if it can handle future upgrades. Some of the ways to tweak your PC for a second life may include refreshing the Windows OS, Upgrade to a new Windows OS, upgrade to a Solid State Drive, New Memory, make sure it is properly cooled tweak the Power Plan. Some of these may be done at home, while some might require professional help. Whichever you choose will depend on the choice you made when you were buying. Research, read reviews and compare before making the purchase.