Just like all machines, laptops are susceptible to the basic wears and tears. Naturally, overworking a laptop may cause it to slow down over the years.
As you use your laptop over the years, you will start to accumulate a range of files, downloads, programs, and many other items that take up storage capacity – all of which will affect your laptop’s performance.
Fortunately, many of these factors are easily remedied and you can help improve your laptop’s overall health with some basic maintenance and mitigation.
1. Too Many Add-Ons
With millions and millions of awesome browser add-ons, we know it’s hard to not want to try them out and install them into your browser.
Unfortunately, not all browser extensions are helpful for your laptop’s performance. People often assume that their laptops are slow because of viruses or malicious cyber attacks however a lot of the time it’s due to a browser add-on or a plugin that they have downloaded.
Some of these add-ons are actually adware despite the descriptions saying they are browser protectors, popup blockers, so on so forth.
The solution – It’s time to do some housekeeping by disabling or removing the browser extensions that you do not need.
If you’re using Firefox, find the menu button at the upper right corner of your browser and select on the “Add-Ons / Extensions” tab. You can then disable and remove whichever extension you don’t want on the list provided to you.
For Chrome users, find the Manage Extension tab in the Settings and select those you want to disable or trash those you want to delete.
If you’re using Safari, click on the Safari icon at the upper left of your screen. Head onto “Preferences” followed by “Security” and then “Extensions”. Select the add-ons you want to uninstall or alternatively, turn them off.
For Internet Explorer users, go to “Tools” followed by “Manage Add-Ons” then “Show All Add-Ons”. Select the add-ons you no longer want and simply click to disable them or remove them.
2. Your Hard Drive is Dying
Just like all components of your computer, hard drives are susceptible to wear and tear and will fail over time. There is no way to protect yourself against this failure and the best thing you can do to save your important files is to back them up on an external storage system.
A failing hard drive can dramatically slow your computer down.
The solution – Run a scan on your hard drive’s health status. Programs such as HDTune can help check your hard drive’s health and diagnose it for any ailments.
3. Too Many Programs Running at the Same Time
Just like how the more things you do at the same time the slower you become at performing tasks due to the amount of strain placed on you, your laptop is no different. This could be programs that are running in the background which are not visible in your taskbar.
The solution – Close programs that you are not using. For Macs, Windows 10, and all other versions of Windows that came before Windows 7, you’ll have to close each and every program using the file menu.
For Windows, you could also open up the Task Manager to see what services are running in the background.
For example, Logitech’s Webcam Controller runs in the background despite the webcam application being closed as well as not being visible in the taskbar.
For those of you lucky enough to have Windows 8 running on your laptop, programs are automatically closed once left to run in the background after a set amount of time.
4. Too Many Browser Tabs at Once
Of course your laptop is able to multitask a few programs at the same time, however, if you’re opening up hundreds of tabs in your browser at the same time (believe it or not, some people actually do this), your laptop will undoubtedly run slower.
The problem with opening up too many tabs in your browser is that your browser will end up hogging more RAM than it is supposed to be occupying.
The solution – It’s pretty self-explanatory in that you just shouldn’t open too many browser tabs in one go. If anything, you should bookmark the ones that you like but aren’t going to read just yet.
Alternatively, if you really want to keep tabs on the tabs you’ve got open, or would like to save them for future reference, we recommend installing a browser add-on such as Session Buddy which can help you save your opened tabs to use at a later date.
Sure, we know we said not to have too many add-ons on your browser, however, if you regularly open up too many browser tabs in one go, we really do recommend this add-on to help keep your laptop’s performance at a good state.
5. You Have a Virus
It’s pretty much known throughout the tech world that viruses are the root of most problems. In this case, where your laptop is running slower than usual, there may be a chance it’s infected by a virus.
The solution – If you have an antivirus installed on your laptop, run a malware scan. If you don’t have one, download Avast which is a free antivirus scan for both Windows and Macs.
6. You Have a Dusty Room
The problem doesn’t always have to be internal when it comes to having a slow laptop. In fact, some external problems such as dust can affect your laptop’s performance due to a bad ventilation system that prevents air to flow through the processes.
What happens next is overheating due to your laptop’s inability to cool itself and in turn, performance becomes slow.
The solution – This is a pretty straight forward solution in that you’ll just have to clean out your room and get rid of as much dust as possible. Whether you choose to vacuum your room or just shift your working premise to a more dust-free room, so long as you move away from the problem, your laptop should be running more efficiently and smoothly.