Originally published on minds.com
If your old computer is slowing down and no longer working as well, you may be tempted to buy a new one. However, new computers are expensive, so a better solution is to get the most you can out of your old computer before you move on. Here, principal software developer Panawe Batanado shares six tips on getting all you can out of your old computer.
1. Delete old files and useless software.
Computers, especially older models, only have so much space. Old files and programs may be slowing your computer down, so delete them to boost performance. Look through your computer for dated files and programs that you haven't used in a long time, and if you are unlikely to use an application again, get rid of it. That photo-editing program you haven't opened in years? It's only slowing your computer down. Delete it! If you have two programs with similar functions, choose one and get rid of the superfluous alternative.
2. Check for viruses.
The older your computer, the more likely it is to have picked up viruses or malware over the years. Viruses can cause all sorts of issues with your computer; one of the primary problems is simply slowing down. The inefficiency displayed by your computer may not actually be a result of age -- a virus could be the cause. Use an antivirus software to check your computer for viruses and malware and delete whatever malicious programs are discovered. Your computer will almost certainly improve in performance afterwards.
3. Use the 'cloud'.
The 'cloud' refers to the use of the internet--rather than your local machine--to perform normal computer functions. Moving operations from your computer to the cloud can free up space and boost functioning. Many sorts of files can be moved online; for example, there is no reason to keep a large number of photos on your hard drive. Put these photos on a photo-storage website instead. The cloud is actually more convenient than your computer, since the cloud allows you to access your files and data from any computer with an internet connection.
4. Add RAM.
Any application you run on your computer uses up RAM (random access memory), and insufficient RAM means your computer and programs will operate slowly. A simple solution is to buy more memory for your old computer since installing extra RAM is relatively easy. Of course, RAM will cost you some money, but not nearly as much as buying a whole new computer. For the boost in performance it can provide, RAM is cheap.
5. Multitask less.
Aged computers can't handle running multiple programs at once very well. Having a bunch of applications open at once may be convenient; however, it will degrade performance and make it more likely that your computer freezes. Aim to have only one or two applications open at a time. Some circumstances may demand that you have more programs operating, but otherwise, give your old computer as little to do as possible.
Software and operating systems both receive upgrades on a regular basis. If you're still running the same applications and operating system that was shipped with your computer, chances are newer versions have been made available. These versions of software will run better and function more efficiently, so check online to see if an application has received any upgrades. A new operating system will offer an even bigger boost to performance, though this option will cost more.
Just because your computer is old doesn't mean it's worthless. Most old computers have more life left in them than their owners would suspect. Simply follow Panawe Batanado’s expert advice above and see your computer's performance rebound. Getting everything you can out of your old machine is preferable to spending a huge sum on a brand new computer.
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